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scenery in gatlinburg during summer

7 Unique Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains You Have to Try

When the sun is shining and the temperatures are rising, it’s time to get outside and explore the beautiful Smoky Mountain area! Of course, some of the best things to do outdoors are go for a hike, go horseback riding and visit popular outdoor attractions like Anakeesta. But, if you want to try something new on your vacation, we can help! We’ve made a list of 7 unique outdoor activities in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains that you have to try.

1. Riding a Mountain Coaster

Gatlinburg Mountain CoasterAre you looking for a thrill? Then you have to go for a ride on a mountain coaster in Gatlinburg! Some of the most popular are the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, the Rowdy Bear Coaster and the Ski Mountain Coaster at Ober Gatlinburg. What’s unique about these coasters is that you’re in control of your own speed. Most carts can go up to speeds of 35 miles per hour, or you can slow yourself down and take a more scenic ride. A lot of the mountain coasters offer great views along the way as well!

2. Bird Watching

One outdoor activity you don’t hear much about is bird watching. However, Gatlinburg is one of the best places to go bird watching! From forests to open valleys, you’ll have the opportunity to see a wide variety of birds. There are over 200 varieties of birds in the Smoky Mountains. You can see everything from a great-horned owl to a wild turkey. If you want to visit one of the best bird attractions in the country, head to Parrot Mountain in Pigeon Forge. This unique outdoor attraction is home to hundreds of beautiful, tropical birds. You can feed the birds, take pictures with them, or just admire them!

3. Mini Golf at Hillbilly Golf

Hillbilly Golf in GatlinburgFor a game of mini golf like you’ve never experienced before, head to Hillbilly Golf in Gatlinburg! You’ll have your choice of two, 18-hole courses. What’s unique about this mini golf attraction is that it’s on top of a mountain! You’ll take a ride on a tram to get to the top, where you’ll choose which course you want to play. Both courses are hillbilly themed and have everything from outhouses, to moonshine stills, to rocky walls.

4. Go Zorbing

We bet you’ve never even heard of zorbing, but once you do you’ll definitely want to try it! Outdoor Gravity Park brings the unique activity of zorbing to Pigeon Forge. To put it simply, you’ll climb into a giant, inflatable hamster ball filled with water, and roll down a 1,000 foot hill! Not only is it a fun activity, but it’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day. It’s just like a water slide, only more thrilling!

5. Glamping with Under Canvas

Under Canvas glampingHave you ever wanted to go camping, but love the amenities that a resort provides too much to do it? Then glamping is for you! Under Canvas provides an opportunity for everyone to enjoy the great outdoors while still having access to luxurious amenities. Their safari-inspired tents feature amenities like King beds, private bathrooms with showers, sinks and flushing toilets, private decks and wood-burning stoves. As a guest at their camp, you’ll get to enjoy daily housekeeping, on-site dining, a fire pit with s’mores and more! You’ll love having luxurious amenities while still sleeping underneath the Smoky Mountain sky.

6. Summer Tubing

If you love snow tubing, then you’ll love summer tubing at Rowdy Bear Ridge in Pigeon Forge! This attraction is home to Tennessee’s first and longest year-round tubing hill. At the top of the hill, you’ll be able to take in gorgeous views of Pigeon Forge and the mountains. The hill itself is over 500 feet in length and includes a 70-foot drop. You’ll reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour! Come during the day, then return at night to see the hill lit up with chasing LED lights!

7. Llama Trek

llama outsideMake your hike in the Smoky Mountains a little more interesting by bringing a llama along! Smoky Mountain Llama Treks provides the opportunity for you to hike through the Smoky Mountains with one of their llamas. You can visit the llama farm and learn about the llamas, pet them and feed them, then choose one of their trails to walk along! There are guides who accompany you on every trek to make the experience more fun. It’s a great way to spend time outside while getting to interact with animals!

More Outdoor Activities in Gatlinburg

We’ve listed unique outdoor activities for you to enjoy on your vacation, but that’s not the only fun you can have outside in the Smokies! For more ideas of what to do outdoors when you visit, check out these awesome outdoor activities in Gatlinburg!