The Ultimate Itinerary for a Two-Day Vacation in Gatlinburg
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If you’re in need of an escape, take a weekend vacation to Gatlinburg! With so much to see and do in Gatlinburg, you might be wondering how to best spend the short time you have. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate itinerary for a two-day vacation in Gatlinburg! This sample itinerary guarantees your next trip will be one you won’t forget.
You want to start your vacation off right, which means starting it with a delicious breakfast! And there’s no better place to enjoy the first meal of the day than at Tennessee’s oldest pancake house. Pancake Pantry has been serving made-from-scratch pancakes with real butter and fresh whipped cream since 1960. You don’t want to miss the chance to try their breakfast while you’re in town. Choose from classic pancakes like blueberry or old-fashioned buttermilk, or go for something new like the orange-walnut pancakes or Carribean pancakes. If you’re not in the mood for pancakes, you can choose from eggs, omelets, and waffles too!
Stroll Along the Parkway
After your breakfast, stroll along the Parkway and take in the sights and sounds that downtown Gatlinburg has to offer. You can people watch, window shop, or stop at one of the many attractions along the road. Here are our suggestions for attractions to visit:
For fun outdoors:
When you want to spend time enjoying the beautiful weather and sights in Gatlinburg, visit one of the popular outdoor attractions!
Anakeesta – Anakeesta is an outdoor adventure park that has something for everyone, from places to relax to thrilling activities. Go on a zipline adventure, ride a mountain coaster, or walk across the longest tree-based bridge in North America! If you want to relax, take a walk through the Vista Gardens, a botanical garden with interactive and immersive experiences, or head to the Overlook for breathtaking mountain views.
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park – For some of the best views in the Smokies, visit the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. Your adventure begins with a ride on the popular Gatlinburg SkyLift, which takes you up 500 vertical feet to the top of Crockett Mountain. At the top, you’ll get off on the SkyDeck and relax as you take in the breathtaking views and have a bite to eat. You can also walk across the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America, before riding the SkyLift back down the mountain.
For fun indoors:
Whether it’s raining or you’d just rather spend time inside, you’re in luck! There are numerous fun indoor attractions in downtown Gatlinburg.
Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies – Visit the top aquarium in the country while you’re in town! Not only can you see thousands of aquatic animals at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, but you can interact with them too. Feed a sea turtle, touch a jellyfish, pet a stingray! You can also waddle with penguins in the Penguin Playhouse and get a souvenir picture with one to take back home.
Hollywood Star Cars Museum – If you love cars, Hollywood, or both, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a must-visit attraction. See more than 40 authentic cars from your favorite Hollywood shows and movies in recreated settings with sounds, lights, and action! Some of the most popular cars in the museum are the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard, two Batmobiles, and cars from the Fast and Furious franchise. Before you leave, get a souvenir photo of you inside one of the cars!
Let the fun continue at Fannie Farkle’s! People are drawn to this attraction for great food and games, so it’s the perfect place to grab lunch and spend your afternoon. You’ll definitely want to try one of their legendary Ogle Dogs, a fresh-dipped, foot-long corn dog made with a special recipe. Then, have fun in the arcade with games like PacMan, Skee Ball, and driving games.
After your day full of fun, we bet you’ll probably be ready for a calmer activity. This means it’s the perfect time to do some shopping! You can explore the Mountain Mall for a variety of shops you won’t find anywhere else, or visit Reagan Terrace Mall for a variety of little shops and entertainment. We recommend stopping by Gatlin’s Fun Center while you’re at Reagan Terrace Mall and enjoying mini golf, laser tag, an escape game, and more!
End your day with a delicious steak dinner at The Peddler. This is one of the top restaurants in Gatlinburg, serving tender steaks cut tableside, a fresh salad bar, and a variety of chicken and seafood dishes. You can’t go wrong with any meal you choose at this restaurant! To make it even better, you’ll have a view of the Little Pigeon River while you dine.
Stay in a Gatlinburg Cabin
Your vacation in Gatlinburg wouldn’t be complete unless you stayed in a Gatlinburg cabin. Cabins range in size from 1 bedroom to large group cabins with more than 15 bedrooms, so you’ll have no trouble finding one that works best for your trip. When you’re just in town for two nights, 1 and 2 bedroom cabins are usually the best and most affordable option! You can choose from a variety of amenities, like hot tubs, game rooms, theater rooms, and even indoor swimming pools. Cabins are guaranteed to take your vacation to a whole new level. We even offer Gatlinburg cabin specials to make your stay more affordable!
For your second day in Gatlinburg, visit the Donut Friar. This shop in The Village is a favorite among both visitors and locals and is a must-stop while you’re in town. As you get near the shop, the smell of freshly made donuts, cinnamon bread, and coffee will draw you in. Inside, you’ll find a variety of donuts, eclairs, and pastries. You can also get cappuccinos, lattes, and espressos made to your liking.
The Village Shops
Since you’re already in The Village, spend some time after your morning treat exploring the shops. The Village is home to 27 unique shops in an Old World atmosphere. It provides a shopping experience you won’t find anywhere else. Some of the most popular shops include Celtic Heritage, Pepper Palace, The Cheese Cupboard, and the The Spice & Tea Exchange.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
You can’t pass up the opportunity to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park while you’re in Gatlinburg. The park is home to more than 850 miles of hiking trails, a variety of wildlife, gorgeous views, and so much more. Stop by the Sugarlands Visitor Center, where you can ask park rangers any questions, and explore some animal exhibits and an information museum, and watch a free movie!
Hike: One of the best ways to explore the park is by foot! Whether you’re looking for something easy or more challenging, there are hikes for every skill level. Try the Gatlinburg Trail for a 1.9 mile out-and-back hike. The trail runs along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, and you can see foundations and chimneys of old homesites along the trail. For one of the best waterfall hikes, try Laurel Falls Trail. This 2.6-mile roundtrip hike features a gorgeous 80-foot waterfall.
Picnic: For lunch, enjoy a picnic in one of the many picnic areas in the park! We recommend visiting the Cades Cove picnic area, which sits at the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. Each picnic site has a table and a grill, and the area sits between two creeks that you can dip your toes in to cool off during the warmer months.
Scenic Drive: Since you’re already at the entrance of the Cades Cove Loop Road, your next activity should be a scenic drive! Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11-mile one-way loop road that circles the cove and offers visitors the opportunity to explore the sights from the comfort of their car. Along the road, you’ll have the chance to see historic structures like the Cades Cove churches and an old grist mill, wildlife, mountain views, and more. It’s one of the best areas to spot black bears and white-tailed deer in the Smokies, so be sure to keep an eye out!
After your day in the Great Smoky Mountains, we’re sure you’ve worked up quite the appetite! Head to Calhoun’s for the best ribs in the country. This restaurant is located in a beautiful mountain lodge and is casual dress, so you don’t have to go back to the cabin and change before you eat! The menu includes everything from chicken wings, to fresh-ground burgers, to steaks, to their famous Tennessee barb-b-que. Be sure to save some room for their homemade desserts, like banana pudding or the cheesecake of the day.
Book Your Vacation in Gatlinburg Today
Now that you have the perfect itinerary for a two-day vacation in Gatlinburg, you’re ready to book your trip! Take a look at all the best cabins in Gatlinburg to find the perfect place for your vacation, then book your stay.