Gatlinburg, Tennessee is just a little jaunt over the mountain from our home. Our family of five visits frequently because we truly love the atmosphere, the nature, and the fun we have there as a family. Since we have frequented Gatlinburg and the surrounding area for the past 20 years, we figured it was a good idea to share our top 5 things to do in Gatlinburg for families.
If you asked my kids, Anakeesta would top the list. Year round, this amazing mountain top experience is a top 5 for things to do in Gatlinburg. This is where Aunt Kara will conquer her fear of heights and Uncle Tom becomes the cool uncle as he soars down the mountain coaster with a little in tow. Food, adventure, and more await everyone on this fun packed peak experience.
Is it worth the price? A resounding YES! We spent two days here and enjoyed the walking, the zip lines, the music, and just about everything.
If you want to have good old fashioned fun, this one is for your family! Ober Gatlinburg was the equivalent of stepping back into the very best 80s arcade and fun center. Our entire family ages 5-72 found things to do and delicious food to eat. This adventure begins as you ride the Aerial Tram up the mountainside and it is a sight to see! When you arrive, you have access to so many fun things. There is a small zoo, snow tubing (be sure and get tickets for this and be present at your assigned time), ice skating, skiing, a rock wall, ice bumper cars, mini golf, the alpine slide, and more!
Our favorite trails in Gatlinburg are:
1. Cataract Falls - this one is short and sweet. It is perfect for beginner hikers and families with new walkers or the elderly. Plus, did you see "falls"? Yep, we are waterfall folks too.
2. Metcalf Bottoms Trail - we love the sweet old timey schoolhouse at the end of this trail. Do note that this one is a bit moderate for those who aren't typically hikers. There is a good hill at the beginning and then some areas with roots, etc. That said, we adore this hike and often see wildlife (can you say bears?)!
3. Lower Lynn Camp Falls - this is part of a longer trail, but you can simply hike the 3/4 of a mile to the waterfall. This waterfall is a beauty year round and all of our family loves visiting.
Everyone knows that Gatlinburg has some spots for great snacks, but if you've not checked out their eateries for families, you are missing out. My husband can give you the grand tour, so here is breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Crockett's Breakfast Camp is a great place to enjoy coffee and get tanked up for your family hike. My boys shared a big breakfast between them happily. Also, if you don't bring this book along, you have missed some belly laughs.
You won't be disappointed with anything you order at Bennett's Barbecue! Our family are brisket folks, but we know people from miles around that swear by their pork barbecue too. Just do it!
For dinner, we often enjoy fixing our meals at in our cabin. If we do go out, we love grabbing some pizza from Mellow Mushroom.
Walk the Strip
If you go to Gatlinburg with your family and you skip this, you've missed it all! Sometimes, we come up to visit and this is the only thing we do. We window shop, we grab some yummy snacks (do check out the Natural House of Jerky and The Donut Friar for top notch taste testing), and we simply do life together.
Plan your trip through the city welcome center.
If you are looking for a great place to stay in this area, we had the very best time at Red Sky Lodge.