Home Places

Spending a day at Gatlinburg: Five things you must do

Gatlinburg is a resort-like small town and a famous tourist destination at the gateway of the Great Smoky Mountains. It houses countless attractions and amusement options for tourists. The endless list of options includes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ripley’s Aquarium, several theme parks, museums, cafes, restaurants, shopping centers, spas, and much more.

In short, Gatlinburg is a perfect blend of scenic natural beauty, history, and eclectic modern-day tourism attractions.

Given so many options, a day is certainly not enough to explore the town. But you can make the most of your time with some guidance, know-how of the area, and prior planning. And before you leave for a one-day vacation in Gatlinburg, check out some residential options. It will be hard to cover even a few top-rated attractions if you do not start your day from Gatlinburg. A night stay is necessary to start the day afresh, regardless of where in the USA you live or come from another country.

It’s important to make pre-arrangements and check out some of the best room rental options in the vicinity. Why not start your search with options in the locality like ‘Gatlinburg TN hotels with indoor pool’? They offer variety and comfort at affordable rates.

Anyway, check out some exciting things to do in Gatlinburg in the following sections once you resolve your accommodation.

  1. Take a tour around the Smoky Mountains National Park

The Smoky Mountains national park is a wholesome package if you only have one day to relax and enjoy. It squeezes everything a nature enthusiast can ask for and anticipate, including breathtaking scenery, hiking trails, wildlife, waterfalls, lush green valleys, and much more.

Some famous spots in the vicinity include Cade’s cove loop, Clingmans Dome, Sugarland visitor center, Laurel Falls, Foothills parkway, Newfound Gap, Charlies Bunion, Andrews Bald, and others. A walk on foot along the hiking trails like Porters Creek, Kephart Prong, and Abraham waterfalls will offer you a more enriching sightseeing experience. But it would be impossible to cover everything if you trudge on without a transport option.

It is better to book a ride and start your day as early as possible. Ride rentals are often self-guided, as the track is pretty self-explanatory. But you can download a self-explanatory tour guide mobile app with a map of the area. You can also hire a travel guide if you do not want to waste more time or take risks.

  1. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

A visit to an aquarium is a great choice to refresh your mood with amazing, playful, colorful, exquisite, and exotic underwater life through the glass tunnel. So Ripley’s aquarium is there to satisfy your needs. It is one of the most visited aquariums in Tennessee state near the smoky mountains. It houses thousands of sea creatures, including turtles, sharks, stingrays, penguins, dolphins, jellyfishes, coral species, and others.

The exotic species are arranged in ten themed galleries to simplify the tour experience of every visitor. And you can touch the glass shielding and interact with the sea life. It is a lifetime experience to see underwater life in full swing this close. So do not wait and buy an entry ticket. You can do so online without much trouble on the official aquarium website.

You can stop by each gallery at your own pace and get mesmerized by the beauty of underwater life.

  1. Spend some time in Anakeesta adventure park

Anakeesta is an outdoor theme park in Gatlinburg’s mountainous areas. It is a hub for some mesmerizing, exciting, adventurous, and relaxing offerings for tourists. For instance, Mountain coaster ride, Chondola, AnaVista, Treetop Skywalk, Bear venture, Gem mining, Zipline, Splash pad, and Treehouse village are some options if you are in a playful mood.

Since the park offers family-friendly services and functions under supervision, you can visit worry-free with a family and kids. You can also relax and enjoy the mountainous beauty while walking in themed gardens, tree villages, and trekking trails. Just take your camera with you. You will find so much to capture and relish later on.

Once you get free from activities and sightseeing, head to some savoring dining options. Cliff Top, Pearl’s pie in the sky, Kephart cafe, Watering Can, and Smokehouse will satisfy your taste buds.

  1. Visit Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is also a theme park in the mountainous region of Tennessee. It is also a worth visiting tourist facility featuring highlights like a skiing resort, golf arena, ice skating, alpine slide, wildlife encounters, rock wall, kiddie umbrella rides, tubing, snowboarding, carousel, water raft rides, and others. Since there is so much to enjoy, a single ticket will not do.

You should consider getting your hands on a basic or premium wristband that covers maximum sporting activities. It covers all the activities and sports facilities within the complex for unlimited trials. Another benefit is that your ticket will accommodate kids under four years of age for all activities, but only one child per adult.

In addition, the park also features a scenic look out of the mountains via a thirty-minute chairlift ride. It is a great option to enjoy the scenic beauty of Gatlinburg from up above. And if you live within Gatlinburg downtown, you can hop into the Aerial tramway to get to the Ober Gatlinburg complex. So do not look for another option to relax and recreate. Just pick a suitable day as the amusement park is operational throughout the year.

  1. Get

Exploring so much in a day must be physically exhausting. So why not refresh yourself with a bath, massage, or little touch-up?

You can find several top-star spas and salons within Gatlinburg, such as Fox place spa and salon, Serenity Spa by Westgate, St. Somewhere Spa, Relaxation Oasis massage, Spa to go, Oak Heaven spa, and others. They offer massage, facials, and various other hygiene and wellness services. So conclude your day while tending to your body’s hygiene requirements. It will minimize your risk of taking home dirt and harmful germs after a daylong roaming around here and there. And if you have a pending assignment or engagement before the day ends, you can get there refreshed.


It can be a rushing and tiring experience when you have so much to explore in a vibrant and diverse holiday location like Gatlinburg. That is why planning is necessary so you can categorize some top-rated and relaxing attractions and schedule your day accordingly. But do not stuff everything in a few hours of the day, as you will end up exhausting yourself to the point of getting sick. Plan as much as you can manage and relish.