By Leif Palmer
Posted on November 14, 2017
Prior to the opening of the neighboring national park, Gatlinburg was just another tiny hamlet wedged among the folds of the Great Smoky Mountains. Once the park was created, however, visitors from all over the world began flocking to the mountains to enjoy their beauty and recreational opportunities. And in the process, Gatlinburg grew into one of the top tourism spots in the South.
Today, the town offers just about everything a Smokies visitor could ask for and then some. Let's start by going back to the national park. From the south end of Gatlinburg, you can be at the park's Sugarlands Visitor Center in just five or 10 minutes. And from that central location, you can branch off in several different directions, depending on which area of the park you're interested in exploring.
But as for the city itself, Gatlinburg has a lot going on within its borders. You'll find world-class attractions like Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, live comedy and music shows, and even a ski resort. And if you're a fan of haunted houses, unique museum attractions or miniature golf, the city has you covered on that front as well.
Gatlinburg is also known for its shopping opportunities, from unique specialty shops to souvenir stores to arts and crafts studios. You'll find store after store lining the Parkway, and there's even an arts and crafts community on the northeast end of the city. And the array of cuisine to be found in Gatlinburg is diverse, from breakfast spots like Crockett's Breakfast Camp to the hearty American cuisine of The Park Grill and The Peddler restaurants to ethnic eateries of all varieties.
And naturally, there are plenty of lodging providers in Gatlinburg, starting downtown and spreading to the outlying areas. What's your preference? A national chain hotel? A mom-and-pop motel? A condo, cabin or B&B? Take your pick, because the options are seemingly endless.
One of Gatlinburg's great attributes is its compact size, which means you can walk to many of the destinations you're probably interested in. Or if you're looking at a business outside the immediate downtown area, the city has trolleys to take you where you want to go, even to Pigeon Forge. This means you don't have to worry about the hassle of parking every time you go to a new location. Just stop at one of our many Gatlinburg parking garages and leave your car for the entire day for one price. From there, you can walk or take the trolley to the places you've planned to visit.
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.