A Beginner’s Guide to Gatlinburg

Nestled amongst the beautiful Smoky Mountains is a charming and beloved little town known as Gatlinburg. Don’t let this small town fool you, it is packed with endless entertainment options. We all know that one of the most important parts of planning the perfect vacation is finding somewhere to visit that offers plenty of things to do for every member of the family. With plenty of attractions, dining, and shops at each corner, you are sure to be able to spend a lot of time here, so much so that you may never want to leave! All that’s left is finding a clean and comfortable place to rest your head at after a busy day out and about. When you stay with us at Bear Crossing, Big Bear Resort, Cedar Lodge, and Whispering Pines, we offer affordable one to four bedroom luxury condos that come complete with a private balcony overlooking either the beautiful city, river, mountains, or secluded nature area. Each property has its own set of on-site Amenities and they are all conveniently located in the heart of Pigeon Forge. You can be in Gatlinburg within minutes, but still also be able to take advantage of everything in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville! As a thank you for booking with us, you receive FREE TICKETS to numerous shows and attractions in the area, saving you up to $275 a day. If it’s your first time visiting us then we know it can get a bit overwhelming when trying to plan out your daily itinerary, so we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at A Beginner’s Guide to Gatlinburg!


Gatlinburg is home to so many amazing attractions that the entire family are sure to love. We recommend starting with the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. This beautiful aquarium is home to so many unbelievable species of sea life as well as exciting exhibits and other special goodies.You are able to get up close and personal with some sharks and penguins and you can even pet a jellyfish and a stingray! This is my personal favorite attraction and one you absolutely cannot miss out on. Don’t forget to check out the other fun Ripley’s attractions like the Mirror Maze, Moving Theatre, Believe It or Not Museum, and much more! Want to see some breathtaking mountain views? There are two excellent outdoor amusement parks that you will want to check out. First up is Anakeesta, located right across the street from the aquarium. Get ready to ride up to the top of the mountain on their custom designed chondola. Here you will find shopping, dining with a mountain view, ziplining, a mountain coaster, treehouse playground, and much more!  They also have some of the most stunning views of Mount Leconte that you will see, so we recommend going in the evening so you can watch the sunset, it’ll be a moment that you’ll never forget. We also have Ober Gatlinburg where your adventure will begin with a ride on their aerial tramway to the top of Ski Mountain. They have an ice skating rink, wildlife exhibit, mountain coaster, alpine slide, scenic chairlift and more! You won’t want to miss out these two exciting outdoor attractions. There’s also the Gatlinburg Space Needle, an observation tower that lets you get a 360 degree view of our majestic rolling hills. One must-do before you go is Hillbilly Golf, one mini gold experience you will never forget. The course is on a mountain and you even get a complimentary tram ride to the first hole. You will love all these amazing attractions that Gatlinburg has to offer.


Gatlinburg is home to some of the most amazing restaurants you’ll find while visiting our area. For breakfast, they have places like the Pancake Pantry, Log Cabin Pancake House, and Little House of Pancakes. If you’re looking for a delicious way to start the day, you’ll definitely want to add these to your list! One little friendly local reminder: Pancake Pantry does not take cards, it’s cash only. Next up is lunch and we have some cute and quaint spots in mind for you all to check out. Some of our personal favorite spots are the Wild Plum Tea Room, Delauder’s (voted #4 out of 50 by Yelp for the best BBQ in the country!), Smoky Mountain Shakes-N-Dawgs, and Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill. These places all have incredible menus filled with great food that will definitely satisfy us until it’s dinner time. Speaking of dinner, we have some places in mind for you to enjoy a wonderful meal at with your loved ones. If you’re looking for a meal you’ll never forget then we recommend visiting the Greenbrier Restaurant, Peddler Steakhouse, Cherokee Grill, Blaine’s, and Park Grill. These locally owned restaurants are sure to become a new family favorite and a must visit every time you come to town!


Gatlinburg is known for having plenty of charming and quaint shops all throughout town. One of the most popular destinations to visit is the Arts & Crafts Community out on Glades Road. This loop features a bunch of unique shops where you can get one of a kind pieces made by our incredible local artisans. You can see a lot of hands on demonstrations at these spots and you are guaranteed to love any piece that you decide to take home with you! All throughout the Parkway you will come across a lot of little boutiques and stores that you will love browsing through, you could probably spend all day here. Another fantastic place to visit is The Village which will have 27 unique shops that feature all kinds of goodies like handmade candles and much more. You will feel like you’re stepping into the old world when you visit this shopper’s paradise. Trust us when we say, you will definitely get your shop til you drop on.

Hiking and Driving Trails

This is one of the most popular activities to do when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg is home to so many amazing trailheads as well as exciting and scenic driving tours. One of the best driving tours to go on is the Cades Cove Loop. This 11 mile trail will feature beautiful views of the valley and our majestic rolling hills. This is also where a lot of our visitors are able to see an abundance of our wildlife. Deer, coyotes, groundhogs, and our “infamous” black bears have all been spotted here, along with plenty of other animals. This is truly one of the greatest driving tours to go on. Local tip: Make sure to get here early, it is a one way trip so traffic will build up throughout the day! Another fantastic driving tour to go on is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This is a bit shorter of a trail, but it still has plenty of beauty and excitement in store for you. You’ll get to see grist mills, mountain streams, historic log cabins (that you can actually tour) and best of all, you can visit my favorite spot – the Place of a Thousand Drips. If you’re a fan of waterfalls like myself, then you will LOVE this! And finally, we will include a list of our favorite hiking trails to check out while you’re here.

  • Grotto Falls
  • Rainbow Falls
  • Mt. Leconte
  • Alum Cave
  • Ramsey Cascades
  • Charlies Bunion

We hope you enjoyed this insider’s look at A Beginner’s Guide to Gatlinburg! This charming town has become a staple for millions of visitors each year and it’s for good reason. There is so much to do that you could spend days here and never get bored. This is the perfect spot to visit if you’re wanting to make incredible memories that you all will remember for a lifetime. So what are you waiting for? Book Your Smokies Vacation now or give us a call at 1.800.429.4361 and one of our friendly reservationists would love to assist you with finding the perfect condo for your stay. Come and join our family here at Resort Properties, we would love to have you! Don’t forget to let us know what you think about our A Beginner’s Guide to Gatlinburg blog, we always love hearing your thoughts.