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Gatlinburg Travel Guide

Experience a vacation unlike any other.
Last Updated
:
February 17, 2024
by
Editorial Staff
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA Downtown Skyline Aerial Panorama
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Listen up all you nature lovers and thrill seekers. We want to let you all in one of our favorite secrets — the one and only Smoky Mountain paradise known as Gatlinburg, Tennessee! Now for those who maybe only know Gatlinburg as that quirky wacky mountain town filled with free moonshine tastings that you drive by on your way to the Smokies…

We’re here to spill the beans that this place is legit an outdoorsy fairytale village. We’re talking misty mountains, roaring rivers, freakishly tall trees in colors you didn’t know existed, and more postcard waterfalls than you can count on two hands and feet, my friends. And that’s not even half of why you need to put Gatlinburg on your travel bucket list quickly fast. Because once you’ve gawked your fill at Mother Nature’s finest works, this town pulls out all the stops on man-made adventures.

From sky bridges dangling you OVER the park to America’s steepest water coaster slide dropping you 500 feet at heart-attack speed…Gatlinburg brings those who dare to new heights. And we say new lows when it comes to feeling stressed once your mountain zen kicks in!

Get ready for us to spill all our Gatlinburg secrets from the splurge-worthy hotels with views for dayyys to backroad trail guides to see colors and creatures even locals rarely spot. We’ve cracked the code on squeezing every last ounce of fun out of Gat-town and soon you will too. So all aboard the Gatlinburg bus cause this nature girl’s taking you on a wild (and hilarious) ride!

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About Gatlinburg

Aerial View of Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Morning
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If you’re planning a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, you’ll want to have a comprehensive guide in hand before you go. It includes information about the town’s best attractions, local businesses, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll also want to know about seasonal activities and selfie spots.

Gatlinburg, TN is a mountain resort town located in East Tennessee. It’s known for its cozy mountain cabins, charming wedding chapels, and family-friendly attractions. The town is also a top destination for weddings, romantic trips, church retreats, girls’ weekends, and father-son trips.

There are many places to eat in Gatlinburg. Whether you want to try some of the area’s famous fried chicken or smothered in cinnamon, you can find tasty fare here. Although there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, it’s recommended that you cook your own meals to save money for other expenses.

The Greystone Hotel is one of the last family-owned hotels in Gatlinburg. It opened its doors in the early 1960s and has become a favorite of generations of families. Located across the street from the aquarium, the Greystone is within walking distance of shops and attractions. Its free breakfast makes it a great choice for families.

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Why Go to Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg overlook during brilliant red sunset
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Fall is a great time to visit Gatlinburg. The changing colors and blue skies are a feast for the eyes. There’s plenty to do outdoors, too: hike, bike, or simply enjoy the scenery. With three different entrances into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the area is ideal for outdoor recreation.

You can visit Gatlinburg year-round, but the months of September through October are the best times to visit. The fall foliage is at its best during this time, so you’ll likely encounter fewer crowds. Winter brings the annual Winterfest, as well as many holiday festivals. The town is charming during all four seasons.

If you’re looking for a little excitement, Gatlinburg is also a great place to try some adrenaline-fueled adventures. Visitors can experience the Sky Lift, a 500-foot-high ride that offers spectacular vistas. There’s also Rowdy Bear Mountain, which has the world’s first Mountain Glider (think hang glider crossed with a zip line). You can also try out an alpine mountain coaster that reaches speeds of 35 miles per hour. If you don’t want to spend all day riding, you can always climb the 30 foot wall.

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Best Time to Go

Gatlinburg
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Fall is one of the most beautiful times to go to Gatlinburg. Temperatures are cool, but the fall colors are still spectacular. It’s also the time when the city turns on its 3 million LED Winter Magic Lights, depicting classic Christmas scenes, Smoky Mountain wildlife, and heartwarming scenes. The lights are a breathtaking sight, and it’s fun to take a trolley tour to see them all.

The best time to go to Gatlinburg depends on how you plan your trip. Fall foliage, lively festivals, and hikes are all great reasons to visit. The nearby towns of Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are also worth exploring. It’s a great place to spend a weekend or longer.

In terms of weather, September and October are the best times to go to Gatlinburg. Since the town is located at a high elevation, fall foliage begins in mid-September and reaches its peak in October. Although September and October are busy seasons, visitors will still be able to enjoy the scenery and attractions without being overwhelmed by crowds.

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How to Get Around

Aerial view of Gatlinburg
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If you’re looking to explore Gatlinburg, Tennessee, there are a few ways to get around. You can walk, drive, or take the trolley.

Walking is a great way to explore Gatlinburg. There are sidewalks and pedestrian walkways throughout the city. You can also walk on the trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

If you’re driving, you’ll find that many of the roads in Gatlinburg are one-way. This can be helpful in avoiding traffic congestion. You can also park in one of the many parking garages or surface lots in Gatlinburg.

The Gatlinburg Trolley is a great way to get around town. The trolley runs every 20 minutes and makes stops at all of the major attractions in Gatlinburg.

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Best Restaurants

Restaurant view of The Peddler Steakhouse
The Peddler Steakhouse

If you’re on a food tour of the Smoky Mountains, don’t miss a visit to one of Gatlinburg’s best restaurants. You’ll find some classic American fare, as well as micro-brewed beer and cocktails. From sandwiches and salads to corned beef and pulled pork, Gatlinburg has something for everyone.

The Peddler Steakhouse is one of the most popular restaurants in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Peddler offers breathtaking views and hand-cut steaks. You can also find a wide selection of seafood, trout, and chicken on the menu. The Peddler also offers a delicious dessert menu.

The locals’ favorite steakhouse is Alamo, where you can try the Porterhouse. The El Presidente Porterhouse, a cut that includes both strip and filet in one cut, is another option to try. The Alamo also has a Pigeon Forge location. Barbecue is a necessity, especially in the South.

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Things to Do

The Tulip Tower at the Gatlinburg Skylift Park
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With a variety of exciting activities and attractions, the area is sure to please families of all ages. During the winter, the park transforms into a snowboarding and skiing resort, while the warmer months feature a variety of hiking trails. The park also features exciting rides like zip lining and an Alpine Slide. You can also take a scenic gondola ride or take the ropes course to get a bird’s eye view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Gatlinburg is also a great place for shopping. The downtown Gatlinburg district is home to over 30 unique shops, including Coffee & Company, the country’s oldest coffee roasting operation. Other unique stores in Gatlinburg include U Name It, which sells custom-designed souvenirs and Gatlinburg Escape Games, which features a live-action escape room. At these locations, you can dress up in costumes for a unique vacation snap! You can also check out a variety of live music shows.

Another fun way to explore the area is by taking the trolley. The trolley runs two routes: a red route that covers downtown Gatlinburg’s attractions, and a yellow route that travels through the arts and crafts community.

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Neighborhoods to Know

Gatliburg,TN, USA
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If you’re considering purchasing a new home in Gatlinburg, TN, it’s important to find a neighborhood that meets your needs. Fortunately, Gatlinburg has several great neighborhoods to choose from. Here’s a look at a few neighborhoods to consider when making your decision.

The Parkway District is an ideal choice for families and visitors because it is located close to major attractions like Dollywood. This neighborhood is also compact and walkable and is home to many big-box stores. There’s also a great public transit system, the Gatlinburg Trolley, which offers rides throughout the town.

The Gatlinburg area offers a variety of lodging options. There are plenty of bed-and-breakfasts, as well as plenty of local restaurants, shops, and activities. In addition to the city’s famous attractions, Gatlinburg is also home to Sevierville, a town in the nearby Tennessee Valley. Although Sevierville is not as well-known as its sister city, it’s the birthplace of country star Dolly Parton. She was actually born on the courthouse lawn of Sevier County.

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Weather

Gatlinburg overlook during brilliant sunset
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The average weather in Gatlinburg varies greatly depending on the season. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are chilly. The climate in Gatlinburg is perfect for vacationing. The climate is moderate in comparison to the climate in many other U.S. cities, but it can be unpredictable and changeable.

The cold season in Gatlinburg lasts 2.9 months. The average high temperature in January is only 29°F, and the average low temperature is 47°F. The warmest month in the area is August, with an average high temperature of 83°F.

Fall is also an excellent time to visit Gatlinburg. Fall temperatures are more comfortable than summer and provide beautiful foliage. Highs are usually in the 80s during September and 60s in November. Lows may reach as low as 35°F. Many of the attractions in Gatlinburg remain the same throughout the fall season. You can also enjoy the shopping strips during the early fall months.

Winter in Gatlinburg is also beautiful. Temperatures in the winter range from the 20s to the 50s, making winter hikes and winter sports enjoyable. There’s no guarantee of snow, however, but temperatures can be cold enough for ice skating, skiing, or sledding.

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