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Located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, Gatlinburg is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The quaint mountain village boasts a population of less than 5,000. But you’ll never know that by the number of visitors that keeps the town bustling throughout the year.
In addition to the nation’s most visited national park, Gatlinburg offers dozens of extraordinary attractions, a ski resort, intriguing shops and galleries, and plenty of restaurants.
Make the most of your Smoky Mountains vacation with this guide to food, drinks, culture, entertainment and the best things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Here are 50 Things to Do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee:
Choose from adventure, water sports & fun, local attractions, nature, theater & live entertainment, family things to do, nature, moonshine and more. When you visit Gatlinburg, there's absolutely no shortage on options.
There are many levels of thrilling experiences once you step foot in the natural setting of Gatlinburg. Many of these adventures provide beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains, the main focal point of it all.
Image Source: obermountain
#1. Ober Mountain
Enjoy a mountain of fun with a theme park, ski resort, snow tubing, indoor skating rink, aerial tram, scenic chairlifts, wildlife encounter, alpine slide, ice bumper cars, mountain coaster and more at Ober Mountain.
Enjoy more than 40 rides, thrills and attractions, high-energy entertainment, unique annual festivals and events, award-winning dining, craftsmen, live shows and more at Dollywood.
#3. Moonshine Mountain Coaster
This mountain thrill ride puts you in the driver’s seat – enjoy single or double rider cars that coast down the mountainside on a specially-designed silent track at Moonshine Mountain Coaster.
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#4. Earthquake the Ride
Experience a heart-pounding subway ride – a catastrophic, live action adventure with gut-wrenching special effects as a massive earthquake shakes the world around you at Earthquake the Ride.
#5. Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster
Check out an adventure park featuring the world’s first mountain glider that sends riders soaring through the treetops AND North America's first alpine mountain coaster that hits speeds up to 35 mph at Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster.
Image Source: rockytopmountaincoaster
#6. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster
With four uplifts and four drops, this mountain coaster even offers special nighttime runs under magnificent lighting. The 9-minute ride features tunnels, curves and hairpin turns at Rocky Top Mountain Coaster.
#7. Smoky Mountain Ziplines
This incredible outdoor adventure features seven exciting ziplines and a treetop canopy tour creating the ultimate scenic mountain adventure. Zip across heights of over 150 feet at Smoky Mountain Ziplines.
#8. Gatlin's Amazing Ropes Adventure Course
Experience adventure on the high ropes course where you’ll climb three stories to face 38 challenges, such as rickety bridges, suspended ropes and obstacles at Gatlin's Amazing Ropes Adventure Course.
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Gatlinburg may be known for its mountains, but there are a few fantastic opportunities to enjoy water-based activities. Both man-made and naturally occurring, the following things to do in Gatlinburg can be enjoyed within season and some even year-round.
#9. Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting
Choose from multiple rivers offering easy moving waters to thrilling white water thrills with steep drops and dramatic class III and IV rapids with Smoky Mountain Outdoors Rafting.
#10. Dollywood's Splash Country
Cool down in this (seasonal) mountain oasis adjacent to Dollywood theme park. Enjoy 35 acres of water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools and thrilling water attractions for all at Dollywood's Splash Country.
#11. Smoky Mountain River Rat Main Tubing Outpost
Paddle, splash and play in mother nature’s amazing water parks. Enjoy tubing or rafting down some of the prettiest rivers in the Smokies at Smoky Mountain River Rat Main Tubing Outpost.
#12. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park
Enjoy a 60,000-square-foot, indoor water park that pays homage to the national park with attractions like Cades Cove Lazy River, Clingman’s Dome water slide and Laurel Falls tube slide at Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park.
You may find yourself in a predicament once you see how many Gatlinburg museums there are. Check out one, or check out all! Either way, each offer an affordable experience for you to enjoy.
#13. Hollywood Stars Car Museum
See cars from some of the most famous movies and TV shows of the last 50 years including Ghostbusters, The Dukes of Hazzard, 2 Batmobiles, Back to the Future, Fast & Furious and more at Hollywood Stars Car Museum.
#14. Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum
Discover more than 20,000 sets of salt & pepper shakers from around the world, plus a huge peppermill collection. $3 admission goes toward any salt n pepper shaker purchase at Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum.
#15. Mountain Wildlife Museum
Become immersed in wildlife education and the importance of nature's beautiful creatures through a premier taxidermy experience at Mountain Wildlife Museum.
#16. Alcatraz East Crime Museum
True crime fans will learn about the most notorious scandals in history with real museum collections at the interesting and interactive Alcatraz East Crime Museum.
#17. Titanic Museum Attraction
A museum celebrating the famous ship, its passengers and crew – experience the hallways, parlors, cabins and Grand Staircase along with 400 artifacts from the ship at Titanic Museum Attraction.
#18. Cooter's Place
Cooter’s in the Smokies is the official museum of the Dukes of Hazzard. Get your photo with the General Lee, or see a replica of the interior of Cooter’s Hazzard County Garage at Cooter's Place.
#19. Gatlinburg Pinball Museum
Be the pinball wizard in this interactive museum where you can play more than 100 pinball machines, including rare and limited edition machines, plus other retro arcade games at Gatlinburg Pinball Museum.
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Our list of things to do in Gatlinburg wouldn't be complete without the mountain town's unique experiences. These aren't your average finds and are worth checking out if you're looking for something a little more interesting.
#20. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies
Explore the seas with exhibits including ocean realm, shark lagoon, touch a ray bay, tropical rainforest, coral reef, gallery of the seas, stingray bay and penguin playhouse at Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.
#21. Ripley's Believe or Not! Odditorium
Check out the weirdest place in Gatlinburg - 500 exhibits and artifacts, in 16 themed galleries – oddities from shrunken heads to a 19th century vampire killing kit at Ripley's Believe or Not! Odditorium.
#22. Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg’s most terrifying attraction. Step inside a once grand mansion with secret passages, eerie corridors, winding stairs, chilling chambers and rotting residents at Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg.
#23. Tennessee Museum of Aviation
Experience the history of aviation come to life as you take flight and explore an exhibit gallery full of artifacts and memorabilia at Tennessee Museum of Aviation.
#24. Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze & Candy Factory
Experience an infinite number of reflections as you try to find the one way out of this labyrinth of mirrors and LED lights at Ripley's Marvelous Mirror Maze & Candy Factory.
An indoor amusement park for the mind combining education and entertainment with more than 100 hands-on exhibits and spark the imagination. Explore 6 amazing wonder zones, laser tag & ropes courses, simulator ride and more at WonderWorks.
The pièce de résistance of Gatlinburg is indeed its natural settings. Whether you prefer being up close and personal with nature itself or viewing it from hundreds of feet above, there's an experience waiting for all.
Image Source: GatlinburgSpaceNeedle.com
#26. Gatlinburg Space Needle
Ride glass elevators to the top of a 407-foot tall observation tower where you’ll find spectacular, panoramic 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains from the observation deck at Gatlinburg Space Needle.
#27. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
Explore Gatlinburg’s best views from the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America and the SkyDeck overlooking Gatlinburg at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park.
Experience an outdoor mountaintop adventure for the entire family with the only single-rail mountain coaster in the US, a treetop skywalk, garden trails, a chondola, dueling ziplines & more at Anakeesta.
#29. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
Discover magnificent views of downtown Gatlinburg with the majestic Great Smoky Mountains in the background. The Overlook is located on the Gatlinburg Bypass at Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook.
#30. Tennessee Mountain Tours
Choose from numerous quality guided tours of the Smoky Mountains, historical locations and beyond at Tennessee Mountain Tours.
Theater & Live Entertainment
Some of the best hidden gems in Gatlinburg are performing arts and show business! Much of the entertainment industry runs on schedule, but if you can catch a show, you'll understand why this scene is buzzing with popularity.
#31. Ripley's Moving Theater
Strap yourself in for a bumpy ride at this state of the art 5-D Moving Theater experience with digital effects and motion seats that make you feel like you’re in the movie at Ripley's Moving Theater.
#32. Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud
Enjoy the exciting lumberjack competition featuring 13 events – axe throwing, chopping, sawing and more – and check out the lumberjack adventure park at Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud.
#33. Impossibilities Magic Show
Enjoy an astounding evening of comedy, magic and mindreading along with some hilarious mayhem with comedian Chris Collins and master mentalist Erik Dobell at Impossibilities Magic Show.
#34. The Grand Majestic Dinner Theater
Choose from three incredible musical dinner shows – Soul of Motown, Hit Parade or Hazzard Hoedown – for some amazing music and a delicious all you can eat buffet at The Grand Majestic Dinner Theater.
#35. Fannie Farkles
Enjoy new and classic games, never-ending fun and legendary eats with this innovative entertainment and food company at Fannie Farkles.
Known for its wide range of things to do for visitors of all ages, Gatlinburg is now, by far, one of the top destinations for a family vacation. No matter the time of year, seasonal events and activities are always available for the entire family's enjoyment.
#36. Hillbilly Golf
– A most unusual mini golf course. Ride the incline 300 feet straight up the mountaintop where you’ll find two 18-hole courses with mountaineer hazards – outhouses, stills, walls and plants at Hillbilly Golf.
#37. Gatlin's Escape Room Games
Escape rooms featuring props, lighting and sound effects. Solve puzzles, conquer challenges and work through surprises in a race against the clock to escape at Gatlin's Escape Room Games.
#38. Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini-Golf
Enjoy a Smoky Mountain backdrop while playing mini golf on courses replicating the days of Tennessee hero Davy Crockett, with water features and interactive elements at Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini-Golf.
#39. RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo
Set in the heart of the Smokies, this spectacular zoo features more than 600 animals representing more than 130 species from rainforests around the world at RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo.
#40. Arcade City
Experience a fun-filled city loaded with your all-time favorite rides, games and prizes. Fun and adventure for all ages at Arcade City.
#41. Ripley's Penguin Playhouse
View penguins from above and below the water and get nose-to-beak with this unique penguin encounter that allows you to crawl through clear, underwater tunnels at Ripley's Penguin Playhouse.
#42. Rafting in the Smokies
Choose to adventure with a certified and trained river guide as you're escorted down lively whitewater rapids at Rafting in the Smokies, pioneering water exploration on the Pigeon River since 1978.
#43. The Smoky Mountain Angler
Whether you’re a beginner or veteran fly fisherman, let experienced guides show you the best places and techniques for catching wild mountain trout in the Smokies at The Smoky Mountain Angler.
#44. Gatlinburg Farmers Market
Open mid-May through mid-October, this farmer’s market features locally grown, in-season produce, local products and foods in a friendly, social environment at Gatlinburg Farmers Market.
Moonshine & More
Wineries, distilleries, breweries - it's all made locally available to those who enjoy an alcoholic beverage. Explore the flavors of the region through tastings, guided tours, special events, and more.
#45. Sugarlands Distilling Company
Sample award-winning moonshine, tour the stillhouse, and talk with expert distillers and explore the world of the favorite Smoky Mountain beverage at Sugarlands Distilling Company.
#46. Ole Smoky Moonshine
Enjoy an epic moonshine experience with a tour of an authentic, working moonshine distillery – watch the process, learn the history and lore, or enjoy some moonshine samplings at Ole Smoky Moonshine.
#47. Tennessee Shine Co.
Experience an array of flavorful small-batch moonshine and learn the history of moonshine (along with its ties to NASCAR!) with a guided tour at Tennessee Shine Co.
#48. Tennessee Homemade Wines
Enjoy free tastings at this local winery featuring delicious wines made with local fruit, crafted by local folk and served by local friends at Tennessee Homemade Wines.
#49. Gatlinburg Brewing Company
Enjoy a locally owned brewery, in the heart of Gatlinburg Tennessee and the breathtaking Smoky Mountains. Specializing in craft beer, brewed right on site at Gatlinburg Brewing Company.
#50. Little Bear Winery
Welcomed as Gatlinburg's newer wineries, an affordable wine tasting of a lifetime can be found at Little Bear Winery.
The Things to Do in Gatlinburg are Endless!
You'll notice that these 50 things to do are constantly being updated to keep up with the ongoing changes of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. That's because with an ever-growing popularity, the town has made sure to produce attractions that are tailored for all visitors in the area. Did you know that our Westgate Resorts in Gatlinburg opt for the same convenience? Activities and on-property amenities are constantly being updated to offer the same kind of enjoyment vacationers look for off-property. Enjoy the affordability and excitement of our Gatlinburg water park resort as you embark on your next adventure.
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