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Brightly lit photograph of the city of Gatlinburg.

TripAdvisor Names City of Gatlinburg the Nation’s # 1 Destination on the Rise

We are thrilled to announce that one of our favorite Smoky Mountain cities is making headlines! The popular travel website TripAdvisor recently named Gatlinburg, Tennessee the nation’s top “destination on the rise”. This means that more and more people are discovering everything that Gatlinburg has to offer, and we couldn’t be more excited. Read on to learn about the significance of the award and why Gatlinburg is becoming one of the country’s hottest vacation spots.

The Word is Out

TripAdvisor compiled its list of the top destinations on the rise by analyzing millions of reviews from the website’s users. After crunching the numbers, they found that the city of Gatlinburg had the most significant year-over-year increase in positive feedback and interest. According to TripAdvisor, the Smokies have seen a 67 % increase in booking interest. It looks like the word is out about Gatlinburg! You can see TripAdvisor’s complete list of U.S. destinations on the rise here.

What TripAdvisor Users Love About GatlinburgStunning photo of the sun rising at Newfound Gap near Gatlinburg.

So, what is it that makes Gatlinburg so popular? We decided to take a look through TripAdvisor reviews of the area, and we found a few recurring themes. Gatlinburg’s natural beauty and its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are major reasons people come to the region. Visitors love the city’s numerous world class attractions, but they also like the quieter, more homespun elements of Gatlinburg as well, such as the Arts & Crafts Loop and the trolley system. Here are just a few TripAdvisor reviews that really capture what people love about Gatlinburg:

  • “Absolutely beautiful. I always feel like I’m looking at a painting that God made when I see the mountains. They are very picturesque.”
  • “Drive the 8 mile Arts & Crafts Loop and visit each of the artisan shops to see what ‘made in America’ is all about. Nothing imported, all hand made by these talented artists. This could be a day long adventure, so I would set aside an entire day to not only enjoy the crafts but also the beautiful outdoors.”
  • “Each time we’re in Gatlinburg, we make a trip or two on the trolley. The routes are easy to navigate and understand, the trolleys run frequently, and the cost is perfect. Our two young kids enjoy the ride along River Road in Gatlinburg as much as they enjoy walking along the main drive in Gatlinburg. The drivers are always helpful!”
  • “You have to go and see. Really. This is probably my family’s 6th trip to the Smoky Mountains. We love it. The hiking is great. I like the drive on Newfound Gap Road. Stop along the way and enjoy the majestic views.”

Beautiful fall colors in Cades Cove in Gatlinburg.Among the Best Fall Colors in the U.S.

The recent award for being one of the top destinations on the rise isn’t the first time the city of Gatlinburg has been recognized by TripAdvisor. Last autumn, Gatlinburg was named one of the top 10 spots to see fall foliage in America. Offering a stunning mix of reds, yellows, and oranges, the fall colors in the Smokies truly are exceptional. For the very best viewing, plan to come to Gatlinburg sometime between mid-October and the first week of November.

Home to One of the Country’s Top Aquariums

As if Gatlinburg isn’t lucky enough, the city is also home to one of the top 10 aquariums in the country! With over 4,400 five star reviews, it’s easy to see why TripAdvisor included Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in its list of the nation’s most beloved aquariums. Ripley’s Aquarium owes its popularity to its hands-on approach; giving guests the opportunity to touch a stingray, get a fish manicure, and even play with a penguin.

For a guide to more attractions and activities in the city of Gatlinburg, check out our complete list of things to do in Gatlinburg!