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10Trips: This is everything you should do in Gatlinburg if you only have a day

Nestled in the shadow of Mt. LeConte, Gatlinburg is the perfect resort town for families, couples, or adventurers. Awash with beautiful hiking trails and scenic drives, the city's proximity to Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Appalachian Trail made it a major tourist destination a while ago. Here's how to enjoy "The Gateway to the Smokies" in a day without feeling overwhelmed.

8:00 AM - Enjoy homemade pancakes at The Pancake Pantry

If you’re driving into Gatlinburg, several pancake joints along I-40 are sure to tempt you with fresh maple syrup and secret family recipes.

But for the love of Mrs. Butterworth, resist them all until you get into downtown Gatlinburg. Wait for whatever line there is sure to be at The Pancake Pantry because it’s worth it. This is the restaurant that kicked off the pancake craze in this area back in 1960 when it became Tennessee’s first pancake house.

You can get crazy with unique things like Pigs in a Blanket or Chocolate Sin, but both the Old Fashioned Buttermilk and Blueberry Pancakes have been around since they first opened. President Garry Myers recommends getting here around 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. to beat the crowds.

11:00 AM -  Play with a penguin & swim with stingrays at Ripleys Aquarium of the Smokies

You go under the sea in what USA Today named the No. 3 Best Aquarium in the world back in 2015. They offer ten interactive exhibits that feature over a hundred different underwater species. You can even get up close and personal with 

2:30 AnakeestaSoar above the treetops at Anakeesta

If you can make it up the ski-lift, an enchanting mountaintop village awaits at Anakeesta. From the launching point of Firefly Village you can hop on dual-racing ziplines, race through the forest on a high-speed mountain coaster, or wander through the tree canopy walks.

Note: All of these spots, Pancake Pantry, Ripley’s, Anakeesta, are within walking distance of each other. While doing all of Anakeesta has to offer in a single is ambitious, it’s a close-by alternative to hiking if you don’t have more than 24 hours.

6:00 PM - Test yourself against foot-long hotdogs and classic arcade games at Fannie Farkles

If Anakeesta takes you to new and ever enchanting heights, Fannie’s Farkles grounds you back to a solid reality of cheese steak and foot-long hot dogs. This place couples up all the fair food you noshed on as a kid with the cool arcade games that ate up all your mom's spare change. 

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