Gatlinburg is one of the best little tourist towns I’ve been to. It just sprouts up at the gateway to the Great Smokey Mountains in Smokey Mountain National Park.
There was plenty to do there within walking distance of most of the hotels.
We stayed at the Greystone Lodge at Ripley’s Aquarium.
Next to the lodge was a really good Mexican restaurant called No Way Jose. It has an outdoor bar area that overlooks the creek that runs through the town. The creek was rather dry but you could still see ducks with their ducklings splashing around in the water.
Shoppers will love all of the unique stores and shops that run along the main street. And this little town had more purse stores than I’ve ever seen in one town! They each had a lot of variety with designs you don’t see here in the north.
There was also plenty of pancake houses too and some had very long lines in the morning!
One of my favorite attractions was the Sky Lift.
This is essentially a ski lift takes you to an elevation of 1,800 feet. When you get off at the top you have the most amazing view of Gatlinburg and the mountains that surround it. There’s a gift shop at the top and you’re free to spend as much time as you want there before your scenic ride back down the mountain.
Dollywood is another must-see while at this destination. It has rides for thrill seekers and also the rest of us who would just prefer the basic amusement park fare.
The food in Dollywood is definitely not your typical theme park food.
And if you want a glimpse of true nature, visit Overlook Mountain in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
On our trip to the top of the mountain I was surprised at how quickly we went from tourist town to “the mountains.”
It happened in a matter of seconds. Just one turn off the main road in Gatlinburg and we were seeing the more scenic and serene part of this area.
The temperature at the top of the mountain was at least 10 to 15 degrees cooler. The scenery was gorgeous and so untouched. The ride up the mountain is about 45 minutes from Gatlinburg on a windy road but the time passes by quickly with the great scenery and various overlooks on the way up to the top.
Gatlinburg has the first July 4th parade in the country which promptly begins at 12:01 a.m. July 4th. This parade attracts over 100,000 people. It’s very well organized and well monitored by local police.
Gatlinburg also has plenty of miniature golf! And most of them are built into a hillside and some require taking a motorized tram car up the side of the hill to get there.