Your Plan for a Family Fun, Kid-Approved Gatlinburg Itinerary
When it comes to making memories with the kids this summer, America’s Mountain Home is a natural choice. For generations, families have made the trek to reconnect with nature – and each other. Make the most of your time together in Gatlinburg with this fun-filled all-ages itinerary, including time-honored traditions and new favorites.
Rise and Shine
With made-fresh-daily donuts and some of the best coffee in Downtown Gatlinburg, Donut Friar has been pleasing crowds since 1969. Grab-and-go or savor the morning – and the sweet treats – with your little ones in the courtyard of this gem nestled in The Village Shops. Cash only (but priced right and always delicious) this stop is worth putting on repeat.
Hit the Smoky Mountain trails for pure mountain-morning bliss. Let the kids burn off some energy while you savor the sights and the coolest temps of the day. Local outfitter A Walk in the Woods has led hiking tours since 1998, including private-group outings designed for children 3-12 and their grown-ups. Soak up the mountain air, search for salamanders and reconnect through nature play for an essential Gatlinburg experience.
After your active morning, head back to town and refuel with legendary Ogle Dogs at Fannie Farkle’s. This all-ages favorite also serves up protein-packed cheesesteaks and sausage subs to suit the hungriest members of your party. In the heart of Gatlinburg, Fannie Farkle’s piles on the fun, with classic games for the young – and the young at heart.
Everyone from Grandma to your littlest crafter will enjoy a trip to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. With more than 100 local artists and craftsmen spanning an 8-mile loop road, this is the largest independent organization of artisans in the U.S. Many of the community’s shops offer opportunities to create your own items, from candles to leather goods. Hop on the trolley or stroll shop-to-shop to get inspired, and don’t miss the selection of locally made Gatlinburg souvenirs.
As evening approaches, head up to the whimsical mountaintop village of Anakeesta to reflect on your day and dream of tomorrow. Wind down together with a scenic stroll before cozying up around the firepit for sunset views. With live music, slow-smoked Southern barbeque, quick bites and an elevated dining option at Cliff Top, everyone will go home happy from Anakeesta.
Bonus Insider Tip: Rainy Day Getaways
In Gatlinburg, a rainy day is just an invitation to enjoy unforgettable indoor attractions. Kids fascinated by marine biology? Head to the state-of-the-art Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for oceanic adventure. Your teens are budding escape artists? Let them test their skills at Gatlin’s Escape Games – where most do not succeed! From arcades to museums, Gatlinburg’s indoor activities do not disappoint.