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Are you looking for an exciting and affordable spring break destination? Gatlinburg, Tennessee is the perfect place to go! Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg offers a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities.

During your stay, take a ride on an alpine coaster, a thrilling downhill coaster ride through the mountains, or hit the slopes at Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort. You can also explore nature by going hiking or ziplining in the area, or stay inside with Ripley’s Aquarium, visit the Star Cars Museum or enjoy one of the many other activites Gatlinburg has to offer.

With all these adventure options, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Gatlinburg, so let’s take a look at enjoying a Gatlinburg spring break trip.

smoky mountains in background with pink wildflowers in front
If you come after it warms up, you can see some beautiful wildflowers on your hike

Is Gatlinburg Good for Spring Break?

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a perfect destination for a spring break vacation. The beautiful Smoky Mountains offer a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities for people of all skill levels. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge, Dollywood and Cades Cove are just a few of the many great places to visit during the spring season.

Is Gatlinburg Crowded During Spring Break?

Gatlinburg is a lot less crowded than many spring break destinations such as the beach areas. If you go in early March, you will find very few crowds. If you go on opening weekend for Dollywood you will find more crowds, but not nearly as many as the peak times of July and October and the holiday season. It’s a good time to visit.

What is the Weather Like for the Spring Months?

In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the weather during the spring months of March, April and May is typically mild. The average daily high temperatures during this time range from the mid-60s to the mid 70s with lows in the 35-50 degree range. Rainfall is moderate, with an average of 9-11 days of rain per month, so bring a rain jacket just in case.

In 2022 it snowed in mid-March and delayed our opening day trip to Dollywood, but most years when we go we experience mild to warm weather.

author's children in train car at the Island Pigeon Forge
T Shirts were the norm in March 2019 for our Spring Break trip
snowy scene from March 2022
March 2022 near Gatlinburg – snow for spring break!

Outdoor Activities to Enjoy on Your Spring Break Vacation in Gatlinburg TN

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure then look no further – Gatlinburg has tons of these! The hardest part will be narrowing down your list of outdoor fun! You’ll get to see the beautiful Smoky Mountains at one of the most beautiful times of year.


the author on the Clingman's Dome trail
It was around 20 degrees colder going up to Clingman’s Dome!

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is an excellent spring break activity for many reasons. The park has trails suitable for hikers of all abilities, ranging from easy hikes to more challenging backcountry treks. This also allows visitors to experience and appreciate the range of ecosystems within the park, from lush hardwood forests to high alpine peaks.

Moreover, as spring arrives, wildflowers and other flora begin to bloom throughout the area, making for a paradise of colors and sights during hikes. Additionally, many trails offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, providing the perfect opportunity for photos that will make memories last a lifetime.

Altogether, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains during spring break is an ideal way to explore nature, stay active, and take in the beauty of this special place.

Check out our guide to hiking in the Smokies for more information.

Our Favorite Hikes:

  • LAUREL FALLS (shown)

Want a guided tour? Check out these favorites:
Hidden Cascade Hiking Tour
Thundering Cascades Hiking Tour


couple ziplining in the smoky mountains

Ziplining in the Great Smoky Mountains during spring break is an excellent activity for a number of reasons. It provides an exhilarating and unique way to experience the natural beauty of the area, as you soar through the treetops and get a different perspective on the park’s diverse ecosystems. Spring is also an ideal time to go ziplining, as the weather is mild and it isn’t too hot or too cold.

Furthermore, ziplining is perfect for groups and families, as it offers a fun challenge that everyone can enjoy together. It’s also a great bonding experience and a great way to make lasting memories with friends and loved ones. Many zipline companies offer different courses and experiences to suit various interests and skill levels, making it even easier to find something suitable for all ages.

Our Recommendations

Whitewater Rafting

group of people rafting on a calmer area of the river

Whitewater rafting in the Great Smoky Mountains during spring break is a great way to enjoy the area’s natural beauty and spend quality time with friends and family. The spring season is the perfect time for a rafting trip, as the weather is mild and the snowmelt and rainfall increase water levels in the rivers, creating exciting rapids for a thrilling ride. As you navigate through the rapids, you’ll be able to take in stunning views of mountains, valleys, diverse ecosystems, and wildlife.

Many whitewater rafting companies also offer varying levels of difficulty with their trips, making it easy to find something that suits your interests and skill level. Plus it’s a great opportunity to bond with friends or family as you work together to navigate the rapids.

Our Recommendations

Scenic Drives

scenic drive through the Smoky Mountains

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great way to spend a spring break, especially taking the scenic drives along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Cades Cove Loop. Both of these routes offer plenty of opportunity to enjoy the park’s mild spring weather and witness blooming spring wildflowers, as well as take in stunning views of the mountains and valleys. You can also rent a Pink Jeep or UTV to go on these scenic drives with the whole family and make them even more memorable.

Our Recommended Scenic Drives

  • The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 5.5-mile scenic drive that winds through lush forests and past historic log cabins and water mills. Not only will you get to enjoy picturesque views from several scenic overlooks, but you also have the chance to spot wildlife including black bears, deer, wild turkey, and more.
  • The Cades Cove Loop is an 11-mile road featuring plenty of hiking trails, historic buildings, and scenic overlooks. Wildlife such as black bear, deer and wild turkey can often be seen throughout this valley surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains – making it a drive worth experiencing!

Horseback Riding

a group horseback riding through the forest

Horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains is an ideal spring break activity for many reasons. Firstly, the mild weather and wide variety of blooming wildflowers make it a beautiful time to ride through the park’s lush hardwood forests, past historic cabins, and to take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Secondly, horseback riding allows you to experience the diverse ecosystems and wide range of wildlife found in the area.

Moreover, horseback riding is great for groups and families because it provides a fun challenge that everyone can enjoy together. Many stables and outfitters offer rides of different difficulty levels, so there’s something for all skill levels. With its stunning views, peaceful landscapes and unique experiences, horseback riding in the Great Smoky Mountains is truly an unforgettable spring break activity!

Our Recommendations

  • DEER FARM STABLES AND PETTING ZOO (we had a lot of fun here even with small kids – learn more)


fish in basket on river stones with fishing pole

Fishing is an ideal spring break activity to enjoy in the Smoky Mountains for many reasons. The region is home to a wide variety of fish species, from trout and bass to walleye, making it an inviting spot for anglers of all skill levels. The rivers and streams that flow through the Smoky Mountains are clean and cold, providing the perfect habitat for these fish and making them easy to find and catch.

Moreover, fishing offers stunning scenery that makes this activity even more enjoyable. The rivers and streams in the Smoky Mountains are surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty that can be appreciated while enjoying peaceful hours angling. This tranquil atmosphere can be an ideal way to de-stress during a break from the routine of everyday life. All in all, fishing in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to relax and make unforgettable memories during your spring break vacation.

See our guide to fishing in the Smokies here

ATV/UTV Rental

Renting a UTV or ATV in the Smoky Mountains is an exciting and unique way to explore the area during spring break. The endless trails that wind through the mountains offer unparalleled views of wildflowers and breathtaking scenery not accessible by car or foot. For adventurers looking for a thrilling experience, renting a UTV or ATV gives you the freedom to explore at your own pace while enjoying all that the mountains have to offer.

It’s also a great way to bond with friends and family while taking in the majestic beauty of the area. You’ll be able to ride over rugged terrain, up steep mountain trails, and through beautiful forests that will be etched in your memory forever. So if you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure this spring break, look no further than renting a UTV or ATV in the Smoky Mountains.

See our guide to UTV rentals here

SkyLift Park

Take a trip up the SkyLift and enjoy a hike along the SkyTrail and walk across the SkyBridge – the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America. When we went, I wasn’t sure my younger kids would find much to do there and I was pleasantly surprised that we all had a wonderful time – and we rode the SkyLift three times! It’s great for all ages and the gorgeous mountain views are not to be missed.

I recommend buying your tickets online and skipping the line. We will definitely do this next time we do the Skylift.

Learn more about the SkyLift Park

Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg

view of the ober gatlinburg tram

The Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram is a spectacular way to take in the stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Riding in this tram takes passengers from downtown Gatlinburg up to the resort at the top of the mountain, and during the ride you can experience magnificent panoramic vistas.

At the top of the mountain, there are plenty of activities to keep visitors of all ages entertained. Skiing is available in season, snowtubing continues until March, and there’s an indoor ice-skating rink. There’s also a chairlift offering great views and a scenic wildlife encounter, as well as amusement park rides and games. Plus, when you’re done having fun, there are plenty of dining and shopping options available at the resort.

Overall, Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tram provides not only an exciting experience for visitors but also access to a variety of activities that make it one of top attractions in Gatlinburg.

Learn more about Ober Gatinburg here

Ride a Mountain Coaster

mom and son on mountain coaster

A mountain coaster in the Smoky Mountains is a great activity for families and singles alike to enjoy during spring break. It provides an exciting and unique way to explore the surrounding landscape, as well as a fun and thrilling ride that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. The coaster also provides a great opportunity for fresh air and exercise during vacation.

For families, a mountain coaster is an excellent way to bond while taking in the natural beauty of the mountains. Young singles can also benefit from riding the coaster, as it offers a thrilling experience that can be enjoyed solo or with friends. Overall, it’s an exhilarating activity that allows everyone to experience the thrill of adventure while admiring the stunning beauty of the Smoky Mountains.

Our Recommendations

Explore Downtown Gatlinburg

downtown gatlinburg at night

Exploring downtown Gatlinburg is an exciting experience, as it offers a wide variety of activities and attractions that are sure to please any visitor. The city of Gatlinburg has a charming mountain atmosphere and friendly locals, making it the perfect place for a getaway.

Downtown Gatlinburg has plenty of interesting shops for visitors to explore, with everything from souvenirs and local crafts to specialty stores such as moonshine distilleries, candy kitchens and more. Dining options in the city range widely and there’s sure to be something for everyone; from casual pizzerias to upscale seafood restaurants with beautiful mountain views.

In addition to shopping and dining, the city of Gatlinburg also offers plenty of activities including arcades, miniature golf, museums and even the SkyBridge – a pedestrian bridge across the mountains which offers breathtaking views. There’s also Anakeesta – a unique mountain theme park – as well as an aquarium for those looking for a truly unforgettable experience. With so much to do and see, visitors to downtown Gatlinburg will never be bored!

Visit Nearby Dollywood Theme Park

the author's sons with a dollywood sign
Our four boys at Dollywood!

Visiting Dollywood, the famous Smoky Mountain theme park, can be an exciting spring break trip. The park opens in mid-March, making it a perfect destination for a spring break getaway.

One of the highlights of Dollywood is the variety of rides and attractions, including several roller coasters such as Mystery Mine and Wild Eagle. These roller coasters offer an exhilarating and thrilling experience that is sure to be a hit with thrill-seekers of all ages. In addition to roller coasters, the park also features a variety of other rides and attractions, including water rides, spinning rides, and a variety of family-friendly rides.

Dollywood also offers a variety of entertainment options, including live music performances, shows, and parades that are sure to delight visitors of all ages. The park is also home to a variety of shops and restaurants, so visitors can take a break and grab a bite to eat or do some shopping.

Visiting Dollywood also offers an opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of the Smoky Mountains. The park features a variety of exhibits and displays that highlight the area’s rich history and culture.

Most years we get season tickets to Dollywood and we never get tired of this amazing park!

See all of our Dollywood guides here!

Indoor Activities for a Gatlinburg Spring Break

Gatlinburg is an excellent destination for a spring break vacation, offering an array of outdoor activities to explore. However, rainy days may disrupt those plans. Fortunately, Gatlinburg has plenty of indoor activities to offer visitors looking to take shelter from the rain. From museums and arcades to shopping and dining, there are a variety of options available that are perfect for families or individuals alike. No matter what your interests are, Gatlinburg has something for everyone on those inevitable rainy days during your vacation.

Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

ripley's shark tunnel

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is a great indoor activity for spring break in Gatlinburg. It’s a state-of-the-art facility that offers visitors the opportunity to explore the underwater world and see a wide variety of marine life up close.

One of the highlights of Ripley’s Aquarium is the Shark Lagoon, where visitors can walk through a transparent tunnel and see different species of sharks swimming overhead. The Aquarium also features a variety of other exhibits that showcase different marine ecosystems, such as the Coral Reef, the Ocean Realm, and the Rainforest Adventure. Visitors can see exotic fish, sea turtles, eels, and many other aquatic creatures from around the world.

Ripley’s Aquarium also offers interactive exhibits that provide an hands-on learning experience. Visitors can touch starfish and stingrays in the Touch-a-Ray Bay, and interact with sea life in the Penguin Playhouse. Additionally, the Aquarium also offers a variety of educational programs, such as behind-the-scenes tours, animal encounters, and dive shows, which provide an in-depth look at the marine life and the work of the aquarium.

We also love that it has a huge indoor play structure, and we’ve been there several times with the kids. We’ve even done their annual pass and it was amazing!

Another great feature of Ripley’s Aquarium is the location. It’s located in the heart of Gatlinburg, which makes it easy to access and a great addition to any spring break itinerary.

Hollywood Car Stars Museum

entrance to the hollywood star cars museum

The Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a must-see destination for movie and TV enthusiasts. It’s a trip through some of the most famous movies and TV shows of the last 50 years, featuring the best Hollywood movie & TV cars in recreated settings displayed with sound, lights, and action. The museum is home to an impressive collection of cars, many of which are the creations of George Barris, who has created more famous Hollywood movie & TV cars than anyone. Visitors will have the opportunity to see iconic cars from some of their favorite movies and TV shows, including classic hot rods, the Batmobile, the DeLorean from Back to the Future and the Munster Koach.

A visit to the Hollywood Star Cars Museum is not only an opportunity to see some of the most iconic cars in movie and TV history, but it’s also a chance to learn about the history of these vehicles. The museum provides a wealth of information about the cars, including details about their creation, use in film and TV, and any trivia or interesting facts. The museum also features some of the most iconic cars in Hollywood, with many of them in recreated settings that are sure to transport you back in time.

Book Spring Break Cabin Rentals

hot tub on cabin deck with two wine glasses

Gatlinburg cabin rentals are the perfect way to stay for spring break. Not only do they provide a brief break from outdoor activities, but they also offer a comfortable and luxurious stay in the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. Imagine waking up in a gorgeous chalet with stunning mountain views, and spending your days relaxing in the privacy of your own cabin.

One of the best things about a Gatlinburg cabin rental is the variety of amenities that come with them. Many cabins include amazing amenities such as theater rooms, full kitchens, pool tables, and game rooms. These amenities provide a fun and entertaining way to spend time indoors, especially when the weather doesn’t cooperate. Imagine having a movie night in your own private theater room, or a friendly game of pool with your friends and family.

Another great feature of Gatlinburg cabin rentals is the hot tubs that are often included. Imagine soaking in a warm hot tub after a long day of hiking or skiing, surrounded by the beautiful mountain views. It’s the perfect way to relax and unwind, making spring break a truly memorable experience.

In addition to all the amenities, Gatlinburg cabin rentals also offer great value for your money. They often are more spacious and comfortable than a hotel room, and they also provide more privacy. They are also an excellent choice for families and groups of friends, as they can often accommodate more people than a hotel room.

Click here to check out all the Gatlinburg cabins

Escape Game

Escape games are a fun and exciting activity to do on rainy days or during spring break in Gatlinburg. These interactive experiences involve being locked in a room and having to use clues and puzzles to escape before time runs out. They are great for groups of friends or families as well, as they require teamwork and communication to be successful, making them an excellent bonding experience.

Gatlinburg offers an array of escape games with various themes and difficulty levels, so there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a challenging mystery or a spooky adventure, escape games can provide hours of entertainment.

Escape games also offer the benefit of keeping the mind active while spending time indoors. They require players to think critically and solve puzzles in order to escape the room, which helps keep the mind sharp while enjoying some much-needed air conditioning away from the heat outside. Escape games are a great way to beat boredom and have some fun on your Gatlinburg staycation!

Play Arcade Games

If you’re looking for fun things to do during a spring break visit to Gatlinburg, consider heading to the Space Needle’s arcade. This arcade has all sorts of games, from classic favorites like pinball and skeeball to the latest video games. It’s a great place to spend time indoors on rainy days, and there’s also an attached café for snacking or taking a break.

On sunny days though, visitors should take advantage of the opportunity to head up the observation tower of the Space Needle. From here they can enjoy panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains as well as Gatlinburg itself. The views from the top are truly spectacular, and it’s an amazing way to experience the natural beauty of this area.

Visit the Nearby Museums

A visit to one of the museums in nearby Pigeon Forge is sure to be an exciting and educational experience. The area is home to a variety of museums that offer something for everyone, from the Titanic Museum – with its immersive experience that takes visitors back in time to explore the history of the famous ship – to Alcatraz East Crime Museum which offers an interactive look into crime and punishment in America. Wonderworks has a wide range of hands-on exhibits and displays focused on natural phenomena and everyday science, while the Hollywood Wax Museum features life-like wax figures of some of the most famous celebrities and movie characters and Beyond the Lens combines games and pop culture. No matter what your interests are, there’s sure to be a museum near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that will fascinate and delight you.

Enjoy an Indoor Water Park

inside wild bear falls indoor water park

Staying at an indoor water park during spring break can be a great way to have fun for visitors of all ages. Indoor water parks offer a variety of activities and features, such as large heated indoor pools with various features like waterfalls and lazy rivers, plus slides and interactive water playgrounds. The slides vary in intensity, so there is something for everyone to enjoy, from high-speed thrill rides to gentler ones suitable for kids. These parks also usually have special areas just for young children with shallow pools and kid-friendly attractions. With all these features, indoor water parks are an excellent option for families looking to enjoy a safe and enjoyable environment while having plenty of fun.

Our Favorite Indoor Water Parks

  • WILD BEAR FALLS (learn more here)
  • WILDERNESS AT THE SMOKIES (learn more here)
  • We have personally stayed at both of these with the kids and they were amazing!! The Wilderness is larger and has more for older kids.

Final Thoughts on Gatlinburg Spring Break Trips

Gatlinburg is a great destination for spring break and offers something for everyone. The gorgeous time of year, combined with the abundance of fun activities and popular destinations, makes it a perfect place for groups of friends or family to enjoy. From the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, to Dollywood, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee offers a wide variety of popular destinations to choose from. Indoor activities such as escape rooms, arcades and museums, as well as outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and fishing, provide a great time for everyone. With so many options available, you are sure to find something that appeals to everyone in your group. So why not make Gatlinburg your destination for your next spring break, and enjoy a fun and exciting vacation in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

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