Summer is right outside your windows. Nearly half of the U.S. population packs their suitcases and goes on a summer vacation. It’s the perfect time to reconnect with your family or rekindle your love flame (or both!).
While some prefer the beaches, others take pleasure in exploring the mountains. One of the most attractive mountain towns in America is Gatlinburg, TN. It’s the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a unique environment for bird watching.
If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg, TN, here are some highlights you cannot afford to miss.
9 Hidden Gems of Gatlinburg, TN
1. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
Do you want to see 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers? At the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, you can find shakers from every corner of the world in literally every decade. They come in the most quirky designs.
The admission ticket for an adult is $3 and free for children 12 years old and under. You can apply your ticket toward the purchase of any salt and pepper shaker set in the museum’s gift shop.
2. The Secret Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
That’s right, there’s a secret entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s a great, quick spot for you to work your way up the mountains instead of going through Pigeon Forge.
The secret entrance is the route through Wears Valley. This is how most locals enter the national park.
The secret entrance becomes particularly handy during the high seasons. You get to see picturesque views while avoiding the crowds. On a clear, sunny day, from Wears Valley you can see the mountains covered in bright, colorful leaves. An absolutely breathtaking view!
3. Cataract Falls
When you think of waterfalls, you think of deep, complicated routes through the mountains. However, this is not the case for Cataract Falls.
From downtown Gatlinburg TN, you can get to Cataract Falls in less than ten minutes. Besides the convenient location, the waterfall is a short, easy hike. You certainly don’t have to be a great athlete to visit this beautiful natural place.
4. Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community
Only 3 miles away from downtown Gatlinburg TN, you can reach the largest community of independent artisans in North America.
The community is located on the historic, 8-mile Tennessee Heritage Arts and Crafts Trail. Founded in 1937, it has been a friendly, supportive place for artisans to perform their crafts, including painting, sewing, weaving, and carving.
If you’re in Gatlinburg, support the locals by visiting the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts community. You’ll be able to find beautiful hand-made pottery, stained glass, silversmithing, candles, baskets, jewelry, quilts, and much more.
5. Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens
Formerly the Christus Gardens property, the Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens is an inspirational place right in the heart of Gatlinburg.
You’ll get to experience lifelike exhibits and representations of Jesus Christ’s milestones. With remarkable effects, lighting, life-size figures, and music, a story from 2,000 years ago will come alive before you eyes.
6. Gourley’s Pond in Cades Cove
Cades Cove is full of charming places, but Gourley’s Pond is perhaps one of the most overlooked destinations.
To get to Gourley’s Pond, you’ll need to park your car at LeQuire Cemetery located at the end of Sparks Lane. Walk down the loop road for 200 feet, then turn right and continue for about 100 feet. You’ll see the pond afterward.
Keep in mind that Gourley’s Pond is a wet-weather pond. When there hasn’t been enough rainfall, the pond will become dry and empty.
7. Aunt Debbie’s Country Store
This is a unique place if you’re looking for handcrafted items or gifts made in Gatlinburg. From lamps to birdhouses, campfire incense cones to Tennessee whiskey jalapeño pepper ketchup, you can find the most local, high-quality products at Aunt Debbie’s Country Store.
8. Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop
There are always rooms for desserts. After a long day of hiking up the mountains or walking around town, what could be a better place to unwind and enjoy some of the best baked goods in Gatlinburg TN?
Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop offers everything a sweet tooth craves. You’ll find a wide range of items, including cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, and ice cream.
9. Smoky Mountain Farms Jelly House
The perfect souvenir from Gatlinburg is perhaps not the typical key chain, but a jar from the Smoky Mountain Farms Jelly House.
For fans of jellies, jams, and butter, this store boasts a massive collection of delicious spreads and preserves as well as pickles and hot sauces. Of course, each product comes with free samples so you can try everything they have to offer.
The Smoky Mountain Farms Jelly House is located a few minutes from downtown Gatlinburg. It’s right next to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.
Make sure to check out this store — you might be able to find one gift or two for your friends and family. You might even want to bring the entire store home!
A Final Note on Gatlinburg, TN
There are many attractive places in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Once you’ve visiting this town, it’s easy to find yourself wanting to come back again and again. The special thing is each visit is different from the previous.
While places like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park might need no introduction, others require more effort to discover. We hope you’ve found our list of those hidden places in Gatlinburg useful for preparing your upcoming vacation in this beautiful town.
If you’re looking for some amazing accommodations for your summer vacation in the Gatlinburg areas, we can help out! Contact us today. For more vacation guides, be sure to check out all our blog posts. You can even follow us on social media – we’re active on Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest!