4-Day Smoky Mountain Itinerary

Get to know the Smoky Mountain and Gatlinburg area while using this comprehensive 4-day itinerary.

4-Day Smoky Mountain Itinerary

Picture this: You’re relaxing in a private pool at a creekside cabin after trekking through a majestic mountain landscape. Your family and friends are enjoying the moment with you as you prepare for another great adventure tomorrow.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains while being a charming small town with plenty to see. Whether you’re visiting Gatlinburg with kids, friends, or your special someone, use our four-day Smoky Mountain itinerary to craft your ideal Gatlinburg getaway.

Gatlinburg Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Get to know Gatlinburg
      • Get Breakfast at Mama’s Farmhouse
      • Visit Anakeesta Outdoor Adventure Park
      • Enjoy lunch at Elvira’s Cafe
      • Marvel at the aquarium
      • Dine at Applewood Farmhouse 
      • Gaze out of the Space Needle
  • Day 2: Head to the mountains
      • Get breakfast at Log Cabin Pancake House
      • Trek the Smoky Mountain trails
      • Picnic at the park
      • Bike through the mountains
      • Take a scenic drive
      • Dine at The Fox and Parrot Tavern
  • Day 3: Enjoy upscale excursions
      • Get Breakfast at Flapjacks Pancake House
      • Go to the Gatlinburg Sky Lift
      • Eat at The Lodge at Buckberry Creek 
      • Golf on the green
      • Dine at Cherokee Grill
      • Enjoy local music and moonshine
  • Day 4: Get nostalgic while shopping
    • Get breakfast at Mountain Lodge Restaurant
    • Visit Gatlinburg’s Pinball Museum
    • Eat at Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que
    • Go souvenir shopping 
    • Dine at Smoky Mountain Brewery
    • Relax at your cabin

4-day trip to Tennessee: Day 1

 A graphic shows the day one itinerary for vacationing in Gatlinburg.

Today is all about getting to know the town of Gatlinburg and seeing what this charming town offers you during your stay. This small town has some big adventures in store, from adventure parks to aquariums.

Day 1: Morning

We’ll begin with a classic country breakfast and a visit to one of the most exciting attractions in town.

Begin with breakfast 

If scratch-made Biscuits and Gravy or Sweet Potato Pancakes with Baked Cinnamon Apples make your mouth water, Mama’s Farmhouse is the place for you. This local spot is family-owned and operated, with photos of the proprietor’s loved ones decorating the walls. Ask about their peach butter specialties for a decadent start to your day.

Visit Anakeesta Outdoor Adventure Park

Whether you’re always looking for adrenaline or someone who likes to stroll and shop, everyone can find something fun to do at the Anakeesta Outdoor Adventure Park. Nature lovers can meander through interpretive trails that teach you about Tennessee’s local flora and fauna. Thrill-seekers, meanwhile, can zip-line through the park, ride a roller coaster, or walk across the treetop canopy.

Day 1: Afternoon

After working up an appetite, it’s time to head to one of the best restaurants in Gatlinburg and enjoy a few aquatic encounters.

Get lunch nearby

Neither tourists nor locals can get enough of the famous fare at Elvira’s Cafe. Local favorites off their lunch menu include Buckwheat Crepes, a Fried Green Tomato BLT, and The Grown-Up Grilled Cheese, complete with Applewood Smoked Bacon. This family-friendly restaurant also has a kid’s menu with a small S’more Delight Crepe that’ll make you feel like you’re camping under the stars.

Marvel at the aquarium  

Walk off your amazing meal while marveling at the array of aquatic animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. From adorable penguins to mighty sharks, the aquarium is home to several fascinating sea creatures that will inspire people of all ages to learn more about the underwater world. The aquarium also hosts other attractions like laser tag and a 5D theater at their Fun Zone.

Day 1: Evening

End your first day in Gatlinburg with a sample of the farm-fresh food made possible by the fertile Smoky Mountain soil, then take in the panoramic views from the Space Needle.

Dine the night away

If down-home Southern cooking is calling your name, look no further than Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant and Grill. Considering that a working family farm is the restaurant’s foundation, their farm-to-table food is as fresh as it gets. 

Try one of their dinner specials like their Old-Fashioned Chicken and Dumplings or Momma’s Country Meatloaf — make sure to sample their famous Homemade Apple Butter before you go.

Gaze out of the Space Needle

The only thing left to do before retiring to your luxurious cabin for the evening is to take in the 360° views of Gatlinburg at night. The Gatlinburg Space Needle is the perfect place to be as the sunsets over the Smoky Mountains. If you have a few bursts of energy left, consider stopping by the arcade for a dose of nostalgia and indulging in a late-night pizza slice.

4-day Itinerary Gatlinburg: Day 2

A graphic shows the day two itinerary for vacationing in Gatlinburg.

Anyone planning a trip to Gatlinburg knows that at least one day should highlight the famous Smoky Mountain trails. That’s exactly what’s in store for you today: hiking and mountain biking through Tennessee’s pristine forests.

Day 2: Morning

Day two is all about stamina, so starting with a hearty breakfast before hitting the trails is a must.

Get Breakfast 

The first stop of the day is Log Cabin Pancake House, where famous flapjacks await you. This family-owned joint has been serving the people of Gatlinburg and its visitors for almost fifty years. With an all-day breakfast menu including homemade Chicken and Waffles and All-You-Can-Eat Biscuits and Gravy, it’s easy to see why they’ve been around for nearly half a century.

Trek the Smoky Mountain trails

Now, you’re off to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — home to several hiking trails featuring diverse terrain and difficult levels. Families with young children may consider walking the two-mile Laurel Falls loop trail, where an 80-foot waterfall awaits you. Solo hikers and groups up for a rewarding challenge may enjoy the Middle Prong Trail, which is home to three waterfalls and wildflowers.

Day 2: Afternoon

The mountain adventures continue into the afternoon. Before a picnic, you’ll hop on a bike to experience the Smokies with some speed behind you.

Bike through the mountains

Although famous for its walking trails, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is also home to incredible mountain bike trails. The Gatlinburg Trail is a quintessential path for beginners and experienced cyclists alike. At only 1.9 miles each way, it boasts big views of the mountains while following the path carved by the Little Pigeon River. Those seeking a challenging yet serene ride should consider the 4.5-mile Deep Creek Trail that follows the flow of the gorgeous Deep Creek.

Picnic at the park

If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg, Cades Cove may appear once or twice on your roster. The Cades Cove Picnic Area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to recuperate after hitting the trails. Complete with girls, tables, and spectacular views, you may even spot some of the park’s residents, like groundhogs and white-tailed deer. 

Day 2: Evening

After a scenic drive through the park, you’ll head to the local British pub for dinner and a well-deserved pint.

Take a scenic drive

Cades Cove is also home to one of the best scenic drives in Gatlinburg. This 11-mile loop is gorgeous year-round and even more spectacular during golden hour or sunset. Tell your passengers to get their cameras ready because the photogenic peaks are beyond Instagram-worthy.

Dine at The Fox and Parrot Tavern

How does unwinding at an authentic British pub in the middle of Tennessee sound? The Fox and Parrot Tavern is the best place to toast your Smoky Mountain hiking accomplishments and sample authentic British cuisine with a Southern twist. Their menu is full of across-the-pond favorites for you to try, including Fish and Chips, Scotch Eggs, and Bangers and Mash.

Gatlinburg Cabin Trip Itinerary: Day 3

A graphic shows the day three itinerary for vacationing in Gatlinburg.

Today, you’ll enjoy golfing, fine dining, and an elevated excursion to the clouds. In the evening, you’ll have the chance to sample Tennessee’s famous moonshine while dancing the night away.

Day 3: Morning

After enjoying the first meal of the day, you’ll be heading to the sky.

Get Breakfast

Flapjacks Pancake House was mentioned in Southern Living Magazine for its sublime Southern flavors. It continues to impress all who frequent one of its six locations across the greater Gatlinburg area. Those with a sweet tooth may enjoy their famous Reese’s Peanut Butter Pancakes, while those seeking something savory could try their Corned Beef Hash Skillet.

Reach New Heights

Gatlinburg’s SkyPark is home to one of the longest bridges in North America. If walking across a 700-foot-long suspension bridge isn’t your cup of tea, the SkyLift can comfortably take you 1,800 feet above sea level, straight to the SkyDeck, where jaw-dropping panoramic views of the town and surrounding mountainside await you. Don’t forget to stop by the SkyPark Shop for your first pick at souvenirs. 

Day 3: Afternoon

Once you’re back to Earth, make your way over to The Lodge at Buckberry Creek to see why it’s a local’s favorite hidden secret before enjoying Gatlinburg’s golf scene.

Eat at The Lodge at Buckberry Creek

If you’re a foodie on the hunt for a true culinary gem nestled in the Gatlinburg food scene, navigate to the restaurant at The Lodge at Buckberry Creek. The kitchen crafts a unique and seasonally appropriate menu daily to take full advantage of Gatlinburg’s farm-fresh flavors. 

Golf on the green

A four-day stay in Gatlinburg awards you the opportunity to try one of the few golf courses in the area. The Gatlinburg Golf Course is arguably the most popular, featuring 18 holes and superb mountain views. Prices average around $50 per person. 

Day 3: Evening

As the end of your trip draws closer, treat yourself to a nice dinner, then enjoy local music and moonshine under the city lights.

Dine at Cherokee Grill

Cherokee Grill is Gatlinburg’s premier steakhouse and hosts a popular happy hour. Although steaks are popular, the eaterie also has Char-Grilled Wild Alaska Salmon and Smoky Mountain Fried Chicken on the menu. But the Fresh Ground Sirloin Steak may tempt you away from the other menu items.

Enjoy local music and moonshine

If you’re vacationing in Tennessee, you mustn’t return home until you experience the state’s local music and moonshine. The Sugarlands Distilling Company crafts award-winning moonshine, sugar maple vodka, and cocktails and showcases both local and touring talent from the country music scene. For these reasons, it’s now known as one of the best places for live music in Gatlinburg

Great Smoky Mountains Itinerary: Day 4

 A graphic shows the day four itinerary for vacationing in Gatlinburg.

After music, dancing, and drinks from the night prior, your last day in Gatlinburg will focus on learning at an interactive museum. Don’t forget to add time to shop for souvenirs and familiarize yourself with the local vendors.

Day 4: Morning

Indulge in your last breakfast in Gatlinburg before heading to one of the town’s best museums for a hands-on experience you won’t soon forget.

Get breakfast at Mountain Lodge Restaurant

The Mountain Lodge Restaurant is an authentic mom-and-pop shop that makes guests feel at home while enjoying classic country kitchen cooking. While their Omelet, Pancakes, and Sausage Biscuits are scrumptious, locals love the kind-hearted staff and family-friendly atmosphere.

Visit Gatlinburg’s Pinball Museum

The Gatlinburg Pinball Museum is a must-stop attraction for retro gaming lovers who remember the simple pleasures of pinball. Dozens of machines line the museum — each with their signature style, flashing lights, and sounds. Since it’s an interactive museum, all the exhibits are fully functioning and waiting for kids (and kids at heart) to enjoy them.

Day 4: Afternoon

Dig into some mouth-watering BBQ before scouting for the perfect souvenirs to commemorate an amazing four days in Gatlinburg.

Eat at Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

Bennett’s Pit BBQ has been operating in Gatlinburg since the early ‘90s and continues to impress patrons with its potent flavors and tender meats. They slow smoke their cuts overnight for the tastiest results, which is apparent in award-winning dishes like their Pulled Pork Sandwich and Beef Brisket. Bennett’s homemade Cinnamon Donuts are also popular crowd-pleasers!

Go souvenir shopping 

With all the athletic excursions out of the way, now is your chance to shop until you drop! Head to The Village Shops for a Bavarian-style shopping experience full of charm and red-brick roads. The Mountain Mall is also a great place to find everything from jewelry to local condiments and travel-friendly cooking ingredients to bring a taste of the Smokies back home.

Day 4: Evening

The time for your last meal has come, so enjoy it to the fullest at a local gastro-pub before retiring to your nearby cabin to prepare for your departure.

Dine at Smoky Mountain Brewery

The last meal of your trip is best spent with the locals at none other than the Smoky Mountain Brewery. Their Filet Mignon is a solid contender, and you can’t go wrong with an Ole’ Smoky Burger as your last bite before hitting the road. While you’re there, try one of their many beers on tap — don’t be surprised if you find yourself on stage singing karaoke after!

Relax at your cabin

Whether you have a cabin with an indoor pool or a creekside cabin next to the water, spend the last moments of your Gatlinburg vacation savoring the rustic charm and comfort of your accommodations. Light a fire and relax before packing up your souvenirs and preparing to return to everyday life away from the magical Smoky Mountains.

4 days in Gatlinburg FAQ

Still have questions about how to spend four days in Gatlinburg? We’ve got answers.

How many days do I need to enjoy Gatlinburg?

You can take a weekend trip to Gatlinburg to sample what the city has to offer. However, if you want to enjoy Gatlinburg’s wide array of adventures and activities, you may want to consider spending four days or longer in the Smokies.

What is the best month to visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a beautiful place to visit year-round. However, the Smoky Mountains truly come alive in the Autumn. If you want to experience vivid fall foliage colors, visit from September to November.

How far is Gatlinburg from the Smoky Mountains?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is about a 15-minute drive away from the Smoky Mountains.

Cozy up in your own Gatlinburg cabin

Elk Springs Resort is happy to host you during your Smoky Mountain getaways. Before packing your bags, view our list of cabins in the Smoky Mountains to begin booking. See you in the Smokies!