Ever since its earliest days, the town of Gatlinburg was a magnet for visitors. Back then, those visitors were seeking their fortune, drawn to the rich natural resources of the Great Smoky Mountains and blessed by the vast wilderness and amazing scenic vistas.
These days visitors still come to Gatlinburg for the unspoiled wilderness and the unparalleled natural beauty. What they find is even more impressive, and many vacationers are pleasantly surprised to find so many fun and free things to do.
Even if you had resigned yourself to yet another staycation, you might want to give the town of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area a second look. The region is filled with friendly people, fascinating animals, amazing festivals and activities and a wealth of free attractions your family will not soon forget. Here is just a sampling of the free things you can experience when you vacation in Gatlinburg this summer.
• Take a stroll by the river. The Little Pigeon River is a local favorite, and it will be your favorite too. Just a block from the popular Downtown Parkway, River Road seems a world away from the hustle and bustle. Whether you feed the ducks or just watch the people go by, you are sure to have a great time.
• Enjoy a picnic in Mynatt Park. Mynatt Park is one of the scenic wonders of the Gatlinburg area, and its facilities are free for the taking. There are picnic tables with built-in grills, basketball and tennis courts and even a special fishing stream for the kids.
• Explore the Roaring Park Motor Nature Trail. You can see lots of wildlife at ground level, but when your feet give out, just get in the car and explore the Roaring Park Motor Nature Trail. This popular sightseeing spot is home to some amazing wildlife, and you can see it all from the comfort of your car.
• See nearby Cades Cove. If you want to explore the history of Gatlinburg and the surrounding area, Cades Coves is a great place to start. This scenic spot features a number of farmhouses, churches, and historical cabins, all nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In addition to the history, the whole family can revel in the local wildlife, so be sure to bring your camera or charge up your iPhone.
• Find a photo opportunity. The town of Gatlinburg and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some truly spectacular photo opportunities, but there are many others to explore. Just drive around the area and watch for scenic overlooks, then pull over and grab your camera.
• Check out the local arts and crafts scene. The town of Gatlinburg is home to a thriving arts community, and you can get a feel for the talent of the local artisans when you visit the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Accessible by trolley or car, this local arts community is home to some truly exceptional artists and craftspeople. Whether you are looking for a whimsical gift or something more practical, you can find it here.
• Explore downtown Gatlinburg. While Gatlinburg is best known for its natural wonders, the downtown region has a lot to offer. If this is your first visit to Gatlinburg, be sure to leave time for the downtown Parkway area, home to hundreds of unique shops selling everything imaginable, as well as restaurants and a host of family-friendly activities for children of all ages.
The town of Gatlinburg is a wonderful place to vacation, especially if you have kids. With family-friendly activities at every turn and natural vistas that must be seen to be believed, Gatlinburg is the perfect place for your next family-friendly vacation.