This Tennesse town has three access points to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park placed in the heart of its downtown. It’s such a hit that Gatlinburg’s population sky-rockets during the tourist season from less than 4,000 residents to over 40,000.
With its miles of trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding, as well as historical exhibits and cabins, and watching the wildlife in their natural habitat, it’s easy to see why the park is such a hot commodity. When you’re not in the park, you can spend your time admiring it from Gatlinburg’s top attractions, among them, the Gatlinburg Space Needle and the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway.
To get a feel of local culture, skip the kitschy souvenir shops and visit one of several local galleries, including the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, to view local artists at work and craftsmen creating everything from paintings to handmade brooms and jewelry.