If you’re looking for a weekend getaway where the sweet tea and moonshine flow as freely as the crystal clear mountain streams, you need to check out Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Home to the stunning Great Smoky Mountains, Anakeesta theme park, and Dolly Parton, Gatlinburg has enough southern hospitality for your whole family.
The great thing about this destination is that you can go at whatever pace you want. Whether you’re looking to relax by a creek, break a sweat on a hike, or get your adrenaline pumping on a mountain coaster, you can craft the perfect Gatlinburg vacation to meet your needs.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
As America’s most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer something for everyone. The park stretches over 500,000 acres, and Gatlinburg is home to three great starting points. You can access the Appalachian trail for a gorgeous hike, or hop in your car for a scenic mountain drive. We bet you’ll lose count of how many different types of wildflowers you see.
When you’re ready for lunch, Metcalf Bottoms is a popular place to picnic, and you can get there from Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge. It offers comfortable pavilions along a babbling brook so that you can enjoy your meal with a view. When you’re done, splash around in the water or take a nap on the bank. Trust us, nothing is more soothing than the sound of flowing water in Gatlinburg.
If you’re looking for more adventure, take an innertube to float the Little River, which flows right next to Metcalf Bottoms. You can also wade and fish in the Little River, where the water is always cool.
Ready to break a sweat? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts dozens of hiking trails for those ready to experience the beauty of undisturbed nature up close. The trails offer waterfalls, diverse plant species, and exciting wildlife.
Here are some of the most popular hiking trails:
- Rainbow Falls Trail (moderate)
- Chimney Tops Trail (hard)
- Laurel Falls Trail (easy)
- Ramsey Cascades Trail (hard)
Bring your binoculars so you can get a better look at the exotic bird species that are native to Gatlinburg. You may even spot a black bear.
Anakeesta Outdoor Adventures
After a day relaxing in nature, it’s time to get your adrenaline pumping. Gatlinburg is known for some of the most scenic and memorable adventure activities you can try. At the heart of downtown Gatlinburg is Anakeesta, an award winning theme park that offers ziplining, a mountain coaster, the longest tree-based bridge in North America, and more.
Start your adventures at the downtown headquarters, where you’ll take a “chondola” right up the mountain. What’s a chondola? Exactly what it sounds like: a chair lift combined with a gondola. If you want to feel more of the mountain air, you can also take a traditional open-air chair lift up the mountain.
However you get there, adventure awaits you as soon as you step off your ride. Head to the dueling ziplines to glide through the treetops with your partner at your side. You also can’t miss the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, which is appropriate for young kids who are accompanied by adults, too.
Get in your steps at the Treetop Sky-Walk, which boasts over 800 feet of suspended bridges. You’ll spot tons of wildflowers and wildlife while you take in the stunning views. Along with all of these adventure activities, Anakeesta also offers great food, shopping, and places to relax around a fire at the end of the day.
Make the Most of Your Gatlinburg Vacation
Whether you want a relaxing getaway or an adventure you’ll never forget, Gatlinburg, Tennessee offers it all amidst the stunning backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. It attracts a ton of tourists that keep coming back, and the locals are always kind. You’ll love how homey and hospitable this southern getaway feels.