Thirty-nine miles to the southeast of Knoxville is the little town of Gatlinburg. While it might be small in stature, it’s the gateway to one of America’s most popular national parks, Great Smoky Mountains. Book an RV in Gatlinburg and you’ll have a great way to experience this natural wonder while having the freedom to travel throughout the park as you please. Your Gatlinburg RV rental will surely lead you to outdoor adventure - the memories of which will last a lifetime.
Before Gatlinburg became famous as a national park gateway, it was a logging town and a fairly isolated one at that. It was only around the turn of the century that people starting thinking about conservation and preserving the beauty that this section of the Appalachian Mountains contained. Several years before the Smoky Mountains became a park, a few residents set up hotels and lodges in the hopes of attracting tourists, which then paid off handsomely when the park was established in 1934.
RV Parks Near Gatlinburg
Due to the popularity of the nearby Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg has a wealth of RV park options that should be sufficient even during the busiest tourist seasons. Twin Creek RV Resort, Camping in the Smokies Campground, and Camp LeConte Luxury Outdoor Resort all are located a few miles east of town along Highway 321. Twin Creeks has full hookups along with a pool and hot tub to relax in after a long day hiking and driving in your Gatlinburg motorhome rental.
During the summer, you might find that those sites are booked up and will need to stay a few miles to the north near the town of Pigeon Forge. Pine Mountain RV Park, Pigeon Forge KOA, Alpine Hideaway Campground, Foothills RV Park and Cabin and several others are all within a couple of miles from town. Most of them have full hookups and some provide some extra amenities like a convenience store or laundry.
If you need to pick up any last minute supplies for your RV rental near Gatlinburg, the nearest Walmart is in Sevierville, 25 minutes away. There’s also a gas station there to fuel up, use the dump station, and buy your groceries before arriving in town as you don’t want to be driving back and forth between here and your campsite.
Exploring the Town of Gatlinburg
Most of the activities here are centered around getting you ready for your park adventure, but there’s still quite a bit to enjoy in town, too. If you’re looking for some travel souvenirs the Village Shops should be your first stop. Built to look like quaint, countryside cottages, the shops stock everything from locally made candles to hot sauce. Speaking of which, you might want to take a look around at All Sauced Up, where you can sample all the hot sauces your stomach can handle. If sweets are more to your liking, pick up a few bags full at Aunt Mahalia’s Candy or Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen.
While known as an outdoor lover’s paradise, the Blue Mountain region also has its share of culture, which can be found on display at the Heartwood and Paul Murray galleries. Make time for the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, which features all kinds of classic cars, specifically ones which have played a prominent role in popular films. Prefer something more off-beat? See one of the largest collections of salt and pepper shakers at the, you guessed it, Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. You probably never thought that would have its own curated collection, did you?
Getting Outside Near Gatlinburg
There’s no excuse for not spending time outside when you’ve got a national park at the doorstep of your Gatlinburg travel trailer rental or RV. However, getting into the park, especially during summer traffic can be a hassle and sometimes you might want to do something closer to your campground.
For an adrenaline rush, check out White Oaks Zip Lines, Zip Gatlinburg, or CLIMB Works Smoky Mountains, all of which offer fast-paced rides through the forest canopy. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to enjoy nature from the confines of an air-conditioned Gatlinburg rental motorhome, the Newfound Gap scenic drive should be right up your alley. The observation point at the drive’s summit is perfect for photo ops or just stretching your legs.
However, most visitors to Gatlinburg are coming to take a walk in the famed woods of the Great Smoky Mountains. The two-mile-long Gatlinburg Trail is a popular way to get there, leaving from the edge of town and making its way towards the park’s Sugarlands Visitor Center. It’s an easy trail suitable for all fitness levels. A more strenuous (though extremely rewarding) hike is to Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the park. It’s only a one-mile round trip, but it’s a bit steeper than the Gatlinburg Trail. If you want to get a full day hike in and are up for a challenge, one of the best hikes in the park is the Mount Sterling Loop, which requires a 4,200-foot climb to the summit. You’ll definitely need to be in good physical condition to pull this one off, but the views from the top are astounding.
Gatlinburg, TN is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Gatlinburg. Outdoorsy's Gatlinburg RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.