5 Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

summer in gatlinburg

Everyone loves to find free things to do to save money! While you’re staying with us, you’ll find there’s plenty of free things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Look at these 5 free things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains:

1. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Porters Creek Trail

Unlike most other national parks, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park doesn’t charge admission to enter the park, which means you can hike any of the trails for free! If you’re just starting out, try the Gatlinburg Trail. If you want to see awesome waterfalls, hike to Rainbow Falls or Grotto Falls. Are amazing views your thing? Hike Mt. LeConte or Alum Cave Bluffs. There’s plenty of trails for novices to expert hikers, so no matter your skill level, you’ll be able to have a blast hiking through the mountains!

2. Go on a Scenic Drive

A popular activity that is completely free is driving through the Smoky Mountains. You’ll find plenty of roads that have beautiful scenery without ever leaving your car! Cades Cove Loop is a popular drive through a valley in the mountains where you can see the peaks, wildlife in the meadows and woods, and historic buildings. You are also free to stop along the loop and get out for pictures or walk to various sights. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is another popular drive because you’ll be able to see mountain streams, old forest growth, and historic buildings all from the comfort of your car. Your whole group will love seeing the beauty of nature!

3. Have a Picnic

picnic basket at park in gatlinburg

While you will have to pay for the food you want to eat, having a picnic is another one of the great free things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains! You can grab a table at the picnic areas of Cades Cove or Metcalf Bottoms and enjoy a meal next to the creek. Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg has a playground area for the kids to enjoy plus picnic tables next to a stream where you can share a meal together. Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge has plenty of space next to the Little Pigeon River where you can spread a picnic blanket out for your meal. You’ll love being together and enjoying a meal outside.

4. Visit The Island in Pigeon Forge

The Island in Pigeon Forge has plenty of fun things to do without having to pay! With over 35 retail and specialty shops, you can window shop all day! The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel lights up, which is beautiful at night. The Fountain Show has moving water geysers that put on a show to 14 pieces of music throughout the day. You can sit in rocking chairs and watch the water dance for hours! During summer nights, you might even be able to catch a concert outside of Ole Smoky Moonshine.

5. Go to the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival

bluegrass band

If live music and barbeque is your thing, you should definitely go to the annual Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass festival. Admission is free and watching the concerts is free, so you get to enjoy plenty of free entertainment! If you want to purchase any crafts or food and drinks, you’ll have to pay for that. You’ll also get to enjoy a competition of people singing Dolly Parton songs over the course of the 2-day festival. There’s also a people’s choice barbeque competition where you can pay to taste the competitor’s food and vote on your favorite!

Don’t break the bank by spending money on every activity you decide to do! You have plenty of options when it comes to free things to do in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Since you have an idea of what you’re going to do while you’re here, browse through our available vacation rentals to book yours today!