A Weekend in Gatlinburg: 4 Planning Tips

Gatlinburg is a place of stunning natural beauty that is definitely on the bucket list of many people, especially those living in America. The town ranks high on the list of the many picturesque locations spread throughout the US. With mesmerizing scenery, it truly captures the definition of heaven on Earth.

There are various ways to experience this beautiful town near the Great Smoky Mountains, though. You may plan a week-long excursion with your family and friends or maybe even a weekend getaway, but if you are in the town for just a few days, you’ll need to plan carefully.

With summer vacations around the corner, nearly 70% of Americans plan various trips with their loved ones to relax and rejuvenate themselves. With the school year over, it is also time for kids to have some fun. Gatlinburg is a famous local tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors each year thanks to the Great Smoky Mountains, the sensational views, and the host of attractions it offers. Although it is not justice to visit the place for a weekend only, in case you are, you need to prepare a proper itinerary beforehand.

Here are some things that can help:

Places to visit

When traveling to Gatlinburg, you will need to be aware of the surroundings, especially since it is a resort town nestled in the mountains. You’ll need to know the routes to get there, the major attractions, their timings, and a general list of what to do and things to avoid in the area. Let’s start with some of the attractions you wouldn’t want to miss:

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Gatlinburg is a great attraction for kids and adults to enjoy. Besides the Believe It Or Not Odditorium that showcases exhibits bound to blow your imagination, there is a Ripley’s Aquarium, Moving Theater that offers a ‘5D’ film experience, a Haunted House, Mirror Maze, Mini Golf, and an adrenaline-fueled mountain coaster in Gatlinburg.

Together, these attractions alone are able to fill up your weekend, and the kids are bound not to get bored for a single second. Each of these attractions offers various activities that children and adults can also indulge in.  

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

You visit Gatlinburg and don’t take a trip to the National Park; that won’t be possible, would it? Brimming with wildlife, historic architecture, and a view of the mountains always stretching in the background, the national park is beautiful on an unparalleled level. There are also numerous opportunities for travelers to have fun, like hiking the several trails in the area. The best of these hikes is on the Clingmans Dome Road because you’ll witness some amazing views when you get to the end.

There are also many places to camp out and enjoy a picnic and a host of natural wonders like Cades Cove and Deep Creek for visitors to explore.

Gatlinburg aerial tramway

The ideal opportunity to experience Gatlinburg is by viewing it like a bird from the top. The panoramic view of this resort town is something that you’ll never forget. The Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway provides the ideal opportunity to get this gone. Traveling for more than 2 miles at an elevation of 1,472 feet, the tramway can take you to a point nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. The carts are built in a way to offer passengers the best view possible out the window. They remain open Monday to Sunday between 9:40 AM and 5:00 PM.

Planning Tips

The best time to experience Gatlinburg is usually in the winter, but if you are going there in the summer, be prepared for the crowds. Given that the place will be extremely busy, here are some things to bear in mind and do beforehand:

1. Reserve your cabin as early as possible

More than 500,000 people visit Gatlinburg every year, mostly during the summers. It should come as no surprise that the place is filled with people during this season. So, if your trip is planned during summer, ensure you get a cabin reservation as early as possible; chances are you won’t find any at the last minute.

2. Pre-book tickets too

Besides booking the accommodation, it is also a great idea to book tickets to any attractions you want to visit beforehand. Not only can you save money from online coupons and discounts, but you can also avoid the hassle of long lines at the physical counter. Just ease through to enjoy the places you came to see as you already have too little time, too much to see.

3. Plan for the weather to change drastically on you

Even in the heat, dress in layers because, given the elevation, it can still be cold in summer. If you plan to drive or trek in the Smokies’ chilly upper elevations, you should wear a jacket. Prepare yourself for wet weather because the mountains can also be hazy. It is also best to check for rain forecasts before you leave so that you carry the necessary equipment for that too.

4. Don’t forget your walking shoes

Since you are heading into nature, there will be a lot of places that you will want to walk to. Admittingly, in Gatlinburg, you may get closer to places by car, but in the end, you will need to walk a few miles to get there. This is why it is great to bring your walking or trekking shoes. They say the best views come after the hardest climbs, and no place on Earth proves this better than Gatlinburg.


Gatlinburg is a fascinating resort town in the US that sits among the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a tourist hotspot that offers a lot for visitors. From museums to rollercoasters, from scenic hikes to aerial tramways, the city has something for everyone. It is true that spending just a weekend here isn’t enough to explore everything that there is on offer, but when there is no choice, you will have to make do. However, to get the best experience, it is ideal to research extensively beforehand and plan a comprehensive itinerary for the few days you will be there. This will allow you to justify the trip at least.

Subhajit Khara is an Electronics & Communication engineer who has found his passion in the world of writing. With a background in technology and a knack for creativity, he has become a proficient content writer and blogger. His expertise lies in crafting engaging articles on a variety of topics, including tech, lifestyle, and home decoration.

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