Planning a trip to Gatlinburg? Every year, new attractions and activities come the Smoky Mountains and 2017 does not disappoint. From forest canopy adventures to roller coasters, there are more things experience in the Smokies than ever before!
To help you find what's new in the Smoky Mountains, we made this handy guide to the newest things to do in Gatlinburg for 2017!
1. Anakeesta Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg is abuzz with excitement about the newest addition to the Parkway: Anakeesta. This two-part attraction will feature a shopping village right on the Parkway and an upper adventure park built on Anakeesta mountain.
To reach the upper part of Anakeesta, visitors will take a Chondola (an enclosed Gondola cabin) to the summit of Anakeesta Mountain where you can enjoy beautiful mountain views, shops, restaurants, and outdoor adventures including:
- Dual Racing Ziplines
- Mountain Coaster
- Children's Treehouse Village Playground
- Tree Canopy Walk 40' To 60' in the Air
- Gem Mining
You can also spend time enjoying shops and restaurants in the Firefly Village, a complex built among the treetops in the Smokies. Some highlights here include the Summit Smokehouse, Peal's Pie in the Sky, and the Great Outdoors Trading Company.
There are even plans to host musicians and other performers at an outdoor amphitheater with an incredible panoramic view of the mountains.
From the summit of Anakeesta Mountain, visitors will enjoy beautiful mountain views and a bird's-eye-look at the glittering lights of Gatlinburg at night.
Much of this innovative new attraction is built amongst the forest, so it helps to preserve the natural settings that make the Smokies so incredible. Better yet, you can even enjoy strolling on the Forest Memorial Interpretive Trail, a nice trail on the south side of Anakeesta Mountain that shows of beautiful views of the Smokies.
2. LandShark Bar & Grill
Enjoy a bit of Island flavor right in the Smoky Mountains at Landshark Bar & Grill, an excellent new restaurant in Gatlinburg that opened in summer of 2017! This Jimmy Buffet inspired restaurant offers lots of great topical cuisine and a laid-back atmosphere.
- Siracha Crunch Burger
- LandShark Fish & Chips
- Fish Tacos
- Peel & Eat Shrimp
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Landshark Bar & Grill is named for the popular LandShark Lager, a beer produced by Jimmy Buffet's brewing label. You can enjoy this refreshing lager and a variety of other beverages at this fun, beach-themed restaurant in Gatlinburg right on the Pigeon Forge Parkway near traffic light #3!
3. Mama's Chicken Kitchen
It's all in the name. This new restaurant in Gatlinburg is here to deliver the best Southern Fried Chicken in the Smokies. Not only will this country-style kitchen serve up heaping portions of crispy, flavorful goodness, but the sides like Mac and Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, Fried Corn, Chicken and Dumpling, Cole Slaw, and Baked Beans round out this restaurant's excellent menu.
In a town with a discerning taste for southern food, Mama's Chicken Kitchen has already made an excellent impression with locals and visitors alike! You can find "Mama's Chicken Kitchen" on Gatlinburg's East Parkway a short drive from downtown.
4. Alcatraz East Crime Museum
In nearby Pigeon Forge, visitors can explore the history of Crime and Punishment at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. With an eye-catching building styled after a 19th-century penitentiary, visitors can tour through a variety of interactive exhibits that detail the methods of thieves, murderers, and the law officers dedicated to bringing them to justice.
5. Top Jump
Top Jump Trampoline Park in Pigeon Forge is an exciting new attraction that's perfect for families. The trampoline park itself consists of a massive room with hundreds of square feet of bouncing space, a TopDunk Court, and a Clip 'n Climb room.
Other highlights include a Ninja Obstacle Course, a Gladiator Pit, and an arcade. This indoor attraction is the perfect way for kids to work off some energy during their visit to the Smokies!
6. New Dolly Parton Dinner Show
After the success of Dolly Parton's made-for-TV movie about her childhood, Dolly decided to dedicate a new Pigeon Forge dinner show to tell the story of important people who shaped her early life.
This new show tells the story of Dolly's own family history, including how Dolly's Mom and Dad met.
Known as the "Dolly Parton's Smoky Mountain Adventures Dinner Show," this excellent new addition to the Pigeon Forge entertainment scene has already made a splash with its memorable characters, hilarious jokes, and impressive acrobatic feats.
7. New Rides at Dollywood
This outstanding theme park in the Smoky Mountains is always a fun destination to visit, but in 2017 Dollywood is offering new rides and shows to experience! Not only can visitors enjoy Lightning Rod, the world's fastest wooden roller coaster, but they can also enjoy:
- Drop Line Tower – This 200' Ft. drop tower offers an excellent view of the mountains and a heart-pounding thrill!
- Whistle Punk Chaser – A junior coaster that the kids will love comes complete with exciting twists and turns.
- Tail Spin Racer – This new slide at Dollywood Splash Country lets you race your friends and family side-by-side in high-speed AquaTubes to a big finish.
8. Gatlinburg Escape Games
One of the newest kind of attractions in the Smokies are escape games, interactive experiences where you have to solve clues to escape a room. Needless to say, Escape Games are a popular new thing to experience in Downtown Gatlinburg and lots of visitors are seeing if they have what it takes to escape. Here are 3 new Escape Game venues that are located right on the Gatlinburg parkway:
- Gatlin’s Escape Games
- Headcase Adventures
- The Captured
Each of these Escape Game venues offers different scenarios and challenges, so if you love escape games, you may want to try more than one!
9. Rowdy Bear Mountain
This new thrill attraction features 2 innovative kinds of rides. Best of all, it’s located right in Downtown Gatlinburg, so it’s easy to experience this fun new attraction while you explore this vibrant area of the Smokies. Here are the two new rides at Rowdy Bear Mountain:
- The Mountain Glider - This unique ride is a guided zip line that soars the treetops. As the first of its kind in the world, this new thrill ride is bound to make a splash in Gatlinburg. Opens in Fall 2017.
- The Gravity Coaster - This mountain coaster soars through the forests of Rowdy bear Mountain.
Final Thoughts on New Things in Gatlinburg
With so many new things to do and see, 2017 is a great year to plan a vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee!
Feel free to contact our reservations office at (865) 436-5031 for help planning your trip. Be sure to see how much you can save on a cabin rental with Cabins USA Gatlinburg's special nightly rate discount!
Written by Hayden Brown