Located on the eastern border of Tennessee is the delightful mountain town of Gatlinburg. Supplied with its 5,000 residents and thousands of tourists who cannot resist the Appalachian charm of this must-visit treasure of the south, Gatlinburg is the perfect summer spot for anyone seeking remarkable experiences in nature, culture, and more. So check out this handy travel guide from Southern Living before hitting the road so that you can get the most out of “the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains,” Gatlinburg, TN.
Due to the fact that this mountain resort city is so besieged by ever-changing fall foliage, vibrantly-blossoming springtime flowers, and mythical morning fog in the summer, it’s no wonder why tourists and locals alike attribute a sort of magic quality to this destination’s ever-growing list of attributes. So, if you’re interested in experiencing Gatlinburg first-hand in order to see what wonders are in store for you, then look no further than this list of attractions, experiences, and opportunities that will showcase the best of the mountain town just for you.
Peaking at the top of nearly every visitor’s guide to Gatlinburg is arguably the best chance to see literally everything going on in the town and the surrounding area. Of course, this is in reference to the 680-foot SkyPark, otherwise known as the longest pedestrian suspension bridge on the continent of North America. Honestly, if you want to take in a survey of the mountainous areas, trails, and bodies of water to explore during your stay, there’s really no better vantage point than SkyBridge or the Gatlinburg Space Needle, which stands at a height of 400 feet in the air and accessible via a glass elevator.
If you’re allured by the miles-long legend of the feuding Hatfields and McCoys, then you might want to seek out a trip to Pigeon Forge and take in a Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show so that you can be entertained by a dramatized version of the conflict. While it’s not the most historically accurate representation of this iconic feud, the performers are enthusiastic in their retelling, the country cuisine is enticing, and the atmosphere in the rustic barn-style theater is guaranteed to add some family-fun entertainment to your trip.
Alternatively, if you want more of a nature-fueled adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then consider embarking on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a 5.4 round trip hike leading you to winding pathways, each to their own waterfall. Make an effort to embark on a hike that’s practically mythical: the Rainbow Falls hike, which leads you to a massive 80-foot tall waterfall that is the highest single drop of cascading water to be found in the entire park. If one waterfall isn’t enough for you, then you can venture out to the Place of A Thousand Drips to see dozens upon dozens of tiny cascading waterfalls. Otherwise, if you’re seeing more of an experience, you can take another pathway, the Trillium Gap Trail, that takes you to the impressive, 25-foot high Grotto Falls, a breathtakingly beautiful spot that lets you walk in the quiet secrecy that is the backside of a waterfall. This is the only spot in the entire National Park where you can experience the behind-the-waterfall perspective.
On the more commercial side of things, Gatlinburg is flush with opportunities to be entertained in all things spectacular, curious, and imaginative. Namely, Gatlinburg is home to several event centers that are an essential part of the “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” franchise. For instance, if you need a high-quality, family-fun arcade to pass the time in, there’s Ripley’s Super Fun Zone, Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse, and (perhaps most-notably) Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium.
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