Here’s your can’t-miss list of sunny season adventures in Gatlinburg!

You are still in time to plan your Gatlinburg summer getaway. Experience the best of the season with exciting activities for the whole family. This quaint mountain town is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and offers unique outdoor activities, theme parks, museums, and other fun activities for all ages. If you are up for exhilarating adventures and breathtaking views, we recommend visiting Gatlinburg this summer. We have created a list of Gatlinburg’s best attractions and best summer things to do in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

#1. Anakeesta

Adventure awaits you at Anakeesta Theme Park. From now to September 4, enjoy the Summer in the Smokies and immerse yourself in nature like never before. This year’s celebration features Sean Kenney’s incredible nature-inspired sculptures made entirely of LEGO bricks. The festival will also include live music from the best bands in Tennessee and mouth-watering food options like southern barbecue. At night-time, see the forest light up with fairy lights lined along the TreeTop Skywalk. Anakeesta offers incredible attractions year-round, such as the Dueling Zipline Adventure, the exhilarating Rail Runner Mountain Coaster, the Anavista Observation Tower, and the fun Treeventure Challenge Course!

Anakeesta Theme Park
Photo: Anakeesta

#2. Ober Gatlinburg

If you are looking for your family to experience a variety of fun things in one place, we recommend checking out Ober Gatlinburg. This mountaintop amusement park & ski area provides exciting outdoor activities for all ages and delicious dining options to end your adventure-filled day. Speed down the mountain with the Ski Mountain Coaster, challenge your family to slide down the Alpine Slide, and experience the thrills with Summer Tubing. The fun doesn’t stop there. Ober Gatlinburg has something for everyone! If you want to take a break from the adventure, you can opt for a game of mini-golf, take in the mountain views at the Aerial Tramway, or cool off ice skating at Ober’s indoor ice arena.

#3. Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park

Wild Bear Falls Indoor Water Park, located inside the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park, is the ideal spot to cool down this summer. This 60,000-square-foot mountain-themed water park situated in the heart of Gatlinburg is more than your average water park. With a retractable roof, guests can enjoy comfortable temperatures all year long while enjoying a variety of water slides, a 900-foot-long lazy river, an interactive tree house for the little ones, and water activities like volleyball.

Anakeesta Theme Park
Photo: Westgate’s Wild Bear Falls Waterpark

#4. Dollywood

Located in the mountain town of Pigeon Forge, this Appalachian-themed amusement park is one you can’t miss this summer. From now to August 7, visit Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Summer Celebration, which features the nighttime spectacular Sweet Summer Nights drone & fireworks show, the returning family-favorite show, Gazillion Bubble Show Aurora, and other fun entertainment. Try festival foods with the Summer Tasting Pass, like the delicious S’mores Funnel Cake, and with the park closing after dark, ride rollercoaster like the Wild eagle Dollywood ride in the summer night at Dollywood Theme Park in Gatlinburg!

READ MORE: Dollywood Kiddie Rides: Ultimate Parents Guide

#5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wander the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and absorb the panoramic views this summer. The most visited national park in the USA offers incredible outdoor adventures, including hiking trails and campgrounds. So, strap on your best hiking boots and explore the wonders of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Some of the best hiking trails available include Alum Cave Trail, which takes you to the top of Mt. Leconte, Abrams Falls Trail, which features picturesque waterfalls, and Mt. Cammerer, which begins at the Low Gap Trailhead and ends at the top of the mountain with stunning views of the Pigeon River Gorge. Another popular destination that you can’t miss is Cades Cove. Go on a hike or rent a bike to go around Cades Cove Loop Road and get the opportunity to see wildlife like black bears, turkeys, and coyotes.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Photo: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

#6. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Head on over to one of the top attractions in downtown Gatlinburg. Enter the underwater realm at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and come face to face with 100,000 exotic sea creatures, including different species of penguins, sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and more! Here you can touch the smooth skin of stingrays, feed Sally the Sea Turtle, navigate the Shark Lagoon with the Glass Bottom Boat Adventure, and interact with adorable penguins. Don’t forget to check out the 340-foot underwater tunnel to view sharks, stingrays, and other exotic creatures as they swim and float around you!

#7. Hollywood Star Cars Museum

Discover famous automobiles featured in popular movies and television shows. Step back in time with this top Gatlinburg attraction ideal for movie buffs and car enthusiasts. The Hollywood Star Cars Museum includes an impressive car collection from your favorite movies and shows, including sports cars from the Fast & Furious franchise, the iconic batmobile, the DeLorean Time Machine from Back to the Future, and the Flintstone-Mobile from the 1994 Flintstones movie.

Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Photo: Hollywood Star Cars Museum

#8. Whitewater Rafting

Soar down the thrilling rapids of the Pigeon River this summer. Whitewater rafting can be a bumpy ride, but thankfully Gatlinburg also offers tamer rapids. For the full thrills, take on the Upper Pigeon River, which is full of big splashes and bumpy waves. For a gentler ride and for the younger kids, we recommend taking the Lower Pigeon River. Both raft rides include a trained guide to bring you along the journey, life jackets, and helmets for your safety!

#9. Gatlinburg Space Needle

Take in the breathtaking views of downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains with the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Ride the glass elevator over 400 feet to the observation deck, where you get a 360 view of the Great Smoky Mountains. On-site, you will also find a 30,000-square-foot amusement center with arcade games and activities for the whole family. End your fun-filled day with a slice of New York Style pizza from the Slice Pizza Bakery!

#10. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

Ride to the top of Crockett Mountain in the yellow SkyLift chairs and get ready for an unforgettable experience at Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. If you are up for the challenge, we dare you to cross the Gatlinburg SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian cable bridge in North America! This unique experience includes 30 feet of clear glass flooring in the middle of your journey. Just in time for the summer, their newest addition features Gatlinburg SkyTrail which features a walkway that allows you to hike in the mountains while taking the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and the SkyBridge.

Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
Photo: Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

We hope that this list helps you plan your Gatlinburg summer getaway. BestVacationDealz can assist you with planning your vacation, and with packages starting from $59, we are dedicated to helping you stay on budget! Check out the Great Smoky Mountain Aquatic Getaway, and dive in for the adventure of a lifetime!

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Gatlinburg Tennessee Vacation Packages

$99 Pigeon Forge TN Vacation Package –   4 days and 3 nights at Wild Bear Inn at Pigeon Forge for only $99 Includes Wild Bear Falls Water Park Tickets

$99 Gatlinburg TN Vacation Package 4 days and 3 nights at River Terrace Resort in Gatlinburg TN.

Gatlinburg $99 Special   4 days and 3 nights in Gatlinburg for $99 at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park.