4 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg, TN may be the gateway to the Smokies, but there are so many fun things to do and see beyond the park. If you’re willing to cross into Pigeon Forge, your options begin to multiply!
All that to say, most visitors don’t suffer from a lack of ideas about what to do in Gatlinburg! Instead, they need help to narrow them down!
We’ve created this guide to share a few unique, highly-rated destinations within Gatlinburg and the surrounding area. Each one offers a one-of-a-kind local experience. You’ll discover plenty of activities, photo opportunities, and memory-making potential.
Keep reading to discover our favorite things to do around Gatlinburg!
1. Explore Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park
Anakeesta is Gatlinburg’s own award-winning theme park, right in the heart of our downtown. It offers a family-friendly introduction to the Smokies. Unlike other theme parks you might have visited, this one is ensconced in natural beauty. In fact, the grounds are on a 70-acre mountain!
Most guests begin with a Chondola ride, which brings you from the Parkway up to the park. From there, don’t miss the famous skywalk, full of hanging bridges and incredible views. Daring visitors will love the zipline attractions, which is a high-octane way to see the national park!
Those looking for a traditional theme park experience won’t be disappointed, either. Anakeesta is home to a famous mountain coaster, plus plenty of treetop play areas for kids of all ages.
Adult visitors might enjoy touring the botanical gardens or strolling the Memorial Forest Walk. While you’re here, you can avail yourself of the spectacular on-site dining options, including several bars. For a bit of relaxation, stretch out around one of the firepits on the property. You can even spend the day and stay to watch the sunset.
2. Visit the Mysterious Mansion
Guests often ask us, “What is there to do in Gatlinburg on a rainy day?” We often direct families to Gatlinburg’s Mysterious Mansion, a curious indoor destination for daring visitors! This haunted attraction has been open year-round since the 80s and has earned a bit of a cult status.
In essence, it’s a three-story tall, turn-of-the-century self-guided haunted house experience. Along the way, you’ll discover secret passages and winding hallways. Your goal is to make your way to the exit.
Beware that you are likely to meet some terrifying characters along the way! Monsters and ghouls will keep things interesting during your journey!
The Mysterious Mansion is open year-round, seven days a week, making it an accessible destination for thrill-seekers!
3. Soar to New Heights at the Gatlinburg SkyBridge
Did you know that Gatlinburg is home to the longest sky bridge on the American continent? If you’re wondering what to do in Gatlinburg, TN, don’t miss this national marvel.
The Gatlinburg SkyBridge spans 700 feet with a breathtaking valley below, offering panoramic views of the Smokies. You can explore the bridge at your own pace, slowing down to search for local wildlife on the way.
Famously, you’ll encounter 30 feet of glass flooring at the highest point of your journey. Saying you “Passed the Glass” is a Gatlinburg rite of passage! Only the bravest visitors manage to accomplish that exhilarating feat!
While you’re there, you can also enjoy the Gatlinburg SkyLift or walk the Gatlinburg SkyTrail. It’s one of the most unique ways to experience the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.
4. Dive into Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
If you ask almost anyone what to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, they'll mention our beloved Ripley’s Aquarium! This stunning attraction is open 365 days per year, making it the perfect stop on any visit. And, yes, it’s the Ripley of Ripley’s Believe It or Not fame, so be sure to expect the unexpected!
Not only can you enjoy the self-guided aquarium tour, but there are plenty of experiences for families. You can set sail on a glass bottom boat and see the sea life from a brand new perspective. You can even make friends with one of the popular penguins during an encounter or penguin painting experience! One of our favorite things to do at the aquarium is feed the sea turtles!
Other Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg include:
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium
- Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
- Ripley’s 5D Moving Theatre
- Ripley’s Mirror Maze
- Ripley’s Mini Golf Courses
Whichever one you visit, you’re sure to have a fun and unique day in Gatlinburg!
The Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg, TN
Needless to say, there is no shortage of what to do in Gatlinburg! All of these attractions and many more are easily accessible from our Bear Camp Cabins properties in Gatlinburg, TN. Enjoy the best of what Eastern Tennessee has to offer. When you’re done, enjoy a luxurious night in your comfortable, well-equipped cabin.
Plus, all Bear Camp guests receive $565.30 worth of free attraction tickets every night of their stay! It’s one of the most affordable ways to see and taste everything the Smokies has to offer.
The truth is, in a Bear Camp Cabin, you’ll have all the entertainment you need without stepping foot off of your stunning property! From scenic vistas to theatre rooms, Bear Camp is your perfect destination during a relaxing trip in Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg cabins book quickly! Book now to experience the best things to do in Gatlinburg, TN!