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Adventure on a Budget: Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a charming mountain town located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. It offers visitors a variety of unique experiences, from hiking, observing wildlife, tasting moonshine, indulging in local arts and crafts, and much more. The vibrant downtown area features a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions, all set against the stunning backdrop of the mountains. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, fine arts, or family-friendly fun, this town has something for everyone. While you may be eager to visit this historic community, you may also have a tight budget for your vacation. But don’t worry, there is no shortage of fun, free stuff to do in Gatlinburg TN! In fact, we've put together this guide to help you find and enjoy the best free things in Gatlinburg TN.


Free Activities in Gatlinburg TN

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This famous national park is just minutes from downtown Gatlinburg and has endless opportunities for exploration. Although it is free to drive through the park, if you are planning to park for more than 15 minutes, you will need to purchase a parking pass, which start as low as $5.


2. Sugarlands Visitor Center

Learn about the flora, fauna, and history of the Smoky Mountains at this informative visitor center. The center also offers free ranger-led programs and exhibits.


3. Scenic Drives

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: This scenic 5.5 mile, one-way loop winds through the lush forests of the Smokies and offers numerous pull-offs with stunning views and historical sites.

Cades Cove: This scenic 11-mile, one-way loop is one of the area's most popular attractions, with over 2 million visitors a year! It is famous for its breathtaking views and its abundance of wildlife.


4. Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community

The largest organization of independent artisans in the country, this community features over 100 artists working in a variety of mediums. Stroll along the 8-mile loop and watch craftsmen at work.


5. Ober Gatlinburg

While the tram ride to Ober Gatlinburg is not free, once you arrive, you can enjoy free activities such as watching the bears in the Wildlife Encounter, browsing the shops, or taking in the views from the observation deck.


6. Downtown Gatlinburg

Wander along the vibrant streets of downtown Gatlinburg, filled with shops, galleries, and eateries. Don't miss the picturesque covered bridge over the Little Pigeon River.


7. Free Samples

Several shops in downtown Gatlinburg offer free samples of local goods, from homemade fudges to moonshine tastings (for those over 21 years old).


8. Gatlinburg Farmers Market

Held every Saturday from May to October, the farmers market showcases local produce, crafts, and live music. It's a great way to experience the local culture.


9. Gatlinburg Skylift Park

While riding the Skylift to the mountaintop does have a fee, you can explore the SkyBridge and enjoy the panoramic views for free once you're up there.


10. Festivals and Events

Gatlinburg hosts numerous free festivals throughout the year, including the Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair and the Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival.


Still looking for more free attractions in Gatlinburg? Why not enjoy free tickets on us!

Guests who book directly with Honeymoon Hills receive one Mountain Attractions Gift Card containing a voucher to some of the area’s most popular shows and attractions! We have chosen a variety of offers from top attractions in the area and are giving you one of each, for free, every day of your stay. You can use all of none of these activities each day.



We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful town and hope you are excited to experience the very best of Gatlinburg on a budget!



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