By Leif Palmer
Posted on March 3, 2021
In our last blog post, we introduced you to a bunch of fun ways to experience Gatlinburg, Tennessee, without having to spend a dime in the process. This time around, we're back with even more thrifty travel tips. Who knows? By the time it's all said and done, you might be able to spend a whole week in Gatlinburg and only pay for your food and a hotel.
If you're just in town for one day, you will probably have to pay for parking in Gatlinburg, but the rates we charge at our many convenient downtown lots make it totally worth the convenience of not having to move your vehicle from attraction to attraction. We're a very walkable town, and we have a trolley system that will take you almost anywhere you want to go.
Take a stroll along the Little Pigeon River in downtown Gatlinburg, which is lined with floral accents and beautiful river views. Feed the ducks, fish for trout (with a license), enjoy walking past a number of attractions or just take a seat on a bench and do some people watching.
Located in the heart of downtown, this renowned school for artists and craftsmen offers free gallery showings to the public, plus you can learn a lot about the rich history of this Gatlinburg institution, which was instrumental in helping develop the tourism industry in the mountains.
Right now, this annual event is tentatively scheduled to come back for 2021. If that holds, you'll enjoy free performances by musicians and storytellers on our downtown streets, beginning at 6 p.m. nightly. This year, it's slated to run July 1 through August 1.
We saved one of the biggest and best for last. Our national park is right on our doorstep. The Sugarlands Visitor Center is just a stone's throw from the south end of downtown Gatlinburg, and while there, you can take a short hike, watch a 20-minute film about the diversity of plant and animal life in the park and view a wide array of natural history exhibits.
That's just the start of your exploration of the national park. It's one of the few destinations in the park system that doesn't charge guests an admission, which means you have free access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the country as well as recreational activities like fishing, camping, picnicking and hiking more than 800 miles of maintained trails.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.