Best Kept Secrets of Gatlinburg: Top 6 Hidden Gems

Frequented by over 11 million visitors each year, Gatlinburg, TN is one of the most popular vacation destinations in America! Our Smoky Mountain city is home to a number of famous attractions, including Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, and the nearby Dollywood theme park. In addition to these well-known tourist spots, Gatlinburg also boasts a number of smaller attractions that are definitely worth a visit. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Timber Tops Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to six of the best kept secrets of Gatlinburg.

1. Ghost & Haunt Tours of GatlinburgA lantern at night.

Whether you’re a true believer in the supernatural or a skeptic, you’ll love taking the Ghost & Haunt Tour of Gatlinburg. This 2-hour walking tour takes visitors to all of the most haunted spots in downtown Gatlinburg. At each location, you will hear riveting stories from Gatlinburg’s past that mix real history with local legend. Guests will even have the chance to search for spirits using authentic ghost hunting equipment, the same tools featured on the Ghost Adventures TV show!

2. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is unlike any other museum you’ve ever visited! Located in the Winery Square shopping plaza, this quirky attraction showcases over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers. This impressive collection began as a hobby for archeologist Andrea Ludden, but when her shakers started to overtake her home, she decided it was time to display her prized possessions in a museum for everyone to enjoy. Designed to look like fruits, vegetables, U.S. Presidents, aliens, animals, cars, and just about anything else you can imagine, the museum’s whimsical shakers are sure to delight. Admission is only $3.00, and that money can be applied to any salt and pepper shaker purchase made in the gift shop.

A plate of ravioli with marinara sauce.3. Taste of Italy

If you’re craving pizza or pasta during your vacation, you can’t beat Taste of Italy! Owned and operated by a couple from Brooklyn, this wonderful restaurant prepares the best authentic Italian fare in Gatlinburg. Guests will find all of their favorite dishes, including lasagna, chicken parm, ravioli, calzones, and irresistible garlic knots. The portions at Taste of Italy are extremely generous, so be sure to come hungry!

4. Doc’s Magic Shop

Doc’s Magic Shop is another one of the best kept secrets of Gatlinburg. Perfect for vacationers with children, this fun shop sells a variety of entry-level magic trick kits along with replica wands from the Harry Potter movies. A highlight of any visit to Doc’s is watching the free magic demonstrations performed by the shop’s friendly staff members.

5. The Elkmont Ghost Town

The Elkmont Historic District provides a fascinating window into East Tennessee’s past. Popularly known as the “Elkmont Ghost Town”, this area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a number of historic buildings that are open to the public.

A historic cabin at the Elkmont Ghost Town.

At the turn of the 20th century, Elkmont was the site of a booming logging company along the Little River, complete with its own railway. Before long, the train to Elkmont started bringing in wealthy families from the nearby city of Knoxville, TN who enjoyed taking weekend trips to the Smokies. These well-to-do vacationers purchased land from the lumber company and transformed Elkmont into a popular destination for summer retreats.

When the national park was established in 1934, many property owners in Elkmont obtained lifetime leases, which expired around 1992. Since then, the area’s abandoned buildings have made Elkmont a can’t-miss spot for history buffs.

6. Paul Murray Gallery

Tucked away in the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, the Paul Murray Gallery is home to some truly spectacular artwork. Murray’s paintings, drawings, photos, and prints depict the lives of rural mountain folk in Southern Appalachia. When you stop by the gallery, be sure to say hello to Paul and his wife Katijane; they love chatting with guests!

The King of the Mountain cabin in Gatlinburg.Where to Stay in Gatlinburg

When you stay with Timber Tops Cabin Rentals, you will be near all of the best kept secrets of Gatlinburg! With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 15 bedroom lodges, we are sure to have the perfect property for your getaway. To start planning your escape, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg!