Thinking of planning a family vacation? Look no further than Gatlinburg, TN. This charming southeastern location has emerged as a fantastic family-friendly vacation destination. With exciting outdoor adventures, breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains, winter sports, theme parks, aquariums, and more, Gatlinburg offers an unforgettable trip experience.
This article explores six compelling reasons to consider Gatlinburg for your next family vacation.
You Get to See the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
One of the primary draws for visiting Gatlinburg is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With a staggering 11.42 million annual visitors, it held the distinction of being America’s most-visited park in 2018. Encompassing nearly 520,000 acres, it ranks as one of the largest national parks in the United States.
This park is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and hikers alike. It boasts an extensive network of hiking trails, covering almost 800 miles, including iconic routes like the Appalachian Trail and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Within the park, you’ll encounter a rich variety of wildlife, glistening waterfalls, picturesque picnic spots, and majestic mountain vistas. Additionally, the park is renowned for hosting the largest concentration of black bears in the United States.
Similar to many other national parks, there’s no entry fee, making it a must-add destination to your vacation itinerary. Embrace the opportunity to explore this magnificent park with your family and friends while in Gatlinburg.
It’s Full of Luxurious Cabin Rentals
Good accommodation is an integral part of an enjoyable trip. Luckily, Gatlinburg has something for everyone. Whether you need one bedroom for a honeymoon tour or 25 bedrooms for a wedding function, you can find the finest hotels, lodges, and cabin rentals to stay in the area. Cabin rentals present an affordable choice for people to stay amidst the thick forest and the smoky mountains. Pigeon Forge cabin rentals are an excellent option for family vacations with indoor pools, movie theaters, arcade games, hot tubs, and more.
You can book your stay in one of these cabins according to your needs.
Gatlinburg SkyPark is a Unique Experience
The SkyPark is a beloved destination for adventure enthusiasts and nature admirers. It stands as an iconic landmark in the city, offering a plethora of captivating activities in Gatlinburg. Established in 1954, this park provides visitors with an opportunity to savor the most breathtaking views and scenic rides the city has to offer. Its primary attractions include the chair lift, SkyBridge, SkyTrail, and SkyDeck.
Embark on a journey aboard the yellow chairlift to relish the splendid vistas of the Smoky Mountains. The SkyBridge, an awe-inspiring pedestrian suspension bridge, holds the distinction of being the longest of its kind in the United States. Walking across its central glass portion promises a spine-tingling experience.
Ascend the Tulip Tower via the Gatlinburg SkyTrail to bask in the beauty of the scenic valley below. As night falls, venture to the SkyDeck and witness the downtown area illuminated by twinkling lights. You can also shop for souvenirs and enjoy meals. In 2022, the SkyPark earned recognition as one of the Top Ten Scenic Spots in the US in Google’s Year in Search rankings.
Enjoy the Rides in Dollywood Theme Park
What could be more exhilarating than embarking on a vacation and visiting a world-renowned theme park with your family and friends? Dollywood, spanning an expansive 160 acres amidst the breathtaking Great Smoky Mountains, ranks among the top destinations for adventure enthusiasts. This remarkable theme park is a collaborative endeavor between Herschend Family Entertainment and the illustrious singer-songwriter Dolly Parton. It boasts a repertoire of over 50 world-class rides, high-energy entertainment, and much more.
However, Dollywood offers more than just thrilling rides. For aficionados of arts and crafts, daily demonstrations are conducted by master artisans, providing an enriching experience unlike any other park. Immerse yourself in exclusive musical and cultural shows that are unique to this park. Additionally, indulge in delectable dining options and explore shopping opportunities for your wardrobe and home in the park’s upscale restaurants and modern shops.
Ripley’s Aquarium is Unbelievable
If you have a fascination for marine life and wish to immerse yourself in the captivating world of hundreds of fish species, then securing a ticket to Ripley’s Aquarium is a must. Situated in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, this remarkable establishment showcases an impressive collection of over 10,000 sea creatures, artfully curated across ten themed galleries.
For unforgettable memories, consider booking camps, sleepovers, or educational sessions. Ripley’s Aquarium promises a delightful and informative outing suitable for families, children, and friends alike. The themed galleries include Tropical Rainforest, Ocean Realm, Shark Lagoon, Discovery Center, Stingray Bay, and Penguin Playhouse.
Don’t forget to partake in the exhilarating experience of descending down a glass slide within a transparent tube, with giant sharks mere inches away from you. For the ultimate adventure, indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the night with sharks during a thrilling overnight stay at Ripley’s Aquarium.
Tasteful Pancake Houses
If you are a food enthusiast with a sweet tooth, Gatlinburg should be at the top of your destination list. Home to many famous pancake houses, Gatlinburg is a paradise for dining options. Boasting one of the world’s highest concentration of pancake restaurants, this place is a paradise for pancake lovers. Visitors flock for delicious and fluffy pancakes.
The Pancake Pantry and The Little House of Pancakes are the most famous pancake houses for serving stacks of mouthwatering pancakes. The town’s pancake tradition has gained the culinary hallmark for everyone exploring the Great Smoky Mountains.
In summary, Gatlinburg is an ideal family vacation destination with abundant fun-filled activities for everyone in the family. From the breathtaking Great Smoky Mountains National Park to thrilling adventures at the SkyPark, from the charming downtown to the entertaining Dollywood theme park, this place has something for everyone. Gatlinburg offers many exclusive cultural and arts and crafts events. Gatlinburg’s wide range of activities and adventures makes it a must-visit destination for all.