Family Guide


Kids, let us tell you a story about the most fun town in all the land.

In the mountains or downtown, city kids and country kids alike will find plenty to keep them engaged in Gatlinburg. We’re one of the best family vacation destinations for young explorers and outdoor types with one of the largest natural playgrounds in America— the Great Smoky Mountains National Park-–on our doorstep. Head up into the mountains and find a swimming hole. Practice geocaching, fly-fishing or scouting on more than 800 miles of trails. Pitch camp. Explore the Park on horseback. Ski, snowboard, slide or tube at Ober Gatlinburg, zipline in town or go whitewater rafting on Class IV whitewater. Action-packed and fun family vacations are one of the area’s biggest draws.

Downtown has its own delights: Rev your engine on a go-cart track. Find fun in a mirror maze or museum, soar to new heights at the sky lift or Space Needle or putt for par on some of the craziest mini-golf courses you'll ever see. And don’t leave without seeing Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, voted the #1 aquarium in the nation by TripAdvisor.


Where parents can let loose like kids, relax like adults, and do everything in between.

New moms and dads can load up the stroller or grab a little hand and enjoy the Riverwalk or one of our three city parks. In the Smokies, there are paved trails at Sugarlands and Laurel Falls, and if you're in great shape, it's paved all the way to the top of Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Smokies. While you’re there, camp, fish, hike, or just take a scenic drive. Hop out of the car and get absorbed in the breathtaking scenery. Don’t forget to pack your basket: there are places everywhere to take a break and enjoy a picnic.

If you want to take it to the streets, downtown Gatlinburg has quaint art galleries and craft shops tucked away amid eye-popping attractions, shows and great places to eat for families. There are five malls and over 400 shops, stores and galleries downtown and over a hundred more on the Arts and Crafts Loop. Grab a bite at one of our world-famous pancake houses or take the family for a fancy steak dinner. Key down by watching a Smoky Mountain sunrise or sunset - even the kids will appreciate the boundless beauty that nature provides.

Seniors and Grandparents

Fun for all ages.

Active older adults love the walkability and warmth of Gatlinburg. The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community includes the largest group of independent artisans in North America, and their shops strung along a picturesque eight mile loop just a short drive or trolley ride from downtown. Additionally, the rich history of Appalachia is something to hear about: Designated stops in Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are all part of The Tennessee Heritage Trail, which includes three pathways. The History Trail takes you to homesteads and historic buildings throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including the original homestead of Noah "Bud" Ogle, working mills, preserved cabins and churches from the times of the settlers in the early 1800s. Gatlinburg stops on the Music Trail take you into the birth of folk, bluegrass and acoustic mountain music

Theater buffs will love the original music and comedy on stage at the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre. Accompany the grandkids to the shark lagoon at Ripley's Aquarium. Pause and reflect at Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens, stroll down memory lane at Hollywood Star Cars Museum, or be fascinated at the one and only Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. No matter where you go and what you do, you’ll do it with the people you love in a charming town that’s got something for everyone.

Up Next: Outdoorsman's Guide

The great outdoors are greater in Gatlinburg.

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