What images does Tennessee conjure in your mind? Is it the music and culture of Nashville? The adrenaline rush while riding roller coasters at Dollywood? Or maybe the mesmerizing views of the Smokies?
No matter what your answer is, Tennessee has something for everyone.
But if you want a bit of everything rolled up into one vacation, Gatlinburg’s the place to be.
Gatlinburg, a cozy small town, is nestled in the eastern part of the state that’s become a popular tourist destination. Whether you’re planning to spend a day or a couple of weeks, knowing how to best use those days in Gatlinburg is a must. So, here are some of our tips that’ll help you enjoy!
How to get to Gatlinburg?
If you plan to visit Gatlinburg, the best way to get there is by car. Gatlinburg is about a two-hour drive from Nashville and a little over an hour from Knoxville. There is also an airport in Gatlinburg, but it is very small and only offers a few daily flights. The drive to Gatlinburg is very scenic, especially during fall when the leaves change color.
Catching a bus or train to Gatlinburg is an option too, but the trip will take longer. If you ask us, the best time to visit Gatlinburg is in the fall or winter. Spring and summer can be very crowded because of all the tourists.
Where to stay?
There are many different places to stay in Gatlinburg TN. Depending on your preference and company, you could stay in a hotel, condo, cabin, or even a campground. Cabins may be your best bet because they’re like a home away from home and usually come with several amenities to choose from.
The price of your accommodations will depend on the time of year you visit and the type of place you choose to stay in. Gatlinburg is a popular destination, so making reservations well in advance is important.
Make a plan
There is so much to discover and do in Gatlinburg, and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. Planning guarantees you’ll get to experience everything you want while on your trip.
Start by listing attractions you want to experience, and then narrow it down to the top few. Once you have your checklist, you can start to make a plan of how you’re going to see and do everything. If you’re visiting during the peak season, making reservations for tours and activities in advance is a practical approach.
Hearty breakfast – of pancakes
No trip to Gatlinburg is complete without a hearty breakfast of pancakes. There are many different places to get pancakes in Gatlinburg, but one of the best is the Pancake Pantry. The Pancake Pantry has been serving pancakes for over 60 years, and they’re some of the best pancakes you’ll ever have. They have all sorts of different flavors, from blueberry to peanut butter.
If you’re not a fan of pancakes, they also have waffles, eggs, and bacon. Trust us; not a bite will go to waste.
Great Smoky Mountains Tour
If you’re excited to learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a great place to start. There are many diverse tours you can join, and the best way to learn about the area is to take a guided one.
Some tours focus on the history of the area, the wildlife, and even the plants and trees. You also find companies that can take you on hikes through the woods so you can see the area’s beauty up close. There are several options, do your research before locking in a specific tour.
Spend some time in downtown Gatlinburg:
Downtown Gatlinburg is an excellent place to walk around, splurge on souvenirs, and watch people. There are many different shops and restaurants to explore, and it’s a great place to get a feel for the town.
If you can’t decide what to do, we recommend walking through Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. It’s one of the best aquariums in the country and is located in downtown Gatlinburg. You can also find some great views of the mountains from downtown when you ride the Gatlinburg Sky Lift.
Expect to pay for parking
One of the things that can be a bit of a shock for first-time visitors to Gatlinburg is the cost of parking. Parking in Gatlinburg is not free, and it can be pretty expensive. The best way to save money on parking is to park in one of the many available parking garages or parking lots. You can also find some free street parking if you’re lucky, but it can be hard to find.
Some restaurants and sites claim they have free parking, but they often charge for parking in their lot. If security is your main concern, we recommend parking in a garage or lot.
What to bring?
When packing for a trip to Gatlinburg, there are a few things you should be sure to bring with you. The first is comfortable walking shoes. Gatlinburg is a very walkable town, and you’ll do a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes will make your trip more enjoyable.
You should also bring layers of clothing if you’re traveling during colder months. The weather in Gatlinburg can be unpredictable, and it’s always better to have too many clothes than not enough. Finally, be sure to bring a camera so you can capture all your memories of Gatlinburg.
Tips for saving money in Gatlinburg
No matter which part of the world you’re in, if you don’t want to spend all your hard-earned money on your trip, trying to save where you can is a must. Gatlinburg is no different. Here are some tips for saving money while you’re in Gatlinburg:
The first tip would be to bring your food and drinks with you. Gatlinburg is a very touristy town, and the prices for food and drinks reflect that. If you’re on a budget, you can save a lot of money by packing some sandwiches.
You can also save money by avoiding souvenir shops. Gatlinburg is full of them, and they can be very tempting, but they are often overpriced. If you’re looking for souvenirs, try to find them at local stores or markets.
Now that you know a little bit more about the science of enjoying your trip to Gatlinburg, it’s time to get packing. Always bring easy shoes and clothes, sunscreen, and insect repellent. Once you’re in town, take advantage of all the great things Gatlinburg offers—from hiking and biking trails to delicious restaurants and exciting attractions. We hope you enjoy your vacation!