A carriage ride through the Smoky Mountains, one of the unique things to do in Gatlinburg.

Your Ultimate Guide: The Most Unique Things to Do in Gatlinburg TN

Itching to get off the beaten path? Want to break away from the typical tourist experience? Need something a little strange and unusual in your life?

If you answered “yes” to at least one of those questions – and we’re betting you did – then you need to explore these unique things to do in Gatlinburg (and the Pigeon Forge area) during your next getaway.

Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community

There’s nothing more hip than supporting independent artists – and nothing more unique than taking home a one-of-a-kind artisan craft. Nestled in the Ole Smoky mountaintops among the black bears and deer is the largest organization of artisans in North America. From hand-blown glass to blacksmithing, it’s way more than your average gift shop.

Looking for something a little more interactive than just shopping? Check out their community calendar for hands-on workshops and the chance to try out being an artisan for yourself.

Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

While in the area, why not drop by the only salt and pepper shaker museum in the WORLD (other than their sister museum in Spain)? The folks running the museum started collecting salt and pepper shakers 35 years ago — and have amassed quite a collection since. There are over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers to pursue through – from places all over the world and periods throughout history.

Stroll Through the Village Shops

The Village down on Parkway is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon browsing the 27 unique boutiques – and immersing yourself in a quaint, European-themed atmosphere. From gourmet ice cream and fancy jams to fine art galleries, there’s something here for everyone to love, no matter their tastes.

Discover Haunted History

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the perfect place to be if you love a little bit of spooky. Not only can you find tons of haunted tours in the area, but you can also visit the Mysterious Mansion, Gatlinburg’s oldest and scariest haunted house. From winding staircases to secret passages, it has it all.

The self-guided tour takes you through all three floors. It’s just a few blocks away from Ripley’s Aquarium, so you can lower your heart rate a bit after your visit by chilling out with some penguins.

Visit Tennessee Moonshine Distilleries

Look, we’re not going to argue with you. Visiting a winery is a fun thing to do, for sure. But how many people can say that they’ve toured a moonshine distillery?

Well, you can find it in Gatlinburg. There’s a whole guided tour devoted to visiting the many distilleries in the area and sampling their wares. Not only can you sample some of the area’s best moonshine, but you can learn all about the history and culture tied to the art of making it.

Pro tip: Stop by the award-winning Sugarlands Distillery Co. even if you don’t take the tour — it’s worth it.

Play a Round of Mini Golf at Hillbilly Golf

Swing by Hillbilly Golf to pick up a quick game on the world’s most unusual mini-golf course. This course navigates mountainous terrain and includes some of the most interesting hazards you’ll ever see in your life — not to mention a ride on a chairlift up the 300-foot mountain.

Whitewater Rafting Pigeon River

Looking for a heart-pounding adventure? Why not try whitewater rafting? Several companies offer guided tours through Class II-III rapids in the upper Pigeon River — or milder rides in the lower Pigeon River.

Smoky Mountain Rafting is known for engaging rides no matter your experience level.

The Roaring Fork Motor Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

So long as you aren’t visiting in the winter, you want to stop by the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This loop takes you by historic log cabins and gristmills, tumbling streams, and past old-growth forests.

Looking for an up-close and personal view of some waterfalls? You can find trailheads for both Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls along this route as well. Just make sure to wear some sturdy boots and be ready to hit the hiking trails.

Appalachian Mountain Coasters and Ziplines Adventure Parks

Want to really rush through the mountaintops? Then stop by Anakeesta, a mountaintop amusement park. Not only can you enjoy ziplining and mountain coasters, but you can also walk among the treetops on their skywalk or take in an aerial view of downtown Gatlinburg from their scenic chairlift.

Take in Downtown Gatlinburg From the SkyLift and SkyBridge

Anakeesta isn’t the only scenic theme park in the area. You can also take in some amazing views from Gatlinburg SkyPark. Elevated 500 feet above the city of Gatlinburg, this park features the longest sky bridge in North America, extending longer than the length of two football fields.

To get to the SkyBridge, you have to take the SkyLift. This iconic yellow chairlift takes you from downtown Gatlinburg all the way up to the top of Crockett Mountain.

Cades Cove Carriage Ride

How does a carriage ride through the Smoky Mountains sound? Pretty magical right? With Cades Cove Stables, you can transport yourself and your entire family to a fairy tale while learning all about the history of the area and the local plants and animals.

Snow Tubing and Ice Bumper Cars at Ober Gatlinburg

Want to play around in a real winter wonderland? Ober Gatlinburg (formerly Ober Mountain) is the place to be. You can do way more than ski; there’s ziplining, ice skating, snow tubing, and perhaps the most unique of all, ice tubing.

If you happen to be in the area and it isn’t winter — never fear. There’s still plenty to do at this theme park, including an Alpine Slide and mountain bike rentals.

Hike Mt. LeConte

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the area — but LeConte is the mountaintop with the highest relief east of the Rocky Mountains. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, this makes it a must-visit. The hike is 11 miles roundtrip with 2,736 feet in elevation gain.

Fun Things Galore in Gatlinburg

Haven’t had your fill of unique things to do in Gatlinburg yet? Well, that’s good — we’re just getting started. There’s still Dollywood (you know — Dolly Parton’s theme park), the Titanic Museum, the Pinball Machine — the truth is, there’s so much to do we can’t fit it all into one single blog. But we’ve got plenty of other posts that can show you just where to go, what to eat, and even where to sleep — go ahead and check them out.