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Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a beautiful mountain town that borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are many rental options in the area but the most popular is the mountain cabin, most of which have hot tubs on the deck and scenic mountain views. The area is home to a wide variety of outdoor activities along with many shops and dining options.
When visiting the town of Gatlinburg, you can't miss the unique shops and dining places. There are many shops in The Village, a Bavarian-style shopping area, that are very unique. If you like trying a variety of foods, there are options like The Donut Friar and the Pepper Palace, which specializes in all types of hot sauces. To see the work of local artisans you can visit Alewine pottery and Lamplight Gallery. The Mountain Mall is another shopping area in town where a variety of stores and a multi-storied indoor fountain make for a unique atmosphere. If you wish to stay in downtown, there are many accommodations available that offer a great city view.The Pancake Pantry
This breakfast and lunch restaurant is a great place to try a local favorite, pancakes. The menu offers things like pigs in a blanket, blueberry pancakes, and even orange-walnut. They also have an extensive lunch menu with burgers and sandwiches. The kids will love the M&M pancakes or the silver dollar pancakes. The Pancake Pantry is the original pancake house in an area with many different breakfast places.Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The national park is the most visited in the nation. It is one of the last parks that actually doesn't charge an entrance fee. Inside the park there are many hiking, biking and picnicking opportunities. You can visit Cades Cove to drive an 11-mile one way loop and view wildlife, especially deer and turkey. The occasional bear with cubs can also be sighted in the valley. Clingmans Dome offers a spectacular view of the mountains, with the tower being the highest point in Tennessee. A short hike to the lookout tower offers a view of up to 100 miles on a clear day.
There are several ways to get the best view in town. The Aerial Tramway, which goes to Ober Gatlinburg, is a cable car that takes you on a 2.1 mile ride from downtown up to the amusement area on the top of the mountain and is one of the largest in America. You can also check out the Sky Lift in the middle of town. The Sky Lift offers a seat for two up the mountain with amazing views coming back down and is a must see at night.
The weather in the area can vary greatly depending on the time of year. Each season offers a unique vacation experience. Summer is one of the most popular times to visit and temperature can be quite hot with random rain showers throughout the day. October is a very popular month as well due to the mountain views of the changing leaves. When visiting in Winter, you can see snow and participate in some outdoor activities like skiing and sledding. Spring offers a chance to see wildlife emerging from hibernation along with the new growth of all the local plants.
Most people travel to the Gatlinburg area by personal or rental car. There is also an airport in the nearby city of Knoxville where a car can be rented. There are opportunities for tours in the area as well, with many tour buses visiting throughout the year.