gatlinburg distance view

5 Free Things To Do in Gatlinburg on Your Next Family Vacation

Gatlinburg is a popular vacation spot for families, friends, and weekend getaways. There’s always something to do and see throughout the year. The city is known for its tasty restaurants and unique attractions. A great thing about the local attractions is that not all of them cost money, some are free! Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals knows of a a few free things to do in Gatlinburg, keep reading to learn more!

Alum Cave Trail in great smoky mountains national park1. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the United States. It is also one of the few national parks that is free to enter! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is rich with Appalachian history. When you visit you can see picture perfect mountain views and may even catch sightings of animals like salamanders, deer, and black bears. Visiting the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is one of the most popular and best free things to do in Gatlinburg. It is important to note that parking passes are now required in the national park. Some of the most popular trails in the park are:

2. Visit Cades Cove

Cades Cove may be the most popular destination inside the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Cades Cove is an 11 mile loop that you can navigate by car or bike. Along it you can wander through historic structures like primitive churches and rustic cabins. There are hiking trails to explore like the Abram Falls Trail, and this is a great place to see local wildlife. Cades Cove is the perfect place to immerse yourself in everything the Smoky Mountains has to offer.

3. Tour Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts has a rich history and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Arrowmont School is one of the coolest free things to do in Gatlinburg. The school has students who study disciplines like textiles, print-making, glass, painting, carpentry, and more. You can walk around the school to marvel at the artwork displayed by local artists and students. You may even be able to see classes, or sit in on workshops that happen throughout the year.

4. People Watch

An absolutely free thing to do is walk up and down the Gatlinburg strip. Window shopping won’t cost you a thing, and while you are doing that you can people watch. Gatlinburg attracts many visitors and it’s perfectly fine to take a few minutes to watch others. You can rest on one of the sidewalk benches, watch people from on the restaurants in town that sits outside, or by the fountain in The Village.

A sign at the entrance of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community in Gatlinburg.5. Explore the Arts and Crafts Community

The Arts and Crafts Community in Gatlinburg is an 8 mile loop full of local artists with many beautiful and unique talents. You can find textlists like quilt makers, carpenters, jewelers, traditional painters, potters, and many more artists in this area. You are welcome to watch these artists make their craft and ask questions to learn about how they became so good at what they do or any other questions you might have. You can also find sandwich and ice cream shops along the loop. The arts and crafts community is a great place to find a one of a kind gift or souvenir, and learn a little history from the area.

Ready to explore some of these free things to do in Gatlinburg? Book a cabin in Gatlinburg with Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals so you can be close to all the fun!