That title is hard to believe, right? Well, we managed somehow. Even more unbelievable, I still had a great time, and it’d be hard not too! Gatlinburg, Tennessee is full to the brim with natural beauty with its clear sparkly rivers and blue-forested mountain peaks rising up all around.
Gatlinburg is also very touristy. One of its biggest attractions is the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Aquarium, and a lot of other seemingly out of place, yet very typical tourist attractions. Seeing as we’ve got only a day to spend here, it was decided that we would forgo any of these attractions, no matter how fun they seemed. We ended up walking around the downtown area and just enjoying where we were, and I’m glad to say that I didn’t feel short-changed for my time here!
Here are some things we did and things I liked about Gatlinburg, Tennessee:
Black Bear Watching
When we checked in late last night, the groundskeeper was ADAMANT that we not leave any kind of food in our car whatsoever.
When we asked why, he told us that a big old Black Bear had wandered right up to the front door the previous morning! My mom was so excited at the idea of seeing a wild bear from the safety of our hotel balcony, that we spent both that night and this morning on Bear PatrolTM.
Sadly, so very much sadly, we didn’t see the bear but I did get to hang out with my mom in a cool hotel in the Smoky Mountains.
The next day, we all woke up early (for our free hotel breakfast, of course) and walked the strip. It was actually a lot of fun looking at all the over-the-top cringy t-shirts in the gift store windows, smelling all of the flowers (there were a LOT of flowers), and looking at the river that runs through the whole town.
There’s also a free trolley that you can ride, and if we’d had the time, that seems like the 100% best free thing to do here.
Historic Ogle Cabin
As we were walking along the side walk, we came up to an old cabin that’s just sitting there right in front of a parking garage. The doors were both wide open, so we went inside. There we met a kind old lady who told us that this was the Historic Ogle Cabin that had been found way up in the Smoky Mountains, and brought down to Gatlinburg for people to see.
She also told us where each of the artifacts inside had come from (all over Tennessee) and what they do. Outside of the cabin is a bunch of xylophones that you can bang against. Kind of a weird spot for that, but wholeheartedly appreciated.
With the last few minutes of our time exploring Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we ducked down a side-street to find the most pleasant part of Gatlinburg yet! A ton of little European cottages line the street, with fountains and benches all over the place. The only way to know you’re in America is the dozens of flags strung everywhere.
This area was far more quiet than the main road, and we went into all the little shops just looking around, and trying on hats.
So there you have it, our time in Gatlinburg was brief, but far from boring. I realize now that the content for this post itself may be a little dull, but I think the sheer gloriousness of the Smoky Mountains surrounding the town would have made counting toothpicks fun.
I really think you’re gonna like tomorrow’s post, we’re going not just camping… but ~glamping~ in the actual Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so check back if you want to hear about that!