In spite of being one of the smallest towns in Tennessee, Gatlinburg is one of its busiest tourist destinations. Nearly 12 million people visit this mountain town in Tennessee every year. The expansive Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the main reason behind this popularity. But, the Smoky Mountains are just one of the many wonderful tourist attractions in the town.
Right from the aquarium, museums to the space needle, the fun never stops when you set out to explore Gatlinburg and its spectacular beauties. Whether you come with your kids, families, or friends, the place has something for everyone. So, are you excited to take a trip to Gatlinburg for your next holiday? Here are the top five tourist attractions that you must check out in this town.
1. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which holds the distinction of being the most visited national park in the country, extends over an area of 522,427 acres. Though the park is shared by North Carolina and Tennessee, Gatlinburg has the finest scenic routes into this national park. The name of this towering range of mountains is derived from the mist that comes out of the valleys just as smoke signals. You would find travelers enjoying the mountains all through the year here. The winters are for the skiing enthusiasts while the spring and summers are taken up by mountain bikers and hikers.
Roaring Fork Motor Trail and Cades Cove Loop are the popular areas for hiking in this part. You can look for Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals near this area to start hiking early in the morning before the area gets crowded.
2. The Gatlinburg Space Needle
The 407 feet Gatlinburg Space Needle overlooks this lovely town and gives you a panoramic view of the famous Smoky Mountains. Take the glass elevators to reach the observation deck, where you will find free viewfinders to keep you busy. The admission charges of $8.50 include a free second trip, which you have to use within twenty-four hours of buying the ticket.
Once you are done taking in the breathtaking views from the observation deck, take your kids to Arcadia, which is right below the Space Needle. At 25,000 square feet, Arcadia is the largest arcade in Gatlinburg with more than a hundred of the latest amusements and games. And, while you are at it, don’t forget to sample the delicious New York Style pizza served here.
3. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
One of the most popular attractions for adults and kids alike, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, gives you unique opportunities to become familiar with a variety of marine life. A highlight of the place is the acrylic tunnel, which lets visitors see sharks, big snappers, green sea turtles, and tarpons up close. If you want to get to know aquatic life even more closely, wear your bathing suit and take a dip with the stingrays at ‘Touch a ray bay.’ Another fun experience that kids love here is petting the penguins and looking at the resident mermaid.
There are other Ripley’s attractions here as well to keep the kids and teens happy, such as Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium and Ripley’s Moving Theater. If you are looking for a fun day with family, this is the place to head to.
4. The Gatlinburg Sky Lift
The Gatlinburg Skylift has been taking tourists up on the side of the Crockett Mountain since the 1950s. Almost resembling a ski-lift, the ride takes about six minutes to climb the towering 1,800-foot mountain. You will find refreshments, rest areas, and gift shops in the observation area at the top.
The view of the mountains from the Skylift is simply unforgettable: the gushing rivers, blue-green forests, and cloud-topped hills unfold like a picture before your eyes. However, the best time to take a ride on the Gatlinburg Sky Lift is in the evening. The experience is completely different from the entire town illuminated down below and misty mountains looming in the distance. You would also love to enjoy the views from the SkyCenter and SkyDeck.
5. Hollywood Star Cars Museum
If you are a big movie buff with love for cars, this place is like your paradise. The Hollywood Star Cars Museum has more than forty cars from top Hollywood TV shows and movies.
Its remarkable collection features cars from Days of Thunder, The Fast and the Furious, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, and Gone in 60 Seconds. Top attractions at this place are the Batmobiles from the TV show Batman in the 1960s, and the movie Batman Returns in 1992. It even has personal cars owned by renowned entertainment icons like Elvis Presley, Bob Hope, Michael Jackson, Dolly Parton, the Beach Boys, and Sir Paul McCartney.
There is a small gift shop attached to the museum, where you and the kids can pose for photos in the cars from the collection.
This is one place that has something for all kinds of tourist groups. It has the perfect blend of fun activities for the kids and outdoor adventures for you, which makes it the place to be for your next vacation. So, get ready to make some memories and have an unforgettable time at this famous mountain town of Tennessee.