In the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is full of family-friendly activities that make it an ideal vacation spot awash in natural beauty. Here are 4 of our favorite attractions in Gatlinburg guaranteed to delight kids and adults of all ages.
1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Any story about Gatlinburg’s attractions would be remiss without discussion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most popular national park in the U.S. It’s celebrated for its wide variety of flora and fauna, including more than 1,500 flowering plants that bloom all year long. Families can embark on extensive hiking trails both easy and challenging, or drive to an iconic spot like gorgeous Cades Cove for a picnic. Not only is this valley in the shadow of breathtaking mountain views, you also might spot a white-tailed deer, coyote, or black bear.
2. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
The perfect rainy day attraction, this aquarium features an expansive range of permanent and rotating exhibits celebrating sea life. Highlights include a glass-bottom boat adventure on a shark lagoon, one-on-one interaction with stingrays, tropical rainforest creatures, a coral reef, and an interactive discovery center. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was named one of the 10 best aquariums in the nation by USA Today.
3. Ober Gatlinburg
Open year-round, Tennessee’s only ski resort allows both active fun in the snow and attractions for the less athletically inclined members of your group. This resort features eight skiing trails of varying difficulty, snow tubing, chairlift rides to the top of Mount Harrison to enjoy incredible vistas, and even a Smoky Mountain Wildlife Adventure that showcases the region’s native animals. Daredevils will head straight for the 3,750-foot ski mountain coaster, where you can control your own speed up to 25 miles per hour.
4. Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Movie fans and auto aficionados will both love this unique museum, featuring some of the most iconic cars used in Hollywood over the years. Highlights include the original Batmobile from the 1966 Batman television show, the Fast and the Furious Mitsubishi Eclipse and 1970 Black Dodge Charger, and the Munsters Drag-u-la. The 40-plus car collection is updated frequently, and the museum is open every day from 9 a.m. until 11 p.m.
Regardless of the size of your family and their varying interests, these four Gatlinburg attractions are sure to provide plenty of entertainment, whether you’re here for a day trip or planning a longer stay.