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sugarland cellars winery in gatlinburg

6 of the Best Free and Cheap Things to Do in Gatlinburg

DATE : October 5, 2023

Gatlinburg, TN is one of the most affordable vacation destinations in the country! While there are certainly plenty of opportunities to spend money in town, there are also a number of fun attractions and activities that are easy on your wallet. To help you make the most of your next getaway, we've put together a guide to 6 of the best free and cheap things to do in Gatlinburg.

1. Have a Picnic

Picnicking is another one of the best cheap things to do in Gatlinburg. There are a number of beautiful spots in town and in the national park where you can kick back, relax, and enjoy a tasty meal. A few of our favorite spots include:

  • Mynatt Park
  • Greenbrier Picnic Area
  • Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
  • Cades Cove Picnic Area

Located near the entrance to the national park, Old Dad’s General Store is the perfect place to pick up picnic supplies, including freshly prepared deli sandwiches.

2. Rock Climb at Nantahala Outdoor Center

noc store gatlinburg signNantahala Outdoor Center is Gatlinburg’s premier outdoor outfitter. When you come in to browse the shop’s selection, you can also conquer NOC’s fun rock climbing wall for around $5 per person. In addition to their signature climbing experience, NOC also offers a swinging rope bridge, a kid-friendly bear cave, and a toasty fireplace.

3. Wine Tasting at Sugarland Cellars

Wine lovers will definitely want to visit Sugarland Cellars during their vacation. This popular winery offers free samples and tours to visitors. Sugarland’s wines are made from regionally-grown grapes and every bottle features a story from Gatlinburg’s past. Here are some of the other top wineries in Gatlinburg you don't want to miss as one of the best free things to do in Gatlinburg!

4. Bundle Ripley’s Attractions

ripleys aquarium of the smokies in gatlinburgGatlinburg is home to a number of Ripley’s attractions, including an aquarium, haunted house, mini golf course, and mirror maze. When you purchase one of Ripley’s combo passes you can save up to $49 per adult! This discount can help make some fun attractions one of the cheap things to do in Gatlinburg!

5. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few national parks in the U.S. that does not charge an entrance fee! Visitors to Gatlinburg will have the chance to explore over 800 miles of pristine trails in the Smokies with only having to pay a small parking fee. Daily parking tags are only $5! Here are some of the hiking trails closest to downtown Gatlinburg:

6. Take a Scenic Drive

roaring fork motor trailTaking a scenic drive is one of the very best ways to soak in the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you don't plan on stopping for longer than 15 minutes along your drive, you can enjoy this exciting activity for free! Here are a few of the most popular drives close to Gatlinburg:

Please note that some of the park’s roads are closed during the winter months.

You really don't have to spend all of your money on attractions to have a fun time in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. These free and cheap things to do in Gatlinburg will keep you entertained and rest easy knowing you didn't spend an arm and a leg! Want to know about even more ways to save on your trip? Check out these ways to stick to your Smoky Mountain vacation budget!