6 Things You Can Only Find in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg, TN is unlike anywhere else in the world! Tucked away in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, our charming little city offers spectacular scenery and some of the most unique attractions in the Southeast. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Acorn Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to six things you can only find in Gatlinburg and the Smokies.
1. The Biggest Black Bear Preserve in the Eastern U.S.
The black bear is the official mascot of Gatlinburg, and it’s easy to see why! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest protected area for black bears in the eastern half of the country. With around 1,500 bears in the park, there are about two bears per square mile in the Smokies.
If you would like to see black bears in the wild during your getaway, we recommend visiting Cades Cove or the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Remember to always stay at least 150 feet away from any bears you might encounter.
2. Tennessee’s Only Ski Resort
Gatlinburg is home to the state of Tennessee’s only ski resort! Located at the top of Mt. Harrison, the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing during the winter months. Getting to the ski resort is easy, as there is a convenient aerial tramway that takes guests from the downtown Parkway up to Mt. Harrison’s summit. In the offseason, Ober Gatlinburg hosts a variety of fun amusement park activities along with a spectacular Oktoberfest celebration in the fall.
3. A Statue of Dolly Parton (Not to Mention a Theme Park)
As any devoted fan of Dolly Parton can tell you, the legendary singer-songwriter is a native of the Smoky Mountains! Many people make a pilgrimage to the Sevier County Courthouse in order to snap a selfie with the iconic statue of Dolly out front. Of course, the statue is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Dolly-themed fun in the Smokies. The area is also home to Parton’s theme park (Dollywood) and two awesome Dolly-inspired dinner theaters (Dixie Stampede and Smoky Mountain Adventures). Dolly Parton even has her own parade down the Parkway in Pigeon Forge during the first week of May!
4. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg features a collection of 20,000+ pairs of salt and pepper shakers! What began as a hobby for archaeologist Andrea Ludden soon spiraled out of control into a full-blown obsession as her home filled to the brim with whimsically designed shakers from all around the world. Rather than selling her collection, Andrea moved her precious salt and pepper shakers into a museum for everyone to enjoy. Admission to the museum is only $3.00, and that money is applied to any purchase made in the gift shop.
5. A Waterfall Hike with Llamas
The hike to Grotto Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is famous for its unusual visitors. On most Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, hikers on the Trillium Gap Trail may see llamas making their way through the park! These seemingly out of place animals deliver supplies to a remote destination at the top of Mount LeConte. In addition to seeing the llamas, another highlight of the Grotto Falls hike is walking behind the beautiful waterfall.
6. America’s Largest Group of Independent Artisans
The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community has the distinction of being the largest group of independent artisans in North America. Located off of the East Parkway in Gatlinburg, this 8-mile loop is lined with galleries, studios, and shops that showcase the work of local artists and craftspeople. If you’re in search of the perfect handcrafted souvenir from the Smokies, this is the place to find it!
When you stay with Acorn Cabin Rentals, you will be near all of these unique attractions in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 8 bedroom cabins, we are sure to have the perfect accommodations for your escape. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg!
Jason Fishman is a writer and editor specializing in history, dining, travel and tourism. In his spare time, he enjoys science fiction, breakfast food and bad puns.