The Hidden Gems: Unconventional Attractions in Gatlinburg





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Hey there, travel explorers! Have you ever wanted to uncover the secrets of a city, wandering off the well-trodden path and away from the usual hustle and bustle? If so, you’re in the right place. This is about Gatlinburg, a popular tourist destination that you might think you know pretty well. But wait until we delve deeper into its unconventional attractions! Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey, as we discover Gatlinburg’s hidden gems together with some unconventional attractions in Gatlinburg.

Unconventional Attractions in Gatlinburg

Unconventional Natural Attractions

We all know that Gatlinburg is renowned for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but did you know that the area is also home to some lesser-known natural wonders? Let’s check them out.

First on our list is The Sinks, a captivating waterfall off Little River Road. This natural spectacle, with cascading water creating a mesmerizing whirlpool effect, is sure to make your Instagram feed the envy of your followers. Its beauty is a well-guarded secret among locals, so you can usually enjoy this marvel without the crowd.

Next up, we’ve got the Greenbrier Area. This hidden gem is an excellent spot for wildflower viewing, especially in early spring when the area blooms with ephemeral beauties like trilliums. Don’t forget your camera, folks! This place is also a fantastic location for picnics, with serene riverside spots that are perfect for a relaxing afternoon.

For all you hiking enthusiasts out there, Porters Creek Trail is a must-visit. Nestled in the Greenbrier area, this trail offers a peaceful hike through lush old-growth forests and historical sites. Oh, and did I mention the incredible Fern Branch Falls you’ll encounter along the way?

Last but not least, The Jump Off. This spot offers a heart-stopping cliff view overlooking the vast expanse of the Smoky Mountains. The trail leading up to it is somewhat challenging, but trust me, the view is more than worth the effort.

Unusual Museums and Galleries

Looking for some indoor fun? Gatlinburg doesn’t disappoint. 

Have you ever visited a museum dedicated entirely to salt and pepper shakers? Yes, you read it right. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg is one of only a handful of its kind globally, showcasing over 20,000 pairs of salt and pepper shakers from different eras and cultures. Quirky? Absolutely. Worth a visit? Definitely!

Next up, we have the Gatlinburg Pinball Museum. This place is paradise for pinball and retro arcade game lovers. The museum is home to rare and vintage pinball machines, which are not only for display but for play as well. Get ready to challenge your high score!

The Gallery of the Smokies is another stop you should add to your list. This unique gallery showcases the work of local artists, providing an insight into the Smoky Mountains’ culture and heritage.

Local Experiences Off the Beaten Path

Now, let’s dive into the less-traveled roads of Gatlinburg. Attend a local event, take a moonshine making class, or explore the city’s vibrant arts and crafts community. These unconventional local experiences are an excellent way to understand the heart and soul of this unique town.

Unconventional Food and Drink Experiences

We can’t talk about Gatlinburg without mentioning its food, right? While you can always indulge in traditional Southern cuisine here, I suggest you try some unconventional food experiences too. Ever thought about trying a donut burger? What about savoring a meal while sitting in a retired ski lift gondola? From interesting fusion foods to unique dining settings, Gatlinburg has got you covered.

When it comes to drinks, you should definitely pay a visit to some of the local moonshine distilleries and wineries. They offer a unique take on the region’s rich heritage of liquor production. Plus, most of them offer tasting tours – a perfect way to sample a variety of flavors. 

Planning Your Visit to Unconventional Attractions

Planning your itinerary to include these hidden gems can be a fun task. I would recommend spacing out your visits to the natural attractions, taking the time to truly soak in the beauty each has to offer. For the indoor attractions, consider the time of day and crowd factor – weekdays or off-peak hours can be a good choice for a more relaxed visit.

As for the best time to visit these attractions, well, each season has its own charm. The waterfalls are most vibrant in the spring and fall, wildflowers adorn the trails in the spring, and the galleries and museums are great year-round.


Are these unconventional attractions in Gatlinburg family-friendly?

Absolutely! Most of these hidden gems are suitable for all ages, making them perfect for a family adventure.

Are there guided tours available for these hidden gems?

Some of these locations offer guided tours, while others are self-guided. It’s always a good idea to check their official websites for the most accurate information.

How far are these attractions from downtown Gatlinburg?

Most of these unconventional attractions are within a 30-minute drive from downtown Gatlinburg.


So there you have it – an insider’s look into the unconventional attractions of Gatlinburg. From unique natural sites to quirky museums, offbeat local experiences to unconventional food and drink options, Gatlinburg has so much to offer beyond its usual tourist hotspots. The city has a charm all its own, waiting for explorers like you to uncover.

I invite you to wander off the well-trodden path and share your unique Gatlinburg experiences. What hidden gems have you discovered? Let’s share the joy of exploration and help fellow travelers uncover the lesser-known magic of Gatlinburg. Make sure you share your favorite unconventional attractions in Gatlinburg on our Facebook page.

There you have it, folks – Gatlinburg, the hidden gem hunter’s paradise. So why wait? Pack your bags, get your adventurous spirit on, and be ready to create memories that will last a lifetime.


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