sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

4 Fun Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Free

Beautiful photo of the city of Gatlinburg in the mountains in the early morning.
September 30, 2016

There is no shortage of fun things to do when you vacation in Gatlinburg, TN. In fact, there are a number of great activities that don’t cost a cent! To help you make the most of your getaway, Sidney James Mountain Lodge has put together a guide to four things to do in Gatlinburg for free:

1. Visiting the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community

Located off of the East Parkway, the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is an 8 mile loop featuring some of the best shops, studios, and galleries in the Southeast. All of the artwork in this special area is produced by local artisans and craftspeople. Visitors to the Arts & Crafts Community will have the chance to see paintings, photography, wood carvings, pottery, quilts, and countless other works of art. Nearly all of the items in the Arts & Crafts Community are available for purchase, but it doesn’t cost a thing to browse through the excellent destinations along the loop!

2. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Unlike many other national parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an admission fee! All of the park’s spectacular scenery is free for everyone to enjoy, regardless of how much money they have. The Smokies are home to over 800 miles of beautifully maintained trails, so you are sure to find a hike that suits your interest and ability. According to the national park service, these are the five most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains:

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Abrams Falls Trail
  • Laurel Falls Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Trillium Gap Trail/Grotto Falls

(See Also: Top 4 Things to See Along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail)

3. Walking Along The Strip

Another one of our favorite things to do in Gatlinburg for free is simply walking along the downtown Parkway. The Strip is truly unlike anywhere else in the world. People from all over the country frequent the few blocks that comprise Gatlinburg’s downtown area.

While there are many attractions on the Parkway that cost money, it can also be fun to just stroll around and see the sights. Many of the fudge shops on The Strip offer free samples, so you can always stop inside for a quick bite of something sweet. Also, the moonshine distilleries in downtown frequently host live music performances that you can enjoy for free. When you stay at Sidney James Mountain Lodge, you will be less than a 15 minute walk from all of the fun on the Parkway.

4. Swimming at Sidney James Mountain Lodge

The excellent indoor swimming pool at Sidney James Mountain Lodge in Gatlinburg.

Guests at Sidney James Mountain Lodge don’t even need to leave the hotel to find free entertainment! Our hotel comes with two wonderful seasonal outdoor pools and a year round indoor pool with a sauna. Ideal for families, our pools are the perfect place to unwind after a day of fun in the Smokies.

Sidney James Mountain Lodge is near all of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for free. To start planning your vacation, browse our complete selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!