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The Chondola station for Anakeesta in Gatlinburg.

Your A to Z Bucket List of Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains are filled with incredible things to do while you’re here. When we say there is everything to do from A to Z, we’re not kidding. When you’re planning your Smoky Mountain vacation, think about this A to Z bucket list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains:


Anakeesta is an outdoor amusement park that offers an incredible and unique family experience. It is full of scenic views, a zipline adventure and a tree canopy walk that is fun for people of all ages.


Have you ever gone mountain biking? We recommend visiting CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains for a mountain biking experience that welcomes people with all skill levels, from beginners to experts. You’ll bike along a 2-mile loop that starts off uphill, switches to a smooth flow trail, then finishes with a downhill ride.


Chairs sitting on the deck of a cabin rental in Pigeon Forge with mountain views.Staying in a cabin is something you absolutely have to do. There are gorgeous Gatlinburg TN cabins that offer all the comforts of home with the benefits of vacationing in the Smoky Mountains, like outdoor hot tubs, game rooms, fire pits and breathtaking views.


Dollywood was an obvious choice to include on the bucket list. This world-class theme park has everything you could ever imagine, from entertaining shows, to thrill rides, to delicious restaurants, to incredible shops!

Escape Game

Escape games are becoming more and more popular. The Smoky Mountains have several escape games for you to try. A popular one is The Escape Game Pigeon Forge at The Island. You and your team will race against the clock to try to complete a mission and escape the room before 60 minutes is up.

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

A plate of pancakes in Gatlinburg covered in syrup and berries.You’ll need somewhere to eat when you visit the Smoky Mountains, and if you love pancakes, Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin is the place to go! This is a great restaurant for a hearty family breakfast including made-from-scratch pancakes, omelets, waffles and more.

Gatlinburg Space Needle

Gatlinburg is always bustling with excitement, and you can see it all from the Gatlinburg Space Needle. From the top of the 407-foot observation tower, you’ll see breathtaking views of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, plus you’ll be right in the middle of all the amazing things to do downtown!

Helicopter Ride

Going for a helicopter ride in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to see stunning views! Scenic Helicopter Tours in Pigeon Forge is a great place to go! The family-owned company has been offering helicopter tours in the Smoky Mountains since 1972. You’ll have the chance to fly over Douglas Lake and the surrounding foothills, the National Park and the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area.


The Island in Pigeon ForgeThe Ole Smoky Barn at The Island in Pigeon Forge. offers affordable fun for the whole family. You can ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and see more incredible sights, watch the Island Show Fountain for a magical display of water dance and light, browse all the shops, play in an arcade, dine at delicious restaurants and more!

JT. Hannah’s Kitchen

Speaking of delicious restaurants, you should try J.T. Hannah’s Kitchen. This Pigeon Forge restaurant serves an all-American menu that includes steaks, burgers, ribs, chicken and more in a rustic setting. It’s a popular dinner option in the Smoky Mountains.


Kayaking is a fun way to enjoy the great outdoors. You can go kayaking at Douglas Lake and enjoy the peacefulness of the mountains, or go inflatable kayaking with Smoky Mountain Outdoors for a fun ride on the rapids of the Pigeon River.

Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains. On your hike, you’ll get to see the beautiful 80-foot waterfall cascading down the rocks. It’s a 2.6-mile hike to the waterfall and back.

Mountain Coaster

Riding a mountain coaster is a new way to experience the Smoky Mountains. You’ll control your own speed as you race down the track and take in the views of the mountains. Try the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster on Wears Valley Road, where you’ll enjoy forested views in the day and thousands of LED lights in the evening.

National Park

It wouldn’t be a bucket list if it didn’t include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visiting the National Park is the best way to soak up all the mountains have to offer. You can go fishing, spend the night underneath the stars at a campsite, go horseback riding, have a picnic, go hiking and more!

Ober Gatlinburg

Ober Gatlinburg is a fun amusement park that’s open all year round. During the winter, have fun in the snow skiing, snowboarding and tubing! During the warmer months, explore the rest of the park and ride the Aerial Tramway, play mini golf or go shopping!

Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud

Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud is coming soon to the Smoky Mountains, and you’re not going to want to miss out on your chance to see it! The show is expected to open in spring of 2018 and includes world-class lumberjack athletes, ax throwing, log rolling and plenty of audience participation.

A dragon on a screen at MagiQuest Pigeon Forge.MagiQuest

MagiQuest includes 4 attractions that are fun for the whole family. Step into the world of MagiQuest to and embark on quests and adventures in a fantasy world to solve mysteries, play pirate mini golf, make your way through a room full of laser beams or find your way out of a mirror maze!

Ripley’s Concepts

From Ripley’s Aquarium, to Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, you’ll have a Ripley’s attraction to visit for every day of your vacation! Explore the country’s top aquarium, try to beat a world record at Ripley’s Guinness World Records Museum, or play some mini golf at one of two Ripley’s mini-golf courses.

Splash Country

During the summer, you can soak up the sun at Dollywood’s Splash Country and beat the heat on exciting water rides! Explore 35 acres of thrilling attractions, dining options, canopies and amazing scenery for an experience the whole family will love.

The Track

The Track in Pigeon Forge is a great family fun center! Not only can you race around on several go-kart tracks, but you can play bumper cars, mini golf, ride rides and more. There is also an arcade where you can win awesome prizes!

A group of people enjoying white water rafting.Upper River Rafting

While you’re kayaking with Smoky Mountain Outdoors, try an Upper River Rafting trip too! This is a whitewater rafting experience you don’t want to miss out on. You’ll coast over class 3 and 4 rapids for a thrilling ride down the Pigeon River that you’ll never forget.


The Village Shops in Gatlinburg is one of the best shopping experiences in the Smoky Mountains. There are 27 boutiques, clothiers, eateries and galleries for you to browse! Whether you’re looking for a souvenir to take back home or some new clothes, you’ll be able to find it at The Village.


WonderWorks is another attraction that’s fun for the whole family. This indoor amusement park has more than 35,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits that challenge your mind and spark your creativity. There are also an indoor ropes challenge and laser tag arena for you to have some fun in!

Xtreme Racing

POV shot of someone go-kart racing.Go karts are extremely popular in the Smoky Mountains. At Xtreme Racing Center, you’ll get to take a spin on the fastest karts in Pigeon Forge! You’ll have 3 thrilling race courses to choose from, each filled with winding turns, narrow straightaways and tons of adventure.

“Y” Townsend

The “Y,” or The Townsend Wye, is a popular swimming hole in the Smoky Mountains. It’s located where the middle and west prongs of the Little River join and is great for both wading or tubing! There is also a grassy area that overlooks the water where you can spread out a blanket and soak up the fresh mountain air.


Ziplining is the perfect outdoor adventure in the Smoky Mountains! CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains has an incredible zipline adventure. You’ll get to see the mountains from a bird’s eye view as you soar through the trees on 9 world-class ziplines. You’ll also get to ride an ATV, cross 3 sky bridges and enjoy a surprise ending!

Check out more amazing things to do in the Smoky Mountains and start planning your trip to complete this A to Z bucket list!