By Leif Palmer
Posted on June 20, 2023
Anyone who ever visited Gatlinburg in the 1970s or 1980s can tell you that back in those days, it was tough to find parking in downtown Gatlinburg. Even then, the town was really hopping with tourists, so on some days, it could be a real challenge to snag a coveted spot. Fortunately, more and more parking opportunities have been added in the past 20 years or so, so the days of coming up short on parking are fewer and fewer.
But whether you're a longtime visitor to Gatlinburg or you've just booked your first vacation to the city, we thought it would be helpful to pass along some basic information that will make the parking process even easier when you arrive.
1. Don't park in a business's designated parking lot unless you're a customer
It's tempting to pull into that vacant spot in front of a hotel or shopping center or attraction, even if you have no intention of patronizing that business. But don't do it. Most businesses are pretty diligent about towing non-customers away, and it's not worth taking the chance. There are too many public and privately owned parking lots and garages to risk the expense and hassle of a ticket or a tow-away.
2. Check for special events on the week you're visiting
Summer weekends and weekends in October are premium visitation times, so expect there to be more competition for parking spots then. And note that special events like Gatlinburg's 4th of July Parade and New Year's Eve celebration usually draw tens of thousands of visitors to the city, so don't expect to just show up on the day of and easily find parking. Plan ahead to ensure your parking needs are covered.
3. Research parking locations before you arrive
Our website is an example of a resource that lays out all the info you'll need in advance. We have seven lots in downtown Gatlinburg that have plenty of spaces and offer convenient access to almost anything you'd want to do downtown. Even if our lots aren't within walking distance of your destinations, you can always take a trolley.
4. Parking is more affordable than you may think
A common question we get is “How much is parking in downtown Gatlinburg?” You can park your vehicle for an entire day starting at only $10. Rates may be higher for peak-visitation periods like holidays and special events.
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.