Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a great destination for family vacations. With its beautiful scenery, variety of attractions, and many outdoor activities, it’s the perfect place to take your family for a fun and memorable vacation. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or something in between, Gatlinburg has it all!

To give you an idea of why Gatlinburg is the perfect family vacation destination, here are 10 reasons why you should visit.

  1. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the United States’ most beloved national parks, and for good reason. Located in Tennessee and North Carolina, this park provides a unique mix of natural beauty, recreational activities, and cultural history.

The park is home to some of the oldest mountains in the world, including Mount Le Conte, which stands at an impressive 6,593 feet. This makes it an excellent spot for camping, hiking, fishing, and more. With its diverse wildlife and breathtaking views, you’ll be in awe of nature’s beauty.

One of the best ways to experience the park is through the self-guided auto tour. This tour allows you to drive through the park and see some of its most famous attractions, including Cades Cove, Clingman’s Dome, and Newfound Gap.

  1. Lodging

When it comes to planning a family vacation, one of the first steps is finding a place to stay. Luckily, Gatlinburg offers a wide variety of lodging options for any budget and group size. There are plenty of cabins available, ranging from one bedroom to large cabins with 10 bedrooms or more. For large families or groups, the best option may be to rent a large cabin near the Smoky Mountains. Timber Tops Large Cabins offers a variety of large cabins in Gatlinburg TN, each with its unique features. The cabins are perfect for family vacations, offering plenty of space and privacy, as well as amenities like game rooms, outdoor hot tubs, and fully equipped kitchens. 

3) Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is a family-friendly amusement park located in the heart of Gatlinburg. It has plenty of fun attractions, activities, and events to keep your family entertained. The park has two ski slopes and a mountain coaster, as well as an indoor ice skating rink. Visitors can also take a ride on the Aerial Tramway, which offers stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

At Ober Gatlinburg, you’ll find attractions like the Alpine Slide, Amaze’n Maze, and Scenic Chairlift. You can also take a spin on the Bumper Cars or play some mini golf. The park even has a wildlife encounter where you can learn about the animals of the Smokies.

In addition to all the attractions, Ober Gatlinburg has great restaurants, shops, and arcades to explore. Whether you’re looking for souvenirs or a snack, there are several options to choose from.

4) Anakeesta

Anakeesta is a premier outdoor adventure park perfect for a family vacation. Explore Firefly Village, a unique shopping and dining area where you can purchase handmade crafts, souvenirs, and gifts from local artisans.

For the little ones, Anakeesta also offers fun attractions such as a kid-friendly play area, where they can explore an interactive treehouse village with slides and swings. And for the adults, take a leisurely ride on the Chondola, a chairlift and rail hybrid that will take you up to Anakeesta Mountain. At the top, enjoy breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains from the SkyBar observation deck.

Anakeesta is also home to the Dueling Ziplines, which lets you race your friends and family down two side-by-side ziplines at 25 miles per hour!

5) Great Shopping

Gatlinburg offers a variety of shopping options for families. If you’re looking for souvenirs, check out Mountain Mall, an outdoor shopping area with t-shirts, hats, mugs, and more. For those who like to browse antique shops, there are several along the strip, such as Lanier General Store and Smoky Mountain Antique Mall. There are also Tanger Outlets for great deals on designer items. Whether you’re looking for art galleries or bookstores, Gatlinburg has something for everyone.

6) The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a vibrant destination with more than 70 stores, restaurants, attractions, and experiences that offer something for every taste. Take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and get a bird’s eye view of the Smoky Mountains, or enjoy a leisurely paddle boat ride on the Island Show Fountain Lake. Visit the 7D Dark Ride Adventure and experience interactive movie-style fun. Other attractions at The Island include the Arcade City and the Ropes Course Challenge. And don’t forget to visit The Island’s newest attraction – Flyaway Indoor Skydiving – where you can soar in a safe, indoor environment!

7) Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is one of the most popular attractions in Gatlinburg, TN. Located at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains, this aquarium is home to over 10,000 sea creatures from around the world! The aquarium also offers educational programs and shows throughout the day that feature some of the aquarium’s most amazing creatures.

You can take a journey through Shark Lagoon as you come face-to-face with some of the ocean’s top predators. Be amazed as you watch the graceful movements of jellyfish and seahorses in the Coral Reef exhibit. And don’t miss out on your chance to touch a live stingray in Touch a Ray Bay!

8) Gatlinburg Space Needle

This 407-foot-tall observation tower is an iconic feature of the city, providing stunning views of the Smokies and the surrounding area. It has been a beloved attraction since its opening in 1970. Visitors can take the elevator to the top of the Space Needle, where they can enjoy panoramic views of the city, the mountains, and nearby Pigeon Forge. At night, the observation deck is illuminated with hundreds of colorful lights that create a vibrant atmosphere.


Gatlinburg is the perfect family vacation destination. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure, unique attractions, or cozy lodging options, this charming town has it. With its easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a wide variety of activities and attractions, and a vibrant downtown area, Gatlinburg is sure to be a hit with your family. So why not plan your family vacation to Gatlinburg today? You won’t be disappointed.