Six Things to Do With Kids on a Vacation in Gatlinburg

A gorgeous mountain town at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Gatlinburg, TN, is a fantastic holiday destination for families and even solo travelers. Gatlinburg has many fun-filled indoor and outdoor activities catering to adults and kids alike. With so many fun activities to do and the title of being one of America’s most beautiful places contribute to the popularity of Gatlinburg.

If you’re reading this, consider making a family trip to Gatlinburg soon. Let us help you plan the perfect vacation to the quaint yet scenic town with your kids!


Planning your Gatlinburg Vacation

Before getting to the activities and attractions, you must get your travel and lodging bookings out of the way. Since Gatlinburg is the most beautiful in the fall, most tourists plan their trip in September or October. Naturally, the town is the busiest during this time, and most activities are fully booked in advance.

Instead of joining the swarm of busy bees, we recommend planning your trip early in August. This way, you can avoid the rush of tourists and enjoy Gatlinburg in the early fall. However, book your tickets early for the best price once you decide on travel dates.

Lodging Options in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg has no shortage of excellent accommodations that are both budget-friendly and luxurious at the same time. Our lodging recommendation for a family vacation in Gatlinburg is a cabin rental. Many affordable cabins in Gatlinburg, TN, can easily accommodate large families and come with all the luxurious facilities similar to a hotel. You can take your pick from the many available options!

Kid-Friendly Activities in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg has a lot to offer to visitors. You can have an adventurous vacation by partaking in outdoor activities such as hiking and ziplining. Alternatively, you can focus on clean fun by visiting an adventure park and the many other attractions the town offers. Let’s look at the best things you can do with your family on vacation in Gatlinburg:

Ober Ski Area & Adventure Park

One place that remains holiday gold year around is the Ober Ski Area & Adventure Park in Gatlinburg. While the Ober is the ultimate spot for snow-based activities such as skiing and snowboarding in the winter, plenty of fun awaits all year round at the park. Non-seasonal activities at the Ober include outdoor ice skating, chairlift rides, wildlife encounters, and ice bumper cars. It means that the entire family can have a day full of fun at the Ober Adventure Park any time of the year, making it a must-visit place for you and your family.

Water Activities in the Great Smokies

Gatlinburg’s proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains means you can explore the national park and enjoy thrilling activities. What we enjoy most is the plethora of water activities, such as white-water river rafting and canoeing across the gorgeous rivers of Eastern Tennessee. You can book a slot for the entire family and glide across the clear waters with the wind in your hair while soaking in the breathtaking landscapes of the Great Smokies. It can be the perfect way to bond and have a blast with your family on vacation.

Gatlin’s Fun Center

Gatlin’s Fun Center is a great activity center for families on holiday. With more than ten different activities, this fun center is a great place for family fun. You can challenge your kids and spouse to a game at its 45-hole mini golf course or practice your team-building skills by exploring one of the escape rooms at the center. You can also explore other attractions, such as the Mirror Maze, or engage in a heated game of Laser Tag. There is no shortage of fun activities at the center, and the entire family is bound to have the time of their life.

Anakeesta Theme Park

Anakeesta is one of the most popular tourist spots in Gatlinburg. The theme park is spread over 70 acres at the Parkway in Gatlinburg and offers many family-friendly activities. You can hop onto the Rail Runner Mountain Coaster at Anakeesta and fly down the mountainside at up to 25 mph! If you have small children, you can ride tandem with them in tow. Later, you can take a trip to Anavista – the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg – and enjoy the beautiful views of Gatlinburg nestled amidst the gorgeous mountain scenery. For the little tots, Anakeesta offers a lot of fun at the Treehouse Adventure Play Area, where they can play and explore the area with other little vacationers.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Gatlinburg is a unique attraction that showcases some of the world’s most bizarre and amazing oddities. The museum features over 500 exhibits, including shrunken heads, a replica of the world’s tallest man, a two-headed calf, and an authentic vampire killing kit. Visitors can also experience interactive exhibits like a mirror maze and a spinning vortex tunnel. Additionally, the museum hosts live shows that include magic shows and fire-eating performances. With its collection of weird and wonderful exhibits, Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Gatlinburg is a must-visit destination for families seeking an out-of-the-ordinary experience.

Picnic at Mynatt Park

You come to Gatlinburg and miss out on exploring the downtown area; no, this isn’t happening. One of the best ways to explore downtown is to plan a picnic in the middle of downtown. We suggest Mynatt Park, arguably one of the most underrated attractions in town. Home to a fishing stream, a playground, a pavilion, and many sports courts, a picnic at Mynatt Park will be the perfect relaxing evening for the entire family. You can pick up food from one of the many downtown eateries and find a nice spot where you and your spouse can lie down and enjoy the sun while your kids frolic around the park.


Gatlinburg’s popularity as a tourist destination is continuously growing, and it is slowly becoming a nationwide favorite. If you want our advice, don’t waste any time and get started on planning your trip. Due to the fun activities and family-friendly environment on offer, Gatlinburg will make for a perfect family vacation.