Gatlinburg and its neighbor Pigeon Forge are two towns at the base of the Smoky Mountains that offer visitors an abundance of activities for kids, thrill seekers, and kitsch-loving adults. This area has a unique culture that blends well with its amusement-park-meets-national-park entertainment which gives it the special feeling of whimsy and fun that draws in families for their vacation year after year. If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for the first time, you might feel a bit overwhelmed by the number of activities and thrills there are to experience – not to mention the great options for restaurants! We’re here to help you nail down what all there is to do see, and anything else you might need to know before you visit Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg.
What to do in Gatlinburg
Looking for a vacation destination that offers something for everyone and is filled with fun? Look no further than Gatlinburg! This small mountain town is nestled next to the most visited national park in the US and has plenty of kid-friendly attractions, making it perfect for family vacations. Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, family reunion, or an adventure-packed trip, Gatlinburg has something for you.
From thrilling outdoor activities to relaxing experiences, our activity guide is packed with recommendations to help you plan the perfect itinerary. And if you need help, our concierge services can make your planning process easy and stress-free. Come and explore all that Gatlinburg has to offer and get ready for an unforgettable Smoky Mountain escape!
Looking for free activities to the best attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for your next vacation? When you book from our Gatlinburg vacation rentals, you'll receive free admission to explore the beautiful scenery, participate in fun activities, and make unforgettable memories. Learn more about our complimentary activities.
If you're looking for top-notch entertainment in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you won't be disappointed. Get ready to be dazzled by magic, comedy, horse shows, and more. Reserve your seats at the best shows in Gatlinburg, TN.
Want to get outside and move your body while you take in some mountain air and stunning views on a hike? The Smoky Mountains are a great destination for hiking. With over 800 miles of trails, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide range of hiking opportunities for all levels of hikers, from easy nature walks to challenging backcountry hikes. The park is also home to diverse wildlife, scenic waterfalls, and stunning mountain views, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.Put on your hiking boots and get to the trailhead!
We can’t always have perfect blue sky days. Rain or shine, the Great Smoky Mountains have got you covered with an incredible selection of indoor attractions, museums, activities, and exhibits that are sure to keep you entertained all day long! Get your adrenaline pumping with indoor skydiving or test your aim with axe throwing. Be wowed by mesmerizing magic shows, tee off at indoor golf, dive into the depths of aquariums, and explore fascinating museums filled with interesting exhibits. With so many thrilling options to choose from, you'll never have a dull moment in the Smokies!
There are numerous options for outdoor activities in Gatlinburg and pigeon forge. Whether you're a golf enthusiast, an outdoor adventure seeker, or just looking for some thrilling amusement park rides, there's something for everyone in this vibrant destination! Strap in for some excitement at the area's top amusement parks featuring hair-raising roller coasters, thrilling rides, and captivating shows. For those who crave adventure, the Great Smoky Mountains offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities like zip-lining, white water rafting, and horseback riding, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in nature.
If you're looking for a one-of-a-kind local tradition, you won't want to miss out on this unforgettable experience! Indulge in a delicious meal while enjoying a themed performance at one of the many facilities available in the area. From Paula Deen's southern charm to comedic acts, murder mysteries, and even a Civil War re-enactment, there's something for everyone to enjoy. Get ready to set sail with the pirate-themed performance, groove to some Mo-Town tunes, or be dazzled by the one and only Dolly Parton's Stampede!
The most important part of any vacation is the food. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are home to a wide variety of restaurants, buffets, breweries, cafes, and more. Indulge in the ultimate Gatlinburg dining experience with our hand-selected top picks, curated by the local experts at Bear Tracts! From cozy cafes to vibrant markets and delectable eateries, you'll find an array of options to enjoy!
Gatlinburg’s got a huge arts and crafts community. Indulge in some retail therapy with a local twist during your stay in Gatlinburg! Discover the hidden gems of our mountain town and show some love to small businesses with our hand-picked list of top local shopping spots. With an expertly curated selection of unique offerings ranging from handmade crafts to one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs, you're sure to find something that speaks to your style and captures the essence of our charming community.
Gatlinburg Area Guide
Getting to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge isn’t hard! Despite being in the mountains it’s centrally located near many major cities and a great destination for a road trip. It’s between 3 and a half and 4 hours to drive from nearby Nashville, Charlottesville, NC, and Atlanta Ga. We even have guests regularly drive down from Chicago and Indianapolis regions. If you’re not down to hang out in the car that long, no worries, it’s only about an hour and some change from the Knoxville airport.
Seasons & Weather
Gatlinburg looks good every season. Come in the winter and enjoy snow tubing and even skiing and end your day by relaxing beside your cabin’s fireplace. In the Spring there are wildflowers and fun events and festivals. During the summer you can enjoy alpine slides, rollercoasters, and water rides. Then in the fall, the foliage turns stunning shades of reds and gold. If you visit during one time of year, you might have a completely different experience than just a few months later.
So, When should you visit? As you could expect, the area can become congested during the peak summer season and around the holidays. For fewer crowds, try visiting during the spring or fall.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park for a good reason. The Smokies and the Appalachia range are some of the oldest mountains in the world. It’s very relaxing to cruise along the winding roads on a sunny day with a warm breeze blowing in your rolled-down window. There are countless opportunities for hiking, biking, horseback riding, historical sites, and even more. In Gatlinburg, there are three entrances to the National Park so it's no surprise that visiting the park is the most popular attraction in this eastern Tennessee town.
In and around The Great Smoky Mountain national park also provide a great chance to see wildlife. It’s very important to respect wildlife’s space. Elk, deer and countless other species call this area home. None of these are as regarded to the extent of the noble black bear. The Black Bear is a mascot for Gatlinburg. You’ll see black bear décor in almost any place you visit while you’re visiting. From saltshakers to even toilet seats, black bears are loved in this region. If you get the chance to see one of these local celebrities in person, give it lots of space, and try to read up on what to do if stumble into a bear encounter.
Gatlinburg is affectionately known as the wedding capital of the South. The nature and good energy from lots of fun making it the perfect place to tie the knot or renew your vows.
Itchin’ to get on vacation, or maybe you need a bit more inspiration? Check out these local webcams and get a glimpse of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.