After our drive from Wisconsin, we didn’t know what to expect when we finally arrived in Gatlinburg, TN. All we knew about the town was that it was located at the base of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
This looked like the perfect stop for a fun-filled couple of days on our trip to Asheville, NC.
We discovered the Gatlinburg/ Pidgeon Forge area is filled with endless adventure, great dining, and plenty of things to do. Here are are few of the things to do and see at this popular vacation resort.
A ride on the Alpine Coasters was on my bucket list and I couldn’t wait to get strapped in. Once we arrived at The Coaster at Goats on the Roof my heart started pumping when I saw how fast the cars were cruising around the alpine coaster course.
During the climb to the top of the mountain, the course offers awesome views of the Smoky Mountains. After about a 5-minute climb, we started our downhill run. With speeds up to 30mph, you really start flying down the mountain. The cars come equipped with a handbrake if you need to slow things down a little. You can ride solo or with 2 people.
The ride is really smooth and a unique experience.
To get the best view of Gatlinburg and the Smokey Mountains, visit the Gatlinburg Ski Lift which climbs 1800 feet up Crockett Mountain. You can ride the lift during the day or night.
We rode during the day, but the night ride would give beautiful views of downtown Gatlinburg all lite up.
Ride to the top of the mountain and hang around for a while, take pictures, shop, and eat. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the scenery.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a great place to take the family with state of the art facilities and over 10,000 exotic sea creatures, 350 different species all located in 10 themed galleries.
It takes about 3 hours to get through everything. It is a fun experience for everyone – from little kids to the grandparents.
The store is huge, featuring 6000 sq. ft., filled with just about every type of moonshine available and includes an onsite still, a tasting bar, and a retail store.
There also is daily live bluegrass music on the outdoor stage.
We were feeling pretty good after sampling a few of their delicious products!!
They are quite generous with the samples. There are plenty of products and merchandise for sale.
The Island in Pigeon Forge (7 miles from Gatlinburg) is a 23-acre entertainment spot with unique shopping, entertainment, rides, games and lots of restaurants.
Here you will find Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant, the Margaritaville Island Hotel, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, and many more shops and restaurants.
There is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot-high observation wheel, and a multi-million dollar show fountain programmed to perform to light and sound.
Definitely, a great spot for 2-4 hours to walk around and get the full Smoky Mountain experience.
The inside Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant is relaxed, lively, and a lot of fun.
One of our favorite pizza places is the Mellow Mushroom. Located on Parkway in the heart of Gatlinburg, the Mellow Mushroom features fresh, stone-baked pizzas made to order in an eclectic, art-filled, and fun environment.
It’s worth waiting for a seat by the window so you can look at all the tourists walking up and down on the street below. The service was excellent and our pizzas arrived quickly. It’s definitely worth a visit on your next trip to Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg has plenty to offer for a couples getaway weekend or a week-long trip with the family.
We would like to come back when the leaves are changing in the fall.
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David Kluge is the founder of the Global Travel Boss blog. He loves helping Empty Nesters & Midlife Adventurers create more freedom, travel more, travel smarter, explore destinations, and for less money. He is a travel activist, small business advisor, avid Green Bay Packer fan, and has a Caribbean soul he can barely control.
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