Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns
Plan a long weekend getaway with our Gatlinburg adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.
GPS: 35°43'N 83°31'W
Tiny Gatlinburg manages to pack a lot of touristy kitsch into its 10 square miles—Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and mini-golf are mainstays—but it’s location at the edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park can’t be beat: More than 521,000 acres of peaks and forests covered with more than 800 miles of maintained trails are right out the door.
Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Gatlinburg adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.
Wake up early to pedal the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop Road, a favorite of experienced cyclists, and watch the sunrise over the Smokies (nps.gov/grsm
); Cades Cove Campground Store rents bicycles for $6 an hour (explorecadescove.com
). Or hike to the summit of Clingmans Dome, the highest point of the state and the Appalachian Trail, at 6,643 feet (clingmansdome.com
Drive a few miles northeast on scenic Highway 321 to Cosby for dinner at The Front Porch, a BYOB Mexican restaurant that has live bluegrass shows on Friday and Saturday nights (423-487-2875).
Bed down at the cozy Four Sisters’ Inn, just a five-minute walk from downtown (doubles from $125; 4sistersinn.com