Reporting Live from Gatlinburg
Yee Haw Y’all. If you’re from the Midwest I feel pretty confident in saying that you’ve probably visited Gatlinburg in Tennessee. Whether it was for a fraternity formal with your best friend’s date’s roommate or you were dragged there in middle school for a family vacation that consisted of outdoor activities only...you've been there. I was unfortunately the latter. Despite the fact that I really enjoy the outdoors now, at the peak of my middle school scene phase I was distraught that my parents dragged me to Gatlinburg for a week to look at deer and go hiking. In my attempt to protest this, I literally only packed old navy $2 flip flops. Guess who had to hike at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in those? this girl. Guess who will never do that again? me lol.
I am glad that phase has come and is now long gone, because I was able to appreciate my time there in January. We booked a cutie little cabin that wasn’t too far from the entrance of the National Park. Now, in the 52 realities I have imagined for myself none of them include settling down in a log cabin. But, I could imagine myself staying at one for a weekend each year and sipping blue moons in the hot tub the whole time.
We only stayed for two days in Gatlinburg, so we didn't do much outside of hiking and hanging out at the cabin, but here are some general suggestions for you are reporting live from Gatlinburg!
Where to Stay:
This is a given, but if you're going to Gatlinburg you definitely stay in a cabin! Unless tent camping is your vibe then by all means please do that (Seth and I *barely* survived a night in a Tipi soooooo we did a cabin). You can find tons of cutie options on AirBnb or VRBO for places in Gatlinburg! Most places can sleep 5+ people so Gatlinburg is a great option if visiting with a group of friends! Our place was fairly secluded and had things to keep us busy at the cabin. There were board games, a hot tub, and a fireplace in the living room. Seth and I actually spent a ton of time playing chess while we were there because I had just learned how to play the game.
Things to Do:
Checking out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a MUST when in Gatlinburg. The park spans over 500,000 acres that offer visitors plenty of room to explore. The Great Smoky Mountains is the most visited National Park! We opted for an easier hike because all the driving and cold weather was not vibing with my arthritis. We did the Laurel Falls hike during our visit. The trailhead was easy to find and there was plenty of parking. The trail was paved-ish most of the way...the risk of tripping is definitely there. The falls were beautiful and worth the uphill hike.
Located near the park entrance is Pigeon Forge, which is tourist heaven. There are tons of shops, restaurants, an touristy things to do (like go-karts, museums, rides, etc.). Pigeon Forge also has the suspension bridge for visitors to ride a lift and then cross. After our hike I did force Seth to face his fear of heights and cross the bridge with me, like why would we drive by and NOT do it??? But besides that we didn't spend much time in the area, so I don't have any food recs for this area.
All in all Gatlinburg was a 10/10 trip! If you are from the Midwest and haven't visited yet, here is your sign to book a cutie cabin with some friends or your lover and head to Tennessee! xoxo, Ris 🦋