The Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg are known for their family-friendly fun, but there’s plenty for adults to do too – from driving UTVs and sky-high bars with the most amazing views to nighttime walks and daytime adventures from hikes to ziplining.
If you’ve been to Gatlinburg in recent years, chances are you’ve seen a UTV. Rental agencies popped up all over town and create a unique way to see the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Pack a picnic and head to a local favorite swimming spot: Greenbrier. Drive the primitive roads in your UTV and choose a picnic site at the picnic area. Of course, for the more adventurous, you can always pull right up next to the stream and splash around in the river on a hot summer day!
Rentals across town range from hourly to daily – you’re only limited by your imagination!
Skylift and Sky Bridge
For an adventure where sky’s the limit, take the Skylift up to Skylift park, then stroll across the Sky Bridge. The lift takes visitors up and down the mountain for spectacular 360-degree views. Visitors get off at the new Skydeck, where they can sit outside, buy a beer and do some shopping.
The SkyCenter at the SkyDeck on Crockett Mountain, overlooking Gatlinburg offers up “sweeping panoramic views” of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two floors include a gift shop, a snack bar with pizza, salads, wraps, and ice cream treats, along with a second-floor with an enormous seating area and bar with those amazing views day or night.
While you’re at the top of Crockett Mountain, wander over to the Sky Bridge for a little adventure.
Billed as North America’s largest pedestrian suspension bridge – Sky Bridge is 680 feet from tower to tower. What is on the other side of the 140-foot-high suspension bridge? There are long-term plans for some attractions on the other side, but for now, it’s an experience with fantastic views.
A $20 ticket gets one adult a round-trip on the SkyLift and all-day access to the Sky Center and the Sky Bridge. Tickets are available at the SkyLift ticket office in Gatlinburg or online in advance.
Anakeesta is a theme park located on 70 acres of forested land in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg with plenty of adult fun and relaxation offerings.
The name, which is a Cherokee Indian word referring to high ground, literally meaning “the place of the balsams,” was chosen “to capture the authentic Smokies heritage that our guests will experience among the treetops at the summit of Anakeesta Mountain. “Stroll the grounds with its botanical garden and, grab a cocktail or some ice cream, sit and enjoy the views or join the play areas that include ziplining, and roller coaster riding.
Anakeesta’s Dueling Zipline Adventure has its visitors zipping through the treelines high over the forest floor. Thethree zips offer beautiful views of the Smokies while zipping down side-by-side with a friend, partner, spouse. Along the way, are two challenge stations where rappelling off platforms in a controlled descent is an option. “Zipline guests end their journey via a short downhill path to our Chondola mid-station and ride the Chondola back to the summit of Anakeesta.
Anakeesta recommends arriving 1.5 – 2 hours BEFORE tour time to park, redeem online admission and ride the Chondola up to Anakeesta. Zipline guests must check in at the Adventure Outpost on the mountain 30 minutes before their scheduled tour time.
There’s also the rail runner – a personal roller coaster – on a single rail. The ride begins with 1,600 feet of downhill twists and turns and ends with a scenic uphill ride back to the top of Anakeesta Mountain.
Take in the scenic views of the Smokies and Downtown Gatlinburg. Stroll along meandering trails in the lush botanical Vista Gardens Walk. Learn about the history and nature of Anakeesta at the Memorial Forest Walk. Enjoy the fire circle while listening to storytellers or live music.
At the top of Anakeesta is The Bar at the Top of the World, part of The Cliff Top Grill & Bar.
Here, visitors take in the beautiful scenery, have a beer or a cocktail – try Karen’s Sweet Tea, and maybe snack such as the southern favorite Fried Green Tomatoes or a ½ pound char-grilled Smoky Mountain burger that comes with your choice of unique toppings. Check out the menu.
General admission – $22 for adults – gives you unlimited Chondola access all day to enjoy all that Anakeesta and Firefly Village have to offer. Purchase your ticket after 6 p.m. on-site and come back free the very next day.
This place gets its name from country music superstar Blake Shelton’s breakout hit, “Ol’ Red.” Laid-back and genuine, up for anything, a bit irreverent but always fun, Ole Red says of itself – and set to great music – that’s the goal.
Blake-approved cocktails are the order of the day, along with a plate of Redneck Nachos, the super-stacked Ober Gatlin-Burger. There’s also the famous Champagne of Fried Chicken, brined in Miller High Life, fried to perfection, and served in a champagne bucket – for sharing. Everything is scratch made.
And since Blake knows a thing or two about spotting country’s next rising stars, Ole Red puts them on stage seven days a week.
Some of Blake’s approved cocktails include GET PICKLED – Henrick’s Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Pickle Brine; TISHOMINGO SUNSET – Ole Smoky Mango Habanero Whiskey, Ole Smoky Orange Moonshine, House-made Sour Mix, Cherry Juice w/ or w/o Mason Jar; and REDNECK MARTINI – Ole Smoky White Lightnin’ Moonshine, Pickle Juice, Bitters, Topped with a Cornish Pickle
Located at 511 Parkway, Gatlinburg, 865-325-3101, Ole Red is one adult and fun place not to miss.
Smith And Son Corner Kitchen
Immediately next to Smith And Son’s sits the most recognizable structure in Gatlinburg – the Gatlinburg Space Needle. The Space Needle is the tallest structure in the Smokies at 407 feet. Likewise, its observation deck offers some of the most amazing views of the Great Smoky Mountains. From the observation deck, see all of Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains. There are free viewfinders for an even closer view.
Offering a variety of “All American Food,” Blaine’s has balcony dining overlooking the Great Smoky Mountains and downtown Gatlinburg.
Start with a unique appetizer, such as Double Deluxe Nachos, or loaded tots. Try the Southern Fried Hot Chicken or the Chicken Salad BLT. For a full meal, check out the slow-cooked Ribs – smothered in their house made barbecue sauce and slow cooked for hours, the Delta Catfish or the Smoked Meatloaf. There’s a gluten-free menu too.
Open 7 days a week at 11 a.m., Smith and Son Corner Kitchen is located at 812 Parkway Ste 105 at Stoplight No. 8 in Gatlinburg, (865) 430-1978.
Other Gatlinburg Spots
The Park Grill opens daily for lunch at 11:30 and happy hour pricing on Monday through Friday starts at 4:30 p.m. and continues until 7 p.m. The restaurant feels like a hunting lodge – with fireplaces, large wooden beams, stonework, wood carvings and local artifacts on the walls.
On the menu are appetizers including fried pickle spears, pepper-jack cheese and spinach queso dip, fried mac and cheese bites with Gouda cheese served with a spicy raspberry sauce and that southern staple fried green tomatoes.
Take a look inside and check out more photos of this unique spot. The Park Grill is located at 1110 Parkway in Gatlinburg, (865) 436-3800. It opens daily at 11:30 a.m.
The Melting Pot
Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, The Melting Pot is a U.S. restaurant chain founded in Maitland, Florida, in 1975. It offers a fine dining adventure that inspires participation, laughter and fun. The meal begins with gourmet cheese blended and seasoned tableside by and continues with freshly made salad. The main course contains meat and veggies you can cook right at the table. And then there’s dessert – with several chocolate fondues to choose.
Pair dinner with one of many wine options or try a flight or have a signature cocktail.
Located at 959 Parkway Ste 2, Gatlinburg, 865-430-4430.
Speaking of wine and spirits, don’t forget all the tastings available throughout Gatlinburg – wine, beer and moonshine!
Visit the oldest winery in East Tennessee, Smoky Mountain Winery, and taste award winning wines that keep customers coming back year after year.
The Smoky Mountain Winery is located at 450 Cherry St Ste 2, Gatlinburg.
1133 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 325-1110.
651 Parkway Gatlinburg, (423) 623-0681.
611 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 314-1873.
650 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 436-6995.
1004 Parkway Suite 501 Gatlinburg, (865) 436-4200.
702 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 412-1065.
458 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 412-1123.
903 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 436-6995.
519 Parkway Gatlinburg, (865) 325-1468.
Book a Gatlinburg Cabin Now and Let the Fun Begin!
There is so much to look forward to in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains! When you book one of our Gatlinburg cabins , you’ll be close to all the action, excitement, and new attractions the area has to offer. Book today and let us know how you plan on spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains in 2019!
Give American Patriot Getaways a call at 800-204-5169. Let our experts help you find the right cabin and all the right fun, food and entertainment for an adult vacation that will have you wanting to come back as soon as possible.