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Reaching Gatlinburg, you might ask yourself how such a small place could have a massive impact. Gatlinburg is a famous vacation spot, and it’s pretty easy to figure out why. This town is one of the main points of entry to one of the most popular national parks in the US: Great Smoky Mountains park.
With more than 11 million park visitors yearly, this small town does everything possible to make you feel welcome.
This town is the perfect escape for all types of tourists. It offers activities for families, romantic couples, and individuals who want the best adventurous experience. For instance, if you like shopping, you can visit Gatlinburg Strip or ride the Space Needle for the best possible view of the activity below.
Filled with cultural marvels and outdoor pursuits, Gatlinburg provides you with the most memorable travel memories. So, we’ve listed the top things to do in Gatlinburg for you to check out on your next trip.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Do you also love having underwater experiences? If yes, Gatlinburg has the perfect spot for you: Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Throughout your tour, you’ll be surrounded by extensive exhibits containing creatures, small and large. Not just that, Ripley’s Glass Bottom Boat Adventure offers sea life from a whole new perspective.
A lot of the displays are interactive to boost learning opportunities. This involves going into a see-through glass passageway that gives a 360-degree view of sharks and other predators swimming by.
However, are you concerned that most of your time during your short trip to Gatlinburg will be spent traveling to and from Ripley’s Aquarium? If yes, look for downtown Gatlinburg hotels near the Aquarium. Choosing a nearby hotel allows you to save your travel time and expenses, helping you make the most out of your trip. And the best part is that you can enjoy many other attractions near downtown.
Gatlinburg SkyLift and Skybridge
The Skylift park consists of the most thrilling walk of Gatlinburg, the Skybridge. The famous Skylift is an open-air chairlift that takes you from the Gatlinburg Strip to the park Crockett Mountains. It includes acts of engineering that place you in the sky above the scenic landscape surrounding Gatlinburg.
The Sky trails combine three types of footpaths into a single one. From the deck, a boardwalk is suspended off a cliff.
The walk ends where two bridges begin, making a gateway to four viewing platforms of the Tulip Tower. From there, a path goes along the ridge to the park’s jewel in the crown, Sky Bridge.
However, you don’t have to worry if you have vertigo. You can climb the bridge to cross a 600-foot single span, 500 feet above the town. Once you have caught your breath, get refreshed at the Sky Center with its fantastic view of the downtown and the Smokies beyond.
Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smokies is a creek sidewalk or bus ride away from Gatlinburg. The perfect way to explore the Great Smokies and all it has to give is to go on foot.
Consider going on a hike over the iconic Smoky mountains, whether on a more casual visit to one of the waterfalls, the Appalachian Trail, or frozen wildflower walks. Over 150 trails cover 800 miles. As a result, don’t think you’ll ever get bored with the wildlife, waterfalls, and valleys,
Not just that, thousands of plant life species and animals have been found in the Smoky Mountains, and more are being found with time. If you’re fortunate, you might spot a black bear!
Besides that, the jingle ‘On the top of Old Smokies’ takes a new perspective when standing above the clouds on Clingmans Dome.
Moreover, even if you’re not a fan of hiking, the Smokies National Park is home to various accessible and scenic spots. You can soak up the Pigeon landscape or appreciate the old architecture of the mills. In addition, you can have fun on an outing with your family at some of the designated spots.
Drive the Cades Cove Loop Road
While in Gatlinburg, take around a 1.5-hour drive to the Cade Cove Loop to enjoy a beautiful drive or bicycle tour into the rural countryside of the Great Smokies.
Depending on the slow-moving traffic and how many stops you make, completing your scenic drive across the Cades Cove Loop Road might take about two to four hours to finish the long 11-mile journey.
However, with more than two million visitors, consider arriving early in the morning. The lineup can widen for many miles, particularly in autumn.
Besides that, once home to a community of colonists, the area will draw you with its charming rural meadows, churches, mountain views, and pioneer homesteads. Not just that, it’s famous for a hike to Abrams Falls. Along with grazing horses, you might also see black bears and browsing deer.
You must have been on regular roller coasters. But have you experienced an alpine roller coaster? It’s a ride full of thrill down the mountainside where you buckle yourself into an individual carriage and manage your speed with hand-kept brakes. Trust me, it’s as exciting as it sounds, even more so if you’re looking for adventurous experiences!
Even though the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster isn’t the only alpine roller coaster, it’s one of the best. The views are gorgeous as they rush past, and you can reach a maximum speed of 35 miles per hour. Not just that, you can customize your experiences to a certain extent.
The Mountain Coasters allows you to ride solo or double and travel down the mountain as slowly or quickly as you wish. You can even ride during the night or day; when it’s dark outside, the tracks are lit with dozens of lights.
Fowler’s Clay Works
Fowler’s clay works is a pottery studio owned by a family that warmly welcomes families of all sizes and visitors of all ages. Whether you want to look over their incredible work or try your hands at the clay wheel, this is just the place for some family fun time.
They create a crowd of pottery items so you can get anything you like, from plant pots to kitchenware and mugs. Every pottery piece is unique as it has been sculpted and glazed by hand.
This unique pottery shop also mixes its coatings so that its variety of pottery reflects the natural elegance and beauty of the Smokies.
If you’re new to pottery, you can experience the ‘make a pot experience’ where you’ll be taught how to create your clay vase or bowl. If you have little experience, you can look for the particular instructor ‘make a cup experience.’
Gatlinburg is overflowing with attractions and activities of all kinds to suit the tastes of different types of visitors. Even budget-conscious tourists are likely to find activities that please them. With the help of the top attractions and activities mentioned above, select a place according to your taste and interest to make your trip to Gatlinburg worth it.