Known for its scenic view of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, TN, is one of the top U.S. travel destinations. But with endless choices for where to stay in Gatlinburg, it can be difficult to find the perfect lodging options for your trip.
To tackle Tennessee’s busiest tourist destination, most visitors will find staying in Downtown Gatlinburg most convenient. Straddling The Parkway, Downtown gives travelers easy access to all the city’s most exciting attractions and restaurants serving up delicious Southern comfort food.
If you want to escape the city center tourist bubble, other interesting areas await elsewhere, too. Outside downtown, you’ll find great neighborhoods around the Historic Nature Trail and River Road. Staying in the town’s more secluded corners lets you bask in its mountain streams and fresh air.
Not sure where to begin your Gatlinburg accommodations search? Get started with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Gatlinburg, TN.
Best places to stay in Gatlinburg, TN
Whether you’re visiting on a family vacation or a romantic couples trip, there are accommodations in Gatlinburg that’ll fit your needs. From chain hotels to rustic cabins, the possibilities are endless. Gatlinburg’s larger lodges even have the perfect setup for family reunions with all the essentials needed for large gatherings.
No matter the reason for your visit, finding the best area to stay in Gatlinburg can be difficult as there are so many amazing options to choose from. For most travelers, the neighborhoods in & around Gatlinburg’s city center offer the best combo of great accommodation options and location.
Staying in one of the following areas will let you get close to all the top tourist attractions in Gatlinburg. In Downtown and along The Parkway, you’ll be close to all the city’s best restaurants and nightlife. Or venture to the Historic Nature Trail, River Road, or Ober Gatlinburg to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy its finest outdoor activities.
The best areas to stay in Gatlinburg are:
✓ Best area to stay in Gatlinburg for first-time visitors
If you’re on your first trip, Downtown Gatlinburg is the perfect choice for where to stay in Gatlinburg. In Downtown, you’ll be close to all the city’s most popular attractions. There’s an amazing trolley system that’ll whisk you off to all the hotspots worth visiting.
One of the city’s top attractions, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, is in the heart of downtown. Hop on the aerial tramway to see the city & surrounding area from 1,800 feet in the air. Offering some of the best views of the Smoky Mountains, the SkyLift is a must-see when staying downtown.
Don’t forget to climb the Gatlinburg Space Needle during your stay. From the 407-foot observation tower, you get a 360-degree view of the entire city and the mountains. The observation deck is the perfect place to take memorable family photos with a beautiful natural background.
Although there’s a great selection of hotels in Downtown, expect to pay higher prices in this central location.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Gatlinburg
An iconic landmark and hotel, the Gatlinburg Inn has an amazing hot breakfast. It’s in close proximity to major attractions and delicious restaurants. Right at the base of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the inn is a popular destination for romantic getaways or vacations for the entire family. The Gatlinburg SkyLift and local distilleries are just about a 5-minute drive away.
Across the street from Ripley’s Aquarium and close to the Smokies, Greystone Lodge is close to the trolley station, local outdoor activities, and your favorite restaurants. Enjoy the cozy furnishings and the vintage vibe overlooking the beautiful river and serene mountains. Book yourself into the deluxe suites as a family or rent a cottage for a couples retreat trip.
Just a 4-minute drive from downtown Gatlinburg, The Village, and The Great Smoky Mountains, Margaritaville Resort is the perfect place to stay. The resort features a high-end spa, several outdoor pools, and many dining establishments. The property has many suite options to choose from and special events year-round.
Historic Nature Trail
✓ Best neighborhood to stay in Gatlinburg for nature lovers
If your main reason for visiting Gatlinburg is nature, the Historic Nature Trail is the best neighborhood for your journey. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is the most well-known part of this area of town.
Take a scenic drive along this 5-mile trail. You can expect to spend about 2 hours on the trail as there are many stop-off areas with amazing photo opportunities. You can also leave your car in one of the parking lots and go hiking on one of the nearby trails.
All the hotels in the Historic Nature Trail will give you amazing views of the scenery. Make sure you get a room with a balcony or head up to the rooftop to capture the stunning views of Gatlinburg.
Recommended hotels near Historic Nature Trail
Close to the Smoky Mountain National Park and the conference center, Hampton Inn Gatlinburg is close to all the necessities. Take a swim in the heated indoor pool or relax by the fire pit after a long day spent on the popular hiking trails. The complimentary breakfast is also perfect before a day of trekking.
Just a 4-minute drive to downtown, the Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg is a perfect location between the city and the nature trails. The property has all the basic amenities you need and more. It’s also incredible for children with the children’s splash zone, waterslides, and indoor pools. They have complimentary breakfast, free wi-fi, and amazing service.
This Holiday Inn Smoky Mountain Resort gives you a touch of luxury in the heart of the mountains. It’s also close to Pigeon Forge, another popular Tennessee tourist city. They have an indoor swimming pool and a waterpark area. Visit all of the nearby attractions including Dollywood, Ripley’s Aquarium, and many other fantastic destinations.
✓ Best place to stay in Gatlinburg for exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park
For a special getaway in Gatlinburg TN, stay on River Road. Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this area of town is the best spot to hit the hiking trails. The further down the road you choose to book your stay, the farther away you’ll be from downtown.
River Road is also close to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, and several mini-golf courses. River Road is perfect for cabin rentals. There are plenty of rental options nearby for log cabins within the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.
For hiking opportunities, you can check out the Little River Road Trail, Laurel Falls, and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Many of the paths also allow pets and bicycles; feel free to bring your furry friend and your wheels.
Recommended hotels near River Road
All of the guest rooms in this rustic lodge have private balconies and gas fireplaces. During the summer months, you can relax on the balcony and look at the colorful mountains. In the coldest months, make a hot drink and sit in front of the fireplace. All the suites have coffee makers, microwaves, and fridges. Enjoy the outdoor heated pool, whirlpool bathtubs, and a continental breakfast every morning. The lodge is also on the trolley route where you can use public transport.
For an incredible lodge with immaculate service, look no further than the Bearskin Lodge. Steps from the Great Smoky Mountains Park, you can easily get to all the hiking trails as well as city attractions. Relax by the outdoor pool or drift down the lazy river. All the rooms have a gas fireplace, HBO, and a grab-and-go breakfast. Most of the rooms also have a private balcony.
Located just a half-mile from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this hotel will put you close to the Gatlinburg Trailhead. With free parking, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant, the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg is a perfect base camp to rest every night after your hiking adventures. Enjoy the indoor saltwater pool and fire pit area on warm or cold nights. This is the perfect all-season adventure hotel.
✓ Top area to stay in Gatlinburg for families
If traveling with the family, the Parkway has some amazing luxurious family-friendly accommodations. Nestled between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you can easily access both cities and enjoy all the fun that both have to offer.
The Parkway spans 4.3 miles of the Foothills Parkway and travels 14.5 miles between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Sevierville. The Parkway is the best place to be close to zip lines, all your favorite restaurants, and adventure activities for the entire family.
For a dose of family fun, venture northward to Pigeon Forge. Among the top tourist attractions in Pigeon Forge is Dollywood. Dolly Parton’s famed amusement park offers one of the most fun-filled family getaways in Eastern Tennesse.
Many of the hotels and lodging options in the Parkway area offer suites large enough for the entire family. It’s the perfect place to stay in Gatlinburg to experience true Southern hospitality on your ultimate Tennessee family vacation.
Recommended hotels on Parkway
With a rustic luxury vibe, the Appy Lodge has large suites close to all the major Gatlinburg attractions. Equal distance to Pigeon Forge, it’ll let you explore both cities during your stay. The lodge is also close to Downtown Gatlinburg. It even offers you a free parking pass for all the nearby attractions. Enjoy the indoor and outdoor pool, as well as walk-in showers, free breakfast, and beautiful fireplaces in every room.
For ultimate comfort and amazing service, book your room at Crossroads Inn & Suites. With incredible mountain views and ongoing hotel activities for people, the hotel has everything you need. Amenities include free breakfast, a large fitness center, an on-site restaurant, and jacuzzi tubs. It’s within walking distance of many popular hiking trails.
One of the best family-owned inns in Gatlinburg, Zoders Inn has warm hospitality and a beautiful setting right in the heart of the mountains. Every guest gets free breakfast, wine and cheese (or milk and cookies for the kids), and free parking. If you are there on a weekend, make sure to check out the live entertainment and the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings. They have an indoor and outdoor pool with a waterfall, as well as opportunities for horseback riding.
✓ Top district to stay in Gatlinburg for alpine sports
Set on enjoying the city’s alpine sports scene? Ober Gatlinburg is the top area for lodging accommodations. The ski area and amusement park are perfect for adventure activities both for adults and children.
Booking home rentals is a great option if you are traveling in a large group or want a private romantic getaway. Cute chalets are also available if you want a private cabin or a more secluded area for your vacation.
Basic cabins, as well as luxury cabins, are available in Ober Gatlinburg. Reserve space in a rustic cabin for a romantic getaway or stay in a bed & breakfast to rent a bedroom cabin with many of the same perks as staying in a resort. Secluded chalets are also available if you want to stay further up into the mountains.
Recommended hotels in Ober Gatlinburg
For the best views of Mt. LeConte, book a room at the Foxtrot Bed and Breakfast. Located within the Smoky Mountains, you get a nice room with a private bath, jacuzzi tubs, and gourmet breakfast delivered right to your room. All the balconies overlook the mountains. Visit the spa for some pampering and massages after doing winter sports all day.
If you want maximum privacy in Gatlinburg, the A-Frame is the best place to stay. The vacation rental features two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a patio. The cabin is just minutes to Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area.
Daya is an adorable chalet with 2 stories. The two separate master suites will sleep up to four people. On its spacious deck, you can enjoy the summer weather or use the fire pit during the winter months. The entire downstairs area can be used as a game room with a pool table, board games, and a dartboard. You also have access to the community pool and recreation center.