Gatlinburg Named the 3rd Best Mountain Town in America

Gatlinburg and the mountains in the fall.

Here at Visit My Smokies, we don’t like to brag…but sometimes it’s just impossible not to! Gatlinburg, TN was recently ranked among the 20 Best Mountain Towns in America by BobVila.com. Famous for his classic home improvement show This Old House, Bob Vila lends his name to a popular website that includes a mix of home advice and lifestyle articles.

We are pleased to report that Gatlinburg landed the #3 spot on the list! Here is a look at the top 10 ranking:

1. Ouray, Colorado
2. Park City, Utah
3. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
4. Stowe, Vermont
5. Crested Butte, Colorado
6. Shenandoah County, Virginia
7. Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
8. Sedona, Arizona
9. Sitka, Alaska
10. Frisco, Colorado

As you can see, Gatlinburg beat some stiff competition to secure its coveted spot among the top three towns. The recognition from BobVila.com comes on the heels of another impressive award: Gatlinburg was named one of the Most Gorgeous Fall Towns in the United States by CarRentals.com!Fall colors along a road near Gatlinburg.

In the write-up for BobVila.com, Gatlinburg was praised as “a worthy stop on any road trip across the American South”. To help you plan your next vacation, Visit My Smokies has put together a guide to some of the Gatlinburg attractions that were highlighted by Bob Vila’s team.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Gatlinburg is located at the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With over 800 miles of beautiful trails, breathtaking mountain views around every corner, and dozens of scenic picnic areas, it’s easy to see why the Smokies are the most visited national park in the United States. Best of all, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not charge an admission fee, so all of the outdoor fun is completely free to enjoy!

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies was voted the best aquarium in America by the readers of USA Today! Home to over 10,000 sea creatures, Ripley’s Aquarium is famous for its interactive exhibits. Guests at the aquarium will have the chance to crawl through the Penguin Playhouse, take a glass bottom boat tour of Shark Lagoon, and pet a live stingray at Touch a Ray Bay.

Exterior of the Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg.Hollywood Star Cars Museum

The Hollywood Star Cars Museum showcases some of the most famous vehicles in TV and movie history. Popular cars at the museum include the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters, the Jalopy from The Beverly Hillbillies, and two different Batmobiles (both Adam West’s and Michael Keaton’s). For an extra fee, you can even take a souvenir photo in one of the cars!

The Strip

There is nowhere else in the world quite like downtown Gatlinburg! Known as “The Strip”, the heart of the city is filled with some of the best attractions, shops, and restaurants in the Southeast. This densely packed area is just a few blocks long, which makes it very convenient to walk around. We recommend stopping by one of The Strip’s famous moonshine distilleries to hear free bluegrass music (and maybe sample some white lightnin’).

Winter Magic Celebration

From November through February, Gatlinburg is decked out with over 3 million beautiful holiday lights as part of the annual Winter Magic celebration. The best way to see the lights is with one of the guided trolley tours through the downtown area, which cost just $5 per person. For more information about Gatlinburg’s seasonal festivities, check out our Guide to the Smoky Mountain Winterfest.

Where to Stay in GatlinburgPhoto of a Christmas lights display in Gatlinburg.

Looking for the perfect accommodations for your vacation in the Smokies? Visit our Where to Stay in Gatlinburg page to find a listing of the best cabins, condos, campgrounds, and bed and breakfasts in town. We can’t wait to see you soon!

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