Expansive Lodge Surrounded by Great Smoky Mountains Woodlands
Positioned less than a half mile outside the Tennessee entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is an unusual gateway town full of things to do, see, and eat right on the border of mountainous wilderness. The Gatlinburg Trolley runs throughout town and stops at all the major attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium, the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, and an aerial cable-car tramway. The trolley also veers off the beaten path to stop at the Glenstone Lodge, tucked just outside of town amid rolling hills covered with ash and hickory trees. The rustic hotel exudes backcountry charm, even with its proximity and easy access to Gatlinburg and the national park.
The surrounding mountains and nearby attractions are the main draw, but there’s plenty to do at the lodge. You can hone your short game on the putting green, or train for the 400-meter individual medley in the outdoor pool. There’s also a two-level indoor pool fed by waterfalls within a cavernous, tropical-plant-filled atrium. The guest rooms are accented by warm green hues and offer views of either the pool or surrounding woodlands.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee: Family-Friendly Fun amid the Great Smoky Mountains
Gatlinburg sits amid the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee, near the border of North Carolina. Glenstone Lodge is less than a mile from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of America’s most popular national parks. Here, you can hike more than 100 trails that wend past waterfalls and pioneer-era log cabins tucked deep within the densely forested mountains. Or, take a bicycle ride on the 11-mile loop through Cades Cove, a broad valley known for its ample wildlife-viewing opportunities; deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and vacationing college mascots are known to frequent the open meadows. One of the best places to catch a glowing sunset is Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point of elevation at 6,600 feet.
Downtown Gatlinburg is packed with attractions geared toward vacationing families. There are indoor water parks, ghost tours, and quirky museums, which include Ripley's Believe it or Not Odditorium, Guinness World Records Museum, and a museum showcasing more than 20,000 salt and pepper shakers.