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Home » 5 Jaw-Dropping Places to Explore In Gatlinburg

5 Jaw-Dropping Places to Explore In Gatlinburg

Have you been living a chaotic and stressful life – working long hours, striving to fulfill family commitments, and much more? No doubt, you must be feeling burned out. And that’s why you need to take a break from your demanding life and plan a vacation. 

green trees on mountain during daytime

Besides, the news of travel bans being lifted all around the world must have made you excited. You must be itching to travel the world once more. Not sure which place to explore? Plan a vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The beautiful, mountainous city in eastern Tennessee welcomes all sorts of tourists by offering exciting, adventurous spots at every turn. Visiting Gatlinburg will ensure a memorable trip as it offers thrill rides, mind-blowing sightseeing, historical museums, delicious dining spots, and more.

However, deciding which destinations to visit might be challenging, given the abundance of intriguing places to explore. After all, it might be impossible to see all the tourist places in Gatlinburg in a single visit. Therefore, a better idea is to make a list of must-see destinations. Wondering where to start? We have listed down the top five jaw-dropping destinations in Gatlinburg that you mustn’t miss on your next visit:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The country’s most visited and beautiful park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a must-see place. What’s best is that the park doesn’t charge the common public a fee. Visitors of this park have plenty of choices of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, camping, etc.

Undeniably, you might want to fully explore the magnificent park but don’t forget to allow your body some downtime. Look for accommodations with plentiful amenities such as pools. Reserving Gatlinburg cabins with pool will make your trip more relaxing and comfortable. In addition, these cabins allow you to enjoy various other amenities such as a game room, home theater, spacious decks, hot tubs, etc.

Moreover, visit Laurel Falls, Grotto Falls, and Abrams Falls if you yearn to see the waterfall. While at the park, don’t forget to visit Sugarlands Visitor Center, which features a 20-minutes documentary on the park. You can also find a bookshop, gift shop, and other valuable resources like trail maps.

Gatlinburg Space Needle

Do you wish to see the 360-degree view of the Great Smoky Mountains and the entire Gatlinburg? In that case, head over to the 407ft observation tower – Gatlinburg Space Needle. Two glass elevators help visitors reach this iconic tower’s peak and enjoy the breathtaking views. You can enjoy the views with your naked eyes or use one of the few viewfinders on the deck, free of cost. The site also houses a Higher Learning exhibit where visitors may learn several fascinating facts about the town.

The Space Needle features a 30,000-square-foot amusement center that offers a massive collection of video and arcade games. After you’ve had your fill of fun, visit the redemption area so you can earn points and get rewards. 

Are you feeling famished after an exciting afternoon at the arcade? Then, fill your tummy with delicious New York-style pizza. For this, head over to the Slice Pizza Bakery.

If you are into magic shows, don’t forget to stop by the Iris Theater to get stunned by the magical performance by Erik Dobell.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Do you enjoy the sea life? Your trip to Gatlinburg is incomplete if you haven’t been to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. According to TripAdvisor, this one-of-a-kind aquarium is the number one aquarium in America. The beautiful site allows you to fulfill your dream of spending time with marine life.

You can even try out Ripley’s Glass Boat Bottom Adventure. During this adventure, over 8,500 marine creatures, including sharks and turtles, swim beneath the boat. The only thing separating these creatures from you is 3 inches of glass.

Next, head to Penguin Playhouse, where these super adorable and playful creatures walk around and even greet you via crawl tunnels. And if you have kids with you, take them to Ripley’s summer camp. These camps allow your kids to feed stingrays, engage in storytime, scavenger hunt, and much more. Lastly, don’t miss the underwater gallery, a real-life exhibit of marine creatures.

Gatlinburg Skylift Park

In the mood for some adventure and scenery? Why not take a trip to Skylift Park? Make sure to reserve a whole day to spend in this iconic park.

Start your adventure to the phenomenal park by riding Skylift. The ride is the most convenient way to ascend the Smoky Mountains. Don’t fret about taking pictures when you reach the peak since the park photographers at the top of the mountains will be taking photos.

Once you exit the Skylift, you will enjoy the magnificent SkyDeck, located at the top of Crockett Mountain. Be sure to grab refreshing drinks or food as you unwind and explore stunning views. 

While at it, don’t forget to enjoy Skylift’s great attraction, SkyBridge. This longest pedestrian bridge in America is 680ft, with a height of 140ft. You can leisurely wander here and take in the entire town from above. Lastly, don’t forget to stop by a gift shop on the first floor of SkyDeck and get a souvenir.


Anakeesta is a Cherokee term that translates to a place of high ground. The position of this popular tourist destination, which is only a few years old, is about 600 feet above Gatlinburg and on 70-acre forestland. 

You can get to the top of the mountain by riding Chondola or a Ridge Rambler. Upon reaching the top, you will experience mesmerizing mountainous views, but don’t forget to enjoy exciting activities. 

If you are a thrill seeker, grab your partner to ride the Dueling Ziplines through the treetops. However, be mindful that these ziplines go fast, so ensure you are ready for some high-speed action.

Do you wish to feel the natural beauty of the area? Then, explore the Treetop Skywalk. The longest tree-based bridge in North America is roughly 880 feet long. Finally, finish your trip to Anakeesta by walking to the top of AnaVista Tower – the tallest point in downtown Gatlinburg.

Key takeaway

With endless beautiful destinations, a trip to Gatlinburg will undoubtedly leave you speechless. So, whether you are in for an adventurous trip or want to enjoy a relaxing escape, Gatlinburg has everything you could want on your vacation. The best thing about Gatlinburg is that it’s a year-round destination waiting to be explored.

And while you wish to explore plenty of popular attraction spots in Gatlinburg, don’t forget to visit lesser-known destinations. Visiting local and less well-known places can help you skip the crowds and still have the best time of your life.

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