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As a mom of four adventurous boys, I’ve come to cherish our family trips to the beautiful city of Gatlinburg. Over the years, we’ve discovered several Gatlinburg hotels on the river that offer a unique blend of comfort, convenience, and natural beauty that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Gatlinburg, nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, is a place that has captured our hearts time and time again. Each visit brings new adventures, new memories, and a renewed appreciation for the great outdoors. But what truly sets our Gatlinburg vacations apart is the serene experience of staying right by the river.

The tranquil sound of the water, the breathtaking views, and the easy access to downtown attractions make Gatlinburg hotels on the river our preferred choice. Whether it’s a short walk to the Gatlinburg Convention Center for an event or a quick drive to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a day of exploration, these riverside accommodations provide the perfect base for our family adventures.

In this article, I’ll share our experiences and insights from our numerous stays in these riverside hotels, hoping to guide other families like ours in making their Gatlinburg vacation a memorable one. So, buckle up and join me as we explore the charm of Gatlinburg hotels on the river.

The Magic of Gatlinburg: A Family’s Paradise

Nothing beats the joy of seeing my boys’ eyes light up with excitement and wonder. Gatlinburg, with its rich blend of natural beauty and family-friendly attractions, never fails to deliver those magical moments, which is why we keep going back again and again.

One of the main attractions that keep us coming back is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Just a short drive from most Gatlinburg hotels on the river, this national park is a treasure trove of outdoor activities. From hiking and horseback riding to wildlife spotting and picnicking, there’s something for every member of the family.

Another favorite spot for us is the Gatlinburg Convention Center. Whether it’s a craft fair, a car show, or a seasonal event, there’s always something interesting happening there. And the best part? It’s just a short walk from many riverside hotels.

But what truly sets Gatlinburg apart for us is the unique charm of staying by the river. The boys love the easy access to fishing and skipping stones, while my husband and I can’t get enough of the serene river views from our private balconies. Many of these hotels also offer modern amenities like free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and indoor pools, ensuring a comfortable stay for the entire family.

And let’s not forget about downtown Gatlinburg. Just a stone’s throw away from the river, downtown Gatlinburg is a hub of fun and excitement. From the Ripley’s Aquarium and the Gatlinburg Skylift Park to the numerous shops and restaurants, there’s never a dull moment.

In the next section, I’ll delve deeper into our experiences with specific Gatlinburg hotels on the river. Each one has its unique charm and offers a different perspective of this beautiful mountain town. So, whether you’re planning your first trip to Gatlinburg or your tenth, I hope our experiences can help you find the perfect place to stay.

Our Favorite Gatlinburg Hotels on the River

Baymont by Wyndham Gatlinburg On The River

balcony view from the Baymont

The Baymont Wyndham Gatlinburg on The River is a gem located right on Cliff Branch River. It’s close to all the famous attractions of the area, including the Ripley’s Aquarium and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hotel has been recently renovated, providing guests with lovely views throughout their stay.

Amenities include:

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Flat-screen TVs
  • Mini-fridges
  • Microwave ovens
  • Coffee maker machines
  • Indoor pool
  • Fitness center
  • Game room
  • Business center
  • Free parking on the premises
  • Complimentary breakfast

Check Availability and learn more about Baymont here

Gatlinburg River Inn

exterior view of the Gatlinburg River Inn

The Gatlinburg River Inn is an affordable hotel on the river, located just 10 minutes from the famous Dollywood theme park and close to Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies.

Amenities include:

  • Furnished rooms with a cable TV, microwave, and mini-fridge
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Seasonal outdoor pool
  • Free parking

Check Availability and learn more about the Gatlinburg River Inn here

Sidney James Mountain Lodge

indoor pool of the Sidney James Mountain Lodge

The Sidney James Mountain Lodge is a charming hotel nestled on a beautiful mountain stream in the heart of Gatlinburg. This downtown Gatlinburg hotel offers comfortable accommodations at an affordable price, making it a great choice for families. Its unbeatable location puts you within walking distance of all the best things to do in Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Amenities include:

  • Comfortable rooms with private balconies overlooking the stream
  • Rooms equipped with mini fridges and coffee makers
  • Indoor and outdoor pools for year-round enjoyment
  • A sauna for relaxation
  • A poolside cafe for convenient dining
  • Pet-friendly rooms, allowing you to bring your furry family members
  • A Gatlinburg trolley stop right outside the main entrance
  • Proximity to popular restaurants, shops, and attractions
  • Walking distance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Free parking for guests

Check availability and learn more about Sidney James here

Econo Lodge Inn & Suites on the River

exterior view of the econo lodge inn

This child-friendly Econo Lodge is located just a few minutes’ walk from Ober Gatlinburg amusement park. Other attractions like the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Gatlinburg Convention Center, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, Gatlinburg Space Needle, etc. are also located nearby.

Amenities include:

  • Outdoor pool (seasonal)
  • 24-hour front desk
  • Fax and photocopying services
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Clean and air-conditioned rooms
  • Flat-screen TV, fridge, microwave, coffee machine, fireplace in rooms
  • Free parking on the premises
  • Complimentary continental breakfast

Check Availability and learn more about the Econo Lodge here

River Terrace Resort & Convention Center

balcony view from the River Terrace Inn

Located 11 miles from the Dollywood theme park, River Terrace Resort & Convention Center is a great place to stay in Gatlinburg. It’s situated at the center of all the attractions of the place, making it a great choice for both tourists and business travelers alike.

Amenities include:

  • Rooms with private balconies with a view of downtown and mountains
  • Flat-screen TVs, sofas, microwave ovens, minifridges, and coffeemakers in rooms
  • 2 outdoor heated pools
  • A sports bar
  • 11 meeting rooms for business visits
  • Free parking

Check Availability and learn more about River Terrace here

Rocky Waters Inn & Suites

exterior view of the Rocky Waters Motor Inn

Rocky Waters Inn & Suites is located just 1.3 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Right across the street from this place is an 18-hole miniature golf course.

Amenities include:

  • Large rooms with comfortable beds
  • Balcony overlooking the river in all rooms
  • Minifridges, microwave ovens, coffeemakers, and fireplaces in rooms
  • Complimentary continental breakfast
  • Outdoor pool and a hot tub
  • Covered parking for guests

Check Availability and learn more about Rocky Waters here

Old Creek Lodge

balcony view of the Old Creek Lodge

Old Creek Lodge in Tennessee is situated near the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and is a haven for nature lovers. Its great location means that it is close to all the attractions in Gatlinburg.

Amenities include:

  • Clean, comfortable, and spacious rooms with a stonewall fireplace
  • Outdoor heated pool
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Continental breakfast
  • LCD televisions
  • Outdoor seating areas
  • Microwave, coffeemaker, hairdryer, mini-refrigerator in rooms
  • Private balconies in all rooms

Check Availability and learn more about Old Creek Lodge here

Bearskin Lodge on the River

Bearskin Lodge on the River is situated on The River Street, in close proximity to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Other attractions of the region, like Smoky Mountain Art and St Mary’s Catholic Church, are also close by.

Amenities include:

  • Family-friendly accommodation with a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere
  • Large and clean rooms with comfortable beds
  • Flat-screen TV, refrigerator, free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and outdoor seating in rooms
  • Each room has a balcony over the creek
  • Free parking for guests
  • Numerous eating joints and shops within walking distance from the lodge

Each of these Gatlinburg hotels on the river offers a unique experience and a different perspective of this beautiful mountain town.

Check Availability and learn more about Bearskin Lodge here

Why Staying at a River Hotel in Gatlinburg is a Great Choice

The Convenience of Downtown Gatlinburg Hotels

One of the best parts about staying in Gatlinburg hotels on the river is their convenient location. Many of these hotels are considered downtown Gatlinburg hotels, which means they’re in the heart of all the action. From the Hilton Hotel to the Days Inn, these accommodations offer easy walking distance to the city’s main attractions.

Whether you’re looking to visit the Gatlinburg Convention Center, the Gatlinburg Space Needle, or the Ripley’s Aquarium, you’ll find that these attractions are just a short walk or a quick trolley ride away. Plus, with the Little Pigeon River flowing right by, you’ll also have easy access to a variety of outdoor activities.

The Comfort of River Hotel Rooms

When it comes to comfort, Gatlinburg hotels on the river don’t disappoint. From the Baymont Inn to the River Edge Inn, these hotels offer gorgeous guest rooms equipped with modern amenities.

You can expect to find features like free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, private bathrooms, and even private balconies overlooking the river. Some hotels also offer unique amenities like a lazy river, an indoor saltwater pool, or a seasonal pool. And for those who like to stay active, many of these hotels also have a fitness room.

The Affordability of Gatlinburg Accommodations

As a mom, I’m always on the lookout for affordable accommodations that don’t compromise on quality. And I’ve found that in Gatlinburg. From the Howard Johnson to the Wyndham Downtown Gatlinburg, there are plenty of options that offer great stay experiences at reasonable prices.

Making the Most of Your Gatlinburg Vacation

Activities in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a city that’s bursting with activities for the entire family. From visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to playing mini golf, there’s never a dull moment.

If you’re staying at a river hotel, you’ll find that many of these activities are just a short drive away. For instance, the Park Vista and the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort are both located near the national park, making them perfect places for nature lovers.

A fun exhibit our boys loved at the Ripley’s Aquarium!

Booking Your Stay

When booking your stay at Gatlinburg hotels on the river, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, consider the time of year. Gatlinburg is a popular destination, and hotels can fill up quickly during peak seasons.

Second, look for special rates. Many hotels offer special rates during certain times of the year or for extended stays.

Enjoying Your Stay

Finally, remember to enjoy your stay. Whether it’s your first time visiting Gatlinburg or your second time, there’s always something new to discover. From the breathtaking views of the United States’ most visited national park to the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, this city is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be explored.

So, whether you choose to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg, the Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg, or any of the other fantastic Gatlinburg hotels on the river, you’re sure to have a great stay.

the author and her family at the SkyBridge sign
Many of these hotels are within easy walking distance of great activities like the Gatlinburg SkyBridge. We loved it!

Final Thoughts on the Best Gatlinburg Hotels on the River

Choosing the right accommodation can make all the difference in your vacation experience. When it comes to the best hotels in Gatlinburg, riverside options offer a unique blend of comfort, convenience, and stunning views.

Staying at a hotel on the river road in Gatlinburg means waking up to a great view of the tranquil river every morning. It means having a private balcony where you can sip your morning coffee while listening to the soothing sounds of the water. It means having easy access to the heated outdoor pool for a refreshing swim, or the children’s pool for some fun family time.

These hotels offer more than just a place to sleep. They provide a complete experience, with amenities like free Wi-Fi for staying connected, a private bathroom for comfort, an outdoor swimming pool and a complimentary hot breakfast to start your day right.

Location is another major advantage of these Tennessee hotels. They are centrally located, offering easy access to the best of Gatlinburg. Whether you’re looking to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit the local attractions, or simply enjoy the great downtown location, these hotels put you right in the heart of the action.

And let’s not forget about the convenience of the Gatlinburg trolley line. With a stop right next door to many of these hotels, getting around Gatlinburg is a breeze. No need to worry about traffic lights or parking. Just hop on the trolley and enjoy the ride.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg, consider staying at a hotel on the river. Whether it’s the Sidney James Mountain Lodge, the Baymont by Wyndham, or any of the other fantastic options, you’re sure to find the perfect place for your stay. These hotels offer the best of Gatlinburg – comfort, convenience, and a front-row seat to the natural beauty of this charming mountain town.

Hope to see you there!

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