Posted on 8/10/2023


Nestled within the breathtaking Smoky MountainsGatlinburg, Tennessee, is a haven for nature enthusiasts, adventure seekers, and those in search of a peaceful escape. From its stunning natural landscapes to its charming downtown area, Gatlinburg offers a wide range of experiences that come together to create the perfect day. Join us as we embark on a journey through a day filled with beauty and excitement in this beloved town.

Begin your day in Gatlinburg by embracing the peaceful beauty of a Smoky Mountain sunrise. Wake up early and head to a popular viewing spot, like Clingmans Dome or Newfound Gap, to witness nature coming to life around you. As the sun paints the sky in hues of pink and gold, you'll feel a profound connection with creation, setting the tone for the day ahead. 

Pro tip: Don't forget, paid passes are now required in GSMNP for anyone who plans to leave their vehicle for more than 10 minutes; grab your parking pass before you go to save time!

After experiencing the gorgeous sunrise, make your way to one of Gatlinburg's charming local eateries for a hearty Southern breakfast. Indulge in fluffy biscuits, savory gravy, crispy bacon, and perhaps a side of grits. The Pancake Pantry is a popular choice, known for its delectable pancake stacks topped with a variety of mouthwatering options, from pecans to blueberries. Another delicious option, a favorite of locals and tourists alike, is Crockett's Breakfast Camp. From giant homemade cinnamon rolls to savory scramblers, they have something tasty to suit everyone. 

Pro tip: The earlier you eat, the shorter the wait, so head to breakfast as soon as the sun rises; restaurants tend to fill up mid-morning and wait times can grow long.

No visit to Gatlinburg is complete without exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lace up your hiking boots and choose a trail that suits your preferences and skill level. For a moderate hike, consider Alum Cave Trail, which rewards you with stunning views and fascinating geological formations. If you're up for a challenge, tackle the iconic Charlies Bunion trail, offering breathtaking vistas that stretch for miles. If scenic drives are more your speed, the park offers plenty of great options for you as well.

Pro tip: Grab a can of bear spray and bring it along on your GSMNP hike; approximately 2000 black bears live within the park's borders, and while they typically shy away from humans, it's never a bad idea to be extra prepared in case you encounter one.

After immersing yourself in the beauty of nature, head into downtown Gatlinburg for a change of pace. Stroll along the quaint streets lined with art galleries, boutiques, and charming souvenir shops. Stop by the local distilleries to sample moonshine and learn about the craft of traditional Appalachian distillation. For lunch, savor the flavors of the region at one of Gatlinburg's diverse restaurants. Whether you're in the mood for classic Southern barbecue, handcrafted pizza, or a farm-to-table dining experience, there's something for every palate.

Pro tip: Parking is very limited in downtown Gatlinburg, and there's usually a flat-rate fee associated with it; find a central location to park, then leave your car there for the rest of the day so you don't spend extra money needlessly by moving from place to place.

As the afternoon sun begins to mellow, make your way to the Gatlinburg Riverwalk. This peaceful pathway meanders along the Little Pigeon River, providing a tranquil setting for leisurely strolls and moments of reflection. Benches and picnic spots dot the route, inviting you to sit back, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the soothing sound of the river melt away your cares.

Pro tip: Stop and grab an afternoon snack or cocktail at Tom and Earl's Back Alley Grill; it's tasty and the service is excellent!

To cap off your perfect day, ascend to Anakeesta, a mountain-top adventure park that offers breathtaking panoramic views of Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. Take the scenic chondola ride to the summit, where you can explore treetop adventures, stunning gardens, and observation platforms. As the sun dips below the horizon, you'll be treated to a sunset that paints the sky in vibrant oranges, purples, and reds, leaving you in awe of nature's beauty.

Pro tip: Your ticket to Anakeesta is valid all day; if you're out and about and notice that the line at the kiosk is short, go ahead and grab your tickets to save time later in the day.


A day spent in Gatlinburg, TN, is a day filled with appreciation of natural wonders, cultural experiences, and culinary delights! From the tranquil morning sunrise to the awe-inspiring sunset views, Gatlinburg offers the perfect escape for those seeking a day of adventure and relaxation.

At the end of your fun-filled day, we'd be honored to host you in one of our renowned Gatlinburg vacation rentals. With cabins of all sizes and at a wide variety of pricepoints, chances are we have just the setup you and your loved ones will need to be comfortable and feel at home. Additionally, our exclusive guest concierge service, powered by Xplorie, provides complimentary tickets to top attractions like Dollywood, Soaky Mountain Waterpark, and SkyLift Park for each day of your stay. Plus, our concierge can assist you in booking any additional tickets you may need, at no extra charge. Discover more at, and book your stay at a Mountain Laurel Chalets property today!