Set against a backdrop of the 520,000-acre wide Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a dreamland for families who love to cherish the beauty of nature and enjoy the simplicity of town life. This charming city offers an array of family-friendly attractions and unparalleled scenery.
Gatlinburg is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, panoramic views, outdoor activities, and the local’s love of music, food, and arts. Gatlinburg’s post office was located in Gatlin’s general store, so people began calling the city Gatlinburg. After that, more settlers moved into the town.
It’s a great family vacation spot, offering many family-friendly activities. If you’re planning a visit to Gatlingburg this fall, here is everything you need to know:
- Rent out a Cabin to Stay
There are several options to stay in Gatlinburg, but mountain cabins are unquestionably the best option when arranging a Gatlinburg trip. Most mountain cabins have entertainment options like cable television, pool tables, and hot tubs.
Cabins provide a pleasant environment to unwind after exploring the town and hiking during the day. They offer a degree of privacy that other hotel accommodations rarely provide.
`Cabins include a full kitchen to enjoy home-cooked meals prepared with fresh produce from the local farmer’s market. So, you won’t have to dine out every meal.
Finally, if you want to plan a large family reunion, then vacation time is the best opportunity to bring everyone together. Book one of the large cabins in Gatlinburg, and plan several activities and games for your get-together.
- Best Time to Visit Gatlinburg
It is best to visit Gatlinburg in the fall, particularly between September and October. Beautiful fall foliage takes center stage during these months, and temperatures are pleasant (highs between 65 and 80), attracting visitors from all around.
Usually, during the midsummer months, Gatlinburg is crammed with tourists. It’s better to plan your trip in the early fall. Since the weather is mild in these months, and the city is not too crowded.
- Plan a Longer Trip
Gatlinburg is vast, and it is impossible to see everything in a single visit. If you want to get the most out of your holiday, plan a trip that lasts at least a week. You can explore the eye-catching landscapes, go hiking, and visit the local markets and other tourist sites during this time.
- Research Gatlinburg before Arriving
Before arriving in Gatlinburg, research and figure out what you want to do. Otherwise, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It isn’t easy to fit everything in.
It would be best if you also researched the costs before arriving. That way, you’ll be able to work out your vacation budget. Check which attractions have free entry and which ones have entry fees.
Order a free Gatlinburg vacation guide to help chart your vacation plan. The guide includes lists for Gatlinburg cabin rentals, restaurants, attractions, routes, events, entertainment, art galleries, stores, and wedding chapels.
So, utilize your Gatlinburg vacation guide to help you determine which attractions and businesses to visit and make reservations in advance. It will help avoid the hassle of you having to rush across town looking for tickets.
- Make Plans to Walk
In Gatlinburg, many tourists prefer to walk. Even with a car, you’ll find yourself walking to any place in downtown Gatlinburg as it allows you to get a real feel for the town. So, you will need comfortable walking shoes to venture to explore the downtown area, especially The Village, on foot. You should also bring a bag with small snacks, maps, sunscreen, and whatever else you need.
- Explore Natural Attractions
Gatlinburg is famed for its beautiful natural aesthetics. With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as its backyard, Gatlinburg is an ideal location for outdoor exploration and recreation. Here are a few of Gatlinburg’s most popular attractions that families should explore on vacation.
- Great Smokey Mountains Natural Park: Gatlinburg lies on the outskirts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are 850 miles of hiking paths on the parkland. When you visit this park, you will see astounding sights of Appalachian history, vistas of these magnificent and ancient mountains, and perhaps even some wildlife. Mt. Leconte, the Chimney Tops, and Cades Cove are popular attractions in the park. A trip to this park is a must for families with a keen eye for history and a passion for hiking.
- The Village: The Village is a mini-town within Gatlinburg with European architecture and style. It has one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops that provide an unforgettable experience. Visitors can relish the local cuisine here and enjoy the serene atmosphere this place has to offer
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies: Do you think the Smokey Mountains are all about mountainous landscapes? You’ll be surprised to know that it is not! Did you know that you could even go underwater while visiting this place? This fantastical illusion is called Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, home to nearly 10,000 aquatic animals. You can stroll into the shark tunnel, which runs beneath the aquarium’s largest tank! You can watch penguins play and even buy their artwork. There are diving performances throughout the day and other interactive exhibits to visit.
- Ober Gatlinburg: Ober Gatlinburg is a ski resort and entertainment park atop Gatlinburg’s Ski Mountain. If you and your family are interested in seasonal winter sports, this is the right place for you! During the winter months, they provide seasonal winter sports such as snowboarding or tubing, while ice skating is available all year round. You’ll also find restaurants, shops, a wildlife refuge, and thrilling coaster rides.
- Gatlinburg Skylift Park: Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is another famous mountain-top activity you should see on your Gatlinburg vacation trip. Ride the famed Gatlinburg SkyLift to the top of the mountain, and enjoy the breathtaking mountain views. Or, if you’re a fan of heights, walk across the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, one of the largest pedestrian suspension bridges. It offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the city of Gatlinburg.
- Smokey Mountain Brewery: Smoky Mountain Brewery is an excellent choice for a casual date night or a family supper during your Gatlinburg vacation. They provide amazing, fresh American cuisine with beer. The two features that make this brewery stand out are its location and homemade beer.
- Visit the Gorgeous Waterfalls of Gatlinburg: A favorite family activity is to visit one of Gatlinburg’s many waterfalls located within the national park. These falls are not only beautiful, but they are also a great way to cool off in the summer. These include
- Laurel falls
- Ramsey falls
- Rainbow falls
- Grotto falls
- Be a Responsible Tourist
Gatlinburg encourages and expects responsible tourism from all incoming tourists. A responsible tourist supports the local community, takes care of the environment, participates in activities to support the local economy, and acts as a temporary local instead of a tourist.
You can also help the local community by visiting the countryside, purchasing natural souvenirs, eating from local restaurants instead of famous international food chains, and protecting the environment.
If you’re planning to have a perfect family vacation where you can cherish the beauty of nature, You can enjoy a comfortable stay in a personal cabin and create delightful memories of some great food, entertainment, and adventure with your family.
Yet, Gatlinburg is one of the best places to visit as a family. A family cabin vacation allows you to catch up on old times around a firepit, tell ghost stories, and toast marshmallows. Play games and just have a great time spending time together. So, plan an adventurous trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, and enjoy the breathtaking views of the waterfalls with your friends and family.