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Things to do in Gatlinburg

Our most recommended things to do in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg Ghosts of The Smokies Most Haunted Tour by USGA

1. Gatlinburg Ghosts of The Smokies Most Haunted Tour by USGA

Explore the rocky past of “The Gateway to the Smokies" in the town of Gatlinburg which dazzles visitors with a Skylift, gold panning, and log cabin pancakes. Beneath the family-friendly facade, this former frontier town is steeped in violence, greed, and heartbreak. Meet your guide at the Gatlinburg Space Needle, where a horrific accident claimed a young man’s life in 1991. From there, see seven other historic, haunted locations, including the bone-chilling White Oak Flats Cemetery. Scan the cemetery for the infamous Gatlinburg Witch; uncover the terrifying power of the Cliff Branch River, and find out why no one wants to book Room 11 at the Gatlinburg Inn. Along the way, you’ll delve into the tragic history of westward expansion, slavery, and the Civil War. Book the extended tour to visit four additional stops. If you think you know Gatlinburg, you haven’t heard the spirits’ side of the story. Step into the shadows. They’re waiting.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self Driving Tour

2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Self Driving Tour

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and discover why it’s the most visited National Park in the country. Buckle up and prepare for a deep dive into the most famous stretch of the Appalachians. Enjoy a flexible route that allows you to take all the time you need to admire the timeless wonders of the mountains. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one. Drive through the scenic mountains and hear all about parts of Cherokee history, like the ancient Cherokee monarchy and the revolutionaries who fought against it. Get detailed accounts of Cherokee ancestral legends, from the great buzzard who shaped the Smoky Mountains from clay to the witch whose droplets of blood bloom into stalks of corn. Experience animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or interior rooms. Be pointed towards some of the most awe-inspiring sights in the park. Gaze at the majestic Rainbow Falls, the breath-taking 360-degree views atop Clingmans Dome, and hear about the deep-rooted history of the Elys Mill. Learn about the complex flora and fauna which call the mountains home. Get to know the creatures of Cades Cove and learn how wildfires form an integral part of the vast and interconnected ecosystem. As you drive, audio stories will automatically pop up and start playing, allowing you to keep your attention on the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Pigeon Forge: Family-Friendly Floating Tour at the Smokies

3. Pigeon Forge: Family-Friendly Floating Tour at the Smokies

Cruise through the Smoky Mountains on this Pigeon River float for the whole family. Get up close to nature as you splash your way through laid-back rapids that require no previous experience. Get access to a 10-acre island with a nature trail, beanbag toss games, and a playground. Meet your guide at the outpost and get fitted with your helmet and life jacket. Listen as your guide provides you with a safety briefing to ensure you are confident throughout the whole experience. Head out to the Pigeon River and embark on your whitewater trip. Be escorted by your guide down 6 miles of this laid-back section of the river while having fun with your family amid gentle waves and bumpy splashes. Soak in spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon River Gorge. After your ride, enjoy the amenities at the rafting outpost which has a nature trail, beanbag toss games, and a playground at the water’s edge.

Gatlinburg: Zipline Canopy Tour

4. Gatlinburg: Zipline Canopy Tour

Admire the Great Smoky Mountains and the beautiful surrounding area from a unique perspective as you zip through treetops and sky bridges on guided ziplining activity. Feel the thrill of soaring over the forest canopy across 6 zip lines. Meet your guide at the outpost and get fitted with your helmet and harness. Receive a short safety briefing to ensure you are confident throughout the day's activities. Begin the adventure from atop a 60-foot start platform to marvel at great views of the Family Adventure Island. Pass over the Pigeon River, and enjoy the sight of the rushing water below. Become immersed in nature as you soar through the air on 6 zip lines and 2 sky bridges for a total of 2,400 feet in length. Keep a lookout for various species of flora and fauna below.

Pigeon Forge: French Broad River and Lake Helicopter Trip

5. Pigeon Forge: French Broad River and Lake Helicopter Trip

Join a helicopter tour and fly alongside the French Broad River, across Douglas Dam and along the western shore picturesque Douglas Lake. As the flight turns southwest, see the Great Smoky Mountains in the distance, but it doesn’t end there. The tour continues southward and over the Sevierville and Dollywood areas. As you climb in altitude, you’ll follow the terrain up to the crest of Cove Mountain at the national park boundary line where you’ll be met with unbeatable views of the Wears Valley area. Continuing along the edge of Wears Valley, travel northbound between Pigeon Forge and the rolling foothills of the Smoky Mountains as you return to the heliport.

Pigeon Forge Wine and Moonshine Tour

6. Pigeon Forge Wine and Moonshine Tour

Embark on a fun and educational adventure into the Smoky Mountains for guided liquor tastings. Sip on some moonshine, the drink that captures the deep-rooted culture, tradition, and history of Tennessee. Additionally, learn about other locally-crafted drinks, such as wine and whiskey. Travel 30 miles outside of Knoxville to the picturesque town of Pigeon Forge. Visit 2 popular wineries and 2 distilleries. Regardless of your experience level, you'll surely learn something new at each guided visit. Experience East Tennessee's sweet, red, and white wines with unique tastings. Sample 4 wines at your first stop and up to 10 wines and spirits at the second. Watch the production and bottling process. Lastly, discover the true magic of moonshine and try up to 8 samples with all kinds of flavors.

Gatlinburg: Impossibilities Magic and Mind-Reading Show

7. Gatlinburg: Impossibilities Magic and Mind-Reading Show

Take part in an interactive magic and mind-reading show led by world-famous magician Erik Dobell. Experience his critically acclaimed show, that's been performed all over the world, right in the heart of Gatlinburg. Get your camera ready, as someone in your party may get to be part of the spectacle. Step into the Gatlinburg Space Needle's intimate 89-seat Iris Theater for an evening of mind-blowing tricks and riddles. Bring the whole family along for some stunning magic, reality-shattering mind-reading, and hilarious mayhem. Seize this incredible opportunity to watch the master magician that's traveled from Las Vegas to South Korea, performing shows for audiences and companies such as the NFL, Macy's, and Goodyear.

Sevierville: Tour to 3 Pigeon Forge Wineries with Tastings

8. Sevierville: Tour to 3 Pigeon Forge Wineries with Tastings

Take your taste buds on a Tennessee adventure with this winery tour from Sevierville. Discover mountain views of Pigeon Forge on your way to 3 unique wineries, each specializing in their own flavors. Sample a range of flavors with a guided wine tasting session with staff at each winery.  Head to the centrally-located meeting point in Sevierville visit the Apple Barn Winery for a tasting before boarding a comfortable and climate controlled coach. Have plenty of space for you and the wine purchases that you are sure to make with the 10% discount included in your tour.  Relax on the drive between wineries with stunning views of the surrounding countryside and rolling vineyards. Explore apple-based wine to more traditional grape wines. Staff at each location will guide your palate through a journey of flavor and craftsmanship.  Visit the Mountain Valley Winery for an exquisite tasting experience and stop at Hillside Winery for some high-quality flavors. Return to your starting point in Sevierville at the end of your tour. Take home a Rocky top wine trail glass as a souvenir. 

Great Smoky Mountains NP & Cades Cove Self-Guided Tour

9. Great Smoky Mountains NP & Cades Cove Self-Guided Tour

Explore the Great Smoky Mountains at your own pace with a self-guided and self-driving tour. Hike to Alum Cave, enjoy a panoramic view from Charles Overlook, and discover Cades Coves from the comfort of your own car. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one.. Drive to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to start your journey. After exploring the Visitor Center, head past the Mingus Mill, a remnant of a once-thriving town. As you drive to Beech Flats Quiet Walkway, hear accounts of the Cherokee people who once lived here. Learn about their legends and their struggle to hold onto their land. Once you arrive, enjoy a meditative stroll through nature. Hop back into your car and head to Charles Webb Overlook, which offers a panoramic view of the park. Once you’ve snapped some stunning photos, continue toward Clingman’s Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies, for more unparalleled views of the mountains. Continue to the trail for Alum Cave, one of the most popular hikes in the park. If you wish, take the moderate 4.4-mile roundtrip trail for beautiful panoramas and fascinating rock formations. After your hike, drive to Chimney Tops Overlook, offering more stunning mountain views. Next, enjoy an easy wilderness walk at Balsam Point. As you continue past yet another incredible vista and another secluded walkway, hear little-known park history. Jump back in your car and drive towards Gatlinburg, stopping on the way to check out the pristine Cataract Falls. In Gatlinburg, pass the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Drive past Ogle Place, an old-timey homestead dating back to the 1800s, before arriving at Rainbow Falls. Continue your drive past several more waterfalls and the historic cabins of Ephraim Bales and Reagan Tub, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past. Finally, finish your Great Smoky National Park tour with a visit to the old Ely’s Mill, which is still in operation today. Start the second part of your combination tour, discovering Cades Coves, just west of Gatlinburg. From there, continue west toward the scenic loop. The first landmark on your route is John Oliver Place, once home to some of the first homesteaders to make a living here. After that, pass 3 churches dating back to the 1800s and uncover the devastating impact of the Civil War on this community. Drive to Elijah Oliver Place, a beautifully-preserved homestead offering an authentic look at early pioneer life. If you wish to stretch your legs, hike to Abrams Falls, a secluded, powerful waterfall. Next, drive to Tipton Place. Finally, reach the Carter Shields Cabin, another idyllic homestead from a bygone era. Finish your tour at the start of the loop as you hear about the last family to call the cove home.

Smoky Mountains: Sightseeing Flex Pass

10. Smoky Mountains: Sightseeing Flex Pass

Discover the thrilling, dazzling, historic, and adventurous with a Tennessee Sightseeing Flex Pass. Access top attractions and tours throughout Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the scenic Smokies all in one pass. Take advantage of full admission to attractions or save up to 30% on entry costs. Let your Flex Pass take you into the great outdoors and see the natural splendor of the Smokey Mountains up close and personal: select between a 3-attraction or a 5-attraction pass and choose what you want to enjoy when you arrive. Coast down whitewater in a raft or take in the sights from a thrilling vantage point on the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Ride. Have your breath taken away from the top of Gatlinburg Space Needle. Experience the awe-inspiring vision of the Great Smoky Mountains, where colorful fog-rich forests surround majestic Appalachian peaks this renowned Tennessee UNESCO World Heritage Site. Partner Tennessee’s exciting outdoor marvels with family-friendly and group-friendly attractions. Play around at the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum or Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud. Learn the history of the world’s most famous tragic transatlantic ocean liner at the Titanic Museum Attraction, then catch a dazzling magic show at Wonderworks. Whatever activities you choose, enjoy the convenience of an all-in-one pass. Top Attractions: • Best of Smoky Mountain Special Tour - Rocky Top Tours • Beyond the Lens • Escape Game Pigeon Forge • Smoky Mountain Rafting - Upper Pigeon River• Smoky Mountain Rafting - Lower Pigeon River • Titanic Attraction • Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud • Dolly’s Rags to Riches - Rocky Top Tours • Rocky Top Mountain Coaster • Gatlinburg Pinball Museum • Rainforest Adventure Zoo • Wonderworks • The Best of Three Cities Tour - Rocky Top Tours

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What people are saying about Gatlinburg

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 64 reviews

An absolute amazing experience!! It was our first time on a helicopter, the staff took their time to explain everything to us to make sure we felt safe and comfortable. Absolute great views and even better pictures!! Would definitely recommend and will definitely be back to do this when we go back to the smokey mountains !! Great find ⚡️

give your self time to set it up and allow it to synch. i put it on apple play and the entire vehicle enjoyed the history and guidance. excellent. program. It triggers when you reach a key point and is very informative.

Randy was the best!!! He’s like a long lost friend - what a great day with lots of laughs, wine and moonshine! Cheers!

Great time and lucky to have great company. Learned alot about moonshine, and got to sightsee too.

Loved hearing the history of the Smokey Mountains.