Whenever someone says FREE, you can bet that a few ears will start perking up. When it comes to the word “FREE” and Gatlinburg, look out! With so many people coming into town on vacation each year, you can do quite a lot of business by just offering up something for free, or a free gift when you leave, or a buy one get one free.
There are so many FREE offerings in downtown Gatlinburg that many people don’t even consider, or even know about. The next handful of paragraphs mention just a few of the fun, FREE things to do on your next trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, specifically Gatlinburg.
Take a stroll with your family down the Parkway. There are more than 200 unique shops, dozens of restaurants, and attractions for all ages found here. From homemade taffy pulling to caramel apples being dipped, the list goes on. Experience the world’s largest underwater aquarium tunnel at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, or ride America’s largest aerial tram to Ober Gatlinburg ski resort. There is plenty to do downtown.
The eight-mile Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community loop is the perfect way to introduce yourself and others to Smoky Mountain crafts. You’ll see the artisans themselves in their own shops whittling, carving, sewing, weaving and sculpting all kinds of materials into masterful works of art. This is the largest group of independent artisans in North America gathered in one place. We’re talking about close to 100 shops, studios, and galleries.
How bout a Smokies auto tour? The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail includes stops at a number of historical sites including the Noah “Bud” Ogle family homestead. The Roaring Fork Cemetery is also highlighted on this tour, as well as the remains of a village that supported some 24 families in the Smoky Mountains more than 150 years ago. It’s an 8-mile adventure through the heart of the Smokies. You’ll also pass, and be able to stop at a number of trailheads along the route if you’d enjoy a Smoky Mountain hike to break up the trip.
The Smoky Mountain gem known as the Greenbrier is located just a few miles from downtown Gatlinburg. This area provides for a number of outdoor activities in the Smokies like tubing, swimming, picnicking, hiking, or just sitting back and taking in the area’s natural beauty. The Ramsey Cascades Trail Head can be found here. It’s one of the more popular and picturesque Smoky Mountain waterfalls.
Another great way to take in Gatlinburg is from the two overlooks in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Countless people have come here over the years to take that perfect vacation photo of town. It’s also a popular place to watch the sun rise. So grab your cameras and head up to Gatlinburg Overlook and enjoy the view!
If you’re planning on being here during the summer, enjoy the Smoky Mountains Tunes & Tales festival. Meet characters, hear mountain music and learn about life in the Smokies on the streets of Gatlinburg. Enjoy storytellers, musicians and cloggers performing along the Parkway every evening during this annual summer time event!