Planning to surprise your sweetheart with an anniversary visit to Gatlinburg? Need a few great ideas for a weekend trip or honeymoon? Thankfully there are plenty of things to do in Gatlinburg for couples!
The Great Smoky Mountains offer rest, relaxation, and recreational activities for all kinds of couples – from the adventurers to those of you who just like relaxing in a mountain resort. (You do you – that moonshine won’t drink itself!)
In this article, we’re going to go over our favorite tours in the picturesque Gatlinburg area, as well as the best free and paid adventures to go on while you’re in the Volunteer State. Alright, let’s get into it!
The 6 Best Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Couples
- Ole Smoky: The Holler
- Moonshine Mountain Coaster
- Serenity Spa at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park
- Anakeesta Chondola Ride
- Smoky Mountain Riding Stables
While there are numerous distilleries, breweries, and wineries in Gatlinburg, we’ve got a soft spot for Ole Smoky, which has two locations in beautiful Gatlinburg. Our favorite, though, is The Holler, which typically features live bluegrass, expert bartenders, and even a tour of the grounds if you’re interested in walking around a bit.
While we do love their second Gatlinburg location, The Barrelhouse, there’s just something about this location – America’s most visited distillery – where the magic of Ole Smoky started. And if you’re traveling with your pup, dogs are definitely allowed!
The best part? No reservations are required for $5 tastings and samplings, which happen on a daily basis, but you’ll absolutely want to reserve space for a guided tour that features 13+ samples of some of their best moonshine and whiskey.
Get your kicks from living at a fast pace? We recommend the Moonshine Mountain Coaster for couples visiting Gatlinburg.
Pro tip: take the double ride coaster car and hold hands while screaming and catapulting your way down the mountain! Built on 10 acres of Gatlinburg’s most scenic mountains, this is an incredibly unique roller coaster with individual brake handles so you can control your own fate.
Keep in mind that there are some height and weight requirements and that these coasters are completely safe in rain or shine. This is one thrilling ride down the mountain!
It’s probably time to pump the brakes for a moment, especially if you’re not into fast-paced activities. How about some spa time at Serenity Spa at the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort? (Yes, it also has a water park!)
They’ve got a few incredible “treat yo’self” couples massages to sink your feet into, as well as numerous Swedish, Deep Tissue, and Hot Stone packages – and more.
And the cool thing about spending time at the Serenity Spa is the resort’s fantastic on-site amenities if you’re a staying guest, as well as its close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Beyond this, they also have their own zipline and the above water park which features the Grotto Falls hot tub. You may see a lot of families near the water park area, so stick to the spa if you’re looking for a little more stillness and connection in your day.
Similar to the Gatlinburg SkyHigh chair lift, the Anakeesta Chondola Ride offers spectacular views of the great Gatlinburg area, as well as a final destination with numerous restaurants, bars, and shops in Firefly Village to explore in your downtime with your loved one.
Yes, chondola is a combination of the words “chair lift” and “gondola” – we think it’s a clever play on words, too! Since “anakeesta” specifically means “the place of high ground,” we happen to think this place is really well-named.
Once you’re up the mountain, we highly recommend checking out Cliff Top, which offers great views and fantastic local craft beer. We have a feeling you’ll love lounging at Firefly Village!
There’s no better way to connect with each other than spending time in nature with some graceful horses.
While there are numerous horseback riding spots in and around Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we have a soft spot for Smoky Mountain Riding Stables which operates near the Greenbriar community of the Smokies.
Open for over 20 years, these stables offer a great way for couples in Gatlinburg to explore their natural surroundings, whether you’re experienced or a total beginner. Mountain streams, wild terrain, and lush forests – it’s a beautiful place to share with your significant other.
If they happen to be closed for the season, check out their sister stables, Sugarlands Riding Stables in the gorgeous Sugarlands Valley area.
What could be better than a couples trip to Dollywood!? People take couples’ trips to Disneyland and Disneyworld all the time, but Dollywood is their country cousin based out of the Appalachians (Cue the banjo!).
If you’re dating or married to a Dolly Parton lover, this trip is an absolute no-brainer guaranteed to provide memories as cheerful as its namesake’s laugh.
Along that line, this Tennessee pinnacle just may revitalize your relationship’s playfulness and joy! And we’re just going to plant this seed while we have your attention: lots of couples get engaged at Dollywood, so perhaps not a bad idea if you’re not up for a helicopter ride engagement.
We’d also highly recommend staying at Dollytown’s DreamMore Resort & Spa, where you can experience finger-licking Southern cooking and numerous spa specials. Time to relax with your boo…
6 Best Tours in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Based out of Gatlinburg, Smoky Mountain Guides offers one of our favorite adventure tours in the area – and they’ve got a lot to choose from! Let’s focus on two of our favorites. We adore their exhilarating Clingmans Dome hike, providing unfettered access to the highest mountain in Great Smoky Mountains National Park – a site worth seeing in its own right.
From explaining its Cherokee name – Kuwahi, meaning “mulberry place” – to learning about the area’s invasive species, SMG guides make this 4-hour trek a breeze, even in its steepest spots.
Also, check out their Classic National Park Tour that starts in Gatlinburg and weaves through the park, offering history lessons on Appalachian pioneers, logging history, and more – with some immensely epic views along the way.
Many of the Smoky Mountain Guides trips allocate space for only 1-3 people, lending an intimate air to these beautiful lands.
This Gatlinburg native knows a thing or two about good spirits. Open 364 days a year, the kind folks at Sugarlands offer a fantastic and private $12 stillhouse tour that’ll get you all revved up with some of the best moonshines in town. (It doesn’t hurt that they throw in a few free cocktails along the way!)
Beyond the private tour, you can also sample some of our favorite Tennessee spirits, like Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Whiskey, Sour Mash Moonshine, and the incredibly addictive Blueberry Muffin Moonshine. (Yes, it’s as delicious as it sounds!)
We love that everyone at Sugarlands is as welcoming as a long-lost family while dishing out cocktails, and their private tour guides are hilarious and rambunctious brothers bound by their love of whiskey. Alright, speaking of spirits, let’s check out…
Got two hours of walking in you? If you and your boo enjoy the paranormal more than kicking back with some moonshine, this is definitely the tour for you. Even as the most popular ghost tour in Gatlinburg, Ghost and Haunt’s tour guides manage to be personable, affable, and downright chatty about some of Gatlinburg’s most famous and ill-fated residents. Prepare to be a bit spooked in all the right ways!
If you want to commune with spirits in even more depth than the classic two-hour tour, they’ve got a great Investigative Ghost Tour – our clear favorite – which provides the next level of ghost hunting equipment, stories, and investigations.
Sometimes it’s nice to just let someone else take the wheel every once in a while, so why not add some Appalachian wine and moonshine into the mix? These Smoky Tours hosts, Mike and Jenn, are the best husband and wife duo to team up with while learning about local culture.
They’ve got special relationships with the distilleries and wineries visited on this tour, from the backcountry stillhouses to the classier wineries closer to the city center. Mike and Jenn are incredibly knowledgeable about the history of Gatlinburg, from moonshine distilling to the best national park spots.
As the first year-round sightseeing chair lift in the South since its 1954 opening, this Gatlinburg landmark offers a cozy, romantic tour of the Great Smoky Mountains area. Featuring some of the best views in Gatlinburg, this will titillate an adventure junkie and placate their partner who may be afraid of heights. (Definitely not talking about us here!)
Gliding 1,800 feet above sea level to the top of Crockett Mountain, you’ll love sharing this experience with your significant other. And either way, there are refreshments at the SkyCenter and the opportunity to get your sky-legs back on the SkyTrail. Highly recommended!
Speaking of gliding through the air, our thrill-seeking couples out there would probably love a helicopter tour, and lucky for you, we’ve got our favorite gig in town. Scenic Helicopter Tours offers – in our opinion – the most extensive packages and deals for a romantic flight around the Great Smoky Mountains.
Check out their Sweetheart Delight’s Package for a well-rounded tour around Douglas Lake featuring roses, chocolates, and locally produced wine or cider. The longer, 50-mile Endless Love package features all the goods, plus a great view of Sevierville and Dollywood, but our favorite offering is the Scenic Flight and Romantic Country Picnic package – for obvious reasons.
Who doesn’t want to end a flight at a beautiful country farm?! This tour will be a highlight of any trip to Gatlinburg.
Free Things to Do in Gatlinburg for Couples
- If you love hiking and biking, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to spin your feels in the greater Gatlinburg area. But beyond the aforementioned Clingmans Dome, we highly recommend checking out Cades Cove, an 11-mile one-way trek through some beautiful wilderness. With all of the gorgeous wildlife, historic buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, and scenic views, you’re likely to get some great photo content out here.
- While this historic area is about 30 minutes outside of Gatlinburg, we love the Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill, all part of a larger collection of late 1800s Smoky Mountains buildings moved to this one spot. Featuring an apple house, smokehouse, blacksmithing building, and more, this free activity is an easy jaunt back in time without the ramifications of a time machine. Win-win!
- Last but not least, if you and your honey are artistically minded, you may love the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community. This is a great opportunity to experience the work of local artisans up close, and if you’re feeling inspired, pick up a souvenir for your love. With over 100 artisans to check out, you’re free to window shop and get some inspiration for your next great masterpiece.