For many Tennesseans and many more Southerners, Gatlinburg is a go-to destination for fall vacations and family fun. For those who have only been there a couple times or those who have never gone, deciding what to do while you are there can be difficult with all the options that are open to you. Here’s a mini guide to get you acquainted with Gatlinburg and help you have a fun filled stay.
The Museum of Salt and Pepper Shakers – features more than 20,000 salt and pepper shakers and a pepper mill collection
The Hollywood Star Cars Museum – showcases celebrities’ cars and vehicles used in movies, like two Batmobiles from “Batman TV Show ” and “Batman Returns”, Beach Boys 1955 Thunderbird, Sir Paul McCartney’s Cadillac,General Lee from The Dukes of
Hazzard, the Beverly Hillbillies Jalopy and many more!
Cooter’s Dukes of Hazzard Store and Museum – fans of “Dukes of Hazard” will enjoy Cooter’s Place, owned by Ben Jones who played Cooter on the 1980s television show. The venue includes a museum with costumes and memorabilia from the show, mini-golf and go-karts.
You can’t visit Gatlinburg without enjoying the mountains. Visitors can bicycle and bring pets on the 1.9-mile Gatlinburg Trail — the only other route in the park that allows them is the Oconaluftee River Trail — and provides views of the Little Pigeon River. From Gatlinburg, you can take the 33-mile Newfound Gap Road to Cherokee, and go up 3,000 feet for commanding views or go just one mile out to visit the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail with waterfalls and historic buildings.
Festivals and Fairs
As we head into fall and the end of the year, we’re reaching peak festival season for Gatlinburg. There’s tons of festivals and events throughout the year, but the October Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair is coming up Oct 4 – 21. Beginning in November, Gatlinburg is full of festive events like the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights beginning November 7, the Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show November 20-25 and the Fantasy of Lights Christmas Parade on Dec 7. See more events here.
Some of the best and most popular shows are held at Dollywood and surrounding areas including Dolly Parton’s Stampede and Celebration dinner shows and the Gatlinburg Grand Opry in Dollywood. The theatre district also has tons of shows varying from comedy, magic, and music, to drama and murder mystery dinners.
Gatlinburg and the surrounding area has a ton of options from steak houses to breakfast to ethnic cuisine. For breakfast food, check out the highly rated Pancake Pantry. Best Italian is known for its fantastic Italian food, while No Way Jose is one of the best cucinas in the area. For more general fare some of the best places include Park Grill, The Peddler, Calhoun’s, Mountain Edge Grill, Blaine’s Grill and Bar, and Smoky Mountain Brewery and Restaurant. One of my personal favorites is the Alamo Steakhouse. Though it burned down during the Gatlinburg Fires, they were able to rebuild and open just within a year with a new private dining space and some other great features.
This is just a few of the great things available in Gatlinburg. With so many options for adventure, you’ll find something new to do every time you visit Gatlinburg.