A Scenic Weekend Itinerary for the Smoky Mountains

The Smoky Mountains are home to scenic beauty, outdoor adventure, shows, amusement parks, wildlife encounters and restaurants for every taste. If you’re looking to pack a lot of fun into a short amount of time, a Tennessee vacation can provide memories that last a lifetime. With so much to see and do, it’s easy to mix and match activities to fit your schedule.

Here’s our recommended itinerary for your getaway to the Smokies.


Enjoy a Pancake Breakfast

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin® is famous for serving up fluffy pancakes flipped fresh off the griddle. Order a stack of old fashioned buttermilk or indulge in the Reese’s® Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip pancakes. They’re topped with peanut butter sauce and whipped cream to make your first meal of the day even sweeter. If a hearty breakfast is what you’re craving, the Rocky Top Skillet with two sausage biscuits and two eggs on top of a bed potatoes plus a side of country gravy is sure to please.


Choose from one of two Flapjack’s locations:

956 Pkwy.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

2734 Pkwy.
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Dive Into Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies®

Come face to fin with hundreds of underwater creatures living in the Smoky Mountains’ most impressive fish tank. Dive in, go under water and stay completely dry at Shark Lagoon. Your journey takes you on a moving 340-foot long glidepath through a tunnel surrounded by snapper, tarpon, squirrelfish, green sea turtles, giant stingrays and enormous sharks. The Coral Reef exhibit at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is home to exotic fish like the Regal Blue Tang, Foxface Rabbitfish and Clown Triggerfish.


88 River Rd.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Take an Aerial Tram to Ober Gatlinburg

Hop onboard America’s Largest Aerial Tramway for a 2.1-mile ride up the side of the mountain to a ski area and amusement park. This 120-passenger cable car offers spectacular views of the Smokies during a scenic 20-minute experience. Once at the top, you can cruise down the rails of the Sky Mountain Coaster. This exhilarating ride lasts approximately 5.5 minutes and sends you sliding down a 3,750-foot track. Other activities at Ober Gatlinburg include a waterless raft ride and fun-filled carousel. There are also wildlife encounters with area critters like bears, river otters and birds of prey.


1001 Pkwy. #2
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Play a Round of Miniature Golf

Numerous mini-golf courses dot the landscape of the Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular is Hillbilly Golf. Ride the rails of a 300-foot incline straight up the side of the mountain where two unique mini-golf courses have been cut into the hills. Tee it up, then get ready for a little friendly family competition. Putt your way through the mountainside to sink a hole in one and the lowest score. But be careful of hazards such as outhouses, covered wagons, stills and lush overgrown vegetation—they just might cost you a stroke (or three).


340 Pkwy.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Climb to the Top of Clingman’s Dome

The highest point inside Smoky Mountains National Park (and Tennessee) offers views that stretch more than 100 miles and across seven states. If you love photography, be sure to pack your camera. The photo opportunities from the 54-foot observation tower at sunrise and sunset are breathtaking. To get there, you’ll have to hike up a steep half-mile trail. Not into hiking? You can still snap plenty of beautiful pictures from the parking area. If you plan to include a visit to Clingman’s Dome on your Smoky Mountains weekend itinerary, be sure to check the weather first. Conditions change rapidly and snow can fall anytime between September and May.

Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

Reel in a Trout

Trout is king around here and so is fly-fishing. If you like to travel light, be sure to leave your fishing poles at home. Fly Fishing the Smokies has all the equipment you’ll need to get geared up for great fishing adventures. More advanced anglers can wade through the mountain streams or cast out from shore with their own rods, reels and tackle boxes. Those in need some guidance can tag along with experts provided by one of the many outfitters. Even though trout is abundant, they may not always be in the mood to bite. Not to worry, a lot of the waters have been stocked—increasing your chances of landing the big one.

Fly Fishing the Smokies
Gatlinburg, TN 37738

83163376_Man fly fishing


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Photo Credit:
Chris Hagerman – Ober Gatlinburg, CC BY-SA 3.0