Why Gatlinburg is Such a Great Family Vacation Hotspot

gatlinburg  aerial
September 30, 2013

Happy family ziplining in Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg is the perfect spot for any family vacation. The calmness and tranquility of Gatlinburg offers families a peaceful setting to spend time together and bond in the stunningly beautiful outdoors of Tennessee. Multi-generational trips don’t get any better. Find something for everyone with the unlimited number of family-friendly activities.

Hiking: Bring your hiking shoes and bug repellent because a trip to Gatlinburg isn’t complete without hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country’s most visited national park! With 800 miles of hiking on 150 trails that vary in difficulty and length, it’s easy to find a hike that’s suitable for the whole family. See glorious waterfalls like Grotto Falls and Laurel Falls and stop for a picnic along the trail. Walk among the wildlife, including black bears, salamanders, deer, raccoon, turkeys, woodchucks, and more.

Visitors can explore the lush wooded forest via easily accessible trails throughout this beautiful park. A variety of paved trails, fairly short trails (3 miles and under), handicap accessible trails, and stroller accessible trails make it easy to bring along the whole family. Additionally, the park rangers offer ranger-led programs that are perfect for children. Kids ages 5-12 can even become junior rangers!

Shopping and Crafts: Find great shopping stops for the whole family can be found downtown, on the Arts and Crafts Loops and at the Mountain Mall. Most popular with the older family members, specialty stores in Gatlinburg are truly one-of-a-kind. From the hot sauce shop to the magnet store, prepare for a shopping experience like no other. Whether you’re looking for an outlet mall or local handicrafts, families are sure to leave Gatlinburg with new treasures and souvenirs for everyone!

Amusement Centers and Activities: There are so many amusement center activities that it’s hard to know where to start! Dollywood, Wonderworks, Ripley’s Super Fun Zone offer a large range of things to do. From the aquarium and wildlife encounters to go carts and ziplines to mini golf and the sky tram, Gatlinburg will entertain fun-loving children of all ages. The famous Hillbilly Golf Course is only accessible from a tram ride up a cliff/mountain where the views are spectacular. These activities can keep families busy and entertained for days on end.

The family fun doesn’t stop there – other nearby Gatlinburg attractions include Little Pigeon River, Black Bear Jamboree, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Dollywood (founded by Dolly Parton), Dixie Stampede, Wild Bear Falls, Renegade Fun House, and more! In addition to hiking, families can swim, fish, raft, and more. With the many ways to spend your time in Gatlinburg, just remember not to over do it. Traveling with the family can be a lot of work as well especially with so many options, so do your planning ahead of time!

After your family vacation in Gatlinburg, it’s sure to become a family tradition! Some families find it hard to fit in all of the exciting attractions in Gatlinburg in one trip – just another great reason to make it a regular destination spot. Get outdoors and get close with your family in Gatlinburg.

Author Katie Boyer