Cheap Family Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN: 9 Budget-Friendly Activities

Planning a family getaway shouldn’t involve breaking the bank. If you’re looking for cheap family things to do in Gatlinburg, TN, you’ve come to the right place.

Your Gatlinburg vacation on a budget doesn’t mean you miss out on the fun. It is quite the opposite, as Gatlinburg and its neighbor, Pigeon Forge, are bursting with a plethora of family-friendly attractions that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Keep reading to discover cheap things to do in Gatlinburg!

So if you’re searching for cheap family things to do in Gatlinburg TN, your search ends here! Follow along as we share a parade of budget friendly Gatlinburg attractions that promise a barrel of laughs and a bucket full of memories.

Cheap Family Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Topping our list of cheap family things to do in Gatlinburg TN, is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This breathtaking expanse is the jewel of Gatlinburg Tennessee, and a must-visit for people of all ages, from the young ones to Grandma and Grandpop!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is packed with picturesque trails and historic landmarks. A trip to this vast gem doesn t cost much. In fact, entry is absolutely free! Nature lovers will enjoy this outdoor paradise packed with dozens of free things to do for families.

Related Post: Smoky Mountain Trip Planner: What to Know Before You Go

Trek, cycle, or horseback ride through a kaleidoscope of wildflowers, sparkling streams, and fascinating historic sites. There are also scheduled free ranger-led programs that take visitors down trails winding through wildflowers, over glistening streams, and past historic structures.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic basket! Picnic pavilions are available in several areas of the Great Smoky National Park.

aerial view of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with cloudy grey skies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
photo credit: Great Smoky Mountains National Park via Facebook

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community

Take a stroll through the largest collection of independent artisans in North America.

The rustic 8-mile loop of the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community is an inviting enclave of creativity teeming with art, pottery, and traditional mountain crafts.

Strolling through this living gallery won’t cost you a dime, but don’t be surprised if you walk away with an affordable, handmade keepsake! You will enjoy the handiwork of countless artisans and maybe pick up a couple of gifts for the peeps back home that won’t have you breaking the bank.

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If you visit during the summer, you will also enjoy Smoky Mountains Tunes & Tales, an enchanting, interactive street performance festival right in the heart of charming Gatlinburg. You’ll encounter a lively troupe of local musicians, storytellers, and artists dressed in period attire. This seasonal event is sure to have your toes tapping and your hands clapping in no time!


Take your Gatlinburg adventure to new heights at Anakeesta. This mountaintop park has a little something for everyone. Though not entirely free, this mountaintop park offers a full day of budget-friendly fun with spectacular vistas, whimsical gardens, and thrilling rides.

Thrill-seekers will enjoy the Dueling Zipline among other thrill rides. Soar above the treetops and appreciate breathtaking views of the mountains while you race your family to the finish.

Anakeesta isn’t only about thrills. Indulge your senses in the tranquil setting of the mountainside dining spots and delicious meals with a side of a stunning sunset. As night falls, gather the family around a cozy fire pit to share stories and make s’mores under the twinkling stars.

aerial view of Anakeesta surrounded by trees with mountains in distance during day in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
photo credit: Anakeesta via Facebook

Crave Golf Club

A list of cheap things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge wouldn’t be complete without mini golf.

The Crave Golf Club is no ordinary mini golf course. It’s an immersive wonderland of sweet-themed fun that guarantees a hole-in-one for joy and entertainment.

With 19 holes in the indoor course and another 19 on the rooftop, the family will not just be playing golf – you’ll be embarking on an exciting journey filled with laughter, creativity, and candy-coated adventures.

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

Hop aboard the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster for an exhilarating ride through the Smoky Mountains. This affordable coaster ride promises fun and excitement for all family members, making it a must-visit Gatlinburg attraction.

Related Post: Pigeon Forge Mountain Coaster – Discount Tickets and Reviews

Prepare for over 9 minutes of pure exhilaration as you cruise through over 20 acres of beautiful Smoky Mountain terrain. The track, over a mile long, takes you through exhilarating drops, breathtaking turns, and a variety of enchanting tunnels.

The best part? You’re in control! Feel free to take it slow and soak up the stunning mountain vistas, or zip down the mountain at up to 30 miles per hour for a true taste of high-speed excitement. Whether you’re a fearless thrill-seeker or someone who prefers to take things a bit slower, you’ll find a pace that’s just right for you.

a photo of a girl enjoying riding a mountain coaster.
photo credit: Rocky Top Mountain Coaster via Facebook

Outdoor Gravity Park

Roll into excitement at the Outdoor Gravity Park! Hurtle down a hill in a giant inflatable ball for a unique, affordable thrill that will have the whole family laughing.

Choose between the “Fast Tracks,” a three-lane, straight course for those who love speed, or the “Extreme Zig Zag,” a zig-zag path for those seeking a wilder ride. It’s a one-of-a-kind Gatlinburg experience!

This family-friendly Zorb park is set against the beautiful backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains, and with picnic tables and places to relax, it’s the perfect place to make a day of it.

Beyond The Lens Family Fun

Step into a world of interactive entertainment at Beyond The Lens Family Fun! Packed with virtual reality games, augmented reality experiences, and fascinating exhibits, this digital playground offers fun on a budget for tech-savvy families.

As you explore, you’ll also learn! The exhibits are designed to be not just entertaining, but educational, making it a perfect fun-tastic learning experience for the young ones and the young-at-heart. Enjoy the exhibits’ fascinating insights into history, technology, and the mysterious phenomena that make our world such an interesting place.

exterior view and parking lot of Beyond The Lens! Family Fun in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA
photo credit: Beyond The Lens – Pigeon Forge via Facebook

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

Have you ever visited a museum dedicated to salt and pepper shakers? Spice up your Gatlinburg family vacation on a budget with a visit to the one-of-a-kind Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.

From the moment you step in, you’ll be greeted by a panorama of over 20,000 salt and pepper shakers from all corners of the globe, each one unique and with its own story to tell. Marvel at the creativity and artistry, with designs ranging from classic and traditional to whimsical and downright bizarre.

Related Post: Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Adults – 16 Must-Try Activities

Beyond their aesthetic appeal, each salt and pepper shaker is a tiny window into the culture, history, and artistry of its place of origin. This fun center offers an affordable educational experience for the whole family. Admission for kids is free!

Ole Smoky Moonshine

Immerse yourself in the local flavor at Ole Smoky Moonshine!

While the youngsters enjoy live music from the heart of the Smoky Mountains, adults can savor various moonshine flavors at this historic distillery. In addition, the older kids might find the distillation process intriguing.

After all the tastings a visit to the gift shop might lead you to bring a bit of Gatlinburg home!

Whiskey bottles on a shelf at The Ole Smoky Barrelhouse - Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USAGatlinburg Vacation Packages

Gatlinburg Tennessee, has no shortage of attractions that make your vacation wallet-friendly. The real beauty of Gatlinburg on a budget is that it shows you don’t need to spend a fortune to create wonderful memories.

With our money-saving Gatlinburg vacation packages, you’ll find plenty of affordable entertainment options. Guaranteeing your family vacation is as rich in experiences as it is light in your pocket. You can even add in a Gatlinburg hotel of your choice for more savings!

So why wait? Start planning your Gatlinburg adventure today and create priceless memories.

What Did we Miss?

Do you have any cheap activities to add to our list? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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