Gatlinburg is one of the towns in Tennessee associated with providing an authentic Smoky Mountains experience. This diverse mountain town destination has something to offer everyone, from families, to couples, and groups looking for some adventure.
The central focus of the town is an 8-mile stretch known as the strip that begins at the Parkway and Mountain Road intersection and ends at the Cherokee Orchard Road intersection. In simpler terms, you could say the strip runs between the town’s Marathon Gas Station and the Reagan Terrace Mall, from top to bottom.
Some stretches of the strip are a somewhat kitsch run of shops, malls, eateries, and other cheap fun obviously aimed at tourists. But there are also plenty of hotels and lodging along the strip, among other things.
The appeal of staying along the strip’s vicinity is that it enables you to see much of the town the best way-on foot. So if you are heading to Gatlinburg and want to be in the center of things in order to cut down on legwork, there are plenty of accommodation options along the town’s main drag.
Although it’s likely you’ll find yourself in the midst of retro arcades, mini-golf, and some of the more stereotypical aspects of tourism along the strip, you’ll also have access to everything you need.
This includes the best choice of restaurants, bars, and other amenities like rental companies. And there is also a time and a place for everything, so you are likely to find that the majority of the stores, restaurants and even some of the bars along Gatlinburg’s strip are closed up not long after 9 pm.
Gatlinburg is not known for its nightlife so there’s nothing too rowdy going on into the wee hours around these parts.
To help you make the most of your stay, let’s take a closer look at the 5 best Gatlinburg hotels on the strip.
Staying in Gatlinburg –Travel Tips and Advice
- Which areas in Gatlinburg are best: Gatlinburg is what you might call spread out, a fact made all the more obvious from a map view. This might make it initially seem difficult to know where to begin your navigation of the area from-especially when you consider the fact that the town is entirely surrounded by mountains. This means there will be a few steep hills to contend with and is one of the main reasons why staying close to the strip along the central areas of the town is logical, especially for first-time visitors. It’s also necessary for any mountain area to have a good sense of the different areas in relation to your base. The Parkway District where you’ll find downtown and the strip in an area thought to be the concentrated beating heart of Gatlinburg.
- Getting Around: The best way to get around is definitely on foot-which is easy enough to do if you are using the strip as a base. Alternatively, there is a cheap trolley service operating 24/7 which is also useful. Aside from that, if you are planning on venturing out to do more extensive exploring then it’s either a car rental or a local tour operator.
- Attractions: The town is largely considered the main point of entry to the most visited national park in the United States-the Smoky Mountains National Park which remains the main attraction. Other points of attraction easily reachable from Gatlinburg’s strip include the Space Needle, which gives you a birds-eye view of the proceedings along the downtown strip. If you want to get a broader perspective as well you can jump on a lift to Anakeesta, Ober Gatlinburg, or SkyLift Park for some prime, world-class theme parks surrounded by mountain scenery as you’ve never seen before.
The Best 5 Hotels in Gatlinburg’s Strip
1. Gatlinburg Inn
The historic Gatlinburg Inn is a modest 2-star hotel that has nevertheless reportedly played host to plenty of celebrities staying in the area over the years.
Depending on what you are looking for on your vacation, you might consider this one of the best spots along the Gatlinburg strip.
The accommodation features air-conditioned, en-suite rooms fitted with a flat-screen TV and a hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi and other amenities such as a tennis court and an outdoor swimming pool are also available.
Some of the nearby attractions in the area like the Sugarland Distilling Company are within easy reach by just a short walk. Other points of interest near the hotel include Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg Space Needle, and Gatlinburg Sky Lift.
Whatever you are looking for in Gatlinburg you won’t have any problem accessing it from here. You can easily fly into the region within fifty miles via the nearest airport is just over forty miles away by way of McGhee Tyson Airport.
2. Greystone Lodge on the River
Greystone Lodge on the River is set in Gatlinburg, a few hundred meters from popular local attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.
There are also plenty of other nearby points of interest well within reach from this spot including the Sweet Fanny Adams Theater, Earthquake the Ride, Mysterious Mansion, and the Gatlinburg Space Needle.
Rooms at the lodge include a flat-screen TV, private bathrooms, workstations, patios, and bedding. Some units come with impressive river views, and all rooms feature air-conditioning and wardrobes.
Amenities at the lodge include a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a business center, and free parking for guests.
The nearest airport is McGhee Tyson Airport, which is 47 miles from the accommodation and reachable in just over an hour.
3. Howard Johnson by Wyndham Downtown Gatlinburg
Literally 300 hundred meters from Gatlinburg’s center, the ideally-located Wyndham hotel features an outdoor garden complete with a heated pool.
All rooms at this residence are ensuite, air-conditioned, and equipped with cable TV and coffee-making facilities. The rooms also come with private balconies and free Wi-Fi. Free public parking is available to guests.
Many of Gatlinburg’s major attractions are less than half a kilometer from the hotel’s location. In fact, you are literally surrounded by attractions like Anakeesta Mountain Adventure Park and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies if you are staying at the Howard Johnson hotel.
If you are the energetic type you could even walk the 1.5 miles or so to the Smoky Mountains National Park from here.
It takes just over an hour from the nearest airport to get to this spot
4. Hilton Garden Inn
This rather luxurious lodge-style Gatlinburg hotel is located within walking distance of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
From within the cozy and luxurious interior of the hotel, you soon start to get that Smoky Mountain vibe in this residence-which also happens to be top-notch.
The rooms at this hotel largely face away from the neon chaos that is sometimes the strip, instead offering mountain views. The rooms feature 32-inch flat-screen TVs, and some rooms include extra features such as balconies, fireplaces, and whirlpool tubs.
Amenities at the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg include an indoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center. A Business Center, as well as laundry facilities, are also available on-site.
The Great American Grill at the hotel serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Pavilion Lounge is also featured at the hotel.
5. Gatlinburg Mountain Inn
Like much of the accommodation on offer in Gatlinburg, the 4-star Mountain Inn is ideal for anyone from couples to families to groups and larger parties.
Also like many of the other main hotels in this stretch-the Mountain Inn is literally hundreds of meters from some of the town’s main attractions like the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre and Anakeesta.
Other attractions not too far from Gatlinburg Mountain Inn include Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg Space Needle, and Smoky Mountain Winery.
The nearest airport is McGhee Tyson Airport, less than 35 miles from the accommodation.
Best Gatlinburg Hotels On The Strip – The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, whichever hotel or other accommodation option you may think to be best will depend largely on factors such as the number of people in the party, their ages, etc.
It makes sense to consider those factors when planning any trip to Gatlinburg. Hopefully, you can use our suggestions as a guide to help you make a decision about where to stay on the strip in Gatlinburg.
Whether you fancy the idea of wandering up to the grounds of the national park or not from your Gatlinburg hotel on the strip, it still won’t be too difficult to find a place within easy reach of some of the prime attractions.
The tough choice is where to stay as they are all close to so many attractions that it really could be just about budget for many people.
Just remember it’s much easier to find your way back to base camp with plenty of landmarks around it when traveling in the mountains.
- Best-positioned hotel in Gatlinburg from this selection has got to be the Gatlinburg Inn for its excellent location, as well as the fact that it has a few stories to tell.
- In terms of the Best Luxury Hotel, we would offer the Hilton Garden Inn which could also easily qualify as the most romantic hotel on this list.
- The Best Family Hotel has got to be the Howard Johnson Wyndham if for nothing other than its outdoor garden and pool!