7 of the Best Free or Cheap Things to Do in Gatlinburg

DATE : February 25, 2018

Stunning photo of Gatlinburg and the mountains at sunrise

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, the Bearskin Lodge has put together a guide to seven of the best free or cheap things to do in Gatlinburg.

1. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National ParkLaurel Falls 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 without spending a cent. According to the National Park Service, the most popular hikes in the park are as follows:

  • Appalachian Trail
  • Abrams Falls Trail
  • Laurel Falls Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Trillium Gap Trail/Grotto Falls

2. Enjoying Free Samples at All Sauced Up

If you love to cook (or you just love to eat), All Sauced Up is a can’t-miss stop in Gatlinburg! This fun store specializes in gourmet food items and offers over 150 free samples each day. Some of the dips and spreads you can try at All Sauced Up include jams, jellies, BBQ sauces, salsas, peanut butter, and salad dressings.

A happy family enjoying a picnic.3. Having a Picnic

Picnicking is another one of the best free or 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.

4. Rock Climbing at Nantahala Outdoor Center

Nantahala 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.

5. Taking Scenic DrivesA scenic road in Cades Cove.

Taking a scenic drive is one of the very best ways to soak in the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Here are a few of the most popular drives in the Smokies:

  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
  • Newfound Gap Road
  • Cades Cove Loop Road

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

6. Wine Tasting at Sugarland Cellars

Wine lovers will definitely want to visit Sugarland Cellars during their vacation. This popular winery offers complimentary samples and tours to visitors. Sugarland’s wines are made from regionally-grown grapes and every bottle features a story from Gatlinburg’s past.

7. Bundling Ripley’s Attractions

Gatlinburg 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!

A hotel room at the Bearskin Lodge with two Queen beds.Guests at the Bearskin Lodge will love being near all of the best free or cheap things to do in Gatlinburg. Situated right on River Road, our hotel is just minutes away from all of the fun in town and the majestic scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Offering garage parking, private balconies with fantastic views, an outdoor pool, a lazy river, and the comfiest beds in town, Bearskin Lodge has everything you need for an incredible vacation. To start planning your escape, browse our selection of Gatlinburg hotel rooms!