GATLINBURG, Tenn — So you’re visiting the Great Smoky Mountains and looking for something to do?
Well, if you don’t want to hit the trails, there is still plenty to explore in and around Gatlinburg. The best part? You still get to enjoy all of those beautiful Smoky Mountain views.
Ober Gatlinburg offers a variety of activities depending on the season. Ride the aerial tram or Scenic Chairlift up for ice skating, a mountain coaster, the Alpine Slide and more. Plus, in the winter, you can go skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.
A quick ride on a scenic chairlift will get you to Gatlinburg’s SkyLift Park and SkyBridge, America's longest pedestrian suspension bridge. For the daring, you can take on the 680-foot walk across the bridge and maybe steal a glance down to the treetops through the bridge’s glass bottom section. For those who prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, the park has plenty of places for photo ops and its cafe has plenty of drinks and snacks.
The Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is consistently rated as one of Gatlinburg’s top attractions by Trip Advisor, winning a 2020 Traveler’s Choice award. With more than 10,000 sea creatures, interactive exhibits and a glass-bottom shark boat, it could be easy to forget you’re in the middle of the mountains.
Anakeesta is an award-winning outdoor adventure theme park with activities for people of any age, and it’s just a Chondola ride to the top of a mountain away. For the adventurous, there are ziplines, a mountain coaster and the TreeTop Skywalk. For the kids, there are rope courses, a splash pad, gem mining and a playground. For those looking to take in the views, there’s the new AnaVista Tower. Plus, there are several shopping and food options.
This one is just for the adults. If there’s something more famous than Tennessee whiskey, it’s moonshine. If you want to try a sample or two, Gatlinburg has several distilleries. Some of the most popular are Ole Smoky Moonshine, Sugarlands Distilling Company and Tennessee Shine Company.
If you’re looking for a thrill, you could always take a ride on a mountain coaster. You could do Rowdy Bear Mountain, Anakeesta’s Rail Runner or the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster.
Whether you’re a Jimmy Buffett fan or just looking to enjoy the island life while surrounded by mountains, you can waste away again at the Margaritaville resort and its St. Somewhere Spa.
Looking for good food with some great entertainment? Drop by Blake Shelton’s Ole Red for some live music, dinner and drinks.
If the Smokies’ beautiful views aren’t mind-blowing enough, you can always drop by one of the many Ripley’s attractions in downtown Gatlinburg. With the Believe It Or Not Odditorium, the Marvelous Mirror Maze, Haunted Adventure, 5-D Moving Theatre and more, you’ll certainly find unique experiences.
Believe it or not, a popular activity in Gatlinburg is mini-golf! Seriously though, if you’re looking to work on your putting game or just have a little friendly competition, drop by any of the courses like Gatlin’s, Hillbilly Golf, Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini Golf or Treasure Quest.
If you’re wanting to enjoy the natural beauty of the Smokies without a hike, you can always take a drive on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It’s about 5-and-a-half miles of scenic views and historic buildings. Perfect for a nice drive through the mountains.
You might even spot a bear or two!