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How to Plan the Perfect Gatlinburg Vacation Weekend

We know summer is just around the corner, but it can still seem like an eternity, especially if you and your family are itching to get out of town for a couple of days. With balancing school schedules and work schedules, taking a full vacation in the spring can be difficult. However, we think we have found the answer in how to pack all of the fun and excitement found in the Smoky Mountains into a mere 48-72 hours for the perfect Gatlinburg vacation weekend.

The Perfect Gatlinburg Vacation Weekend


Friday night is the easiest time to pack up the car and hit the road as soon as the kids are out of school and you are off of work. Thankfully, the Great Smoky Mountains are just a few hours away from most of the cities in the United States, meaning if you leave now you and your family will still be able to start enjoying a Gatlinburg vacation weekend in no time.

Once you unload the car and put some of your groceries away, you will probably want to rest for a little bit, and what better place to do so than in front of the big screen in a Gatlinburg cabin with a home theater room. If you feel tense after the car ride, we encourage you to take advantage of your cabin’s private outdoor hot tub to help ease the strain on your muscles. Either way, we can guarantee that as soon as you walk through the front door of your cabin, you and your family will be in nothing less but the true vacation spirit.


relaxing Gatlinburg cabin with private deckFor Saturday mornings, you have two choices for how to start your day. You can either take this time to sleep in and enjoy the view of the Great Smoky Mountains from the window of your cabin’s private suite, or you can get an early start and hit up one of the many pancake houses that Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains are known for. For us, we are huge fans of the Pancake Pantry in The Village in downtown Gatlinburg. Not only has this famed restaurant been serving up delicious stacks of pancakes for over 40 years, but it is a downtown Gatlinburg staple in terms of ‘must visit’ restaurants in the area.

Once you have finished your breakfast, it is time to get out and explore the area during your Gatlinburg vacation weekend. For your first stop, you can pick between enjoying a memorable hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, doing a little hiking in the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts District or take a scenic driving tour to explore the area. It all depends on what you and your family want to do.

Another fun activity after eating breakfast in downtown Gatlinburg is to take a ride on either the Sky Lift or the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. Both of these attractions offer families and guests a unique new perspective of the area that you cannot find anywhere else.

view of downtown Gatlinburg visitors get during a Gatlinburg vacation weekendFor lunch on Saturday, you can either pack a picnic and enjoy it while you are out exploring or you can stop in one of the many local restaurants in Gatlinburg that are sure to impress.After lunch, you can pick back up on your shopping or exploring the area before it’s time for dinner.

After lunch, you can pick back up on your shopping or exploring the area before it’s time for dinner. Your family’s after lunch adventure can include a round or two of mini golf or racing go karts to build back up your appetite for dinner.

Click here to learn more about our favorite attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Now, it wouldn’t be a full Gatlinburg vacation weekend if you aren’t able to sneak in a trip to a dinner show or two, and that is why we suggest families pick one of their favorites to enjoy tonight. Spring is also great for visiting a dinner show in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg because it is a chance to see their new show without all of the crowds that usually come during summer and fall.

If you aren’t quite ready to head back to your cabin after the show, may we suggest walking around and exploring some of the open-air attractions in the area. The Island in Pigeon Forge is just a short drive from all of the thrilling dinner shows in the area, and it is perfect for walking around.

downtown Gatlinburg at nightHere, not only can you and your family catch a glimpse at the synchronized water fountain display, but you can also see the twinkling lights of the giant Ferris wheel up close, as well as stroll past the dozens of storefronts and kiddie rides found there.

If you picked a show in Gatlinburg, we suggest strolling around downtown Gatlinburg before heading back to your cabin. Similar to The Island, guests will find a ton of festive store fronts to walk through, as well as a few fun attractions that are open late as well, including Blaine’s Club 812 if you feel like dancing.

For parents enjoying a Gatlinburg vacation weekend, we suggest heading back and enjoying some of the entertaining amenities found inside your Gatlinburg cabin, including the pool table and game room. We can’t think of a better way to finish the perfect full day in the Smokies.

outdoor stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National ParkSunday

Sundays are always the hardest days of a Gatlinburg vacation weekend because it means that you will have to return home soon. However, just because you have to travel on this day, it does not mean that you and your family will have to skip out on another fun-filled day of excitement.

The first part of your day on Sunday may include cleaning up a little around the cabin, putting dishes in the dishwasher, sheets in the washer, and gathering up all of your belongings. However, once this is done, you and your family are free to explore!

At Amazing Views, we suggest you start out your last day by taking your family out to eat at one of the many delicious lunch restaurants in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. This can include The Wild Plum Tea Rooms, Mellow Mushroom Pizza, Calhoun’s, or anywhere else you can get a good meal that isn’t too heavy to slow you down for the rest of the day.

Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National ParkAfter you have finished with lunch, we suggest families and guests take this time to knock any last shopping stops or attraction visits you want to before returning home. This may not be the best day to try and sneak in a quick trip to Dollywood, but you can tour the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium, ride The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. Whichever you choose, we suggest making stops that don’t last more than 2 hours, just so you can fit in as much as you can on your last day.

Before you start the drive back home, we suggest making one of the final stops during your Gatlinburg vacation weekend a trip to one of the many candy shops in Gatlinburg, like Aunt Mahalia’s Candies. Not only will this give you and your family something to snack on while you are on the road, but it is also a nice sweet treat to end the perfect weekend with.

For more fun things to do during your Gatlinburg vacation weekend, be sure to check out Gatlinburg Events page on our website. There, you and your family will find a full list of all of the fun and exciting things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains that are scheduled for when you plan on visiting.