Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a gem nestled in the Smoky Mountains, offering an abundance of activities and attractions for vacation goers. Whether you’re planning a family trip, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, Gatlinburg has something for everyone. 

With charming boutiques, delicious eateries, thrilling adventures, and the stunning backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s no shortage of fun things to do. Let’s dive into some of the top activities to make the most of your time in Gatlinburg.

  1. Explore The Village

One of Gatlinburg’s must-visit spots is The Village, a delightful area filled with over 20 unique boutiques, eateries, and galleries. Just a short walk from Laurel Inn, The Village transports you to a quaint European town with its beautiful architecture and cobblestone paths. Here, you can spend hours exploring the charming shops, each offering something special. From handcrafted goods and local art to tasty treats and unique gifts, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re window shopping or looking for the perfect souvenir, The Village is the perfect place to start your Gatlinburg adventure.

  1. Visit Ripley’s Aquarium

Just around the corner from The Village is Ripley’s Aquarium, one of Gatlinburg’s top attractions. This attraction offers an exciting underwater adventure for visitors of all ages. Ripley’s Aquarium is home to thousands of sea creatures, including sharks, stingrays, and colorful fish. The interactive exhibits and touch tanks allow you to get up close and personal with some of the marine life, making it a memorable experience for kids and adults alike. One of the highlights is the Shark Lagoon, where you can walk through a tunnel surrounded by these majestic predators. 

With its educational displays and captivating exhibits, visiting Ripley’s Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg – and when you decide to stay at Laurel Inn, you get the chance to explore the vibrant downtown Gatlinburg. Enjoy delicious restaurants, unique specialty shops, special events, and exciting attractions. Staying at Laurel Inn Condominiums puts you just steps away from all the action.

  1. Experience Ripley’s Haunted Adventure

For those seeking a thrill, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is the place to be. Located close to the aquarium, this haunted house attraction promises spine-chilling excitement. As you enter the spooky building, you’ll be greeted by eerie sounds and sights that will keep you on edge. The live actors and special effects create a truly immersive experience, making it feel like you’re in a horror movie. Whether you’re a fan of haunted houses or just looking for a unique adventure, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure is sure to provide plenty of scares and laughs. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

  1. Discover Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum is another fantastic attraction within easy reach of Laurel Inn. This museum is packed with oddities and curiosities from around the world, offering a fascinating glimpse into the bizarre and unusual. From shrunken heads to incredible artworks made from unexpected materials, every exhibit is designed to amaze and intrigue. The interactive displays make it a fun and engaging experience for all ages. As you wander through the museum, you’ll be astonished by the strange and wonderful items on display. It’s a perfect stop for anyone interested in the extraordinary.

  1. Play Mini Golf

Gatlinburg is known for its variety of mini golf courses, each offering a fun and unique experience. Mini golf is a great activity for families, couples, and friends, providing a bit of friendly competition and a lot of laughs. Many of the courses are themed, adding an extra layer of excitement to your game. Whether you’re navigating through a pirate ship or putting alongside dinosaurs, Gatlinburg’s mini golf courses are sure to entertain. No trip to Gatlinburg is complete without a round of mini golf.

  1. Enjoy the Arcades

Gatlinburg is a haven for arcade enthusiasts, with a variety of venues offering classic and modern games that promise endless fun for all ages. Arcades are a great way to relive childhood memories or introduce the younger generation to timeless games. Collect tickets from your victories and trade them in for unique prizes. The bright lights, cheerful sounds, and competitive spirit make arcades a lively and entertaining part of any Gatlinburg visit.

  1. Adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

No visit to Gatlinburg is complete without exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This natural wonder offers a vast array of outdoor activities, perfect for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Hiking trails of varying difficulty levels allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the mountains, with opportunities to see wildlife and breathtaking vistas. Fishing in the park’s many streams and rivers is a relaxing way to spend an afternoon, while whitewater rafting offers an exhilarating experience on the park’s rivers. The park’s natural beauty and the variety of activities make it a highlight of any trip to Gatlinburg.

  1. Dine at Local Restaurants

Gatlinburg boasts a vibrant dining scene, with options to suit every palate. For those staying at Laurel Inn, you’re within easy reach of some of the best eateries in town. Bennett’s BBQ is a favorite for its mouthwatering smoked meats and hearty sides, while the Alamo Steakhouse offers succulent steaks and a cozy atmosphere. These local restaurants not only provide delicious meals but also a taste of Southern hospitality. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual bite or a fine dining experience, Gatlinburg’s restaurants are sure to satisfy your cravings and offer a memorable dining experience.

9. Shop at Unique Boutiques

Shopping in Gatlinburg is a delightful experience, with numerous boutiques offering unique and locally made items. The Village is a top destination for shoppers, featuring a range of stores that cater to diverse interests. From handmade crafts and jewelry to gourmet food items and quirky gifts, there’s something for everyone. Taking the time to explore these boutiques can lead to the discovery of one-of-a-kind treasures that make perfect souvenirs or gifts.


Gatlinburg is a destination that truly has it all, from thrilling attractions and outdoor adventures to delightful shopping and dining experiences. Whether you’re exploring The Village, visiting Ripley’s attractions, or venturing into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there’s always something exciting to do. The variety of activities ensures that every visitor can find something they love, making Gatlinburg an ideal vacation spot. Staying at Laurel Inn enhances this experience, offering convenience and comfort after a day of fun. So pack your bags, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to make unforgettable memories in Gatlinburg.