Gatlinburg Tennessee, TN Attractions
There is so much to see and do in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas, it is hard to plan a one week vacation. To see and really enjoy yourself, you should plan at least a two week vacation. Some people may say it is better to stay in Pigeon Forge, which is about 7 miles, or a 15 minute drive depending on traffic, from Gatlinburg because it is cheaper. Yes, the motels are cheaper but you figure in the gas and parking fees every time you visit Gatlinburg, it is just as cheap to stay in Gatlinburg. Another added bonus to staying in Gatlinburg is that you get plenty of exercise walking the streets of Gatlinburg visiting the many attractions, restaurants, and shops. There is bus service, which is fairly inexpensive, that goes around Gatlinburg and up the many side streets, which is where you can find many nice inexpensive motels.
Gatlinburg is a “people” town, which means the tourist have the right of way when it comes to crossing the street. Even though there may be many crosswalks on the main drag, the tourist usually does not use them. When they want to cross the street, they just cross and the cars have to stop for them to cross. There are no policemen to tell them that they cannot do this. This is why the speed limit, if you can call it that, on the main drag is never more than 10 miles an hour. You have to be on the lookout continually for tourists crossing the street in front of you. The buses do not go down the main drag but on the side streets behind the main drag.
Gatlinburg and surrounding areas offer something for everyone, from the little children to the senior citizen and everyone in between. There is downhill snow skiing, white water rafting, horseback riding, regular and miniature golf, lots of shopping, watch taffy pulling in many of the candy shops, eat and snack, visit a video arcade, and people watch. There are benches along the sidewalk if you need to get off your feet.
In Gatlinburg you can visit Ripley’s, which features mini golf, haunted adventures, aquarium, mirror maze, a moving theatre, and the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum. If you do not suffer from motion sickness you can visit the area’s wildest simulator, which features eight awesome movie rides for one price at Motion Ride and More Movie Theatre. One site that you should not miss is the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. The tramway will take you from downtown Gatlinburg to Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Amusement Park where you will find a Black Bear Habitat. Since black bears are so scarce to see in the wild, this might be the only place to see black bears.
If you like to read about ghosts, there is a 90 minute walking tour that covers less than a mile, and while on that walk the guide will take you to shadowy streets and alleys while listening to unexplained and strange stories so be sure to bring your camera. If this is not enough to satisfy your “ghost hunger, then pay a visit to Hauntings—A Live Ghost Show. This is an action packed interactive Ghost Show. Another “must see” is the Guinness World of Records Museum.
Hillbilly Golf is one of the most unusual miniature golf courses. It is one that when you tell your friends about it, they will think you are telling tall tales, so make sure that you take your camera and take plenty of pictures as proof. To get to the starting point, you have to ride the incline 300 feet above the city and then you have two 18 hole courses with many challenging mountaineer hazards. Yes, you are playing on the side of the mountain, but do not worry, you will not fall off.
A strange oddity museum that you will not see anywhere else is The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, where you will find over 20,000 sets of shakers in all shapes, sizes, and material plus a gift shop that features over 2,000 shakers for sale. To get a great view of Gatlinburg, The Smokey Mountains, and surrounding areas you need to take a ride up the Space Needle over 400 feet to the observation deck for a 350 degree view.
Make sure you take the time to visit Gatlinburg’s only indoor water park where guests can enjoy comfortable conditions year round. You do not have to worry about it being too cold, too hot, raining, or snowing. You can enjoy the lazy river, body slide, tube slid, a swimming pool, two hot tubs and a special toddler area.
In addition to all these attractions and more, there are so many shops that you cannot begin to count them. You will find shops all along the main drag, which is called the Parkway, and downtown side streets. Here are some of the unique and unusual shops that you can find in Gatlinburg. There is a shop where you can paint your own pottery and ceramics, a store that has over 100,000 magnets, and if you love hot sauces, you have to visit the store that has over 1,000 different hot sauces. Of course you cannot forget about the homemade jams and jellies that are made in different shops plus homemade candy and taffy. In Gatlinburg there are over 400 shops and five malls within easy walking distance so this makes shopping a leisurely stress free adventure although you might have sore feet.
By this time you have worked up an appetite and want to get something to eat. Yes, there are plenty of “snack” shops such as candy shops and caramel corn shops, but when you want a fulfilling meal, there is plenty to choose from. You will find casual dinning, family dinning, Pancake Houses, with one that has over 25 varieties of pancakes and you can even eat by the waterfall, pizza, steakhouses, and more.
There are so many attractions, shops, and restaurants in Gatlinburg and surrounding areas that it is not possible to list them all. If you check online, there are many listings that will tell you all that Gatlinburg and the surrounding areas have to offer.