5 Family-Friendly Things You Can Do In Gatlinburg

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Written By Charlotte Miller


The beautiful city of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, located within the gorgeous Smoky Mountains, is a pleasant playground overflowing with activities for families. Gatlinburg is well-known for its dynamic culture, scenic beauty, and fascinating activities, making it an absolute treasure chest of incredible memories just waiting to be discovered.

This article will take you on a tour of the wonders of this small town, highlighting some of the most engaging, family-friendly activities that promise to make your family trip to Gatlinburg unforgettable.

Find the Right Accommodation:

The right lodging is critical for a fantastic experience in the center of Gatlinburg. Having a comfy place to curl up after a day of exploring can greatly elevate your entire holiday experience. Gatlinburg has a variety of lodging options, too, ranging from rustic cabins to luxurious hotels.

Some accommodations come with fully outfitted kitchens, allowing you to dine on home-cooked meals while on vacation. Also, after a day’s fall of entertainment, wind down in the outdoor hot tub. Moreover, look for accommodation that’s ideally located, allowing you to reach different parts of the town in minimal travel time. You don’t want your kids to get cranky while you’re driving around the city.

For families, 3 bedroom condos in Gatlinburg TN, are popular. These condos perfectly blend comfort and elegance. Imagine waking up to the roar of the river and walking out onto your private balcony with an incredible view.

Family Fun Things to Do:

Discover the Wonders at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies:

Renowned for its exceptional quality, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies stands as a highly regarded attraction in the United States. Situated in Gatlinburg’s heart, this remarkable establishment houses a vast collection of thousands of captivating sea creatures from more than 350 distinct species, brilliantly showcasing the mesmerizing world of aquatic biodiversity.

Among the remarkable displays, the Shark Lagoon takes center stage, inviting visitors on a fascinating journey via a moving walkway through an enclosed tunnel adorned with an array of marine marvels like sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. Equally popular is the Penguin Playhouse, an interactive exhibit that offers an up-close encounter with these charming birds. Youngsters can joyfully explore tunnels and pop up in viewing bubbles amidst the penguin habitat.

Moreover, visitors can have an engaging experience with gentle stingrays in an interactive touch pool, promoting both education and conservation efforts. Beyond the exhibits, the aquarium offers exclusive opportunities such as Sleep with the Sharks, Penguin Encounters, and Painting with Penguins, which cleverly combine entertainment and education to leave a lasting impression on visitors.

Grab the Aerial Tramway up to Ober Gatlinburg:

For another family-friendly adventure, take a ride on the Aerial tramway from Gatlinburg’s downtown to the Ober Gatlinburg amusement park and ski area. This 2.1-mile journey in the sky offers panoramic views of the Smokies, a spectacle that captures the hearts of both young and old. The journey’s destination, Ober Gatlinburg, is an entertainment hub offering year-round activities.

In the winter, it is transformed into a snowy wonderland with skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. While in the user, it is a playland of waterslides, mini-golf, and the scenic Alpine Slide. And for wildlife lovers, the park has designed an encounter area where visitors can learn about and view native species like the black bear and bobcats, making this a holistic experience blending adventure and nature.

Visit the Hollywood Star Cars Museum:

The Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a truly captivating gem for both automobile enthusiasts and movie lovers. The museum holds legendary vehicles from classic Hollywood films and television shows. Some of the most notable cars are the Batmobile from Batman, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, and the stylish vehicles from the Fast & Furious franchise.

Visitors interested in discovering amazing behind-the-scenes information about autos can book guided tours at the museum. Additionally, you have the opportunity to take expert shots of your favorite cars, making your experience even more memorable.

Ride the Ripley’s Mountain Coaster:

For families seeking a dose of excitement, Ripley’s Mountain Coaster comes highly recommended. This alpine attraction promises an unparalleled surge of energy. The coaster gracefully winds its way through the enchanting forests of the Smoky Mountains, providing a captivating blend of velocity and scenic splendor. As a rider, you are in full control of your sled, granting you the freedom to opt for a serene glide or an electrifying dash, all at your discretion.

Ripley’s Mountain Coaster welcomes visitors both during the day and into the night, offering a delightful experience after sunset. The coaster’s track is adorned with an assortment of vibrant lights, infusing an element of enchantment into your high-speed journey. Additionally, children aged three and above can enjoy the ride with an adult, ensuring it is an activity that caters to the whole family.

Spend a Day at Anakeesta:

Anakeesta presents a wonderful opportunity for families to immerse themselves in the natural splendor of Gatlinburg’s outdoors while engaging in a range of outdoor activities. This mountaintop retreat can be accessed by a Chondola ride. A special aerial transport offering dazzling sights of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

Upon arriving at the summit, there’s an abundance of activities to enjoy. You can explore the treetop canopy walk, take on the exciting TreeVenture course, or experience the thrill of the Rail Runner Mountain coaster. For individuals who prefer a more leisurely experience, the botanical garden is the go-to, brimming with native flowers and plants, providing a delightful escapade.

The Anakeesta Village also offers various shops and restaurants, allowing visitors to savor regional delicacies and purchase unique keepsakes. As the day winds down, gathering around the fire pit to toast marshmallows and make s’mores beneath the twinkling mountain sky completes the perfect experience.


With its diverse range of attractions, stunning natural beauty, and warm, friendly atmosphere, Gatlinburg is an ideal destination for families. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a good time with your loved ones, Gatlinburg offers an experience that’s sure to create lasting memories.