Are you in the process of planning a Gatlinburg honeymoon? Congratulations! Gatlinburg, Tennessee offers the perfect mixture of relaxation, the great outdoors, fine dining, and adventure, making it a premier honeymoon destination for newlyweds.
For a memorable escape to the Smoky Mountains, make sure you experience these seven romantic things to do in Gatlinburg.
1. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains
What’s more romantic than strolling through the great outdoors with your loved one? When visiting Gatlinburg, a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must. Running through both Tennessee and North Carolina, this massive national park has surprises around every corner including gushing waterfalls, tranquil trails, and an abundance of wildlife.
While at the park, couples can embark on a variety of adventures including:
Driving through Cades Cove
Cades Cove is an 11-mile, one-way auto-loop situated in the Smoky Mountains. Hop in the car with your significant other, pack the camera and a few snacks, and get ready to experience the beauty of the national park from the comfort of your car.
To make the most out of your drive, remember to pick up a pamphlet and map at the park entrance. This map will pinpoint various destinations and highlights throughout the tour you cannot miss.
Although, if you’d prefer a more active vacation, forgo the car and bike through Cades Cove instead. The campground store even offers bicycles for rent during the summer and fall seasons.
Along the way, you may spot a myriad of wildlife, from black bears to deer. Although it may be tempting to get out of the car and take pictures of these animals, it is in your best interest not to. After all, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is their home; you’re just a visitor.
The Great Smoky Mountains boast more than 150 hiking trails of varying difficulty. From winding nature trails along tranquil streams to rigorous hikes up the peaks of the mountains, there’s a trail for every level of hiking experience.
Some of my favorite trails, listed from easy to difficult, include:
- Laurel Falls (Easy)
- Andrews Bald Trail (Easy)
- Abrams Falls Trail (Moderate)
- Clingman’s Dome (Moderate)
- Charlie’s Bunion Trail (Moderate)
- Alum Cave to Mt. LeConte Trail (Difficult)
- Chimney Tops Trail (Difficult)
- Rainbow Falls Trail (Difficult)
- Ramsay Cascades Trail (Difficult)
If you and your spouse choose to go hiking on your Gatlinburg honeymoon, be prepared. Wear appropriate attire, bring a hiking backpack filled with the necessities, and check the weather forecast for the day.
For a true Smoky Mountains adventure, go camping! The park offers backcountry, front country, group campgrounds, and horse camps for reservation. Try to claim your camp spot as early as possible, as this Smoky Mountain activity is quite popular among visitors.
2. Raft, Tube, and Kayak on the Little Pigeon River
For even more outdoor fun, you have to go white water rafting! This exhilarating activity is the perfect way for you and your spouse to bond… while surging through raging rapids at the same time. Reserve your white water rafting spot with any of these Gatlinburg rafting companies for an extraordinary time:
- Rafting in the Smokies
- Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors
- Rafting at Wildwater Adventure Center
- Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions
If white water rafting seems to be a bit much, you and your loved one can also go kayaking or float down the Little Pigeon River in an inner tube.
3. See the Gatlinburg Sights
No matter the season, Gatlinburg is absolutely beautiful. Take time during your Gatlinburg honeymoon to see the area’s natural beauty from any of these sightseeing destinations:
Gatlinburg Sky Lift
Conveniently located in downtown Gatlinburg, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift has been a tourist staple for decades. Sit in a classic ski chair and take a leisurely ride up the mountain to the very top, where you’ll experience views unlike any other.
At Ober Gatlinburg, you have two ways to see jaw-dropping views of the area. First, get your tickets for the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. Once inside the glass-enclosed Tram, you’ll take a 10-minute ride across 2.1 miles of stunning Smoky Mountains landscape to the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park.
While at the park, you can purchase an additional ticket for the ski lift, which brings passengers even higher up the mountain. I highly recommend you take advantage of this ski lift. The views from the top are unbelievable! Plus, there’s a musical surprise waiting for you at the peak of the mountain.
Gatlinburg Bypass Scenic Overlook
For incredible views of downtown Gatlinburg, head to the Gatlinburg Bypass Scenic Overlook. Located on the Gatlinburg Bypass, this area is completely free to visit and is the perfect place to take pictures for your Gatlinburg honeymoon.
To get here, travel towards Gatlinburg via the Pigeon Forge Parkway. After passing the Gatlinburg Visitors Center (on your right), you will see a small sign for the Gatlinburg Bypass. Follow this sign. From Highway 441, drive past Sugarlands Visitor Center towards Gatlinburg and follow the sign for the bypass. The bypass has 3 parking areas for guests.
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Seattle isn’t the only place with a space needle. Gatlinburg has one, too! The 407-foot observation tower offers romantic views of the town, especially at night. Plus, due to the nature of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, you’ll see a 360-degree view of the mountain range.
4. Kick Back and Relax
After planning and surviving a wedding, you need to kick back and relax on your Gatlinburg honeymoon. Rent a cabin all to yourselves for supreme relaxation.
Gatlinburg cabins feature cozy accommodations with premier amenities such as pool tables, state-of-the-art entertainment systems, and jacuzzis. You won’t be dealing with a “cabin in the woods” horror movie scenario. Instead, you’ll be lounging together in luxury!
One of my all-time favorite things to do in Gatlinburg is get up early, make a fresh cup of coffee, and watch the sunrise over the mountains from the comfort of my Smoky Mountains cabin porch.
Plus, with the myriad of amenities, there are plenty of ways to relax. Enjoy a movie night, cook a romantic dinner, or lounge in the jacuzzi with your loved one.
While Gatlinburg is filled with rustic adventures and family attractions, it’s also home to world-class spas. Treat yourself and your spouse to a couples massage, facial, or other spa treatment. A few top spas in Gatlinburg include:
- Fox Place Salon and Spa
- Serenity Spa by Westgate
- The Spa at Pine Mountain
- The Spa at Oak Haven Resort
5. Sample the Smoky Mountain Cuisine
Walk down the Gatlinburg Parkway and your senses are overwhelmed with the aromas drifting out of the restaurants, bakeries, and candy shops. Get ready to indulge during your Gatlinburg honeymoon!
Start your day at one of the many Gatlinburg pancake houses. While it’s tempting, don’t go too crazy with your pancake stacks. You don’t want to crash later! Then again, pancakes and a good hike in the mountains sounds like a great way to spend the day…
For lunch, choose from one of the endless restaurants along the Parkway. You’ll find everything from classic chain restaurants to hole-in-the-wall gems. At dinnertime, make your reservations for some of Gatlinburg’s finest dining at the Peddler or The Park Grill.
Then, get ready to sip your way through Gatlinburg. From wineries to moonshine, there’s a whole lot of alcohol to sample. If you prefer wine, the Rocky Top Wine Trail is right up your alley. Featuring five wineries in 12 miles, you’ll have plenty of wine to indulge on. For those who want to try the moonshine the Smokies are known for, a visit to Ole Smoky Moonshine can’t be missed. Lastly, for the beer connoisseur couples, sample a seemingly endless amount of craft brews at any of the Smoky Mountain Brewery locations.
By the end of your Gatlinburg honeymoon, you might be a bit full!
6. Experience Extreme Thrills
For the adventurous couples, Gatlinburg is thrill capital of the Southeast. Add these exhilarating experiences to your Gatlinburg honeymoon for extreme fun.
A trip to the Smoky Mountains isn’t complete until you visit Dollywood. This southern theme park offers endless thrills and fun for all ages with multiple rollercoasters, drop rides, and a few surprise attractions. If you consider yourself a daredevil, try out the new Lightning Rod coaster. Dollywood also offers extreme eats with gigantic skillet meals and pastries throughout the park.
Gatlinburg Helicopter Tours
Gatlinburg helicopter tours take you high in the sky for an unbelievable view of the Smoky Mountains. Plus, the rush of flying in a helicopter is sensational! Be sure to follow all the safety instructions from your pilot.
Ziplining in the Smoky Mountains
Thanks to the natural landscape of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a great destination for ziplining. Strap into your harness, hold on tight, and scream at the top of your lungs as you zoom through the mountains. A few top spots for ziplining include:
- Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park
- Adventure Park Ziplines
- Adventure America Zipline Canopy Tours
- Legacy Mountain Premier Ziplines
- Zipping in the Smokies
How many people can say they’ve experienced zorbing on their honeymoon? Outdoor Gravity Park in Gatlinburg, TN is the only place in America where you can go zorbing down a mountain. For extreme thrills (and laughs) make sure you and your partner add this activity to your Gatlinburg honeymoon.
7. Live like a Vanderbilt
Just an hour and a half east of Gatlinburg, the Biltmore Estate was the former home of George Vanderbilt and his family. Today, the estate houses magnificent gardens, a winery, a hotel, and so many things to do. You and your significant can get a glimpse of the Vanderbilt’s luxurious lifestyle on an estate tour.
In addition, the estate hosts multiple festivals throughout the year. Check their events schedule to see what’s going on during your travel dates.
Plan Your Gatlinburg Honeymoon Today
Ready to plan your honeymoon getaway in the Smokies? Bundle your attraction and activities tickets with your choice of Gatlinburg lodging for extra savings. And who doesn’t want to save money on their honeymoon?