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Your guide to Gatlinburg
All About Gatlinburg
Nestled on the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a diminutive mountain town surrounded by natural beauty. It’s within easy reach of more than 900 miles of picturesque hiking trails, leaving outdoorsy types wanting for nothing more — the national park’s thundering Grotto Falls are just minutes away, and the town boasts the only ski resort in the state, Ober Gatlinburg. While many visitors are drawn out of town for the region’s abundant wildlife — look out for the resident black bears and hundreds of bird species — staying put brings its own rewards. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift or an elevator ride to the top of the town’s 407-foot Space Needle provide a bird’s eye view of proceedings along with the scenic Smokies, while local breweries, wineries, and distilleries are tasty pit stops on a leisurely tour of local shops and galleries.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Gatlinburg?
The stunning spectacle of changing foliage in the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park makes fall a highly recommended time to stay at cabins for rent in this part of Tennessee. Around 100 species of tree gradually transform the mountainside from mid-October through mid-November, which is also when Gatlinburg’s annual Oktoberfest occurs. If you’re hiking in the park, remember to pack layers for the change in temperature at altitude.
During winter, chilly temperatures are countered by an abundance of holiday cheer, including the local Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade. Spring is primetime for nature lovers wanting to experience wildflower blooms — follow the six-mile Greenbrier route for kaleidoscopic displays. When summer rolls around, all eyes are on the town’s music festivals, and the annual Fourth of July celebration starts at midnight and runs all day and night, including a River Raft Regatta and an absorbing fireworks display atop the Space Needle.
What are the top things to do in Gatlinburg?
Arts and Crafts Loop
Make your way around this eight-mile route and admire the skill that goes into creating locally-made pottery, jewellery, and woven goods. Gatlinburg is home to one of the largest groups of independent artisans in North America — the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community — whose stores are brimming with handcrafted pieces.
Gatlinburg Pinball Museum
For retro game geeks, pinball wizards, and those looking for family-friendly fun, the city’s pinball museum is a popular destination. The extensive collection of rare pinball machines and arcade games here — more than 100 options to keep you busy — are available for the playing. This is one of the few museums where visitors are encouraged to flex their gaming muscles.
The state’s only ski and snowboard resort is a year round destination that’s also the site of an amusement park with a wide range of high-octane activities to boost your adrenaline. Tubing is a major draw during the winter season, while water rides, a climbing wall, and bumper cars attract visitors once the snow has melted.