Hot Tennessee

7 Tips to Make the Most of Your Trip to Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a gem nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, exciting attractions, and cozy accommodations. As you plan your trip to this charming town, you’ll want to ensure that every moment is memorable and enjoyable. From exploring the breathtaking landscapes to indulging in local cuisine, Gatlinburg has something for everyone.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit and experience all that Gatlinburg has to offer.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.

1. Plan Your Visit During the Off-Season

One of the best ways to enhance your Gatlinburg experience is to plan your visit during the off-season. The town is a popular destination, and visiting during peak times can mean dealing with large crowds and longer wait times at attractions. The off-season, typically in the spring and fall, offers a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. You’ll find that accommodations and attractions are less crowded, allowing you to enjoy everything at your own pace. Additionally, off-season travel often comes with lower prices on lodging and activities, making it a more budget-friendly option. Whether you’re hiking the trails or strolling through downtown, the quieter environment will give you a more intimate experience of Gatlinburg’s charm.

2. Choose the Right Condo

Choosing the right place to stay can make a significant difference in your overall experience. For a comfortable and convenient stay, consider Oak Square Condominiums. Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg on River Road, Oak Square is just steps away from the Gatlinburg Convention Center and a variety of restaurants and shops. This prime location makes it easy to explore the town without spending too much time traveling from one place to another.

These Gatlinburg condos offer a range of amenities that will enhance your stay. Each one bedroom condo features a private balcony overlooking a seasonal outdoor pool, perfect for unwinding after a day of exploring. You’ll also find a wonderful indoor pool area with an 8′ deep swimming area, as well as a wading pool for toddlers. For those chilly evenings, the condos have seasonal fireplaces, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a home away from home, Oak Square Condominiums in Gatlinburg is an ideal choice.

3. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

No trip to Gatlinburg is complete without exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This stunning park is home to diverse wildlife, picturesque landscapes, and countless outdoor activities. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking to enjoy a leisurely walk, the park offers trails for all skill levels. Popular hikes include the Alum Cave Trail, which provides breathtaking views and unique geological formations, and the Laurel Falls Trail, known for its beautiful waterfall.

Before heading out, make sure to prepare adequately for your adventure. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, carry plenty of water, and pack a snack or two. It’s also wise to check the weather forecast and trail conditions to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. The park’s visitor centers can provide maps and additional information to help you make the most of your visit. Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will give you a deep appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds Gatlinburg.

4. Discover Downtown Gatlinburg

Downtown Gatlinburg is a vibrant area filled with unique attractions, shops, and dining options. As you stroll along the streets, you’ll find a variety of stores offering everything from handmade crafts to delicious local treats. Be sure to visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum, where you can explore bizarre exhibits and interactive displays. The museum is a fun and fascinating stop that’s perfect for families.

For a taste of local flavor, try some of the many restaurants scattered throughout downtown. Don’t forget to stop by the local candy shops for a sweet treat to take home. Downtown Gatlinburg is also home to a number of events and festivals throughout the year, so be sure to check the local calendar during your visit. Exploring downtown is a great way to immerse yourself in the lively culture and friendly atmosphere of Gatlinburg.

5. Experience Local Art and Craftsmanship

Gatlinburg is known for its vibrant arts and crafts scene, and a visit to the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is a must for anyone interested in local craftsmanship. This eight-mile loop is home to the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Here, you can find everything from handmade pottery and paintings to exquisite jewelry and woodwork. Many of the artists are happy to discuss their work and demonstrate their craft, providing a unique opportunity to learn about traditional techniques and creative processes.

Take your time browsing through the various galleries and studios. You’re sure to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts that reflect the spirit of the Smoky Mountains. Additionally, the community hosts seasonal events and festivals that showcase the best of local art, making it a perfect stop for art lovers and those looking to support local businesses.

6. Take a Scenic Drive

One of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains is by taking a scenic drive. There are several routes that offer breathtaking views and photo opportunities. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a popular choice, winding through lush forests and past cascading waterfalls. This loop is especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves change color.

Another great option is the Newfound Gap Road, which takes you from Gatlinburg to Cherokee, North Carolina. Along the way, you’ll pass through some of the most scenic parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with plenty of pull-offs where you can stop and take in the views. Clingmans Dome Road, leading to the highest peak in the Smokies, offers stunning panoramas and a chance to visit the observation tower for a 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains. Scenic drives are a peaceful and picturesque way to explore the area at your own pace.

7. Participate in Seasonal Events

Gatlinburg hosts a variety of seasonal events and festivals that add an extra layer of fun and excitement to your visit. In the winter, the town transforms into a holiday wonderland with the Gatlinburg Winter Magic festival. Thousands of lights illuminate the streets, and festive activities like parades and tree lighting ceremonies create a magical atmosphere. Spring brings the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest, where you can sample wines from local wineries and enjoy live music.

The summer months are filled with music and food festivals, such as the Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair and Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales. Fall is celebrated with the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival, featuring autumn decorations, craft shows, and seasonal foods. Participating in these events is a great way to experience the local culture and join in the community’s celebrations. Be sure to check the event calendar when planning your trip to see what’s happening during your stay.

That’s A Wrap!

Gatlinburg is a destination that truly has it all, from stunning natural landscapes to vibrant local culture and delicious cuisine. By planning your visit during the off-season, choosing the right accommodations, exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and immersing yourself in downtown Gatlinburg, you’ll ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip. Add to that the experience of local art and craftsmanship, savoring local flavors, taking scenic drives, participating in seasonal events, and finding time to relax, and you have the recipe for a perfect vacation. Embrace the charm and beauty of Gatlinburg, and you’ll create memories that last a lifetime.

Disclaimer: Links in this page are meant to help you find relevant information and book attractions easier by linking directly to specific pages on partner websites (i.e. TripAdvisor, If you click a link, we may earn a small commission on transactions. This helps support the cost of running our website, and it adds absolutely no extra cost to you as the consumer. Thank you, we appreciate your support! You can read more on our disclosure policy.


I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

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