sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Top 5 Things to Do in Gatlinburg When It Rains

The very popular Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in downtown Gatlinburg TN.
March 22, 2017

While everyone keeps their fingers crossed for sunny skies during their vacation, sometimes the weather just doesn’t turn out the way you hoped. Fortunately, Gatlinburg is one of the very best places to spend a rainy day! Our Smoky Mountain city may be most famous for its outdoor activities, but it also offers a number of fantastic indoor activities that your family is sure to love. To help you make the most of your getaway, Sidney James Mountain Lodge has put together a guide to the top five things to do in Gatlinburg when it rains.

1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is the perfect place to take your family for an afternoon of rainy day fun. This hugely popular aquarium has been ranked among the top 10 aquariums in the United States by the users of! Visitors will have the chance to see over 10,000 sea creatures, including the adorable African penguins at the aquarium’s Penguin Playhouse and the ocean’s most fearsome predators at the Shark Lagoon.

2. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

Shakers on display at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg.

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is one of Gatlinburg’s quirkiest attractions. Considered a hidden gem in the Smokies, this museum is home to over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from all over the world. The museum grew out of a personal collection of shakers that the museum’s founder, Andrea Ludden, was keeping in her home. When the Luddens ran out of shelf space in their house, they decided to share their wonderful salt and pepper shakers with the masses by displaying them in a museum. Admission to the museum is only $3.00, and that money goes toward the purchase of any set of salt and pepper shakers in the gift shop.

3. Gatlin’s Smoky Mountain Fun

Gatlin’s Smoky Mountain Fun offers a number of family-friendly things to do in Gatlinburg when it rains. Your kids will love playing laser tag, driving bumper cars, or enjoying a round of indoor blacklight mini golf. Gatlin’s also features a new escape game adventure where guests are “locked” in a room and must find clues and solve puzzles to make their way out. The great thing about visiting Gatlin’s is that you can choose to only pay for one or two activities, or you can bundle a number of activities for one low price.

4. Mountain Mall

The Mountain Mall is Gatlinburg’s premier indoor shopping destination. Located right on The Strip, this wonderful mall truly has something for everyone. Here are a few of the most popular places to visit at the Mountain Mall:

  • Aunt Mahalia’s Candies
  • PHD Embroidery
  • Cowboy Way
  • Pepper Palace
  • Paws & Claws Pet Fashion
  • Cosmic Comet Arcade

5. Indoor Pool at Sidney James Mountain Lodge

Indoor pool at Sidney James Mountain Lodge

When you stay at Sidney James Mountain Lodge, you won’t even need to leave our hotel to find rainy day entertainment! Swimming in our heated indoor pool is one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg when it rains. Featuring a unique design with a waterfall and grotto, our indoor pool is sure to be a hit with your kids. If you get hungry during your swimming session, you can stroll over to our Poolside Cafe, which offers a great selection of breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and homemade desserts.

To learn more about everything Sidney James Mountain Lodge has to offer, visit our Amenities page!