2-Day Itinerary for the Perfect Gatlinburg Weekend Getaway

Do you want to escape to a quaint mountain town that looks amazing in any season? If yes, take a weekend vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is the main entrance to one of the most famous national parks, the Great Smoky Mountains. Even with almost 12 million visitors annually, Gatlinburg does everything to make your vacations unforgettable. But what makes this town special and unique?

This town is jam-packed with diverse activities, museums, lively shows, and historical sights. This town is a must-visit, with some of the best adventure and hiking opportunities. Additionally, home to the most significant amount of Ripley’s in America and fun activities for all age groups, this town assures you one of the most unique vacations ever.

Besides various outdoor activities and amusement parks, this town is also home to plenty of novelty food shops and restaurants. For instance, the Village Shops have about 27 different eateries, galleries, and boutiques, matching a charming European village.

But before planning your activities, you need to book your accommodations. Remember, your lodgings can make or break your experience. Hence, look for accommodations that cater to all your requirements. For instance, if you want to wake up to the beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains but you’re traveling with your pets, you can look for pet-friendly cabins in Gatlinburg.

Coming back, with so much to see and do in this town in such a short time, you might be wondering how to spend your time wisely. So, here’s a 2-day itinerary for the perfect weekend getaway to Gatlinburg.

Day 1 

Trust us, the first day of your trip to Gatlinburg will be filled with excitement and fun! You and your group will have a lot of fun experiencing the best this town offers.

Donut Friar

During your first day in this town, visit the Donut Friar. This place in The Village isn’t just a favorite among visitors but locals, making it a must-stop during your trip. As you start getting close to the shop, the aroma of freshly prepared cinnamon bread, doughnuts, and coffee will draw you in quickly. Inside, you can find different types of doughnuts, pastries, and eclairs. Not just that, you can also buy lattes, cappuccino, and espresso prepared according to your taste.

Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

After you’re done with breakfast, head to Ripley’s Aquarium because you wouldn’t want to lose the opportunity of visiting one of the best aquariums in the state. One of the best parts about visiting this aquarium is that it’s the perfect escape for every visitor. Whether you have little kids or grandparents in your group, this attraction ensures the entire group has fun.

The displays look fascinating to everyone; they’ll love seeing the sharks and other sea creatures swim around. Not just that, visiting Ripley’s Aquarium also becomes fun for kids as it includes all impressive interactive displays. For instance, when you go to the Penguin Playhouse, your kids can run around the ground and meet the penguins.

Grab lunch

Have your pancakes worn off by this time? If yes, you can stop to get lunch someplace in downtown Gatlinburg. The lanes of this town are lined with delicious restaurants! Do you want a fast bite to eat? You can visit fantastic places like Blaine’s Grill & Bar, Gatlinburg Brewing Company, and Pop’s Sub Shoppe.

Whitewater rafting in the Smokies

After your meal, treat yourself to an extraordinary experience at the Great Smoky Mountains with its whitewater rafting adventures. The rafting tour guide can take you on scheduled and guided journeys on the river, where you can see the waterfall along a 5.5-mile course.

But do you know what the best part about going whitewater rafting is? You don’t have to worry about anyone from your group missing out because of their height or age. A visit to whitewater rafting is perfect for nearly all ages, and no prior knowledge is needed. Even kids as young as four can enjoy a mild Lower River rafting trip, ensuring you and your group has the best experience possible.

Day 2

The next and last day of your weekend getaway in this town should be spent discovering the natural wonders of this town and appreciating all the beautiful views.

Watch the sunrise from your cabin’s deck

What’s better than waking up to the scenic views of the mountains in this town? Start your day by waking up a little early, making tea, and watching the daybreak from the top deck of your cabin. This isn’t just a wonderful way to begin your day; it gives you a special minute to share with your group.

Breakfast at the Pancake Pantry

The best way to start the second day of your getaway is breakfast at Gatlinburg’s most famous pancake house. The Pancake Pantry is Tennessee’s oldest yet most famous pancake place and has tourists coming back every now and then to enjoy the made-from-start pancakes and whipped cream. But what if you’re not a fan of pancakes? Don’t worry because pancakes aren’t the only item on their menu! Along with 24 various types of pancakes, you can also try their farm-fresh eggs, waffles, and much more.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

You can’t give up a chance to visit the Great Smoky Mountains while you’re in Gatlinburg. This park is home to a range of wildlife and extraordinary views. One of the best ways to explore this park is to go on a hike. Some of the most popular hies are Laurel Falls and Alum Cave Trail, which includes hollow cliffs and many beautiful views. 

In addition, even if you’re not a fan of hiking, this national park contains many accessible and scenic spots. Perhaps you can soak up the Pigeon landscape or look at the old architecture of the mills. Moreover, the Great Smokey Mountains also offer an excellent opportunity to have fun with your group at some of its designated spots.

Go shopping

After a day filled with so much fun, you’ll probably wish for a calmer activity. This means it’s the best time to go shopping! So, where should you head to? You can visit the Mountain Mall and explore shops you might not find elsewhere. Besides that, you can go to the Reagan Terrace Mall for a range of little shops and entertainment. Don’t forget to stop at Gatlinburg’s Fun Center while at this mall and have fun playing mini golf, an escape game, and laser tag.

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Final thoughts

Are you also finding it challenging to plan the best activities for your weekend getaway to Gatlinburg? Don’t worry; we’re here to help you. Look at the two-day itinerary mentioned above and see how you can utilize your time effectively during your trip to Gatlinburg.