Twelve Best Activities to Do in Gatlinburg with Your Family

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Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a small town in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a popular vacation destination for families who enjoy outdoor activities, scenic views, and a variety of attractions. If you’re planning a family vacation to Gatlinburg, you’re in for a treat. From hiking trails to amusement parks, there’s something for everyone in this charming town. In this article, we’ll explore the 12 best activities to do in Gatlinburg with your family:

1) Go Skiing at Ober Gatlinburg

If you’re visiting Gatlinburg during the winter months, don’t miss the chance to go skiing at Ober Gatlinburg. This ski resort offers slopes for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced skiers. The snow tubing park and an ice-skating rink are perfect for families with younger children. In the summer months, Ober Gatlinburg offers a variety of activities, including a mountain coaster, a scenic chairlift, and mini golf.

2) Take a Scenic Helicopter Tour

For a truly unforgettable experience, take a scenic helicopter tour over Gatlinburg’s stunning mountain landscapes. Several companies offer tours ranging from short introductory flights to longer excursions that take you over multiple mountain ranges and landmarks. Your family will enjoy breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg from a different perspective. Many tours also include informative narration and personalized attention from your pilot, arranging a personalized and memorable experience.

3) Experience the Gatlinburg Skylift Park

The Gatlinburg Skylift Park is a must-visit attraction for families. The park features a chairlift that takes visitors up 1,800 feet to the top of Crockett Mountain. The ride offers stunning views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. At the top, visitors can explore the SkyDeck, which features a gift shop, a snack bar, and an observation deck. The new SkyBridge, connecting the SkyDeck to a second observation deck, offers even more stunning views.

4) Visit the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

For a quirky and unique experience that the whole family is sure to enjoy, check out the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. This small but fascinating museum boasts an impressive collection of over 20,000 salt and pepper shakers from across the globe, ranging from whimsical and cute to bizarre and outrageous. Kids will love checking out the wide variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, while adults will appreciate the historical and cultural context of the collection. Admission is affordable, and the museum has a convenient location in downtown Gatlinburg.

5) Explore the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community

If you’re looking for a more low-key and leisurely activity, consider exploring the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community. This eight-mile loop road is home to over 100 artisan studios and galleries, where you can watch skilled craftspeople at work and purchase unique, locally-made souvenirs. The community is known for its high-quality pottery, woodworking, painting, and other fine crafts with something for every taste and budget. Many artists are happy to chat with visitors and share their techniques and inspiration, making for a friendly and educational experience.

6) Explore Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a great indoor activity for families. The aquarium features over 10,000 sea creatures, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles, with interactive exhibits like a touch tank and a penguin playhouse.

7) Take a Moonshine Tour

 Moonshine has a long and storied history in the Appalachian Mountains, and Gatlinburg is home to several moonshine distilleries. You can take a round of a distillery, learn about the process of making moonshine, and even sample some of the products.

8) Visit the Gatlinburg SkyBridge

For families seeking a thrilling adventure, visit Gatlinburg SkyBridge. This suspension bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in North America, spanning 680 feet across a deep valley. The bridge offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is an ideal spot for a family photo. A glass-floor section in that area provides a unique perspective of the valley below.

9) Take a ride at Sugarland Riding Stables.

If you are looking for a unique way to experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, consider taking a horseback ride with Sugarland Riding Stables. The stable offers guided trail rides that take you through the mountains, forests, and streams of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll get to experience its beauty up close, and it’s an activity perfect for families with older children.

10) Gatlin’s Escape Games

Escape rooms have become increasingly popular, and Gatlin’s Escape Games is no exception. With four rooms to choose from, each with its unique theme and challenge, your family will have a blast working together to solve puzzles and escape before time runs out. From a Wild West jailbreak to a futuristic spaceship, the rooms at Gatlin’s Escape Games will keep your family on their toes.

11) Visit Hollywood Star Cars Museum

If your family is into cars and pop culture, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum is must-see. Featuring vehicles from movies and TV shows like the Batmobile, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, it will take you on a trip down memory lane. And if you’re lucky, you might even get to meet the owner and curator of the museum, who is known to dress up as his favorite movie character.

12) Visit the Gatlinburg Space Needle

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is an iconic observation tower that offers 360-degree views of the town and surrounding mountains. Visitors can take an elevator to the top for stunning panoramic views and also enjoy other family-friendly attractions at the base, such as mini-golf and an arcade.


Gatlinburg is a fantastic destination for families looking to have a fun and memorable vacation. With its abundance of natural beauty, unique attractions, and exciting activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want to take a scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountains, go ziplining or mountain biking, or explore the town’s many museums and galleries, Gatlinburg has it all. With this list of the 12 best activities to do in Gatlinburg with your family, you can create lasting memories that your family will cherish for years ahead. So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the magic of Gatlinburg.

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