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Inexpensive Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Families

Blog Home : Category Posts : Inexpensive Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Families

Vacations in Gatlinburg with loved ones are a time for fun and adventure. However, that doesn't mean the trip has to break your wallet. There are plenty of ways to make fun memories on your next trip by following our tips for inexpensive things to do in Gatlinburg.

Breaking Down The Options

When vacationing in Gatlinburg on a budget, the sky's the limit to your options. Whether you love nature, want to browse for simple souvenirs, or check out top-notch attractions, there's something for everyone to enjoy on their getaway. Below, you'll find our travel tips for affordable Gatlinburg vacations.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the best options to save money without compromising fun is to enjoy something completely free. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park more than fits the bill. With its ability to provide breathtaking views and keep you away from the busyness of the city, the park is a hands-down favorite.

Cades Cove

Deep in the Smoky Mountains, you'll find Cades Cove, an 11-mile loop that lets anyone from drivers and hikers to bicyclists and motorcyclists explore the vast valley. During your visit, you'll see the best examples of nature's beauty, such as:

  • Various plant life
  • Streams
  • Wildlife
  • and More!

Besides nature, you'll enjoy seeing historical structures with some as old as the 1800s. No matter your fancy, this is one spot you'll want to see on your trip.

Roaring Fork

While it's another loop, the Roaring Fork Trail is only 5.5 miles long. However, that doesn't take you away from seeing historic buildings, cabins, and other sights in the area. With a location only a mile from Gatlinburg, this loop is easy to add to your travel plans.

Clingmans Dome

For unmatched views of the Smoky Mountains' beauty, visiting Clingmans Dome isn't optional. Reach the top, and you'll be 6,643 feet up in the air, letting you see for miles across the entirety of the park and beyond.

Remember that the air is colder that far up, so bring a jacket as a precaution. In addition, this trek is too steep for those who have difficulty walking or use a wheelchair.

Consider Low-Cost Activities

Sometimes, you want to be part of the action instead of simply admiring the scenery. The good news is that budget friendly vacations in Gatlinburg are easy to enjoy, thanks to a wide selection of low-cost activities.


An all-time favorite of families, there are many options throughout the Smoky Mountains. However, our top three favorites are:

    • Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini Golf: With two 18-hole courses, animated animals, and an interactive display, everyone will have fun at Ripley's.
    • Gatlin's Mini Golf: Enjoy 45 fun holes while learning more about the local history. Other entertainment is available when not golfing, thanks to bumper cars, laser tag, escape rooms, and more.
    • Black Light Golf: Mini-golf meets glow in the dark at this 9-hole attraction. After playing, explore the rest of Gatlinburg.

Festivals Abound

Another fun way to experience Gatlinburg at a low cost is to visit when festivals occur. Thanks to several seasonal festivals, you'll enjoy plenty of opportunities throughout the year to experience an unforgettable trip with those who matter most.

    • 4th of July Midnight Parade: Starts at 12:01am July 4 at Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway.
    • Gatlinburg Craftsmen's Fair: It goes from mid to late October.
    • Smoky Mountain Harvest Festival: Begins mid-September and goes through late November.
    • Smoky Mountains Tunes and Tales: Occurs July 1 – July 31 from 6pm to 10pm.

Gatlinburg offers even more to enjoy, so make sure you stay connected while on vacation to catch the latest Smoky Mountain events in the region.

Pair with Attractions

If you have more room in the budget than next to no cost, you'll love these popular attractions that highlight everything that makes Gatlinburg worth returning to year after year.

Gatlinburg Space Needle

Head to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle in a glass elevator to enjoy a lovely 360-degree view of the Smoky Mountains. After seeing the sights and taking pictures, head back to the bottom to enjoy the arcade or grab a bite at the eatery to complete the experience.

Ober Mountain

Ober Mountain offers plenty of fun things to do for your group. Ride the tram and get to the mountain top for lovely views. During winter, you can ski or spend time snow tubing and snowboarding at Terrain Park.

During the summer, you'll enjoy other options like the mountain coaster, a rock wall, an Alpine slide, and indoor ice skating, ensuring something to enjoy no matter the time of year.


A heavy favorite for visitors to Gatlinburg, Anakeesta offers a wide selection of fun ways for the whole family to play. While not the cheapest option, there is a lot to enjoy for a relatively low cost per person:

  • Adult: $34.99
  • Children: $22.99
  • Seniors: $27.99
  • 3 and under: Free

Make sure to try the following on your next visit:

  • Ziplining
  • Treetop Skywalk Bridge
  • Mountain Coaster
  • AnaVista Tower
  • Gem Mining
  • Splash Pad
  • Treeventure
  • and More!

When not playing, the dozens of shops and restaurants spread throughout this attraction will grab your attention. Satisfy your appetite or find the perfect souvenir. The sky's the limit to your options at Anakeesta.

Maximize the Trip with a Gatlinburg Cabin Rental

One last way to maximize your Gatlinburg vacation is to grab one of our exciting cabins in Gatlinburg. Our cabin rentals provide an authentic experience and several premium amenities, ensuring everyone in your group has a blast without needing to go anywhere.

Whether proving your skills in the game room or watching a movie in the theater room, you'll remain entertained throughout your stay. When not playing, you'll love the relaxation options our cabins provide. Soak in a hot tub or enjoy a relaxing dip in the jetted tub for extra privacy.

No matter how you choose to vacation in Gatlinburg, you'll make lots of fun memories without hurting your wallet with our list of inexpensive things to do in Gatlinburg. Don't wait another minute to start your best Gatlinburg vacation!

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