12 Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg

Aug 18, 2015

12 Free Things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains


If you are looking for free things to do in Gatlinburg while you visit Gatlinburg, and the Smoky Mountains, look no further! We have created a list of twelve free Things to do in Gatlinburg that is sure to please everyone in your vacation group. Come and stay at one of Heartland Cabin Rentals cabins in Gatlinburg and experience all of the free activities in town. Our Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals are located within a few minutes of downtown and are relatively close to most items on this list.

1- Visit Cooters in Gatlinburg: The Dukes of Hazzard Museum of Gatlinburg

Take the whole family out and tour Cooters in Gatlinburg! Cooters is a museum dedicated to everyone's favorite childhood show, The Dukes of Hazzard! See the original costumes, set props, memorabilia, collectibles and the General Lee!

2- Travel Along the Rocky Top Wine Trail

The Rocky Top Wine Trail is a collection of wineries in the heartland of the Smokies. The trail offers over 60 unique wines for free sampling between five wineries along the wine trail. Receive your "Passport" at the first stop and be sure to have this stamped throughout the trail to receive a free logo wine glass and a complimentary gift for completing the trail.

3- The Tunes and Tales Street Performances in Downtown

Enjoy free Tunes and Tales mini performances by costumed performers who portray time periods between the 1800s through modern day. Watch and listen to the history of the Smoky Mountains come to life each summer evening. The performers also practice their skits streetside during fall and winter as well. Listen closely to history and folklore of the Smokies and feel connected to the area.

4- Hike a Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is filled with the best hiking trails. The trails are frequently maintained for accessibility and safety by the National Park Service. There is a multitude of beauty to capture along your way.

5- Walk About Downtown Gatlinburg

The streets of downtown Gatlinburg are great places to stretch your legs, take in the ambiance of the town, and get a delicious bite to eat.  Bring your pup along on vacation with you, stay in one of our pet-friendly cabins in Gatlinburg and let him stride through downtown with you. Be mindful of leash laws and keep your furry friend happy and in your sight.

6- Go Out for a Relaxing Picnic

Grab a blanket, a basket, and find a grassy field or cozy up next to a river stream. Sometimes taking it slow and steady is the best way to enjoy the Smoky Mountains.

7- Experience a Majestic Waterfall

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most beautiful free-flowing waterfalls. You will be able to travel trails leading to waterfalls with heights of 80-100 feet in height!

8- Cycle Around Cades Cove Loop

Cades Cove Loop is an incredibly peaceful place to experience via bicycle. Spin your way along an eleven-mile loop through nature and take in the active wildlife that surrounds you.

9- Go Back in Time: Historic Structures

Gatlinburg and the surrounding Smoky Mountains are rather old. The known settlements began as early as the 1700s and more commonly, the 1800s. Explore the living museum that is the Smoky Mountains. Cades Cove, Historic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Elkmont, and Arrowmont are a few places to visit.

10- Get a Bird's Eye View on Wildlife

Strolling through the park and stumbling upon a white-tailed deer grazing on the grass or seeing a bear emerge from the forest is a special moment. Always have your camera in your hands and ready, you'll see something wonderful when you least expect it!

11- Examine a Grist Mill

The always beautiful Cades Cove has four standing Grist Mills. The naturalists used the Grist Mills to grind corn for their village. Cornmeal was a staple in the diet of early settlers in the Smokies, was used for an array of recipes and was an important ingredient in the lives of the early settlers. The Grist Mills are most beautiful in fall and winter when the colored leaves and the icy snow lay into the wheel and waterways.

12- Two Words: Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome has expansive panoramic views that roll on for days. If you can, plan this trip on a clear day so you can see far out into the distance. It often rains here due to the elevation, so don’t forget your rain jacket!

We hope that our list of free things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains will send you along a fantastic journey through the Smokies! Book your next getaway with Heartland Cabin Rentals and get outdoors!

Category: Things to do

Doug Shanks


By Doug Shanks a Smoky Mountain blogger and writes about things to do in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, and Sevierville, Tennessee. Area interests include hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, shopping, and family fun.

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