The beautiful town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee is known as the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, bringing tons of visitors every year seeking to reconnect with nature and explore the stunning surrounding mountains. In addition to great scenery, Gatlinburg features tons of outdoor attractions such as theme parks, water parks, and outdoor adventure trails. At first thought, you may think that a rainy day is sure to spoil any fun you’ll have here. Fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Although filled with outdoor fun, Gatlinburg also has amazing indoor attractions and destinations that will keep the fun going, no matter the weather. Keep reading to find out our top picks for rainy day activities in Gatlinburg.
Explore the Local Distilleries and Other Fun Activities in Gatlinburg
Part of the rich local culture of Tennessee is the history of its many moonshine distilleries. Moonshine’s history began outside of the law, although today the many distilleries in Gatlinburg are licensed and operate legally. There are many great moonshine distilleries to choose from in Gatlinburg, and a rainy day is a perfect opportunity for a tasting tour (or two!) around town. Sugarlands Distilling Company is the top-rated distillery in town and is a great place to start on your rainy day moonshine tour. Open daily from 10 am to 10:30 pm, it’s a great place to drop in for an impromptu tasting at $5 a pour or book their blended cocktails tour for a 30-minute tour of their distillery, complete with two hand-crafted cocktails. No matter which option you choose, Sugarland serves up great whiskey and moonshine! Another popular distillery is Ole Smoky, which boasts the distinction of being the first federally licensed moonshine distillery in Tennessee. They also offer tours Mondays-Fridays at 11 am and 4 pm. Here, you’ll receive 13 sample tastings of the various whiskeys and moonshines distilled here. No matter which distillery you choose, you are sure to have a great time with great spirits on a rainy day in Gatlinburg!
Believe It or Not at Ripley’s
Just because the rain is keeping you indoors doesn’t mean you have to miss out on any of the wow factors of Gatlinburg. A popular series of destinations in Gatlinburg are the multiple attractions here from Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Ripley’s has a wide variety of attractions here, including their classic museum of unusual artifacts known as the Odditorium. Explore over 500 exhibits and artifacts on three floors of fun, featuring unique items such as shrunken heads, a 19th-century vampire hunting kit, a dragon made out of scrap metal, and all kinds of other interesting finds! In addition to the Odditorium, Ripley’s has their Aquarium of the Smokies, which features over 10,000 sea creatures in over 250 species, from sharks and penguins to stingrays and pufferfish. The aquarium is one of the top attractions in Gatlinburg, and with one visit here, it is easy to see why! Ripley’s Aquarium features seemingly endless colorful exhibits of fish and offers tons of hands-on experiences that are sure to delight everyone in the whole family! In addition to the Odditorium and the Aquarium, Ripley’s also has a mirror maze, haunted house, moving theater, an indoor arcade, and a couple of outdoor attractions as well. Best of all, you can bundle your tickets for multiple attractions, ensuring you save money and have tons of fun!
Live Like a Local at the Village Shops
A rainy day is a perfect excuse to head into town and spend some time living like a local. In Gatlinburg, there is no better place for that than at the Village Shops. Here you’ll find lots of local favorite places for shopping and dining. The Village Shops is consistently a favorite destination for both locals and tourists alike, winning a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Award in 2020. The Village Shops features European-style storefronts, an old-world atmosphere, and is home to 27 boutiques, restaurants and cafes, and art galleries. It’s a perfect place to spend the afternoon browsing for a unique souvenir for your trip to Gatlinburg! For bites, consider heading to Boudicca’s Celtic Pub, The Donut Friar, or the Hofbrauhaus restaurants. You won’t find any chain restaurants here; each dining destination is unique to Gatlinburg. For shopping, there are many great places, from food-themed such as Zi Olive and The Cheese Cupboard to jewelry at The Silver Tree and a wide variety of personalized items available at U Name It. No matter what you are looking for, the Village Shops is sure to have it and is one of the best destinations in Gatlinburg, rain or shine!
Gatlinburg is a fantastic vacation destination, and a rainy day or two certainly isn’t going to ruin your fun here! Enjoy tons of indoor attractions, dining, and shopping in beautiful Gatlinburg. Contact us to book your vacation today!
Gatlinburg is a city full of natural beauty in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Those looking to explore stunning views and reconnect with nature will love a vacation here, as it is most known as the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although many of its attractions revolve around nature, there is also a lot of fun to be had in the city of Gatlinburg itself. Whether you are looking for a night out on the town, or you want to rough it in the woods, booking a tour is a great option for exploring the area in and around Gatlinburg. Keep reading to find out our top 5 Gatlinburg tours to experience!
Roaring Fork Smoky Mountains Tour by Open-Air Jeep
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 500,000 acres of beauty to explore, and it can be intimidating to try and figure out where to begin! This tour experience offers a great starting point to Smoky Mountains National Park, starting in Gatlinburg and winding through a 6-mile loop filled with stunning scenery. Stop along the way for some of the best photo ops on the western edge of the National Park and learn about both local history and wildlife along the way. Enjoy views of the mountain stream and waterfall that gives Roaring Forks its name, and even go on an off-road adventure in Pigeon Forge. This 2.5-hour tour is a perfect introduction to Gatlinburg, especially for first time visitors!
Hidden Cascade Hiking Tour
For nature explorers who prefer to enjoy their adventures on foot, the Hidden Cascade Hiking Tour of the Smoky Mountains is a must! This 4-hour guided hiking tour takes you along a quiet trail down to a hidden waterfall and other stunning views. Your guide will chat with you about the history of the Smoky Mountains and the local flora and fauna. The hike is rated as moderate, with a few strenuous parts, but your guide will accommodate your pace. You are sure to come out of the hike with a great appreciation for the history and the beauty of the area. These Gatlinburg tours tend to fill up fast, so it is highly recommended that you book in advance.
Sugarlands Distilling Company
Many people flock to Gatlinburg for its natural beauty, but there is lots of fun to be had in the city itself! Many tours offer a glimpse into local history, but you can’t touch on the history of Tennessee without acknowledging the residents’ affinity for moonshine and other spirits. For adults over the age of 21 traveling in Gatlinburg, a behind-the-scenes tour at Sugarlands Distilling Company is a great go-to activity. Learn how Sugarlands makes its spirits and enjoy a tasting flight. This is one of the top-rated things to do in Gatlinburg, and Sugarlands Distilling Company also received a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award in 2020.
Top Rated Wine and Shine Walking Tour
If you can’t imagine limiting your spirits to just one location, then consider the top-rated Wine and Shine Walking Tour in Gatlinburg! Once hidden behind closed doors, moonshine is now a point of local pride and a must-have spirit in any Tennessee drinking establishment. The 3.5-hour tour includes tastings and a moonshine cocktail at three of the most popular local distilleries: Tennessee Shine Company, Little Bear Winery, and Sugarlands Distilling Company. Learn how the humble spirit of moonshine is a key part of Tennessee history while you enjoy a fun night out on the town.
Ghost and Haunt Gatlinburg Tours
Like many well-established mountain towns, Gatlinburg has its fair share of spooks and local ghost stories. Learn about this darker side of Gatlinburg on this 1-mile walking tour through the city’s most notorious and haunted places. Your guide will take you down the same paths as murderers and their victims, as well as con artists and self-promoters that may still reside there. View photographs taken on the tour from previous visitors and have your chance to capture eerie orbs or full-blown apparitions. To make the experience even more spooky, you may have a chance to try and communicate with those who have passed. Whether you are a skeptic or a true believer, you won’t be able to deny the amazing storytelling of the tour guides and the fact that it is one of the most fun and entertaining ways to learn the history of a city.
Gatlinburg is a city that you can visit again and again and always find something new to explore. Whether you are visiting to hike through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or sip moonshine in the city, there is a fantastic tour waiting for you in Gatlinburg. Make the most of your vacation and contact us today to book!