Spring travel is underway in Gatlinburg and, just like in Pigeon Forge, everywhere you go, everything and everyone is buzzing with boundless energy.
Gatlinburg is, of course, a world-class, family-oriented destination. Among the incredible array of attractions that lend to this, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies holds a special place in the hearts of countless families.
It is truly amazing to step from Southern Appalachia and into ecosystems from the other side of the world. Travel through the Shark Lagoon, an undersea tunnel where the sand tiger and nurse sharks, green sea turtles and colorful fish swim all around you. Stroll through the tropical rainforest, where the exotic life from far away continents comes in many shapes, sizes and colors.
And then move on to Stingray Bay and the Penguin Playhouse, where guests get up close and personal with the critters. After all the amazing exhibits, you may very well have forgotten that you are in the Smokies.
Another unforgettable Gatlinburg experience is Ober Gatlinburg's Aerial Tramway, one of America's largest aerial tramways. This 2.1-mile up to Ober Gatlinburg’s mountaintop amusement park and ski area is an incredible and panoramic commute unlike any other in Sevier County. With views like these, you may decide to stick around at the top for a while, to do a little shopping or snow tubing (in the winter) or see the black bears at the wildlife encounter, or maybe to go ice skating. Whatever you decide, the Tramway deposits you right back at the bottom where you started.
One spot that has earned an iconic slot on Gatlinburg’s main drag is Sugarlands Distilling Company. Partnered with the stars of Discovery Channel’s hit television show Moonshiners, Sugarlands has gained a national reputation as a source of quality spirits, specializing beyond the classic un-aged whiskeys we call “moonshine,” which they excel at, into a fine rum, several flavored liqueurs and a highly-anticipated aged whiskey, set for release late 2017.
Their distillery is open for tastings and tours, and you’ll have to stop in so you can find out for yourself the truth behind the slogan: “Stories in Every Jar.”
Of course, no trip to Gatlinburg and Sevier County is complete without a trip to one of America’s national treasures: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You don’t even need to get out on the trails to immerse yourself here. Take the Gatlinburg Bypass up and around town, to US-441/Newfound Gap Road. Stop at the wayside pull-offs and take in the view, but make sure you head all the way up, all the way to the very top of the Great Smoky Mountains at Clingmans Dome.
High on the mountain, you’ll see that there’s no place in the world quite like this.