With so many candy shops, thrill rides, and sight-seeing opportunities, it can be overwhelming when planning the family vacation. The following list will hopefully guide you, and ensure a Gatlinburg favorite will not be missed.
Stingrays and sharks fly overhead. Jellyfish float about, their orange translucent bodies in contrast. Friendly and curious penguins, in their tuxes, hurry to greet you!
From the moment you step inside, you are transported from the Gatlinburg to an underwater wonderland.
Ripely’s Aquarium makes the seemingly impossible possible. You can come face to face with the predators of the seas, sharks, in one of the largest underwater tunnels in the world (340 feet!). You can also visit the Penguin Playhouse, where dozens of penguins wait to meet you through an interactive system of crawl tunnels and viewing domes.
Whether you are looking to entertain your kids during a rainy day, or get in touch with your own inner child, the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is the perfect destination.
There are few places in Gatlinburg that display the spirit of mountain life like the Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery. Outside the shop, the air is filled with live music, laughter, and the smell of moonshine. The aroma and laughter grows, and soon you find the free sampling bar. Each sample of moonshine is offered with a short history on how that flavor was made.
The owners and workers of this Gatlinburg distillery want to educate and entertain their customers, offering free samples of their famous moonshine and a walkthrough museum describing the moonshine process.
From the live band and rocking chairs at the exterior, to the free samples and museum inside, the Ole Smoky Moonshine distillery is a must for any adult visiting Gatlinburg.
Since its beginning in the 1950s, the Sky Lift has given thousands of visitors each year thrills and beautiful scenery.
The owners have made a point to maintain a vintage and nostalgic ambiance. The ride appears to be preserved in time. Riders can reminisce of simpler days.
The ascension to the summit of Crocket Mountain is 1800 feet. There are breath-taking views and sights that are one of a kind. Stoic fir trees and babbling brooks flow over the rocks below. .
In May, 2018, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift opened SkyDeck and SkyBridge at the top. The SkyBridge is 700 feet long, and is the longest suspended pedestrian bridge in North America. The SkyBridge connects two ridges of Crockett Mountain and reaches heights over 150 feet! The views and the SkyBridge are sure to be a highlight of your trip!
To say that Gatlinburg’s Hillbilly Golf is a unique experience is an understatement. With obstacles such as Moonshine mills, outhouses, and covered wagons, this challenging course will have your family or group laughing. All eighteen holes wind down a mountain side through forest trees as if it were built there back in the day. A tram runs up and down the incline so players can enjoy the game entirely downhill.
The humorous “hillbilly” props and attractive landscapes makes Hillbilly Golf Course crazy fun.
If you want spine tingling screams, heart pounding scares in sheer darkness, this is for you,
Ripley’s Haunted Adventure should definitely be included when visiting Gatlinburg. There are fears and dangers lurking around the corners. You are guaranteed to be scared out of your wits. Your mind will play tricks on you more than the experience itself.
The Gatlinburg Space Needle is an all inclusive attraction with laser tag, pizza, and panoramic views. It has been the entertainment and attraction center of the city since it opened in 1970. On the ground floor is a 25,000 square foot arcade. To get to the top is the thrilling ride on the 400 foot glass elevator. Then, take in the panoramic views on the observation deck. The Space Needle encompasses education, entertainment, and sight-seeing.
The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway has friendly conductors full of sight information and 360° of glass windows. The trams are a perfect way to gain spectacular views in a closed, climate controlled environment. The fun begins on the ride up. The ski resort at the summit is filled with activities such as skiing, ice skating, tubing, and even bobsledding.
The Hollywood Stars Cars Museum preserves cars of blockbuster movies, and allows fans to reminisce over these vehicles. From Herbie to the Batmobile, from Back to the Future to the Avengers, the collection of forty plus cars has entertained thousands of onlookers. The museum continually adds new vehicles, so no two visits are the same and more than one visit is needed to see them all.
While not pretty to look at, Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum is certainly breathtaking. Witness unbelievable sights and hear incredible stories that will shock, amaze, and blow your mind. Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum will have you asking what, how, and why all at the same time.
Located in downtown Gatlinburg near the aquarium, Anakeesta is a new attraction that is becoming an area favorite. From the downtown station, you will board your choice of a six-person, full enclosed gondola or a four-person chair lift for your ten-minute ride to the mountaintop.
In addition to beautiful views, you will find activities suited for all ages and activity levels. There’s an amazing playground for the children, a mountain coaster, and a 16-bridge nature trail between the trees. Let’s not forget the shopping and restaurants that are available.
When it’s time to decide on a cabin rental to enjoy a true mountain experience that helps you to Escape to Times Past, there’s no better place to start than My Bearfoot Cabins.
Pat and Don Kirchhoefer, Owners