Let’s take a look at the top 20 things to do in Gatlinburg so you will have as much information as possible prior to visiting. Gatlinburg is the most underrated and entertaining vacation destination in the United States. While the attractions here are what make Gatlinburg so appealing, you can’t forget the mild climate and beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains as well. Anyone who has been to Gatlinburg will tell you they had an amazing experience. Even if they didn’t like one aspect of their trip, they were sure to have liked another.
1. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
Step into a world of weird and unusual at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium. This Gatlinburg attraction is home to everything from a car covered in crystals, to shrunken heads, to a two-trunked elephant! Everyone from the kids to the grandparents will have a blast exploring the strange items in this attraction.
2. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
Would you like to be underwater with 12-foot sharks without having to actually be in the water? This is possible with the underwater tunnels at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. You can also pet sting rays, watch penguins frolic on their private beach, enjoy dive shows and take advantage of 30 interactive displays.
3. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
This is one of the simplest yet most enjoyable things to do in Gatlinburg. Just to give you an idea of how much others have enjoyed it, it sports a 4.5-star traveler rating, which is out of 5 stars. From this spot, you can see the mountains and Downtown Gatlinburg. While this is always a great spot to visit, it’s best in the fall.
4. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
How many people do you know have been to a salt and pepper shaker museum? The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is a unique opportunity to view, and perhaps purchase, salt and pepper shakers from around the world. There are more than 20,000 shakers here, so you will have plenty of options.
5. Hillbilly Golf
This isn’t your ordinary miniature golf course. The two mini-golf courses here have some interesting as well as humorous hazards, which include outhouses and moonshine stills.
6. Fannie Farkle’s Family Fun Parlor
This is an old school and nostalgic arcade where you can play affordable games for hours. You can also enjoy grilled onions, a foot-long hand-dipped corn dog, cotton candy and lemonade.
7. Sugarlands Distilling Company
Your trip to Gatlinburg wouldn’t be complete without sampling some moonshine! Sugarlands is one of the most popular distilleries in the area. You’re invited to taste samples of their award-winning spirits, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the moonshine-making process and get some Tennessee moonshine to take back home with you!
8. Sugarland Riding Stables
Experienced and friendly guides will take you through the woods of the Smoky Mountains on horseback. What could possibly be more beautiful and invigorating? The horses at Sugarland Riding Stables are extremely well trained.
9. Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster
Go for the ride of your life on the Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster! When you visit this Gatlinburg attraction, you can control your own speed as you race down the hill on a unique mountain coaster. The ride reaches speeds up to 35 miles per hour, and you can ride by yourself or with a friend or family member. While you’re at Rowdy Bear Mountain, be sure to try the Mountain Glider, a one-of-a-kind, single-rail, in-air coaster that combines free falling and hang gliding.
10. Gatlinburg Trolley
Some people use the trolley to get from one place to another. It stops at hotels, Downtown Gatlinburg, Dollywood, Pigeon Forge and more. Even if you don’t require transportation, taking this trolley ride is highly recommended. It’s a great way to see everything Gatlinburg has to offer in a short period of time. You can always hop off and then hop back on the next one.
11. Christ in the Smokies Museums & Gardens
This is a 40-minute tour based on the life of Jesus. When you visit the Christ in the Smokies Museums & Gardens, your adventure begins with a 12-minute film. Most visitors consider this an inspiring experience.
12. Shoot ‘em Up Cinema
The aliens are coming! The aliens are coming! Hop on your virtual horseback on this 3-D ride and shoot the targets before they get you. Then compare scores with your friends.
13. Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
When you ride the Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg, you’ll experience a famous and scenic gondola ride to the top of a mountain, where you will find an ice skating rink, a wildlife exhibit, snack shops, gift shops and gorgeous views.
14. Gatlinburg Sky Lift
The Gatlinburg Sky Lift provides a more laidback approach to enjoying great views of the Smoky Mountains. You’ll have the best seat in Gatlinburg but as high as 1,800 feet in the air.
15. Gatlinburg Space Needle
When you get to the Gatlinburg Space Needle, you will take a glass elevator to the observation deck. From there, you will have 360-degree views of Gatlinburg. You can also take advantage of free viewfinders.
16. Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Have you ever wanted to see KITT, the Batmobile or the police car from The Andy Griffith Show? This is your chance to see all these cars and more up close and personal at the Hollywood Star Cars Museum.
17. Mynatt Park
If you want to know what to do in Gatlinburg and you’re looking for the best kept secret, this is it. This is a true hidden gem that is both quiet and beautiful. You can picnic by the water, watch your kids play on the playground, fish or go for a walk on a trail alongside a creek.
18. Ober Gatlinburg
Skiing, snowboarding and snow-tubing in the winter, the alpine slide in the summer. You’re going to experience an adrenaline rush either way no matter when you visit Ober Gatlinburg.
One of the newest attractions in Gatlinburg, Anakeesta provides a magical experience in the mountains. You’ll get a scenic Chondola ride to the summit of Anakeesta Mountain, where a world of adventure awaits you. Go ziplining, experience a tree canopy walk, see breathtaking views and more.
20. Cades Cove
While it’s not officially in Gatlinburg, it must be mentioned. Cades Cove is one of the most-visited areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s perhaps the most serene location in the United States. The best part is that you don’t even need to exit your car. You can drive the 11-mile loop and enjoy the scenic beauty, wildlife and historic homes and churches.
Now you have a lengthy list of things to do in Gatlinburg! Browse our Gatlinburg cabins and start planning your trip to try all of these amazing activities!