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distant view of downtown gatlinburg and smoky mountains

Top 5 Free and Inexpensive Things to Do in Gatlinburg

If you’re looking for a vacation destination where you can have a blast and not break the bank, Gatlinburg is the place to go! This town is known for its many unique attractions and scenic views. The best part is that a lot of these activities are free, so you can focus on making memories instead of worrying about overspending. To help you stick to your travel budget, here are the top 5 things to do in Gatlinburg that are either free or inexpensive.

1. Take a Hike in the Smokies

For some of the best hiking trails in town, visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! There is no entrance fee to get into the park and its open year round! If you’re a novice hiker or looking to introduce your kids to the activity, the Gatlinburg Trail is a great choice! It travels 1.9 miles one way from the Sugarlands Visitor Center and is relatively flat, making it easy for people of all ages and skill levels. Another great option is the Laurel Falls trail, a scenic 2.5-mile round trip with an 80-foot waterfall!

2. Enjoy a Scenic Drive

cades cove roadDo you want all the views minus the walking? Then taking an auto tour is the perfect thing for you! Enjoy a relaxing and scenic drive through the Smokies with plenty of places to pull off to the side of the road and take pictures of the mountains, or wildlife! One of the best scenic drives would have to be the Cades Cove Loop. This 11-mile road can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to tour and is rich in history with various old buildings and structures.

3. Sugarlands Visitor Center

When you visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center, you can watch a 20-minute film about the park for free! There are also extensive natural history exhibits for you to walk through and read more about. It’s a great way to end or begin a day of hiking or driving in the national park. You’ll only have to spend money if you want to purchase something from the bookstore and shop.

4. Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community

If window shopping is your thing, you’ll love the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community! This 8-mile loop road features over 100 artists and craftsmen. You can watch as these skilled artisans perform their trade, and you don’t have to spend anything unless you want to buy something. From carvers and weavers to soap makers and potters, this place has it all!

5. Sample Some Moonshine

ole smoky moonshine in gatlinburgDistilleries in the Smokies draw in millions of people every year with their signature and seasonal shine. There is a small charge to sample the moonshine, but you can see the moonshine process from beginning to end for free! If you’re already on the Gatlinburg Parkway, stop by America’s most visited distillery, Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler!

Be sure to check out our Pigeon Forge hotel Specials page for additional ways to save money on your vacation!