[caption id="attachment_655" align="alignleft" ]things to do in Gatlinburg, TN Hiking in the National Park is one way to cool off in Gatlinburg.[/caption]

Summertime means lots of things in Gatlinburg and one of them is spending some time cooling off. This area offers many ways to beat the heat and you can take your pick from laid back activities to wild and wet adventures. We've put together a basic list of some of the places you and your family and friends may enjoy. Everyone is different, but we think we've collected a diverse group of activities to help you get familiar with the wide range of fun ways you can 'just chill' on a summer day in Gatlinburg:

1) Go on a waterfall hike. Check out our recent blog on The Best Waterfalls in Gatlinburg and grab a backpack and hike in to see one of nature's most beautiful sights. Not all of the waterfall hikes in the area are family-friendly; some are a bit arduous so it's a good idea to select a hike that everyone can enjoy if you are going with a group or bringing kids along. If you're unsure which waterfall to visit you can ask some of the local people or talk to staff at the Sugarlands Visitors Center.

2) Explore Gatlinburg's ice cream shops. You scream, they scream, we all scream for ice cream! Maybe a waterfall hike isn't enough to cool you down. In that case, ice cream is the answer! Fortunately Gatlinburg is chock full of ice cream and dessert shops where you'll find such specialties as fried Snickers bars, ice cream cakes, frozen yogurt, smoothies and more delicious concoctions. You can find the tried and true vanilla and chocolate soft serve cones, too.

3) Take advantage of your hotel's pool. Some of the hotels offer extensive pools that have multiple levels, which even qualify as miniature water parks. Check with some of the cabin rentals too, as some have private and heated indoor pools and others have beautiful outdoor pools that feature gorgeous Smoky Mountains scenery as a backdrop.

4) Get in touch with an outfitter for a rafting expedition. Recently we wrote about some of the great white water rafting opportunities you can experience here in Gatlinburg. Since this is a sport that does carry some risk along with the fun, it's recommended that you contact some of the local rafting outfitter companies to set up your activity. In fact, if you go with a group you can actually benefit from working with a company as they will usually offer package deals. The rafting companies provide experienced guides who can help ensure that you have a fun and safe outing.

5) Try the Alpine Slide or go Ice Skating at Ober. If you’re planning to visit Ober Gatlinburg while you’re in town, make sure to take a wild ride down the Alpine slide. You will make your way up the mountain on a scenic chairlift where you can take in all the scenery, and on your way down, you will weave your way through the woods on your own slide. You can also take some time out from the hot sun to go ice skating at Ober’s ice skating rink!

6) Drink some old fashioned lemonade. Yes Gatlinburg serves lemonade at many of its shops in the downtown area. Stop in and grab some funnel cakes (batter poured through a funnel and deep fried) and enjoy them with a big glass of lemonade. Now that's refreshing!

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How do you cool off in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!