In recent years, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, has flourished into a very popular tourist destination of the south. It has been nicknamed the “Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains,” and its reputation is growing, after the inception of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which sits on the border of the town.
With a population of just over 4,000, Gatlinburg’s economy relies heavily on tourism. You would think that in a town that has a total area of 10.1 square miles, there wouldn’t be that much to do; however, you’d quickly find you would never run out of activities to enjoy.
About 40 miles southeast of Knoxville, Gatlinburg is a picture at every angle. On the southern part of town rests the Le Conte and Sugarland Mountain massifs, on the west, Cove Mountain, Big Ridge to the northeast, and Grapeyard Ridge to the east. The pure serene and alfresco feel to the town make it one of the top resort spots in the south.
If you are traveling as a couple, one of the more romantic activities in Gatlinburg is to take a quiet stroll on the river walk of the Little Pigeon River with charming gazebos and benches along the walk. There are also plenty of hiking trails featuring breathtaking views of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you are seeking thrill and are visiting Gatlinburg in the wintertime, enjoy a downhill run at Ober Gatlinburg, which is a popular ski and snowboard destination. Ober Gatlinburg also doubles as a snow amusement park, where you can go tubing during scheduled snow tubing sessions. Ober Gatlinburg also is known for its wildlife encounter, in which you can spot brown bears, owls, otters, bobcats and foxes.
Another opportunity for thrill seekers in Gatlinburg is class IV whitewater rafting. Or, ride on a zip line above the Smoky Mountains. Each option offers a unique, exciting adventure.
A staple of Gatlinburg is the aerial tramway, which gives beautiful views while on the way to Ober Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is also home to Dollywood, where you might just run into country music star Dolly Parton herself.
By far, the most popular attraction of Gatlinburg is the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, where you can walk through an underwater tunnel with sharks. Guests can also explore a tropical rainforest, a penguin playhouse, a coral reef, an opportunity to touch a ray and a discovery center. Believe it or not, Ripley’s was voted the number one aquarium in the U.S. by TripAdvisor.
In addition to some fantastic outdoor adventures, Gatlinburg is rich in history. You can see the Cherokee Indian Reservation and learn about the history of the native Cherokee people. There truly is something for everyone at Gatlinburg.
ResorTime offers three resort-style Gatlinburg vacation rentals. Call us at (877) 477-7368 to check availability for your next Gatlinburg vacation or explore more online.