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Romantic Things to do in Gatlinburg – aka Friday Night on the Town
There are so many romantic things to do in Gatlinburg. It’s kind of like the Las Vegas Strip in the mountains. To be fair, it’s similar to finding romantic things to do in Orlando; you need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Ignore all the tourist shops selling MAGA hats and T-shirts. Chuckle at the gaudy attractions aimed for the ‘not tall enough to ride this ride’ crowd, but check out the creative ways proprietors merge the mountains with the town with adventure rides in Gatlinburg. Here’s a sampling of what you could do:
- Soar on the SkyLift to Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.
- Ride the trams of Ober Gatlinburg to the ski area for alpine slides and summer tubing.
- Take the Anakeesta lift to their adventure park featuring the Treetop Skywalk, the longest tree-based bridge in North America.
- Race down the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, the fastest mountain coaster in Tennessee.
- Fly on the Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster while suspended in a harness.
Pro-Tip: Come early enough for lunch at Tennessee Jed’s and play all afternoon
Tour the Gatlinburg Wine Trail (Moonshine and Beer too)Gatlinburg’s restaurants are a lot like the attractions, they are everywhere, and you have to find the good ones. We’ll make that easy. Stop in for dinner Friday night at the Smoky Mountain Brewery for good pub food and great company. They have live music after the dinner rush on weekend nights and a great lineup of their signature craft beer. Plus, they validate parking if you need it. Your libatious explorations of Gatlinburg doesn’t have to end there. We created a Gatlinburg Wine Trail marked in purple on our map. There are a dozen different tasting rooms in town from a variety of Tennessee wineries and distilleries. It’s the perfect way to sip free samples as you stroll down Gatlinburg’s Downtown Parkway exploring.
Saturday Morning Outdoor Adventures in Gatlinburg
Don’t overdo it Friday night, because mornings in Great Smoky National Park are magical. The namesake mists lay heavy in the valleys, and bear sightings are common. Pack a day pack and choose from waterfall hikes, mountain hikes, whitewater rafting, exploring Cades Cove Loop, or more hikes near Gatlinburg. We put a short sampling of outdoor adventures in Gatlinburg below:
- NOC Gatlinburg – Whitewater rafting at its finest
- Laurel Falls – Easy trail to the most photographed falls in the Smokies
- Grotto Falls – The waterfall that you can walk behind
- Rainbow Falls – Moderate hike to a massive falls
- Ramsey Cascade – The largest waterfall in the park
- Cataract Falls – The easiest waterfall to reach from Gatlinburg
- Clingmans Dome – Drive to the highest point in Tennessee
- Chimney Tops – Moderate hike to a beautiful lookout
- Mt LeConte – Third highest peak with the most strenuous trail (11 miles, 2500′ gain!)
- Roaring Fork Motor Trail – A fun car ride through the mountains on a slow, narrow, and winding 5-mile one-way road
Pro-Tip: Old Dad’s General Store opens at 7:00 for breakfast, packed lunch, and coffee
Saturday Afternoon at the Arts LoopThree short miles outside the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg is The Glades, the largest group of independent artisans in North America. The historic 8-mile loop is designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail with over 120 artists and artisans. We put our highlighted shops on the map marked in orange. If you like hiking more, pick up a sandwich for the trail at Old Dad’s. If you adore arts and crafts, head in for lunch at the Wild Plum Tea Room or an afternoon treat at the Glades Soda Fountain before exploring the Arts & Crafts Trail. No matter what you do, be sure to make a reservation and stay for dinner at the Red Oak Bistro. It’s a sublime gastronomical experience as the tastes and aromas of tapas fill your senses.
Pro-Tip: Seating is limited at Red Oak so make a reservation
Sunday Brunch in GatlinburgSunday brunch is about sampling your favorite and getting whatever you want. That philosophy extends beyond dining and into your entire Sunday-Funday schedule. Start your day at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp for the best Sunday brunch in Gatlinburg. Then, fill in your day with your favorite activities from the romantic weekend in Gatlinburg list.
Where to Stay in GatlinburgGatlinburg is a bustling tourist town with plenty of places to stay, but you have three basic choices: cabins, hotels, and B&Bs. Cabins are a great way to escape into the woods while still being able to play in town. B&Bs come with a host, and some are close enough to take the Gatlinburg Trolley into town. With a more traditional hotel, you can base walking distance away from the attractions and not be subject to minimum stays (of course, this is a 3-d/2-n itinerary 😉 ).
Romantic Cabins in Gatlinburg
Honeymoon Hills Cabin Rentals of Gatlinburg – It doesn’t get more romantic than the Honeymoon Hills Cabins! Think heart-shaped indoor jacuzzis, private decks with outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces, king-size beds and full kitchens! All of this goodness in a secluded and private setting.
Wildflower Mountain Rentals Honeymoon Deluxe Cabins – Their most hidden away cabins in the Smokey Mountains. Each comes equipped with wood-burning fireplace, stone-inlaid heart-shaped jacuzzi, sunken hot tub (are you sensing a trend?), stone-inlaid breakfast bar, and hanging-wooden swing and or rockers to take in the views.
Gatlinburg Falls Resort – The Gatlinburg Falls Resort has a variety of cabins for rent ranging from 1-20 bedrooms in size (yes 20!! In case your idea of romance is hanging with 20 other couples, but you have to bring your own fishbowl lol). They all feature a large kitchen, wide-screen TV, DVD/VCR, outdoor hot tub, indoor jetted bath, vertical spa shower, pool table, and many have classic arcade games as well. Consider one of the Romantic Packages to crack up the heat.
Pro-Tip: Come the first week of November to avoid the October crowds but still see fall color
Gatlinburg HotelsBearskin Lodge on the River– This cute mountain lodge has comfortable rooms and a lazy river. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of Gatlinburg so you will never have to worry about finding a parking space. Zoder’s Inn & Suites – Tucked into the woods near the river in the heart of Gatlinburg, this property has modern amenities with all the comforts of home. Many of the suites offer gas fireplaces and in-room whirlpool tubs. Bearskin Lodge on the River – The Lodge is rustic elegance at it’s finest combined with the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Enjoy your generous soaking tub, fireplace, and private balcony with your love. **Please note- this property is currently (2020) in the process of a rebuild to include a restaurant and a bar, swimming pool, and meeting spaces for groups, special events, and weddings.
Gatlinburg’s Charming B&B’sLaurel Springs Lodge Bed and Breakfast – This super cute B&B has comfortable rooms and a cozy hot tub for two. It’s close enough to take the trolley into town but tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Their gourmet breakfasts will delight your taste buds and tempt you to sleep in and snuggle. Foxtrot Bed and Breakfast – This cozy property features gourmet breakfasts, private baths with Jacuzzi or whirlpool tubs, and spectacular views of Mt. Leconte in the Great Smoky Mountains. Be sure to check out their packages for extra value.
Awesome Smoky Mountain Airbnbs
If an Airbnb is more your thing we have you covered! We have a map widget below with our picks for places to stay in the Smoky Mountains filtered by price ($60-$300), all are provided by vetted ‘SuperHosts’, and all have wifi available and have the all-important hot tub 😉
If you do not see map below, be sure to refresh your browser 🙂
Wrapping Up Your Ultimate Romantic Getaway in GatlinburgA romantic getaway in Gatlinburg is a brilliant combination of urban excursion and mountain adventure. Gatlinburg can be the best of both worlds if you come prepared for the Parkway’s hustle, bustle, traffic, and parking. Leave early for hikes, explore Gatlinburg by foot or trolley, and find escapes like the Art Loop to reset. Romance and adventure are waiting for you in the Great Smoky Mountains.
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