5 Wonderful Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Free
One of the things we love most about visiting Gatlinburg, TN is its affordability. Unlike some vacation destinations, it’s easy to have a great time in Gatlinburg without spending much money. In fact, there are a number of awesome attractions and activities in town that don’t cost a cent to enjoy! To help you make the most of your next getaway, we have put together a guide to some of the best things to do in Gatlinburg for free.
1. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg is located at the doorstep of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States. Over 11 million people frequent the Smokies each year, in large part because the national park does not charge an admission fee. That’s right; all of the hiking trails, scenic roads, picnic areas, waterfalls, and historic buildings are completely free to enjoy! With endless outdoor adventures in the mountains, you could easily spend your whole vacation exploring the national park.
2. Enjoy Free Concerts at Downtown Distilleries
Listening to live music is another one of our favorite things to do in Gatlinburg for free. The moonshine distilleries on The Strip frequently host wonderful concerts from local and touring musicians. Most of the talented bands perform bluegrass, country, and/or Americana music. All of the concerts are free and open to the public; you don’t have to buy anything to attend the show. Follow the links to see the concert schedules for the Ole Smoky Moonshine Holler and Sugarlands Distilling Co.
3. Visit Shops with Free Samples
There are a number of shops in Gatlinburg that offer free samples for visitors to try! Here are a few of our favorites:
- All Sauced Up
- Pepper Palace
- Smoky Mountain Farms Jelly House
- Yukon Heath’s Popcorn Emporium
- Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
The Smoky Mountain area is also home to the Rocky Top Wine Trail, a collection of five wineries that offer free tastings and tours. The tastings at Gatlinburg’s moonshine distilleries used to be free, but they now cost $5 per person. However, guests receive a $5 coupon when they participate in a tasting, so it essentially becomes “free” if you make a purchase at the distillery.
4. Take in the Views from the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook
The Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook is the perfect spot to take a family photo or a selfie with your sweetheart! Located along the Gatlinburg Bypass, this popular pull-off offers breathtaking views of the Gatlinburg skyline and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. What makes the vista so striking is the dramatic contrast in elevation between the city and the mountains. It doesn’t cost a thing to take a photo at the overlook, so don’t forget to bring your camera!
5. See the Historic Ogle Cabin
The Historic Ogle Cabin is the first cabin ever constructed in Gatlinburg! This one-room log home was built by Martha Jane Huskey Ogle and her children in 1807 after her husband William passed away. Visitors can tour this important piece of Smoky Mountain history at the Gatlinburg Welcome Center. The cabin is completely free to visit, although there is a donation box if you’re inclined to give a few dollars.
What are your favorite things to do in Gatlinburg for free? Let us know in the comments below!
Nadine and Barry DouzartSeptember 29, 2017 at 6:56 am
Maybe you could make a list of the best things to do in the car, as some of us have limited mobility and can not do the long walking things…just an idea!!
Beth WhitakerAugust 24, 2018 at 1:23 pm
There are plenty of motor nature trails around also. To name a couple that are beautiful and even have some amazing water falls is roaring fork motor natural trail which is located in Gatlinburg then there is the very famous Cade’s cove which is located about 18 miles from Gatlinburg.
Jeri JonesNovember 1, 2019 at 6:59 am
Check out the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. It can all be seen by car and there are also trails for those who want to walk. The waterfalls are magnificent!!
carmella lawsonMay 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm
what about people in wheelchairs that cant get out of them
Sherry MummertMay 24, 2018 at 12:29 am
There is an all access trail just past the Sugarlands Visitor Center on 441. 1/2 mile of sidewalk level, concrete “trail” with loads of interpretative signs on human history, plants , trees and animals of the area. Also has benches quite often to sit a spell and enjoy nature. Wheelchair and scooter friendly.
Jeri JonesNovember 4, 2018 at 6:24 am
Roaring Fork Motor Trail. Awesome experience. They left . A t light 8 & follow the signs. A true hidden treasure!!
Pat SavageJune 6, 2019 at 10:24 am
My husband is not able to walk alotso we love doing Cades Cove, the Chimney Tops and the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. Anytime we spend in Gatlinburg is a very special and relaxing time.
Amanda RubioSeptember 29, 2019 at 1:35 am
We enjoyed going to the newfound gap.
Pam KuntzNovember 1, 2019 at 10:14 am
Picnicking at the Chimney Rocks picnic area. My grandkids say that is one of their favorite things to do!
LoriSeptember 28, 2020 at 6:48 am
Roaring Fork Nature Trail
Wanda WestSeptember 28, 2020 at 8:40 am
Roaring fork motor trail is great and at the end check out the nice shop at the end called Ely’s Mill.
Elizabeth L. SothenSeptember 30, 2020 at 7:39 am
I love Tennessee, the beautiful mountains, shops , shows they put on, my husband liked that, and the kids like anything to do with carnivals, animals, malls is for me also.Anytime there’s free stuff makes it better, because we aren’t rich, and don’t get to take that many vacations, so that would be a big help,I would love brochures, thanks kindly!!