Backpacking In USA: 7 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg – Don’t Stop Living

Backpacking In USA: 7 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg

Gatlin burg, also known as the “Gateway to the Smokies,” is a charming mountain resort city located 39 miles southeast of Knoxville in eastern Tennessee. The mountain town has just a population of 4,200. However, despite the small number of people residing there, Gatlinburg receives over 12 million visitors annually, making it one of the most renowned tourist destinations in America.

Gatlinburg is an exciting city with loads of opportunities and fun activities for people of all ages. Apart from being home to beautiful mountains, the city has a ski resort and amusement park. Moreover, the entertainment centers like theater shows, haunted houses, and farmers’ markets add to the amusement of visitors. So, if you are planning a solo trip or a family vacation, Gatlinburg can become the perfect destination.

Backpacking In USA: 7 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg

When planning any trip, the first question that comes to one’s mind is where to stay. Gatlinburg offers two types of accommodations. One option is renting a mountain cabin. It’s feasible if you are traveling with a group of friends, but most lack essential amenities. However, if you’re a couple or a small group, you’ll be better off staying in a Gatlinburg hotel that offers all the essential amenities. These hotels are within walking distance of downtown Gatlinburg and provide affordable accommodation and access to nearby fun activities.

Now, let’s check out the list of fun activities to try in Gatlinburg:

The Great Smoky National Park, with its wildlife, historical buildings, and breathtaking mountains, is a Park worth seeing. You can go hiking through trails like the Laurel Falls Trail and Alum Cave Trail.

In Summer, you can enjoy recreational opportunities like camping, fishing, and horseriding. However, in winter, the treks get covered by snow, making hiking difficult. Under such circumstances, you can try other options, like a picnic in Deep Creek, Metcalf Bottoms, or Cades Cove or camping in the backcountry or group campgrounds.

Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Anakeesta is an outdoor family theme park that offers a wide range of thrilling adventures. You can visit Vista Gardens to explore its trails and waterfalls or take an exciting gondola ride.

Or, you can stand at the AnaVista Tower, the downtown’s highest point, and enjoy a 360⁰ view of the Smoky Mountains. The lush forests and botanic gardens at the mountaintop provide a refreshing natural sight. If you have kids along with you, they would love to take a selfie with the famous fake bear and play in the treetop play area.

Only one-of-its-kind in the world, the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is an eclectic museum that comprises over 20,000 salt and pepper shakers alongside 1,500 pepper mills. Doesn’t it sound awestriking?

If you want to explore this intriguing museum and see the variety and creativity of salt and pepper shakers, you can visit the museum any day from 10 am – 2 pm. Moreover, they charge $3 Admission per Adult, which you can refund by purchasing any gift from the gift shop. Children under 12, however, are not charged for visiting the museum.

Even though various skiing options are available in Gatlinburg, however in summer, skiing is not possible. You can explore other options, like riding the Mountain Coaster or taking the thrilling Alpine Slide. Mountain Coaster allows you to sail down 2,750 feet and adjust the car’s speed, so it’s up to you whether you want an adrenaline rush or a slow-paced ride.

Similarly, Alpine Slide also provides a ride through a steep winding all the way down the mountain, however; it is less safe than the Mountain Coaster. Since it is old-fashioned, the car is not attached to the track; hence one needs to control the slide with hand brakes, making it more thrilling.

If you are visiting Gatlinburg in the winter, ice skating is one exhilarating experience you should not miss out on at any odds. The extra-large ice skating ring in the Ober Gatlinburg provides a perfect opportunity for enjoyment to all those who love ice skating.

You can also get skate rentals and lessons for ice skating. All you need to do is show your can-do attitude and pay $8 per person to enjoy ice skating in the most popular ring in Tennessee.

Taking a ride in the famous Aerial Tramway is one of Gatlinburg’s most fun-filled and exciting activities. Aerial Gatlinburg Tram carries 120 passengers at one time, moves downtown, and then ascends thousands of feet in the skies, giving a perfect thrilling ride.

Moreover, the 10-minute tram ride also provides magnificent views of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains and finally drops the visitors off at Ober Gatlinburg.

If you’re a die-hard game lover, you would love to visit Gatlinburg Pinball Museum. The museum has around 100 pinball machines alongside retro arcade games, providing a chance to play classic games like Lord of the Rings and Paceman.

What’s best is that you don’t need quarters or tokens after admission. The amazing collection of pinballs will fill your day with excitement.


Gatlinburg is not just a gateway to the famous mountains but is also one of the most popular and fun-filled tourist destinations in America. If you are planning a trip to Gatlinburg and looking for fun things, you are at the right place. You can visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or enjoy a fun-filled adventure at Anakeesta Theme Park. Moreover, you can try ice skating at Ober and ride the Mountain Coaster, the Alpine Slide, or the Ober Gatlinburg Arial Tramway. You can also explore the intriguing items at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum or play the classic Pinball games at Gatlinburg Pinball Museum. Gatlinburg is brimming with fun-filled and exciting activities for people of all ages.

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