One of the best parts about vacationing in the Smoky Mountains is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a great time! Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive, especially when you stay with us. To make sure you have a great time on vacation without breaking the bank, we’ve put together a list of 9 of the best cheap and free things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge:
1. Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community
When you visit the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, you can see more than 100 artists and craftsmen showcasing their work in shops, studios, and galleries. This 8-mile loop has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail and features items such as candles, baskets, quilts, jewelry, and more. You can stroll along the trail for free, but don’t be afraid to purchase something to take back home with you.
2. Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales
Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales is a seasonal event that captures the true essence of downtown Gatlinburg. It is both an educational and entertaining experience that people of all ages will enjoy. There are costumed musical performers, storytellers, and artisans that bring to life traditional Smoky Mountain heritage and culture. This event is completely free to attend and is held all summer long. In the winter, you can catch the Winter Magic Tunes & Tales for free as well!
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Located right outside of Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the few national parks in the country that does not charge an entrance fee, meaning you can enjoy the best things the Smokies has to offer for free! You can choose from over 850 miles of trails to hike or 2,900 miles of streams to fish in, and you can even drive along the Cades Cove Loop Road to see historic buildings, wildlife, and scenic views. Here are some of the best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains you should explore!
4. The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum in Gatlinburg is a unique attraction! It’s the world’s only salt and pepper shaker museum, where you can see more than 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from around the world. Admission to the museum is only $3, and that $3 goes toward any salt and pepper shaker you want to purchase from the gift shop! There are shakers shaped like cartoon characters, food, animals, cars, and more. Children 12 and under can get into the museum for free.
5. Gatlinburg Wine Trail
A free activity you won’t want to miss out on is the Gatlinburg Wine Trail. Make your way through the wineries in Gatlinburg to try all kinds of unique flavors. At each winery, you get to try some of their signature flavors for free. Pick any winery to start with, and tell one of the employees you plan on doing the trail. They will give you a passport to stamp at each location, and once you’ve visited them all, you’ll get a free gift! You might just find a new favorite wine along the way! The wineries that are part of the trail include Sugarland Cellars, Little Bear Winery, Bootleggers Homemade Wines, and Cades Cove Cellars.
6. Patriot Park
Another great thing to do for free is visit Patriot Park. Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge is dedicated to veterans from Sevier Country who served during wartime. When you walk along the track, you’ll see flags from the 50 states and from branches of the armed forces. You’ll also find the Patriot Missile, which was made famous during the first Gulf War. It’s a great place to visit if you want a relaxing afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather.
7. Rocky Top Wine Trail
The Rocky Top Wine Trail takes you through wineries in Pigeon Forge and Sevierville and is a must for all wine lovers. The trail includes 5 wineries for a total of over 70 different wines to try. Pick up your passport at any of the wineries you choose to start at, then get it stamped at each location! After you visit 3 of the spots, you’ll get a gift, and after you complete the final 2, you’ll receive another gift! It doesn’t cost a thing to complete the trail, which makes it that much sweeter.
8. See a Show
A cheap thing to do in Pigeon Forge that is also extremely entertaining is to see one of the incredible shows! When you stay with us, you’ll actually receive free admission tickets to some of the most popular shows in the area, like the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show and The Comedy Barn Theater Show. You’ll also get free admission tickets to Country Tonite Theatre, one of the best shows in Pigeon Forge! And even better news — at Country Tonite, kids get in free with a paying adult, so you can save even more money if the whole family goes together.
9. The Old Mill
Another thing you can enjoy for free is visiting Old Mill Square in Pigeon Forge. In the heart of Old Mill Square, you’ll find The Old Mill, which was built in 1830! Not only does it provide perfect photo opportunities, but you can take a tour of the mill and see how it works. As you stroll through Old Mill Square, you can see fudge and candy being made in the candy store or head over to the Old Forge Distillery to try their signature moonshine. Other cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge at the Old Mill Square include picking up a souvenir at the Old Mill General Store or grabbing ice cream at the creamery!
When you take advantage of all the amazing cheap and free things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you can enjoy an affordable and exciting vacation in the Smoky Mountains! Browse all of our Smoky Mountain cabin rentals and get started planning your trip.