Cheap Things to Do in Gatlinburg, TN

Cheap Things to Do in Gatlinburg, TN

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is one of the most popular places in America to visit with families. Every year tens of thousands of families visit this area during wintertime, summertime or anytime of the year.

Gatlinburg and its surrounding areas offer many outdoor activities, snow activities, shopping outlets, children’s museums, and so much more. However, sometimes when vacationing in this area the cost can add up the more activities you have planned for your family.

This article will suggest some inexpensive things to do in the Gatlinburg area besides heading to the popular downtown.

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Where to Stay

One way to stay on budget when visiting Gatlinburg is to stay at a resort that offers tons of amenities for your family. Staying at a resort that has amenities, reduces your spending on other off-site activities and may provide some free things to do with your family.

Westgate Smoky Mountains Resort & Spa* is a wonderful family and romantic resort that is located in Gatlinburg near Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This resort scatters throughout beautiful mountain tops and provides breathtaking views with a variety of lodging.

For starters, this resort is a timeshare location and as guests, you will be approached to participate in attending timeshare events. However, if you are not interested in becoming an owner, you can simply deny any timeshare offers and enjoy your stay.

The flip side to that is if you do decide to become a timeshare owner at this resort, you will have many advantages like discounts, deals, and other special Westgate resort privileges.

Westgate mountain view from cabin
Westgate mountain view
Westgate mountain view
Westgate mountain view
family style lodge
Westgate family style lodge
Westgate cabins with trees
Westgate cabin style lodging
Westgate cabin style lodging on hill
Westgate cabin style lodging
Westgate cabin style lodging
Westgate cabin style lodging on lower level
Westgate solo cabin lodging with car
Westgate solo cabin lodging

Westgate Smoky Mountains Resort & Spa offers a tremendous number of on-site amenities. Amenities for the kids include an exciting indoor water park, Wild Bear Falls.

Inoor Water Park sign on building with glass top
Wild Bear Falls

Wild Bear Falls is open year-round even when it’s freezing outside and you still want to have fun in the water. They are open every day during the week and on the weekends too.

The cost for Wild Bear Falls is about $25.00 per person/day and free for kids under 3. If you are an owner staying on property, you and your family are free during your stay.

If you are a Westgate owner, but not staying on property, you get in for a discounted price. There are discounted rates for Night Splash (after 6 PM), Military, Locals, and Groups too.

Wild Bear Falls attractions include Ramsey Cascades which is an interactive treehouse with a huge bucket that splashes water over all the kiddos down below.

interactive water treehouse with huge bucket splashing water
Wild Bear Falls Ramsey Cascades

Other attractions include Cades Cove which is a Lazy River where everyone gets to relax in a tube and float around the river. If that’s too slow for you, you can grab a tube and head over to the tube slide rides for more of an adventure.

Others can enjoy the hot tubs or even a fun game of water basketball. After you and your family are all done with the water, you can sit down and have a delicious lunch at The Roaring Fork Snack Bar located upstairs.

When the weather is warmer, you can also enjoy the outdoor pools at the resort. There are heated outdoor pools and spa tubs to enjoy looking at the gorgeous natural surrounding scenery.

If your family loves adventure, Westgate Smoky Mountains Resort & Spa also has ziplining. You can have a better view of the Smoky Mountains by soaring with The Flying Bear Zipline. Keep in mind that the ziplining is closed during the colder weather months.

The Flying Bear Zipline wooden center
The Flying Bear Zipline (closed for the season)

If heights aren’t your kind of fun, you will be pleased with the Mini Golf Course. The Mini Golf Course is a 9-hole course that also gives you wonderful Smoky Mountain views and is loads of fun for your entire family.

mini golf course with mountain view background
The Mini Golf Course

The resort also has on-site dining which includes the Marketplace. The Marketplace has all that you need for your stay like groceries, baked goods, and lunch specials. More importantly, the Marketplace has Starbucks. Do I need to say more?

Westgate Marketplace building

There’s also a children’s playground, fitness center and a full-service spa located at this resort. There are family activities scheduled every day of the week all throughout the day that you can attend according to your interests.

children's playground with slides
Westgate children’s playground

Need a ride to downtown Gatlinburg? The resort provides a trolley stop for the Gatlinburg Trolleys to take you into downtown Gatlinburg. Riding the trolleys helps you avoid the headache of finding parking and the bigger cost of parking downtown as you will have a ride to and from the resort.

Book your stay at Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa here!*

Cherokee, North Carolina

Staying in Gatlinburg, Tennessee puts you within driving distance to Cherokee, North Carolina. If you are looking for something inexpensive to do, take a drive out to Cherokee with your family.

Driving out to Cherokee from Gatlinburg is about one hour long. Before you get to Cherokee, you will be driving through some of the most beautiful Gatlinburg scenic overlook areas.

creek with flowing water surrounded by trees

During your drive, you will find Morton Overlook, as well as Newfound Gap Overlook. The scenery is so magnificent that I cannot express what it looks like. This is something you definitely need to take the time out and see these amazing sceneries yourself.

mountain view scenic Morton overlook
Morton scenic overlook
Morton scenic mountain view overlook
Morton scenic overlook
Morton scenic mountain view overlook
Morton scenic overlook
Morton scenic mountain view overlook
Morton scenic overlook
Morton scenic mountain view overlook
Morton scenic overlook

As you travel to Cherokee your family will also enjoy elk watching. Elk watching is where you can adore these animals from a safe distance and watch them in their environment.

two elks laying down relaxing
Elk watching

Once you get to Cherokee, head to downtown and enjoy the quaint shops with reasonable prices and meet some of the locals. You find so many things belonging to the Cherokee culture that you can take back home with you.

Cherokee Indian Reserve Welcome sign
Cherokee Indian Reserve Welcome sign
Cherokee store Native Earth
Cherokee store
Cherokee shopping outlet wooden store
Cherokee’s Shopping Outlet
Cherokee blue barn like store
Cherokee shopping area

Flea Markets

You can’t find any cheaper shopping than flea markets. A flea market is a market (indoor or outdoor) that usually sells secondhand goods.

flea market sign

There are a few flea markets around the Gatlinburg area for you to check out. Gather your family and spend a day looking around at a nearby flea market.

Flea markets have something for everyone in your family. Flea markets have items like jewelry, clothing, tools, plants and much much more!

flea market antiques
Flea Market antiques
flea market books
Flea Market books
Flea Market china dishes
Flea Market china dishes
flea market clothes hanging on a racks
Flea Market clothing
Flea Market fruits and vegetables on stand
Flea Market fruits and vegetables
 Flea Market men's hats on table
Flea Market men’s hats
Flea Market leather boots on shelf
Flea Market leather boots
 Flea Market jam in jars on stand
Flea Market jam
flea market women's rings
Flea Market women’s rings
 Flea Market toys on table
Flea Market toys

I love to go to flea markets just to see what kinds of vendors will be there and what variety of items will be on sale. My favorite product to purchase at a flea market are handmade natural bar soaps.

  Flea Market natural soap bars
Flea Market natural soap bars

If you never find anything at a flea market, it is still a great activity to do with your family as you will definitely get some exercise. There will be lots of walking up and down the aisles whenever you shop at a flea market.

Vacationing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee doesn’t have to be an expensive family trip. You can find many budget-friendly things to do around Gatlinburg.

Stay at a resort like Westgate Smoky Mountains Resort & Spa* so you can enjoy on-site amenities without spending too much extra cash on other activities offered in Gatlinburg.

Also, take a drive to a nearby town like Cherokee where you will love the majestic mountain views and explore a new culture.

Finally, no need to spend much if you spend a day at the flea market. You will find lots of deals for the family here at Great Smokies Flea Market.

Did you find cheap stuff to do around Gatlinburg, Tennessee? Share your tips on family activities to do in the Gatlinburg area without breaking the bank. We would love to hear from you in the comments.

*Terms & conditions apply. Unit type availability may vary. This advertising material is being used for the purpose of soliciting sales of timeshare interests or plans.

39 comments found

  1. It’s nice to find someone else who doesn’t want to just do all the touristy downtown things! Thanks for the great ideas and pictures of this beautiful area.

  2. Wow gorgeous part of the country. I love your pics. Planning a road trip and will try to work in Gatlinburg and Cherokee now! Thanks for sharing!

  3. A lot of cool places that I never knew about! We go to Cherokee area often but have never gone to Gatlinburg, I figured it was just a tourist trap.. Thanks for showing me a different side of it!

  4. This is great! I’m originally from Pigeon Forge, but currently down in North Carolina for the foreseeable future. I love all of your pictures. This makes me miss home!

  5. I’ve never been to Tennessee – it’s on my bucket list! After reading your post, I’m definitely interested in Gatlinburg. Thank you for sharing. I especially enjoyed looking at your beautiful photos.

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