Posted on 7/11/2023


When planning a vacation to the Smokies, guests hope for beautiful, sunny weather for mountain hikes and exploring Gatlinburg. However, sometimes weather doesn’t always cooperate, and you may find yourself with a rainy day during your vacation. Here’s a list of fun rainy day activities to do around Gatlinburg, when Mother Nature isn’t on our side!

1. Explore Gatlinburg’s Arts and Crafts Loop

Located right off of East Parkway on Glades Road in Gatlinburg, The Great Smoky Mountains Arts and Crafts Community holds the largest group of independent artisans in North America. This historic 8-mile loop was established in 1937 and is home to remarkable and original pieces crafted by local artisans. Visitors can find various collectibles such as candles, baskets, quilts, brooms, pottery, jewellery, dolls and so much more. The loop also provides cafés and restaurants for craft enthusiasts to enjoy a nice break from shopping.

2. Check out the Ripley’s attractions on the Parkway

The Parkway is filled with various Ripley attractions including:

  • Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
  • Ripley’s Moving Theater 5D
  • Ripley’s Guinness World Records Museum
  • Ripley Believe it or Not! Auditorium
  • Ripley’s Marvellous Mirror Maze
  • Ripley’s Candy Factory
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smoky’s

All of these attractions are indoors and make for perfect activities for families during a rainy day in Gatlinburg. Ripley’s allows visitors to interact and have a truly unique experience. In fact, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smoky’s is ranked in the top 5 best aquariums in America. The Aquarium gives visitors the opportunity to waddle with the penguins, splash with the rays and feel like they are swimming with the sharks. Not to mention that when guests stay with Mountain Laurel Chalets, they receive a 10% discount on tickets to all of the Ripley’s attractions mentioned above!

3. Take the Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg and spend the day ice skating

The Aerial Tramway at Ober Mountain provides the best view in town for mountain-lovers. Departing regularly from downtown Gatlinburg, this cable car will take up to 120 passengers, literally, up and over the mountain for a 2.1 mile ride up to the amusement park and ski area. The fun continues at Ober Gatlinburg with a huge indoor ice rink for families to spend the day. After a few hours of skating, visitors can sit and grab some lunch at the Loft Lounge or a quick snack at one of Ober’s various food vendors.

4. Enjoy a delicious dinner and hilarious show at one of Pigeon Forge’s dinner shows

Pigeon Forge is home to various dinner shows. Each show is different and includes music, comedy, magic, and animals such as horses, dogs and even buffalo! The most popular shows include:

  • Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
  • Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show
  • Lumberjack Feud
  • Grand Majestic Dinner

Doesn’t matter the show, each one will provide audiences with endless laughs and happy bellies.

5. Spend time at the Sugarland Visitor Center

The Sugarlands Visitors Center is the primary point of contact for visitors entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is located 2 miles outside of Gatlinburg. Sugarlands has an extensive natural history exhibit and a free 20 minute film about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a perfect activity on a rainy day. Visitors can explore the National Park without even stepping foot outside! Sugarlands has a bookstore and a small shop where visitors can purchase Appalachian treats, souvenirs, and crafts.

Rain or shine, Gatlinburg always provides guests with endless opportunities for fun! If you haven't booked your Gatlinburg accommodations yet, feel free to browse our curated collection of beatiful Gatlinburg chalet rentals