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Gatlinburg Tennessee or as most commonly referred to as the “Gateway to the Smoky Mountains” is a beautiful village like town nestled in the mountains of East Tennessee. Attracting more than 11 million visitors per year this popular tourist destination is known for its beautiful scenery, plethora of outdoor activities and its powerful and pungent old smoky whiskey. Besides its outdoor activities Gatlinburg has an abundance of eclectic shops, novelty food stores and delicious restaurants. Gatlinburg is a beautiful and relaxing town where you and your loved one can escape from reality and get away. 

Enjoy the Scenery

Upon entering the village-like town, the one thing that catches your attention is the scenery that is engulfing you the entire time you are there. It’s honestly something that you would see off a movie or a painting of some sort. It looks real and fake at the same time, and it just catches you off guard. Entering Gatlinburg, I remember letting my windows down and just taking in the fresh air and automatically feeling relaxed. On my right were trees stacked up so high they could almost cover the sky, and to my left was a waterfall trickling down a mountain. The water is so clear you can see straight through it. There was this unique earthy smell with a hint of pine, and it had a musty feel to the air. I remember the breezy, sunny weather coming at us, and that’s when I felt like a was on vacation. It was beautiful during the summertime. I can’t even imagine how colorful and beautiful it looks during the fall season’

Instead of being trapped behind car doors the whole time, my family and I decided to take it all in and walk the strip. It was full of couples young and old, friend groups, and families taking a stroll and enjoying the shops along the way. At first, I didn’t care to go in the shops, but then I spotted the little trinkets in the windows and I instantly got curious and went in to check them out. I ended up getting a cute purse and some sweet souvenirs. One thing I learned is to never judge a book by its cover – cause you might end up with a cute purse in the end.    

Enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery that Gatlinburg has to offer while you explore the village-like shops, including 27 different unique boutiques, eateries, and galleries. Oh and if you get a little thirsty on the way take a  stop and do some wine tasting at Sugarland Cellars or try some whiskey at Ole Smokey Distillery.

Sugarland Cellars Facebook

Let’s Eat 

Now when it comes to food, I’m a picky eater and I hardly eat others cooking but let me say their food is delicious. They have well known restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp, TGI Fridays, and Five Guys, but that takes the joy out of eating on vacation. There are great local restaurants such as: Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, The Peddler Steakhouse, and Three Jimmys. And on our last day, we had breakfast at The Log Cabin Pancake House that was undoubtedly made by the breakfast gods. The pancakes just melted in my mouth, the eggs were flavorful, and their hash browns were just the right kind of crispy.

If you’re feeling a sweet treat after your meal, try out a crowd favorite and one of Gatlinburg’s oldest and sweetest places, Aunt Mahalia’s Candies! There are many options to choose from so go on and test out those taste buds! 

Aunt Mahalia’s Candies Facebook

Gatlinburg Attractions

As far as things to do, I promise that you will not be bored. I thought it was just going to be all trees and nothing to do, but Gatlinburg has a plethora of activities for anyone and everyone. One of my favorite things that I experienced was the Aerial Tramway that takes you 11,000 feet above Gatlinburg. One of the coolest and scariest things that I did, but it was all worth it because the views of Gatlinburg were something else.  


It was like the horizon never ended and everything was so green and healthy. The cabins were basically like mansions stacking up high with multiple stories, and gigantic windows. I remember looking over and seeing a replica of Barbie’s Dreamhouse, and I swear my inner kid was going crazy. It’s standing taller than most of the cabins with its elegant pink exterior and creamy colored lining; it looks just how I imagined. The ride up and back on the Aerial Tramway is something you have to experience. I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I’m so glad I took a chance on it because it’s something that I will never forget.  

Gatlinburg has many other outdoor attractions like Hiking, Horseback Riding, Fishing, Whitewater Rafting, and Camping. Many people who we happened to talk to in Gatlinburg highly recommend these if being in nature is something you love. To experience and see the beautiful views of the Smokey’s and everything around them is breathtaking. It doesn’t compare to what you see in your mind and what you think it’s going it be. It takes you by surprise on how beautiful and peaceful it is. 

There are also other attractions like Zip Gatlinburg, Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area & Amusement Park, and escape houses like The Captured- A Live Escape Experience and Headcase Escape Adventures. There is also a new Sky Bridge that has been added this year. The Sky Bridge is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. This bridge stretches 680 feet across the valley, and at its midpoint, it reaches a height of 140 feet. It was in the process of being built when I was there, but I can’t wait to walk across it the next time I go. 


Full of nature and beautiful scenic views, a trip to Gatlinburg is something that should be on your next list of places to go for a vacation. You will not be disappointed. Whether you want to relax, or be adventurous Gatlinburg has it all. 


For more Getaway Destinations check out Your Guide to Tampa Bay Getaways.