The Great Outdoors
There are endless entertainment opportunities in Gatlinburg, but life always seems to revolve around the mountains. During the winter months, vacationers enjoy skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice skating down the white, blanketed slopes. Spend a day at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort, and experience fun for the whole family. The resort offers equipment rentals, instruction, and slopes of every level. In the summer, enjoy the park’s wildlife encounter. Kids will love coming face-to-face with river otters, birds of prey, black bears and more!
In the summer, there is nothing like hiking, horseback riding and exploring all that nature has to offer. Visitors will enjoy taking on the rapids, ziplining through the trees, and fly fishing for that perfect trout. Spend time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, capture photos of breathtaking waterfalls, or bike through Cades Cove and enjoy beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. The National Park is less than 11 miles from the resort, and is generally open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Gatlinburg is known for its culinary diversity, because the town offers such a wide variety of cuisines for all occasions. There are more than 100 restaurants in Gatlinburg, and while some are geared towards family fun, and others set a romantic table for two. There is a good option for each night of your stay.
If you like Mexican food and are looking for something more exciting than the usual, let No Way Jose’s Cantina spice up your day. Only about two miles from the resort, No Way Jose’s is a vibrant, interesting and casual restaurant that overlooks the river. No Way Jose’s serves traditional, authentic Mexican dishes, but boasts its use of fresh ingredients and recipes straight from Baja, Mexico. Items like enchiladas, fajitas, chimichangas, and combination platters are all on the menu, as is a full list of adult drinks. No Way Jose’s encourages its guests to relax, kick back and get their fiesta started.
Another noteworthy restaurant, only three and a half miles from the resort, is Ron and Jennifer’s Mountain Lodge Restaurant. Open for breakfast and lunch, this log cabin-style restaurant is a locals’ favorite for its home and country cooking and its very reasonable prices. The Mountain Lodge menu consists of classic breakfast dishes, made to order how you like, as well as sandwiches, soups and salads and homemade desserts. The lunch entrees include hamburgers, chicken strips, country fried steak and breaded pork chops. This restaurant is family-friendly and won a Certificate of Excellence in 2013.
Dinner for two? Spend a romantic evening at the Park Grill Restaurant, about a mile and a half from Laurel Point Resort. Open for dinner only, the Park Grill provides guests with relaxed fine dining and succulent entrée options. Fashioned after a magnificent mountain lodge, this restaurant features white table cloths, multiple dining rooms and affordable prices. Start your evening off with an appetizer of steamed mussels or fried green beans – or go all out with the appetizer sampler. Enjoy a bowl of the daily soup selection, or take on the salad bar, featuring more than 40 items. For an entrée, the Park Grill offers burgers and sandwiches, fish and shrimp dishes, and steaks and prime rib. Try a local favorite like the Hickory Grilled Moonshine Chicken, or bite into tender beef medallions. And don’t forget to pair your dinner with a bottle off Park Grill’s white or red wine list.
Popular This Time of the Year: Take a hike and enjoy the beautiful spring wildflowers, go fly-fishing, visit a winery and/or challenge family & friends to a mini golf tournament
- Average High: 69°
- Average Low: 41°
Popular This Time of the Year: Explore Gatlinburg, visit the farmer's market, see the falls and/or ride the rapids
- Average High: 85°
- Average Low: 60°
Popular This Time of the Year: Take a scenic drive to look at the changing of the leaves, go on a hike, and/or visit a local brewery
Read: Leaf Changing Season Along the East Coast: Popular Festivals, Activities & Fall Weather »
- Average High: 71°
- Average Low: 44°
Popular This Time of the Year: Hit the slopes for skiing, tubing & snowboarding, relax by the fire, check out the holiday lights, and/or plan a romantic dinner
Read: Hit the Slopes: Ski Resorts in the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains »
- Average High: 51°
- Average Low: 27°
Pinterest Vacation Guide
For all of the latest things to do, places to visit, and special events to help plan your Gatlinburg vacation, check out our Pinterest board:
The Main Events
Gatlinburg provides locals and visitors an abundance of celebrating throughout the year with festivals honoring music, fishing, wine, arts and crafts – even the seasons! There are holiday parades, firework shows, and location specials happening all the time.
A great way to spend your time in Gatlinburg is to participate in a race or marathon. With the challenge of altitude, weather and seasons, in addition to the competitive hundreds of other athletes, you are not only racing against your neighbor, but you’re competing against the elements, as well!
Check out the Gatlinburg Half-Marathon, 5K and 10K held in September, or the Santa Hustle Smokies – a half marathon and 5K held in December.
For a real treat, register for the Mountain Man Memorial March in April – a 26.2-mile march in the Smoky Mountains, which tributes the men and women who serve our country. If you are not up for the hike, you can still go and support the troops and civilians who march in honor of service members. This event also features a full and half marathon and a 5K run.
Shopping in Gatlinburg, visitors will find an abundance of art, antiques and unique gifts, as well as some of the best malls and outlet factory stores in the area.
If you are shopping for that perfect souvenir, or unique gift for a friend, check out the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Loop, an 8-mile loop of shops featuring paintings, candles, pottery, quilts, leather, stained glass, clothing, and much more! Only about seven miles from the resort, the arts and crafts loop will keep you busy all day.
For another great shopping experience, check out the Mountain Mall in Gatlinburg, just a few minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and only about two miles from Laurel Point. This unique shopping experience features specialty shops and boutiques offering one-of-a-kind gifts, handmade items, edibles, athletic goods, art and crafts – all in one place! The mall also features a mountain theme with a woodsy atmosphere and mountain music playing in the background. Enjoy shopping for a special souvenir or gift, while experiencing all the ambiance of the Gatlinburg Mountain Mall.
If outlet shopping is more your style, visit Sevierville – less than 20 miles from the resort. The Tanger Outlet Factory Stores are a perfect stop for finding all your trending styles. Downtown Gatlinburg is also a fun location to visit for souvenirs, clothing and other items.