Everything to know about Gatlinburg
Disclaimer- This post was sponsored by Visit Gatlinburg who graciously hosted us at the hotel and provided passes to visit the attractions.
The "Gateway to the Great Smokey Mountain" lies at the foot of the mountain. It has a very chic resort style feel and the city is very happening too.
It not only has abundance of attractions for all ages but also a night life which can take you to Vegas.
WHERE TO STAY
You will find a huge variety of places where you can stay in Gatlinburg in every price range. We stayed at the Greystone Lodge on the River which was perfect on every way. It was right across Ripley's Aquarium and Anakeesta. It's location will make you not look any further.
The lodge is very cozy. What I also loved about this was the parking. There was an entire building dedicated to parking with exit points having range of room numbers. So you literally park outside your room yet the parking is indoors which works great for any kind of weather.
The room were very clean and spacious. As the name suggests, it sits on the river which makes for a really nice morning view. We even went fishing in the morning and caught a few trouts.
The hotel provides free continental breakfast which is currently paused due to COVID.
The rooms are very affordable and the staff are extremely sweet as well. We didnt need to take our car anywhere, we just grabbed our strollers and were off to the strip and back quite comfortably without getting tired by the stroll which was so convinient and saved us a lot of money for parking.
WHERE TO VISIT
Below are some of the places which would be great to visit with your family and kids.
This was the most fun place we had been to since a long time. There were a ton of fun things to do here. A treetop trail which was the highlight for us. The longest tree-based skywalk in North America with more than 880’ of spectacular hanging bridges suspended 50-60 feet in the air!
You can zipline from the top. It is a 1 hour experience and perfect for adventure lover.
A single-rail mountain coaster which is the first of its kind in the United States!
AnaVista Tower is downtown Gatlinburg’s highest point! It gives a 360 degree view of the downtown.
By the way if you have strollers with you, worry not. You have an option to either take the chairlift (open) or the chandola (enclosed). Even if you take the airlift, they tie up your stroller on another chairlift which is then handed over once you reach up. Which is pretty nice.
We ended the night with dinner at Clifftop. The restaurant has an indoor and outdoor eating space and the vibes are really nice. The view from here is amazing and would be perfect spot to enjoy dining while watching the sunset.
The only downside here is the service is slow. So be sure you have ample of time to sit and relax here.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
This is one of my family's most fun place to visit. I have seen a lot of Aquarium in ther Eastern part of US and this is one of the nice ones. Though it is small and can be easily covered within 3 hours at a leisurely pace, but it has some really nice spots for kids to enjoy. The penguins and sharks are our favorites here. The under water walkway is very well made.
The theme is also very nice and has some play area for kids as well. They also have timed dive show which we sit and enjoy.
There is a small cafe with simple items available to eat like pretzel, personal pizza, onion rings and other snacks.
The Halloween decor was super nice. There was a pretty good collection of different species and the tanks were well made. It was very clean and the sanitization practice was well maintained too.
The giftshop is pretty elaborate. And the gifts are affordable as well. This place is a must do when visiting Gatlinburg.
Hollywood Star Cars
It took us an hour to and hour and half tops to visit this but was so much fun. Every car here is an original from the movie. My husband and kids were most excited for this and they thoroughly enjoyed.
The cars were not just displayed but the theme was well made. An aura of the movie was created around every car giving it a nice feel and the perfect photo op.
This museum featured popular cars are from such blockbuster hit movies such as The Ghostbusters Ecto-1, The Munsters Drag-u-la, General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and the Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy, Two Batmobiles from "Batman TV Show " & “Batman Returns.” Other cars featured are "Eleanor" from Gone in 60 Seconds, The Fast and the Furious, Back to the Future DeLorean time machine, Days of Thunder Mello Yello race car, the Beach Boys 1955 Thunderbird, Sir Paul McCartney's Cadillac, and many more.
Ober Gatlinburg is a place you can spend your entire day at leisure. There are a lot of fun things to do here.
The tram (like a skylift but enclosed and huge) takes you up at the top. And you will find yourself in an entire mini city up here.
Ober Gatlinburg is famously known as a mountain ski resort which starts in November and allows guests to enjoy skiing. Since I was here in October, they had the Oktoberfest going on here which felt so festive and was fun.
Here you can find stores indoors with some good food options too. We started our day with ice bumper car which was fun. Me and my husband had kids sitting with us so they could enjoy with us too.
There is also an ice skating rink where you can try your skills out 😅
Outdoors you can find the alpine slide, mountain coaster and other fun activities. Both the mountain coaster and the alpine slide have breaks on them so you can control the speed. But both were not scary at all and my son actually asked me to go full throttle.
The chairlift takes you to the top point where you get a beautiful view of the Great smokey mountain.
Then you have the animal encounter where you can find bears, bobcat, otters and some reptiles and fishes indoors.
The Oktoberfest fest had timings for lunch and dinner and they had a show going on. Sadly I couldn't attend it but did hear lots of cheer and music while passing by it.
Some other places which were suggested to me, but I didn't have time to visit are-
Davy Crockett Mini Golf
Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Gatlinburg Sky Lift
WHERE TO EAT
Though I didn't get to enjoy these amazing places to dine at since I was at a time crunch and didn't also prefer spending lot of indoor time eating, this list was recommended to me.
I did dine in at the Clifftop on Anakeesta which is a great location to dine in and some delicious food.
Davy Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
Ruby Sunshine – Brunch – New!
Smith & Son’s – formerly Blaine’s – remodeled & new menu
The Park Grill Restaurant – very accommodating for young children
Loco Burro – Roof top seating, checking temperatures at entrance
The Mountain Edge Grill
J.O.E. and Pops Sub Shoppe/Momma’s
Greenbrier Restaurant – New owners/menu/remodeled
Hungry Bear BBQ
Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
Ice Cream Parlours
Coffee & Company
Donut Friar (cash only)
Pop Culture Organic Popcorn
Zi Olive – samples & gourmet oils and vinegars
The Village (traffic light #5)
Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community (short drive)
You Create Classes – are available at some shops. Must book in advance.
HIKE AT THE GREAT SMOKEY MOUNTAIN:
Plan to leave early for hiking destinations
Sugarlands Visitor Center
Clingman’s Dome – hike to Andrew’s Bald for scenic views and picnic
Gatlinburg Trail – stroller friendly
Laurel Falls Hike – paved trail
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail – Grotto Falls
Stop by Ely’s Mill at end of Motor Nature Trail
Cades Cove Motor Tour (takes half a day)
Greenbriar section of Park in Pittman Center:
Porter’s Creek Trail
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