9 Lakes Region - Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council

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Gatlinburg for Grownups

You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the fun in Gatlinburg. There is endless entertainment for the older adult, whether you are looking for a leisurely stroll or a breathtaking spectacle.

Day One
Begin the day with a southern homestyle breakfast at any of Gatlinburg’s popular pancake restaurants. Enjoy the warm food, friendly atmosphere and pleasant setting before starting out your day.

Next, take a leisurely stroll down the Parkway, Gatlinburg’s “Main Street.” This completely walkable city has wide sidewalks, wide open views and benches along the way where you can stop and enjoy the sights and sounds. Or ride the trolley! Gatlinburg has a fleet of more than 20 trolleys to take you through the city in comfort.

Be sure to visit any of Gatlinburg’s candy shops, where the traditions of candy makers from years gone by are honored and maintained. Watch the taffy being pulled, the fudge being cut, the chocolates being dipped and decorated, and savor the scent of your childhood in the air.

Visit any of the attractions along the Parkway—The Hollywood Wax Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum come to mind—or take a journey into the magical world of the Amazing Mirror Maze!

No visit to Gatlinburg would be complete without a visit to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies! Plan to spend a couple of hours marveling at the creatures of the deep—you can even ask an educator all the questions that come to mind. This aquarium features a grand underwater tunnel that lets you feel like you are in the aquarium with the animals!

End your first day by taking the Gatlinburg Sky Lift to a spectacular vantage point high above the city. Watch the sun set as you rise above the city and enjoy the breath-taking view of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Day Two
Today is for adventure! Start the morning off with a trip to Ober Gatlinburg. Catch the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway for the two-mile ride to the only ski resort in the state of Tennessee nestled at the top of Mt. Harrison, where there’s year-round fun.

Ober Gatlinburg offers ice-skating year round, and snow skiing and snow boarding in the winter. There is also a black bear habitat that allows you to see these grand creatures as they live in the wild. If you are not skiing, plan to spend half a day.

For the second part of the day, visit the Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg is the Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains; from Gatlinburg you can take a leisurely stroll, make the short drive or catch a trolley that will put you right in the middle of all the hiking, biking, nature watching and beauty that you can imagine. Stay until sunset and watch the evening begin from a place of beauty and peace.

Day Three
If you like golf, today is the day to take a swing at it! Gatlinburg’s golf course offers a challenge in a unique and stunning setting. Take your best shot at the hole known as “Sky Hi.” The spectacular 12th hole challenges the golfer to take aim at a flag that’s 195 yards out and 200 feet down from the tee! The Gatlinburg golf course clubhouse has just undergone a $1.25 million renovation as well.

You might also want to try your hand at trout fishing. Gatlinburg has many of the best trout fishing locations in the state of Tennessee! Gatlinburg stocks rainbow trout weekly. One unique asset Gatlinburg has recently added is a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. Herbert Holt Park’s fishing ramp and pier on the Little Pigeon River allows those in wheelchairs and children the same access to the river.

Spend your afternoon visiting the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Here, fine arts and folk arts are equally honored. You can watch masters at work, browse shops, and find something to please everyone you know – especially yourself! Nowhere else in the South will you find a richer heritage of fine craftsmanship than in Gatlinburg. The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, established in 1937, is the largest group of independent artisans in North America.