Top 6 reasons to visit Gatlinburg


Nestled at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a charming town in Tennessee. It offers visitors breathtaking natural beauty, family-friendly activities, unique shopping and dining experiences, and numerous events and festivals throughout the year.

With so much to see and do, it’s easy to see why Gatlinburg has become a popular vacation destination, attracting millions of visitors around the globe.

Whether planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo trip, Gatlinburg has all the right reasons to be on your bucket list.

This blog will explore the top 6 reasons why you should visit Gatlinburg. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover all Gatlinburg has.


1.   Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder always on every traveler’s “must-see” list when visiting Gatlinburg. The park, located just a short drive from Gatlinburg, is home to over 800 miles of hiking trails, ranging from strolls to challenging treks, that offer visitors the chance to explore stunning forests, rivers, waterfalls, and mountain vistas.

Smoky Mountains National Park’s diverse ecosystem is home to wildlife, including black bears, elk, and deer, making it an excellent spot for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Visitors can also take a scenic drive along the Newfound Gap Road, which offers stunning views of the Smoky Mountains and is one of the most beautiful drives in the country.

If you plan to visit the park frequently and stay near it, you’ll want to book a hotel in a central location, somewhere downtown, and make your stay unforgettable and convenient.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for a hotel in downtown Gatlinburg like The Greystone Lodge on the River that offers easy access to all the top attractions. You can have a deluxe suite with all the desirable amenities and scenic views just outside your hotel’s balcony.


2.   Scenic Drives

Gatlinburg is home to several breathtaking drives that offer panoramic views of the mountains, forests, and streams.

One of the popular drives is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which winds through a beautiful forested area with rushing mountain streams and waterfalls.

You can stop to hike to Grotto Falls or explore the historic buildings and grist mills that come along the way.

The Cades Cove Loop Road is another must-see drive that takes visitors on a tour of the historic settlements and stunning natural scenery of Cades Cove.

No matter which scenic drive you choose, be ready to be awed by the beauty of Gatlinburg.


3.   Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies features a variety of exhibits showcasing the aquatic life of the Smoky Mountains.

One of the most popular exhibits is the Shark Lagoon, which features an underwater tunnel that allows visitors to walk through and observe the sharks swimming overhead.

In addition to the exhibits, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies also offers a variety of interactive experiences for visitors.

Guests can participate in a penguin encounter to get up close and personal with the aquarium’s resident penguins or take a behind-the-scenes tour to learn more about the care and feeding of the animals.

There is also a playground and splash pad for children, making the aquarium a great destination for families.


4.   Anakeesta Outdoor Theme Park

Anakeesta Outdoor Park is one of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg, offering visitors an immersive and adventurous outdoor experience. The park features a range of activities, including ziplining, a treetop canopy walk, and a mountain coaster that provides thrilling views of the mountains.

The thrilling treetop canopy walk takes visitors on a series of suspended bridges and platforms through the forest canopy. The walk provides a bird’s eye view of the surrounding trees.

Furthermore, Vista Gardens in Anakeesta is a beautifully landscaped collection of gardens and trails offering visitors stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The gardens feature native plants and flowers, as well as a variety of sculptures and artwork.

You can also take a scenic chairlift ride up to the top of the mountain to explore the park’s beautiful gardens, shop for souvenirs, and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


5.   Local Food and Drinks

Gatlinburg’s local food and drink scene reflects the town’s rich culture and history.

One of the most popular local dishes is the famous Tennessee-style barbecue, which is slow-cooked and smoky with a sweet and tangy sauce. Many local restaurants also offer Southern-style comfort food such as fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and mac and cheese.

Peddler Steakhouse, located in a historic cabin, features a menu of high-quality steaks and other meats. Another must-visit restaurant is the Pancake Pantry, which has been serving delicious breakfast dishes for over 60 years.

You can head to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen for a taste of traditional Southern comfort food as they serve up all-you-can-eat dishes such as fried chicken, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes.

Other great options include the Greenbrier Restaurant, known for its upscale cuisine and stunning mountain views, and the Smoky Mountain Brewery, which offers a range of local beers and pub-style fare.


6.   Unique Shopping Experience

Gatlinburg is best known for its unique and charming downtown shopping area. The downtown area has Mountain Mall with various shops and boutiques comprising locally made crafts, artwork, souvenirs, and other goods.

Tourists can find everything from handcrafted pottery and jewelry to homemade fudge and hot sauces.

Many of the shops in Gatlinburg are family-owned and operated, and the friendly staff is happy to chat with visitors and offer recommendations for things to see and do in the area.

In addition to handmade crafts and artwork, you can find other unique items, such as custom-made t-shirts, nostalgic candy, and vintage signs.

The quaint, small-town atmosphere of the downtown area also adds to the charm of shopping in Gatlinburg, with rustic storefronts and unique signage creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere.



With its welcoming hospitality, rich history, and picturesque surroundings, it’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to this charming mountain town. For those looking to escape the stresses of everyday life, Gatlinburg is a destination not to be missed.

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