Activities To Enjoy On Your Next Gatlinburg Vacation by Alan LeStourgeon
Gatlinburg Tennessee is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the southeastern United States with more than 12 million people visiting annually. With that kind of attendance in this area, you know there are plenty of activities to partake in while on your vacation to Gatlinburg.
Since Gatlinburg is the host city to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the park is the main attraction for visitors. More than 11 million visitors come to The Smokies every year to enjoy its more than 500,000 acres of fishing, hiking, whitewater rafting, camping, climbing, cycling, sightseeing and much more.
By far the most popular destination in the National Park is Cades Cove. Cades Cove is visited by more than 2 million people every year as they come to experience the unsurpassed beauty of this 6,800 acre wilderness paradise. The highlight of a visit to Cades Cove is to take the 11 mile loop road around the valley. The loop can be enjoyed by car, bicycle or foot for the most physically fit. Make sure you take the loop road early in the morning or right at dusk to increase you chances of seeing the abundant wildlife in the Cove.
Another favorite activity in the Smoky Mountain National Park is hiking. With more than 850 miles of trails in the park you are sure to find several hikes to fit your level of hiking expertise and physical ability. One of the more popular trails in the park is the 4 mile round trip to Chimney Tops. This mid level hike offers some incredible views for those that take the trail to the end of the final rock outcropping. The last 50 yards of the trail is quite steep, but the view at the top is well worth it.
One of the more enjoyable activities for those who don't venture into the national Park is shopping in Downtown Gatlinburg. With more than 400 shops lining the streets of the downtown area, you can find everything from clothing, to jewelry, to home décor, to books, to Christmas decorations, to cookware, to sweets and treats and much more. One of the nicer shopping areas downtown is known as The Village Shops of Gatlinburg and features upscale merchandise and great coffee. I don't know of a better way to relax on vacation than sipping coffee while strolling the shops of Gatlinburg.
For the art lover there is the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community featuring more than 75 artist's studios, accommodations and café's on an 8 mile loop road just 3 miles outside of the downtown area. Take Highway 321 east from Gatlinburg to Glades Road and you are there.
Another big attraction in Gatlinburg is either the 1.3 million gallon Ripley's Aquarium or the Ripley's Museum featuring oddities from all over the world. Robert Ripley visited more than 200 countries in his lifetime and collect strange souvenirs from all of his travels. Come see only a part of his vast collection of the strange and truly unique wonders of our world.
And of course what makes a Gatlinburg vacation even more enjoyable is comfortable accommodations. There are some 3,500 rooms in hotels, lodges, and condos within walking distance of the downtown area. If you are looking for more private accommodations then a log cabin is the way you want to go. There are thousands of cabins available in the Gatlinburg area that feature everything from the basic necessities to pure luxury and the top of the line in comfort and views.
With everything to do and lodging to fit every budget and lifestyle, you are sure to get the most from a Gatlinburg vacation. Enjoy your next vacation in the gateway to the Smokies.
About the Author
Alan LeStourgeon operates the Gatlinburg Vacations blog where he writes about the Gatlinburg area, the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals.