Gatlinburg, Tennessee courts couples as well as families

Gatlinburg Wedding Chapel

Gatlinburg, Tennessee was recently selected as one of America’s most romantic getaway destinations by Guidebook America. Known as the Wedding Capital of the South, it is the second most popular wedding destination in the country (after Las Vegas). Surrounded by the age-old Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg retains its charm and small town values, a quality that attracts couples looking for a beautiful but serene wedding site or families wanting a vacation spot that has something that’s fun for everyone. With fewer than 4,000 permanent residents, Gatlinburg welcomes all visitors to this special region.

Overlooking Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains

Couples planning a wedding or an anniversary celebration will find plenty of places to create new experiences and memories. More than 20 wedding chapels are in the business of helping couples plan a special event indoors or in a garden. You can even stage your special day beside a mountain stream or waterfall.

While there, view scenic mountains when you hop aboard the spiffy 120-passenger gondola for top-of-the-world views of the city and Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The most visited national park in the country offers plenty of nature activities for all ages, including biking, hiking, and learning about flora and fauna in the park on guided ranger walks. Hayrides and cultural displays also attract visitors to the national park.

Space Needle in Gatlinburg

Fun for all


Take in a sunset view from the 342 foot Space Needle observation tower. Or spend time shopping delightful art galleries and then enjoy an evening of music at the area’s oldest professional theater.  Sweet Fanny Adams has become a family favorite by providing live music and comedy onstage for more than 35 years.

Gatlinburg is a popular destination in all seasons. The mountains provide great skiing in winter, and rafting class IV whitewater on the Big Pigeon River is a way to stay cool in summer. Go ziplining or zorbing, and make time for a visit to world-class Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. Other popular activities—for couples or families– include golf, horseback riding, fishing, and driving through the scenic Smokey Mountains.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Special events coming this spring

 The Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage will be held from April 25 to 29. As winter fades and the colors of spring begin to sparkle throughout the Smokies, Gatlinburg blossoms into the center of all things botanical during Great Smoky Mountain Association’s 62nd annual Wildflower Pilgrimage.

Everyone from the serious botanist to the weekend gardener can experience unprecedented access to some of the nation’s leading botanical experts as well as Appalachian wildlife authorities. The Wildflower Pilgrimage offers over 150 programs including an array of instructional walks and guided hiking tours tailored to meet individual walking skill ability, along with demonstrations and guest lecturers. These tours showcase the abundant varieties of wildflowers, plants, ferns, mosses, trees and shrubs, as well as birds, reptiles and amphibians, all native to the Great Smoky Mountains.

Other special events to check out include Ribfest and Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament.

Lodging options

Hotel: Park Vista (beautiful view of the entire city and mountain scene) and Hilton Garden Inn (LEED Silver Certified)

B and B: Lodge at Buckberry Creek (most gorgeous view of the Smokies, five star food, and first class accommodations)

Cabins: Mountain Rentals and Mountain Laurel Chalets (mountain scenery for groups of all sizes)

Space needle and wedding chapel photos courtesy of Louise Crow, Peritus PR; other photos by Beverly Burmeier