Gatlinburg Vacation Guide
Your vacation adventure in Gatlinburg starts right here! We've assembled insiders advice and years of travel experience to provide you with the information you need to start your vacation planning. From outdoor activities such as hiking, rafting and skiing to family fun parks such as Dollywood and Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies; you'll have what you need to plan your stay. The vacation guide is free!
Brought To You By
It is a world-renowned preserve
of wildflower diversity—over 1,500
kinds of flowering plants are found in
the park, more than in any other North
American national park, earning it the
moniker “Wildflower National Park.”
– National Park Service
Your Guide To
(March through May)
Spring brings with it unpredictable
weather. Changes occur rapidly
- sunny skies can yield to snow
flurries in a few hours. March is
the month with the most radical
changes; snow can fall at any time
during the month, particularly
in the higher elevations.
ON THE COVER
The spring sun brings warmth
that spreads throughout Cades Cove.
Photo By Stacie Bullard,
(this page) Grotto Falls in the Smoky Mountains
National Park. Photograph By
Dave Allen Photography/Dreamstime.com
(June through August)
Summer in the Smokies means heat, haze, and humidity.
Afternoon showers and thunderstorms are common.
Temperatures increase through the period with July and August
afternoon highs in the 90s in the lower elevations.
Ski lift from downtown Gatlinburg,
Tennessee, with a stunning
view of the Great Smoky Mountains.
(September through mid-November)
Clear skies and cooler weather signal the onset of the fall
color season. Warm days alternate with cool nights.
Daytime highs are usually in the 70s and 80s during September,
falling to the 50s and 60s in early November. The first frosts
often occur in late September.
Sunrise over Appalachian
Mountains in Autumn,
Great Smoky Mountains National
Park, North Carolina.
(Mid-November through February)
Winter in the Smokies is generally
moderate, but extremes in weather
do occur, especially with an increase
in elevation. It is not unusual to have
warm temperatures in the low elevations
and snow in the higher areas.
An early winter storm coats the rocks
and trees in brilliant white
along the West Prong of the Little
Pigeon River, Great Smoky Mountains
National Park, Tennessee
Nantahala Outdoor Center
offers trails for every hiker.
Table of Contents
A vacation in Gatlinburg
begins with your arrival.
Here are some of your arrival
and transportation options.
The McGhee Tyson Airport is the closest major airport to Gatlinburg. Located 28 miles from Gatlinburg, the McGhee Tyson services major all airlines including Delta, American Airlines, United and US Airways. Car rentals from Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty are available on site. Taxi cabs and charter vehicles also service this location.
Once in Gatlinburg, visitors have a wide array of unique transportation options. The Gatlinburg Trolley services most of Gatlinburg, including routes to Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The transit service runs daily from 8am to midnight from April to October. From November to March the weekday hours are
10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. The transit system is closed on Sundays during the winter, New Years Day, MLK, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Prices for the downtown area, City Hall, East Parkway and the Downtown Parkway is $0.50 and runs approximately every half an hour. The cost for the Arts and Crafts Community is $1.00 for the entire day. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park costs $2.00 for
a round trip and Dollywood is only $1.00 for each direction. A ticket to The North Gatlinburg Parkway and Welcome Center is $0.50. There is also a transit service at Christmas called the Gatlinburg Winter Magic Trolley Ride of Lights. Check with the Aquarium or Welcome Center for hours and costs.
Walking is another option for guests. Gatlinburg is home to thousands of tourists each year. The city is well set up for walking as most attractions are close together. It is quite easy to get around by foot.
For those that prefer driving, rentals are available for those that did not arrive in their own transportation. Most parking lots are paid parking, so it is best to have a clear idea of where you would like to park and how long you
Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway
would like to be there. For day adventures, a trolley might be a more economic option.
The Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway is not only an important piece of transportation, it is also a major downtown tourist attraction. This tram starts in the middle of downtown Gatlinburg and transports tourists up the mountain to the Ober Resort. It is a great way to get an aerial view of downtown and a relaxing, scenic view of the mountains.
MAP BY STEVE WALKOWIAK, PHOTOS BY MIKE WHITENER (TROLLEY), STEVIE BILLIE JENE (TRAM)
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In 1977, this homestead was added
to the National Register of Historic Places. The
homestead was built by mountain farmer Noah
“Bud” Ogle, Great-Grandson of William Ogle.
PHOTO BY WILLIAM BRITTEN
ELK SPRINGS RESORT’S GUIDE TO GATLINBURG | 7
been relocated on the property, but can still be viewed by tourists today. The Smoky Mountain National Park is still home to many of the original, historical buildings.
A little over 3,400 residents have watched as Gatlinburg has become one of the most popular resort destinations in North America. Both the natural and manmade
attractions have become increasingly popular as tourists travel to here from around the world. The mountainous area creates a varied yet comfortable temperature range. The summer daytime temperatures range from 69 to 80 degrees. Wintertime tends average 45 to 60 degrees. This climate is ideal for everything from hiking to skiing.
There is an extremely large choice of both outdoor and indoor activities. Visitors travelling to Gatlinburg find that they need additional return visits to take in all of the sights and to relive the ones that they enjoyed the most. Gatlinburg hosts approximately 35,000 guests daily. The large volume of visitors has created a town where hospi-
tality is the main industry.
One visit to Gatlinburg will show you what others have known for years. Gatlinburg has become the resort village of choice for thousands of travellers year after year. Come to our town and see exactly what the fuss is all about. Gatlinburg is guaranteed to leave you wanting to come back for more.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP, PHOTOS BY; Tim Mainiero/iSTOCK, Janusz Kwasny /iSTOCK, STEVEN SUTTON/iSTOCK
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Great Smoky Mountains
One of the most visited parks in the United States is the Smoky Mountains National Park.
This natural preserve is home to over 66 species of mammals and 39 species of reptiles on its
522,419 acres of land, making it one of the largest protected areas in the United States.
The park is centered on the border between Tennessee and North Carolina with plenty of driving
access for those that wish to visit this unspoiled wilderness location. There is no entrance fee
to this park; guests can visit and explore as often as they would like at no charge.
Fog rolls in over Mount LeConte, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
PHOTO BY KEN CANNING\iSTOCK
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PHOTOS BY KEN CANNING/iSTOCK (IRIS AND HORSE), © NOC (BIKER)
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PHOTOS BY Tim Mainiero/iSTOCK (WATERFALL), © NOC (FLY FISHING)
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Shark Lagoon: The
PHOTOS © RIPLEYS BELIEVE IT OR NOT
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have the option to purchase entrance to the “Touch a Ray Bay” where they can fully immerse themselves in a stingray pool for a completely interactive experience. Instructors are on hand for both the shallow pools and interactive programs to answer any questions you may have.
The Discovery Center
is a fantastic way for children to learn more about the marine environment. The hands on displays and games are entertaining and educational for all age groups. This area allows children to view an aquarium from the inside out. There is the opportunity to touch live sea life, solve puzzles and play games with your family or other guests.
is another completely interactive display. Clear underwater tunnels will give you an inclusive experience into the life of a penguin both below and above the water. Watch penguins swim beside you and pop up on land. You are so close to these adorable animals that you can see them playfully wink at you. Here, you will learn new and interesting facts about this unusual species.
From tropical rainforests to the depths of the ocean there are over 10,000 sea creatures for you to learn about and explore. Learn facts about schooling fish or about the life of a jellyfish. Watch divers interact with sharks or the staff as they feed the penguins. Visit the control center to see firsthand how technology keeps
PHOTOS © RIPLEYS BELIEVE IT OR NOT
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PHOTO BY CHRIS T
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP; PHOTOS BY WILLIAM BRITTEN, EARL MINNIS,
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CLOCKWISE FROM TOP; PHOTOS BY WILLIAM BRITTEN, EARL MINNIS,
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Dollywood’s Splash Country
Home of Tennessee’s first water roller coaster, Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Adventure Park is an outdoor experience that should not be missed. With over 30 acres of water entertainment, both adults and children alike can spend an entire day splashing and playing in this amazing water park. This adventure park contains over 23 waterslides and rides. With this much entertainment around you, the only difficult choice is where to begin.
Mountain Waves is a 25,000 foot wave pool. Visitors can ride the waves with friends and family or watch the fun from a canopy on the side of the pool. If you are looking for something more thrilling, try the Mountain Scream, a series of twisting and turning water slides that send you flying down the mountain. Perhaps the Butterfly would be more of your pace. Hardly as peaceful sounding as its name, the butterfly is a 55 foot extreme
tain scenery as they leisurely float down this 1500 foot river. Complete with a ride under the 200 foot cascading waterfall, guests can unwind and refresh; perfect for any warm summer day.
There is a large assortment of food and beverage services on site. Canopy rentals are also available on a first come first serve basis. Complete with storage lockers, these canopies are perfect for private shade and a touch of privacy. For larger groups, retreat rentals are available. These come complete with a 27 inch satellite television, dining room table with 6 chairs, storage and bottled drink delivery. Each unit contains 200 feet of shaded space with an additional 100 square foot sun deck. Massage as well as manicure and pedicure services are also available. Reservations are recommended.
- GETTING THERE
Dollywood is located at 1431 Upper Middle Creek Road, Sevierville, TN 37876.
You can purchase park admission onsite or enjoy the convenience of purchasing your tickets online. For those that have a few days to play, consider purchasing a multi park pass that will allow you to visit both Dollywood’s Adventure Park and Dollywood’s Splash Country Water Adventure Park. Group and birthday packages are also available. Call (865) 428-9488 for more information or reservations.
PHOTOS © RIPLEYS BELIEVE IT OR NOT
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PHOTOGRAPH BY TSUNEAKI HIRAMATSU
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vention Center. During this fair, guest can view over 150 exhibits that feature local arts and crafts. Exclusive works of art are available for purchase and vendors are always happy to answer questions about their art and the uniqueness to the local area.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is located at 88 River Road in Gatlinburg, TN. To reach by phone, call: 865-430-8808 or email: aquariumofthesmokies@ ripleys.com
PHOTOS © Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau AND Gatlinburg Craftsmens Fair
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PHOTOS © CHRIST IN THE SMOKIES MUSEUM AND GARDEN (Last Supper), JENNIFER BREWER (Statue)
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Christ in the Smokies is open year round and starts at 9am with the last tour starting at 4pm. A guided tour takes approximately an hour. Admission is $12 per adult and $6 per child. Children under the age of 6 are free. Discounted tickets are available via internet purchase on their website. Parking is free for all guests who visit this attraction. Experience the spiritual journey at 510 River Road Gatlinburg TN, 37738. http://christinthesmokies.com/
Tours begin approximately every 15 minutes and visitors are given a narrative journey through the stories of Christ. Guests are welcome to view the scenes at their leisure and spend time in the garden. The grounds are all wheelchair accessible so people of all ages and abilities are welcome to take this spiritual journey.
At Christmas time, the Christ in the Smokies Museum and Garden hosts an award winning light display. The museum and gardens are illuminated with an array of lights in the spirit of Christmas and Christ. In 2011, this fantastic display was the winner of the Gatlinburg Winter Magic decoration contest.
Beneficial to Life
you and/or relieve pain. A massage therapist can help you decide on the best massage for your needs. Options range from deep tissue massages, to Swedish relaxation massages to sports and pregnancy massages. Each type of massage can be booked for either 1 or 1.5 hours. Prices for massages range from $85 to $145 depending on the type and length that you choose.
Additional Spa Therapies These therapies are a accompaniment to your massage session. Options that you can choose include:
> Steam Tunnel: A steam bath designed to increase your
metabolic rate while eliminating toxins.
> Body Polish: A special organic salt blend is used to remove toxins and dead skin, leaving you soft, smooth and glowing.
> Face Glow: An all natural facial designed to clear pores and prevent sagging facial muscles
> Rejuvenating Hot Mud Wrap: A detoxifying mud wrap designed to remove toxins.
> Reflexology: A body stimulating process used to relieve pain.
> Head, Neck and Shoulders: A massage add on designed to help relieve stress and
> Aromatherapy: A personally mixed blend of oils designed to balance your mind, body, and soul.
Romance packages can be reserved. These include side by side massages with aromatherapy, candles and roses. Couples special relaxation massage packages are also available for booking.
With over nine years of experience, Beneficial to Life Therapeutic Massage offers a large array of speciality spa packages. Visit http://www. beneficialtolife.com or phone 865-908-2530 and speak to a consultant to see which one works best for you. Then relax and enjoy a massage treatment on your balcony with the Great Smoky Mountains as your backdrop.
TOP PHOTO © CHRIST IN THE SMOKIES MUSEUM AND GARDEN
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PHOTOS © CHRIST IN THE SMOKIES MUSEUM AND GARDEN
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PHOTOS © ELK SPRINGS RESORT
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FUN & GAMES
The Best Attractions in Gatlinburg
Bright lights and big adventures await those who are always up for fun and games.
With exciting attractions around every corner, the possibilities are endless.
At the top, guests are free to walk around and enjoy the breathtaking view of Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. Unique sites such as Mount LeConte, the tallest mountain in the United States, are easily viewable from the observation deck. The free high-range view finders placed around the deck are fantastic for zooming in on objects that deserve a closer look. From
400 feet in the air, you can zoom in on wildlife roaming the mountains or on specific natural sites. It is a great way to witness the beautiful changes that each season brings to the Great Smoky Mountains. Higher Learning, a new exhibit at the top of Space Needle educates you on the history of Gatlinburg; witness the dramatic city changes take place right in front of you. You
can see firsthand what it was like over 100 years ago in the very location you are staring at today. It’s like having your own personal historical tour guide.
At the base of the Space Needle is the famous Arcadia. This two level 25,000 foot entertainment zone is one of the largest in the area. Filled with arcade games of all types for all ages, Arcadia will thrill
PHOTOS © CHRIST IN THE SMOKIES MUSEUM AND GARDEN
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FUN & GAMES
every member of your family for hours. When the day is over and visitors are ready to redeem their tickets, they are able to choose from options such as iPods and Nintendo Wii game systems. Arcadia is also home to Lazer Runner, a state of the art and futuristic laser tag game. The combination of black lights, special effects, intense graphics, and fog make this action packed game an experience you can’t miss while at Acadia.
Space Needle is also home to Gatlinburg’s only hypnotist show. “Hypnotized” by Jon Dee is a comical show that is guaranteed to have you laughing in your seat. With the audience participation, you never quite know what is going to happen next. Under hypnosis, you will see sides of people that you have never seen before, even if you have known them all of your life. Come and experience Jon Dee and the magic of hypnosis.
When it comes time to eat, The Flying Saucer Italian Bistro features some of the best Italian dining in town. From gourmet pizzas to calzones and creamy ice cream, there is something on the menu for everyone to enjoy.
The Space Needle is open 365 days a year, Children aged 4 and under are free with a paying adult. Adults costs $7.95, seniors costs $5.00 and Children age 5-12 are only $4.00. There are group discount rates and day/night passes available. Discounted tickets are available online through Space Needle’s website. http://christinthesmokies.com/
115 Historic Nature Trail,
Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
PHOTOS © RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT AND THE Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
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Golfing Around Gatlinburg
Enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes while on your vacation. Scenic views, fresh mountain air,
and a day of fun await you on the many golf and mini golf courses of Gatlinburg.
Gatlinburg has a golf course for every kind of golfer. There are courses for those wanting a challenge, and courses for those looking for something new. With a mountainous backdrop and ideal temperatures, golfing has been a favorite pastime for many guests who come back to replay courses year after year. Here are a few.
The Gat linburg
PHOTOS © THE Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
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No golfing adventure is complete without a game of miniature golf. Mini golf has won its way into many vacations as a fun activity for the whole family because of its comical scenery and great atmosphere for both kids and the young at heart. Even the most seasoned golfer will quickly realize that these miniature course designs offer putting challenges and fun for all.
Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf
Choose from two unique and fully landscaped 18 hole courses with a “Good Old Days” theme. Animated displays and interactive objects add to the fascination. Visitors will find themselves playing in and around the critters of the area. This is a fantastic family spot for anybody looking for a unique change of pace.
The Hillbilly Golf Course
Enjoy a quirky game of mini golf at one of the world’s most unusual courses. It is accessed by travelling 300 feet straight up a mountain. Once at the top, guests can choose between two 18 hole courses, or play both. Guests will find themselves surrounded by mountain sized “hazards” and obstacles. You have to see it to believe it!
Old Gat linburg Golf and Games
Learn the history of the area while you play at Gatlinburg’s largest miniature golf course. This course includes glow in the dark and black light decorations. The florescent golf balls are the finishing touch to this otherworldly adventure. Visitors playing in the underwater themed course will find themselves submerged with dolphins, sharks, mermaids and other fantastic sea creatures.
PHOTOS © RIPLEYS DAVY CROCKETT MINI GOLF AND OLD GATLINBURG GOLF GAMES
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Best Restaurants in Town
Satisfy your palate with delectable meals, desserts, and beverages
at some of Gatlinburg’s finest restaurants. Your taste buds will thank you.
When it comes time to eat, where do you go? It is no secret that the high tourism in Gatlinburg has created a demand for a wide variety of food. With so many delicious options available it can be difficult to narrow down where to eat during your stay. To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite restaurants in town.
Smoky Mountain Brewery Spend an evening with your family talking and enjoying the sweet sounds of the live bands or take in the sports action from one of the many televisions in the restaurant. The Smoky Mountain Brewery has a great selection of beer to try, complete with a beer sampler for those that do not
know where to start. In fact, this restaurant boasts one of the largest working micro breweries in East Tennessee. You will need something to eat with your beer, so choose from the extensive menu of sandwiches, burgers, pizza, ribs and steak. Appetizers range from $4 - $9, with main courses averaging $15. The Feed 8 for $50 menu option is a great way to get a full meal for a group at a low price. Drink up at 1004 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN 37738 Phone: (865) 436-4200. http://www.smoky-mtn-brewery. com
Blaine’s Grill and Bar This New Orleans style restaurant features a balcony with a view of downtown and the Smoky Mountains. Their
menu is extremely large and includes a gluten free section. Appetizers range from $7 - $12, and main courses average $13. Choose from burgers, sandwiches, chicken, steak, and more. Relax at 812 Parkway Ste 105 Gatlinburg, TN 37738 Phone: (865) 430-1978 http://blainesgatlinburg.com/
No Way Jose’s Cantina A popular destination for Mexican dining, No Way José’s Cantina creates all of their meals, including salsas and sauces, from scratch. Using the freshest ingredients possible, they have created a menu of Mexican dishes that are as colorful as they are flavorful. Fajita’s, burrito’s, enchiladas’ and more – it is easy to see why this restaurant was voted the Best Mexican Food in Servier County. Pricing ranges from $9 - $22, guaranteeing that there is a food and price option to please everyone. Discover authentic Mexican dining at 555 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738 (at stoplight no. 5). Phone: (865) 430-JOSE (5673). http://nowayjosescantina.com/
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This country style restaurant has a great selection of “back home” meals. The menu features potato skins, chili, burgers, ribs, salads and BBQ cooking. Prices for appetizers range from $6 - $10 and the main course averages $12.
The Feed 10 Family Pack for $40 is a great idea for large families or groups. This is a popular location for families with a very child friendly menu. Get your down home cookin’ at 1004 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Contact Calhoun’s at (865) 436-4100 for reservations. www.calhouns.com.
Dance the night away on Friday’s and Saturday’s at Blaine’s Grill & Bar. One of the hottest clubs in town. Enjoy cool drinks and beats at 812 Parkway Ste 105 Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Phone: (865) 430-1978 for more information.
Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse
The Cherokee Grill and Steakhouse is a great choice for an evening of fine dining. This higher end restaurant has an impressive steak menu along with a great variety of appetizers and sandwiches. With steak prices averaging $25 and entree’s ranging around
$15 per plate, the visitors are guaranteed to find their favorite cut of steak cooked to perfection. Perfect for an elegant evening out, this centrally located restaurant has always been a local favorite. Find out why the locals love it at 1002 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Phone: (865) 436-4287 http://www.coppercellar.com/ Restaurant-Cherokee-Grill-Steakhouse. html
Voted the best overall restaurant almost annually, the Alamo Steakhouse features decadent dining for all ages. With a great children’s menu, this restaurant has consistently managed to please even the pickiest eaters. The menu includes hot crab dip, mussels, chicken, seafood and steak. Dinner entree’s average $20. Please the picky eaters in your family at 705 East Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738. Phone: (865) 436-9998 http://www.alamosteakhouse.com
Park Grill Steakhouse
For an elegant evening of steak and wine, try the Park Grill Steakhouse. From decadent appetizers to mouth watering entrees, guests can treat themselves to options such as pecan chicken or stuffed shrimp. The very
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CHILLS AND THRILLS
Ghosts, Mansions and Mazes
Mystery and suspense await those who dare to experience these haunting local attractions.
Get lost in a world of fright and fun with the entire family.
Chills, thrills and shivers wait for those that love their vacations to include all things spooky and macabre. Shhhh, don’t look now but something is watching you! See if you can catch a glimpse of a fleeting, ghostly figure with Gatlinburg’s haunted walks, mansions and tours. Or get lost in a world of mirrors filled with adventure at every turn; fun that will amaze and delight the whole family.
Ghost & Haunt Tours
A 90 minute walking tour with stories about unexplained phenomena. Who or what is still watching over the late Ratford Gatlin’s home? Which Gatlinburg businesses are rumored to be haunted? Take this scary tour to find out...if you dare! 404 Historic Nature Trail Gatlinburg TN, 37738 Phone: (865) 366-5834 http://www.gatlinburgghosts.com/
Ghost Wa lk of Gat linburg
For a spine tingling chill, take
this ghost walk that includes
folklore, legend, history, storytelling
and superstition. This
hour long adventure starts in
at White Oaks Cemetery.
White Oaks Cemetery
Gatlinburg, TN, 37738
Phone: (865) 556-0674
Hauntings Extreme Ghostly Adventure
It’s haunting and it’s extreme.
Need we say more? The
frightening artifacts in this
unique theater are not for
the faint of heart. Objects
and figures have been known
to come to life during this
PHOTOS © RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT
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CHILLS AND THRILLS
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PHOTO © THE Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
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Ober Gat linburg
and snowboarding equipment you may need. Equipment is available for rental or for purchase along with a wide range of winter clothing. Fully qualified instructors teach the art of skiing and snowboarding at all levels. This fun filled family adventure playground is located at 1339 Ski Mountain Road. Turn at Traffic Signal #10 -Ski Mountain Road and Parkway Street in downtown Gatlinburg. Follow the double yellow lines approximately 3 miles to the top. Ski Mountain Road dead-ends at Ober Gatlinburg.
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New Years Eve
One of the biggest events of the year, the New Years Eve Ball Drop and Fireworks event is a highly anticipated party that rings in the New Year. From live bands to the spectacular display when the ball drops and fireworks blast off, visitors have been coming back to witness event this year after year. The street becomes one large festival and guests can sing, dance and watch the displays all while helping to ring in a new year. Local restaurants and bars feature meal and drink specials so you can dine while taking in the festivities of the night.
From ice skating to skiing to snow tubes, there are winter activities for everyone. Those that travel to Gatlinburg for their winters find themselves returning year after year. This is one destination that can entertain you year round and leave you wanting more.
Enjoy the event at the intersection of the Parkway and Historic Nature Trail at the base of the Space Needle. Or contact the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce at (800) 568-4748
PHOTOS © THE Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
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