Top 10 of the Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg

gatlinburg overlook

There’s a lot to do in Gatlinburg. How do you know what’s worth the time or the money? Black Bear Inn and Suites is making it simple for you to figure out the best things to do in Gatlinburg with this top 10 list.

1. Take a hike

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the US and it sits right on the edge of Gatlinburg. The park offers 150 official trails ranging from easy to difficult, depending on how often you hike. Hiking in the Smoky Mountains will teach you the heritage of the land, offer magnificent views of the mountains, and even give you the chance to glimpse local wildlife like turkey, deer, and black bears. Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg TN.

2. Take a scenic drivelaurel falls hike

If hiking isn’t your thing, that’s okay! Gatlinburg still offers plenty of ways to appreciate the local landscape without hiking miles on foot. The Gatlinburg By-Pass has several pull off locations that showcase wonderful views of downtown Gatlinburg nestled in the mountains. There’s also the option of driving to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Visitors Center. A third, popular option is taking a drive along the Cades Cove Loop, which almost always promises views of local wildlife.

3. Go on a trolley ride

The city of Gatlinburg offers a casual, fun way to get around town by riding the Gatlinburg Trolley! Riding one of the trolleys is an affordable way to get all around the Gatlinburg community. There are several color systems that stop at different places, and trolley stops are marked with signs and covered benches around the area. Once aboard the trolleys, a narrator will talk about attractions within Gatlinburg and any local festivals coming up.

4. Go moonshine tasting

Moonshine has been a part of the ‘southern’ image for decades. It has a rich heritage that intrigues many. Luckily for those curious enough to try it, there are 4 moonshine distilleries in Gatlinburg. Each distillery offers unique flavors, entertaining group tasting leaders, and displays the history and making of moonshine. Moonshine tasting is among one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg TN.

5. Take on a Ripley’s attractionRipley's Aquarium of the Smokies

The Ripley’s name is common around Gatlinburg with six attractions in the downtown area. The most popular Ripley’s attraction is the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The aquarium offers up close views of sea life and interactive exhibits with their animals. There is also Ripley’s Believe It or Not for an interactive, fun museum experience, and the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is great to get your heart pounding!

6. Explore the local Arts and Crafts community

Another way to experience the local heritage in a hands on way is to visit the local Arts and Crafts Community Trail. This 8-mile loop boasts the skills of local painters, whittlers and other artists, where you can see carvings, ceramics, and other one of a kind handmade items.

7. Ride a mountain coaster

Mountain coasters have grown in popularity in the area recently. For good reason too! These luge style coasters zip you through local woods that takes you as fast as gravity allows. For a spookier and fun experience ride try one of the coasters at night!

8. Visit The Village

The Village is a charming European style shopping experience. It houses 27 unique shops, and is a great place to find a souvenir or gift to take back home. One of the most popular stops in the Village is the Donut Friar. The best way to find it is to just follow your nose, and once you find it you will get to try one of their made daily, fresh donuts.  

9. Find a local pancake house to try

Something that becomes apparent when coming into the Gatlinburg area is the amount of pancake houses in the area. Some are chain restaurants, but most are locally owned and operated. We encourage you to seek out one of our delicious pancake houses and order a large stack! A local favorite is the Pancake Pantry for their made from scratch batter and the local ingredients that go into their syrups.side view of the pancake pantry in gatlinburg tn

10. Go on a Zipline Tour

A last thrilling adventure to take on in Gatlinburg is to go ziplining. Ziplining offers an up close experience with the local land. You’ll get to glide through the air watching for animals and birds. The tour guides for ziplining companies in the area offer tons of local knowledge and plenty of jokes during the tour.

See something on this list that sparks your interest? Luckily Black Bear Inn and Suites is located in downtown Gatlinburg. You will be in walking distance from some of the best things to do in Gatlinburg TN, and you’ll be able to come back to relax in your beautiful and cozy suite at the end of the day. Take a look at all of our Gatlinburg hotel rooms for your next vacation!