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Where to Stay in Gatlinburg: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018

Written by Lura Seavey

Tucked along the northern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a favorite spot for families, couples, or singles who want to explore the great outdoors, visit a few popular tourist attractions, or simply relax. There are a wide range of lodgings in and near top downtown attractions like the family-favorite Ripley's Aquarium and Ripley's believe it or Not!, as well as a variety of restaurants and shops. You'll also several options near the Ober Gatlinburg Tram, another popular thing to do in the area. For seclusion-seekers and those who want to be engulfed in the natural surroundings, there are also excellent choices on the outskirts of town.

Where to Stay for Luxury

Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mountains

Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mountains

Less than two miles from downtown Gatlinburg, The Lodge at Buckberry Creek was modeled after the great vacation retreats of the Adirondacks. Rustic décor adds charm and warmth to the spacious luxury suites, which feature stone fireplaces and private balconies with plenty of space to relax and enjoy views of the beautiful natural surroundings. Suites are also equipped with private bathrooms and Jacuzzis, as well as a small kitchen for convenience.

The Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is a top-notch spa hotel located only minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance and within walking distance of several area attractions, including shopping, restaurants, and a family theme park. In addition to the top-rate St. Somewhere Spa, there are two pools, a large hot tub, and a fitness center on-site. Wi-Fi is free of charge for guests, and other conveniences include room service, a restaurant, and self-serve laundry.

For those seeking an upscale cabin experience, the White Oak Lodge and Resort provides four-star lodgings and service on its 17-acre property. The fully furnished log cabins feature two or three bedrooms, kitchens, living areas, and a range of available amenities from a loft game room to screen-enclosed porches complete with a hot tub. Guests will also enjoy the large saltwater pool with its pretty waterfalls, recreational facilities including tennis courts and a paved walking trail, and the picnic area furnished with grills.

Where to Stay: Mid-Range

Le Conte creek

Le Conte creek

An excellent mid-range option downtown is the Courtyard Gatlinburg, located conveniently next to the convention center and within walking distance of many top Gatlinburg attractions. This modern, spotless Marriott property offers a wide range of amenities, including a fitness center, indoor heated pool, hot tub, and a fire pit within a peaceful garden. All rooms feature a mini-fridge and microwave, and some also include a balcony, fireplace, and full kitchen.

The Hampton Inn Gatlinburg Historic Nature Trail sits along the Le Conte Creek at the edge of the national park, near the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook, around ten minutes by foot to the main strip. Rooms include balconies with Adirondack chairs, and there is a fire pit near the outside hot tub. Hotel amenities include complimentary hot breakfast and Wi-Fi, a well-equipped fitness center, self-serve laundry, and an on-site Starbucks.

Old Creek Lodge overlooks Little Pigeon River, situated just outside the entrance to the park near the base of the Ober Gatlinburg Tram. The lodge has a warm, rustic architecture with wooden floors, exposed beams, and traditional furniture. Rooms come with basic amenities, including a fridge and microwave, and breakfast is included. Suites have extras like large gas fireplaces, balconies, and Jacuzzis. The most popular feature at the lodge is its pool and in-house water park, which rivals facilities at area attractions.

Where to Stay on a Budget

Downtown Gatlinburg

Downtown Gatlinburg

Just three blocks from downtown Gatlinburg, Marshall's Creek Rest Motel is a small, privately owned motel that has retained all the charm and nostalgia of its early days. Rooms sport retro wood panels, and you will be letting yourself in with a key instead of a card, but updates have been made in all the important places, and you will find the place spotless. Along with basic amenities like Wi-Fi, mini-fridges, and microwaves, there is an outdoor pool and free parking.

Another good budget option is Econo Lodge Inn & Suites on the River, located near the Ober Gaitlinburg Tram and within 10-15 minutes' walk to downtown. Balcony rooms overlook Le Conte Creek or the central pool area, and rooms include free parking, Wi-Fi, continental breakfast, and mini-fridges, and there are recreational facilities including a tennis court.

Just two blocks from The Village Shops, the family-owned Mountain House Motor Inn Downtown offers clean, well-appointed rooms complete with a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. Guests can also enjoy free parking, free Wi-Fi, and an outdoor pool with a separate kiddie section.

Where to Stay for Families

Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Road through Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Located within walking distance of Hollywood Star Cars Museum, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, shopping, and restaurants, Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown is an excellent mid-range option for those who want to enjoy local tourist attractions, and it's a favorite with families. In addition to children's activities, the entire family will love the heated indoor pool and splash zone play area with waterslides. Parents will also appreciate conveniences like complimentary breakfast; self-serve laundry facilities; and spacious rooms equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, and Keurig coffee maker.

Bearskin Lodge on the River Hotel sits close to Ober Gatlinburg and the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on an expansive and attractive property. Rustic décor is balanced with updated amenities, and rooms feature balconies with rocking chairs. Suites and family rooms area also available, some with gas fireplaces and living areas. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast, as well as freshly baked cookies, coffee, and hot chocolate in the lobby all day. Other amenities include a fitness center, a large outdoor pool, a lazy river, and a fire pit with plenty of space for guests to sit and relax in the evening.

Removed from the center of town in beautiful natural surroundings, Bent Creek Golf Village has several features that make it an ideal place for families. In addition to planned kids' activities, there is a playground, as well as a large outdoor heated pool, with an indoor pool as well for rainy days. Parents will appreciate the self-serve laundry, and suites include in-room washer/dryers, as well as full kitchens, a pull-out couch, and a screened-in porch. As the name suggests, there is also a golf course on-site, as well as other recreational facilities.

Where to Stay for Romance

Meigs Falls

Meigs Falls

A great escape for couples, The Buckhorn Inn is located just outside of town, nestled at the feet of the Smoky Mountains. Guests have the option of a traditional room in the inn or more secluded lodgings in a cottage or private guesthouse. This bed-and-breakfast style inn serves a freshly cooked breakfast each morning, and dinner is also available on-site for a romantic evening date. The property features nature trails, which traverse the meadows and evergreen forest, as well as a lovely pond, which is home to a pair of swans.

A picturesque building on the outskirts of town, The Foxtrot Bed and Breakfast is the perfect setting for a romantic getaway, featuring stunning views of Mt. Leconte from the main deck and several of the rooms. Guest rooms are well-appointed, and spacious suites are available, complete with romantic extras like a stone fireplace and luxurious Jacuzzi tubs. The in-house chef provides a mouth-watering variety of freshly cooked breakfast options, as well as an assortment of afternoon snacks.

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