Everything locals love about Gatlinburg

It may be a tourist destination, but to some people it’s home

Gatlinburg, TN is a vacation spot for many, but none more than Southwest Virginians and Tennesseans. Being only slightly over two hours away from my hometown, I visited Gatlinburg at least three times a year, if not more. In light of the recent fire, The Tab reminisced about all the wonderful things we love about Gatlinburg.

It’s the happiest place in Tennessee


Though Gatlinburg can’t compare to “the happiest place on Earth” with amusement park rides, it certainly has earned the title of the happiest place in Tennessee. This region is teeming with classic Southern hospitality and fun galore. Boasting tons of shops, miniature-golf courses, resorts, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! and Ripley’s Aquarium!, it’s hard to be anything but happy here.

It’s the best group destination in the region


Full of dinner theaters, mini-golf courses, tons of fabulous restaurants and lots of resorts, Gatlinburg is the destination for group vacations. Whether you’re looking for that perfect locale for a bachelorette party, family reunion or church trip, Gatlinburg has options for everyone! They even host several religious retreats throughout the year like Tennessee Christian Teen Convention.


Ripley’s! is the absolute best way to spend an afternoon


Whether it’s the ever-popular aquarium or the museum of the bizarre, there’s no doubt that Ripley’s attractions are the best Gatlinburg has to offer. Plus, both places are within walking distance of each other on the main strip in Gatlinburg.


There really is something there for everyone

Gatlinburg legitimately has something for any occasion, from family-friendly mini-golf, dinner theaters and shows to restaurants, spas and resorts. There’s even a zip-line for the best view of the town, as well as places to snowboard, as well as a hotel with a waterpark. It’s hard not to have fun here.


Oh, yeah, there’s also Dollywood

In case the rest doesn’t appeal to you and all you’re after is a theme park, you’d still be pleased with a trip to Gatlinburg. Dolly Partin’s famous theme park, Dollywood is located right outside Gatlinburg in Pigeon Forge.

I think I speak for everyone when I say we feel for the people who have had to uproot their lives and risk losing their homes and businesses. Gatlinburg is not only an amazing vacation spot for many tourists, but also home to many locals.

James Madison University