2-Day Gatlinburg Vacation Itinerary

This itinerary covers the top things to see and try when visiting Gatlinburg for two days.

2-Day Gatlinburg Vacation Itinerary

Looking for a place full of action, adventure, and breathtaking views? Two days in Gatlinburg will provide you with all the thrills — and relaxation — you can handle. From hiking treks through the Great Smoky Mountains to on-demand spa packages, staying at one of our cozy cabins places you near all the attractions and amenities Gatlinburg offers.

Since there are dozens of things to do in Gatlinburg, we’ve hand-selected several events that would be perfect for a weekend stay for two. Broken down by the time of day, our Gatlinburg itinerary has entertainment and dining options to keep your days — and bellies — full. 

Weekend in Gatlinburg: Day 1

Hit the trails!

A graphic shares the day one itinerary for a weekend trip to Gatlinburg.

Beginning your weekend getaway with adrenaline and exercise will ensure you have plenty of time to focus on rest and relaxation on day two. Today, you’ll be heading to the Smokies, hanging out in the clouds, and ending with world-famous moonshine.

No Smoky Mountains two-day itinerary would be complete without hiking, riverside dining, scenic drives, and distillery tours. That’s exactly what Day 1 has in store for you.

Day 1: Morning

Before you get to trekking, let’s explore your breakfast options.

Fuel Up With Breakfast

Fuel up for a day of adventure at the local’s favorite, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. Crockett’s has you covered with options ranging from Stuffed French Toast to Griddle Cakes and Omelets. Consider ordering plenty of protein and a cup of coffee to keep your energy levels high before heading to your hike.

Hike in the Smokies

With your energy levels high and the sun shining, it’s time to drive to your first adventure of the day. This is because you’ll visit the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Andrew’s Bald may sound funny, but its views are nothing short of spectacular. This roughly two-mile out-and-back route is a part of the larger network of local hiking trails in the park and even connects to the Appalachian Trail (APT). If stepping on the APT is on your bucket list, now is your chance to taste this 2,190-mile trek.

A person with a hiking stick stands on a trail in the Smoky Mountains.

Day 1: Afternoon

After a serene picnic and scenic drive, you’ll head to the sky. 

Picnic by Little Pigeon River

It’s time to refuel at a serene riverside within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Chimneys Picnic Area sits on the bank of the Little Pigeon River and serves as a popular picnic spot for locals and visitors alike. 

The area possesses perfect views of the glimmering water and has amenities like restrooms, picnic tables, and grills. No matter what you pack to eat, this picnic area ensures a comfortable and clean lunchtime environment.

Drive the Cades Cove Loop

With your first hike of the trip complete, it’s time to head back to town. On the way, you can take one of the most sought-after scenic drives in the area — the Cades Cove Loop Road. The loop is 11 miles of green pastures, wildflowers, and, potentially,  glimpses of the local wildlife in their natural habitat. It’s the perfect way to unwind before your next big adventure.

Head to the Sky

After a dreamy drive in Cades Cove, you’ll head straight towards the clouds. 

The first stop is Gatlinburg SkyPark. The park offers not one but three different ways to enjoy the incredible panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains:

  • Walk across America’s longest SkyBridge at your own pace.
  • Catch the SkyLift to enjoy the ride and the views to the top.
  • Take in the jaw-dropping views at the SkyDeck on top of the park.

Every method of enjoying the park is sure to grant you jaw-dropping scenes and plenty of photos to take home.

Adventure Through the Clouds

Your first afternoon of fun isn’t over yet! The adventure continues at the Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park, one of the top attractions in Gatlinburg. From treetop canopy walks to competitive ziplining, this surreal theme park is perfect for couples and families who want thrilling and memorable experiences.

Ready to find your first round of souvenirs? The outdoor adventure park also features gourmet dining options, plenty of local boutiques to browse through, multiple gardens, and a plaza for weary travelers needing rest.

Day 1: Evening

Now that the non-stop thrills of day one are coming to an end, you can treat yourself to a night of fine dining and craft drinks in town.

Take a Break

Before heading out to enjoy Gatlinburg’s charming nightlife, take a moment to enjoy your cabin’s comfort and luxury amenities. Elk Springs Resort has cabins with indoor pools that are the perfect solution for a day of hiking and treetop treks. 

Or, if being one with nature is your idea of relaxation, our creekside cabins place you on the banks of a mountain stream, allowing you to unwind with the relaxing sounds of water rushing nearby. 

Grab a Riverside Dinner

Remember the Little Pigeon River you enjoyed a lunchtime picnic at earlier? For dinner, you’ll enjoy a fine dining experience at the bank of the same river. 

The Peddler is one of the best restaurants in town and is known for its succulent tableside steaks and gorgeous water views. Indulge in dinner and dessert, but consider saving room for drinks afterward because the bars in Gatlinburg have a wide array of local haunts to choose from.

Cheers With Craft Cocktails

When trying the local liquor, few places compare to the moonshine tasting and distillery tours available in Gatlinburg. If moonshine isn’t your cup of tea, craft beer and cider is also available:

  • Ole Smoky: Praised for its century-old recipes like moonshine cherries, it’s arguably the most famous distillery in Gatlinburg.
  • Sugarlands Distillery Co.: This is home to award-winning moonshine and iconic sipping creams featuring decadent flavors like Butter Pecan and Pumpkin Spice.
  • Smoky Mountain Brewery: This microbrewery has bar bites and beer on tap. Try their aptly named Appalachian Pale Ale for a hoppy post-hike reward.
  • Tennessee Cider Co.: If hard cider wasn’t delicious enough, Tennessee Cider Co. has a slushy version of their crisp treat that is perfect for any getaway.

Weekend trip to Gatlinburg: Day 2

Sit back and relax.

A graphic shares the day two itinerary for a weekend trip to Gatlinburg.

After a full day of adventuring, our itinerary for your second day in Gatlinburg is all about sitting back, relaxing, and taking it slow with your loved ones.

The last day of your Gatlinburg getaway will include shopping, spa packages, and plenty of delicious bites from local restaurants.

Day 2: Morning

Before heading out to stroll the local shops, you’ll enjoy a yummy breakfast — or two.

Get Breakfast 

If you still haven’t had your fill of Gatlinburg’s best pancake spots, head to the super-popular Pancake Pantry to curb your cravings. The food is celebrated, and the charming atmosphere keeps locals coming back for more.

Not in the mood for country fair? The Donut Friar can help satisfy your sweet tooth. Voted the best donuts in Tennessee, this must-try morning dessert pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee as you sip and shop.

Shop at Local Boutiques

Shopping in Gatlinburg is much more than souvenirs and T-shirts. You’ll find an abundance of local vendors and hand-crafted items at The Village, a group of 27 premier boutiques nestled within a charming Bavarian village. If you’re still feeling peckish after your double breakfast, there are an array of nearby spots to try along the way.

Day 2: Afternoon

With relaxation in mind, you’ll enjoy a serene excursion and spa experience this afternoon.

Visit the Aquarium

After a quick pit stop to drop off your souvenirs and shopping bags at the cabin, it’s time to enjoy the relaxing seascape of Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. The aquarium is famous for its sharks and penguins, who please crowds of all ages. You can also ride a glass-bottomed boat within the compound to get a closer inspection of the sea creatures.

Enjoy a River-Side Lunch

After working up an appetite at the aquarium, Calhoun’s is where you want to be. Although they’re well-known for their famous Prime Rib, everything on the menu will surely leave you satisfied. They also have a great selection of local libations, so you can try the drinks you may have missed out on the night before.

Book an In-Cabin Massage

Head back to your cabin to unwind after an amazing day on the trails. If you’d like to raise your relaxation to the next level, consider booking an in-cabin massage through Gatlinburg Mobile Massage. Their team of traveling masseuses will come to you, providing a luxurious spa experience for around $120 per person. A little pampering is the perfect way to prepare for your last night in town.

A person getting a massage during their weekend in Gatlinburg.

Day 2: Evening

The last night of your Gatlinburg weekend trip is here, and we’ll help you end it with something sweet. 

Catch Dinner and a Show

Before you say goodbye to Gatlinburg, you must grab one last bite to eat at Ole Red. Not only can you enjoy a taste of local comfort foods, but you can also enjoy dinner and a show. That’s right, this live music venue is famous for hosting country music legends who perform while you eat. It’s the perfect way to end your stay in the Smokies.

Don’t Forget Dessert

After dinner, it’s time for a sweet treat that will have you swooning. Byrd’s Famous Cookies has multiple locations and doubles as a souvenir shop due to its adorable cookie packages, tins, and collectibles. Byrd’s has almost every cookie flavor imaginable, like Key Lime Coolers, and even has salty snacks available.

Soak up Panoramic Views

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is open until 11 p.m., making it the perfect place to say your goodbyes and take in a night-time vista of some of your favorite Gatlinburg views. The 400-foot observation deck offers 360-degree panoramic town views that twinkle beautifully at night. As the seasons change, each view offers something different, making it imperative to come back to see how the town comes alive at night.

Gatlinburg Weekend Trip FAQs

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

How Much Is a Weekend Trip to Gatlinburg?

The average price for a weekend trip for two to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, can vary. However, it’s a good idea to budget around $1,000 to make the most out of your Smoky Mountain stay.

Is 48 Hours Enough Time for a Gatlinburg Getaway for Two?

Yes, 48 hours is enough time for a Gatlinburg getaway for two. However, you may find yourself wanting to come back for more!

What Is the Best Way To Get Around Gatlinburg?

One of the best ways of getting around Gatlinburg is via car. You can bring your car, rent a car, or order a ride via a ridesharing app. You can also catch a ride on the Gatlinburg Trolley or the Aerial Tramway if your destination is too far to walk to.

Cozy Up in Your Own Gatlinburg Cabin

Now that you know how to spend two days in Gatlinburg, don’t be surprised if you come back soon for a week’s worth of fun! Elk Springs Resort is happy to host you during your Smoky Mountain weekend getaways. Before packing your bags, view our list of cabins available this weekend to begin booking. See you in the Smokies!