When you visit the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg, Tennessee you'll find there’s a lot to see and do. It can be hard to decide to spend your money, so I’ve compiled this go-to-guide for the some of the best things to do in Gatlinburg.
1) Best Dinner Show
The long-standing Dolly Parton's Stampede has been entertaining visitors for almost 30 years and is still the best dinner show in town. Come for the trick riding, singing, and friendly competition. Stay for the delicious dinner and interactive fun that are signatures of this Dolly Parton-helmed show.
2) Best Craft Shopping
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is the nation’s largest community of independent artists and craftspeople. Some of the standouts include The Wood Whittlers, the longest running craft shop with 4th and 5th generation woodworkers; Wild Plum Tea Room, a quaint, rustic place for tea and light lunches; Terri Waters Galley, featuring outdoor-inspired paintings and prints; and Paul Murray’s Gallery, where you can view (and purchase) remarkable sketches and paintings of the people and places of Appalachia.
3) Best Fine Dining
The Park Grill in Gatlinburg, TN is a rustic lodge with an upscale atmosphere. Try one of their delicious hand cut, hickory smoked steaks. Then relax with a selection from their excellent wine list and listen to the sounds of Bobby Aiken on the Park Grill Piano.
4) Best Way to Escape the Crowds
Pick a longer and less easily accessible hike. Avoid popular spots like Laurel Falls and Cades Cove and instead seek out a hike like the Rainbow Falls, Andrews Bald, and Charlies Bunion. The longer you hike from the trailhead, the fewer people you’ll see.
5) Best Pizza and Beer
The Smoky Mountain Brewery offers a topnotch selection of locally brewed ales, like the Mountain Light and Appalachian Pale Ale. Combine it with one of their made-to-order pizzas or calzones for a casual yet satisfying meal. Want some brews for the hotel? You can build-your-own six pack at the Brewery, choosing from the many microbrew flavors available.
6) Best Family Friendly Fun
Grab a Dollywood Ticket and enjoy a southern treat filled with thrilling rides, delicious food (even for a theme park!), entertaining shows, and working craftsmen. Dollywood continually launches new rides, like Wild Eagle and Firechaser Express, as well as new shows to ensure there’s always something new to experience.
7) Best Summer Time Activity
Hit the river and go white water rafting in Gatlinburg. There are a variety of well-respected outfitters offering excursions on the Pigeon River. On a hot summer day, there’s nothing better than the rapids and rush of a rafting adventure. Have smaller kids with you? Choose to float the lower section only for calm waters.
8) Best Sweet Tooth Stop
Aunt Mahalia’s has been satisfying sweet tooth’s in Gatlinburg since 1939. Stop in for homemade candies made the old-fashioned way. Favorites include caramel apples, fudge and peanut brittle.
9) Best Romantic Dinner for Two Restaurant
The Lodge at Buckberry Creek is the epitome of elegance. Exquisitely prepared food along with fabulous views of Mt. LeConte and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains make it one of the most charming places to dine in Gatlinburg.
10) Best Place to Get Hitched
Take it to the top of the mountain at Almost Heaven Resort for a truly awe-inspiring wedding location. Surround yourself with panoramic views of the Smokies, all while making amazing memories. Several outdoor mountaintop locations are available, as well as chapel services.
Discover the Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg
With this list, it's easy to discover the best things to do in Gatlinburg. Do you have a suggestion? Let us know about it in the comments. See you in the Smokies!