Luckily for the money conscious traveler there are many amazing inexpensive things to do in Gatlinburg, TN! From trails to museums to distilleries, Gatlinburg has a little bit of everything for each member of your family.
Keep reading if you’d like to find out some of our favorite activities!
1. Clingman’s Dome
Have you ever wanted to go to the highest peak overlooking the mountains and see what they look like beneath you?
Visiting Clingman’s Dome will let you do just that!
Part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the world famous Appalachian Trail, the Dome is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails. The trails range in difficulty. This means the entire family can enjoy the summit without being overwhelmed.
Clingman’s Dome stands at 6,643 feet and the park is a scenic drive from Gatlinburg. To get to the peak you will have to take a 1/2 mile hike on a paved trail, taking in the views along the way. But it’s truly worth it in the end.
2. Arts and Crafts Community
Gatlinburg is home to some amazing artists. In fact, the town of Gatlinburg began as an artisan community!
Anyone visiting Gatlinburg should check out the Arts and Crafts Community. Located a few miles south of downtown, it houses many workshops and studios of the resident artist and crafters.
Feel free to drive the 8-mile loop and enjoy the sights of people creating and crafting. You can purchase truly one of a kind creations that are sure to be great conversation starters back home.
It’s completely free to visit. And it’s a great way to absorb the local culture. And maybe help a few artists out too!
3. Newfound Gap Road
There is only one road that goes up and over the mountains Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The Newfound Gap Road is a free drive for visitors. The 33-mile road traverses from Gatlinburg all the way to Cherokee, North Carolina.
If you’re a fan of taking the long way and want to experience the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, this road is definitely a must-do.
4. Cades Cove
Another stunning feature of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is this valley tucked away among the mountains.
Cades Cove features many historical buildings as well as many opportunities for wildlife watching. Visitors to the cove can hike, bike and relax here. There is also an 11-mile road that loops around the cove that can be driven on and is great for cyclists.
The Cove can be enjoyed from your car, making it a great and easy visit for your family.
5. Haunted Gatlinburg Tours
Everyone loves a good ghost story. And luckily for you, Gatlinburg has a whole slew of them.
With the rich history surrounding the town, there are many different tours to take part in. And with experienced and knowledgeable guides you’re sure to have a great and spooky time.
Check out Ghost and Haunt Tours for ticket prices. They offer group rates and low-cost tours. You’ll learn about the mover and shakers that helped put Gatlinburg on the map. And maybe get a few jumps in on the way!
6. Roaring Fork Motor Trail
There are a lot of scenic trails surrounding Gatlinburg. But not all of them are accessible by car.
Roaring Fork Motor Trail isn’t one of those though! It winds through the Smokies, shows off the beautiful forests and waterfalls there. If you want to get out and stretch your legs be sure to check out Grotto Falls! You may even have a chance to catch a glimpse of the famous llama train that supplies Mt. LeConte during the summer months.
7. Ole Smoky Distillery
For those visitors who aren’t about hiking and want to enjoy the sharper things in life, maybe visit the Ole Smoky Distillery.
Moonshine plays a big role in the history of the citizens who call the Smoky Mountains home. If you’ve never tried moonshine, you should definitely visit the Ole Smoky Distillery.
This distillery is one of the oldest legal moonshine distilleries in the US. With free tours every day of the week this is a great place to visit for those on a budget. Be sure to taste test a few samples while you’re there!
Tours are open to people of all ages. But if you want a taste of the shine, you’ll have to be 21. Still, it’s a great glimpse into Gatlinburg’s rich history.
8. Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill
Historical museums surround Gatlinburg. And the Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill is one of the most beautiful.
Visitors to this part of the National Park system will be able to visit historical farm buildings including barns and houses. They’ll be able to glimpse what daily life was like for the farmers that called The Smoky Mountains home.
Many of the buildings were built in the 19th century and were moved to the farm museum in the 1950s.
9. Attend Some Festivals
One thing to keep an eye on if you’re thinking about visiting Gatlinburg is the festival schedule!
With several seasonal festivals that take place throughout the year, you’ll be able to revel in some true Tennessee festivities.
A great example of Gatlinburg’s seasonal festivals is the Smoky Mountains Tunes and Tales. This event takes place during the height of Gatlinburg’s tourism season.
Sit back and listen to the music that got its start in the very mountains you’re walking through. The street festival can be walked through and you can interact with the artists. It’s completely free to attend so enjoy some tunes as you shop in downtown Gatlinburg.
10. Gatlin’s Fun Center
If you’re visiting with children, be sure to visit Gatlin’s Fun Center – formerly Fort Fun. For a few dollars, you can take your kids mini-golfing, do some laser tag or even hunt for gems in the Gem Mines.
You can purchase an activity pass at the beginning of your day, which gives you the entire day to have some fun and win some cool prizes!
So Many Things to Do in Gatlinburg, TN
Are you sold on visiting Gatlinburg yet? We certainly hope so!
This town offers a rich and beautiful history that we think you’ll really love. With so many things to do in Gatlinburg, TN, it’s no wonder it’s one of the best tourist attractions in Tennessee.
The great thing is that you don’t even have to spend a lot to have fun.