Gatlinburg Downtown

Best Places to Stay in Downtown Gatlinburg TN: 2023 Guide

Planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? We’ll give you a local guide to the best places to stay in downtown Gatlinburg, TN, the best town for exploring the Smoky Mountains.

Living just an hour away, our family spends much time in this charming town. It’s still one of our favorite destinations out of everywhere we’ve traveled worldwide. Here are our picks for the best places to stay in downtown Gatlinburg, TN, for 2023.

Gatlinburg Overview
Downtown Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Mountains

Gatlinburg Overview

Living near Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountain area is one of our favorite places to go with our kids out of all the places we’ve traveled.

Top Thing To Do: Anakeesta

Where To Stay: Margaritaville Gatlinburg is our favorite resort in the area. While it’s not the cheapest, it’s a new resort with a nice pool and a great location.

Where To Eat: Ole Red (not because the food is amazing, but because of the live nightly entertainment)

How To Get There: The closest airport is Knoxville (TYS), about an hour away. A rental car is almost a requirement due to the distance between attractions. Click here for deals on Discover rental cars. Gatlinburg is also within a day’s drive of 2/3rds of the country’s population!

Best Places to Stay in Downtown Gatlinburg TN: Why Downtown?

Gatlinburg Downtown: Best Places To Stay In Downtown Gatlinburg Tn

We always recommend staying downtown along the main road, Highway 441 (Also known as The Parkway). While Gatlinburg is a small town, some resorts and hotels are outside city limits, and finding parking can be challenging.

While there are several parking garages in Gatlinburg, they can fill up, and traffic slows to a crawl in the summer. We find it’s easier to stay somewhere you can leave your car and walk around town.

Let’s get right into our favorite list:

#1: Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg: The Perfect Tropical Getaway

Taking our top choice is Margaritaville! Craving a tropical escape in the heart of the mountains? Our favorite choice for the best hotels for a Gatlinburg vacation, this resort offers spacious rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and even real parrots. And yes, a Margaritaville restaurant is on-site, so you can enjoy your favorite tropical drinks without leaving the resort.

Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg

Margaritaville Resort Gatlinburg is a 4-star resort located on the main parkway (Hwy 441) in Gatlinburg. We have stayed at this resort several times, and while it’s not the cheapest resort in Gatlinburg, it’s by far our favorite.


This tropical-inspired retreat offers well-appointed rooms and suites, an indoor and outdoor pool, a fitness center, and an on-site spa.

The resort’s convenient location across the street from Anakeesta makes it a perfect base for exploring the best of Gatlinburg.

Margaritaville Gatlinburg Front Medium 1

Gatlinburg Inn

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Gatlinburg Inn is a piece of Gatlinburg’s history. Built-in the early 1900s, it’s seen Gatlinburg transform from a sleepy mountain town to a bustling tourist hotspot. It offers comfortable rooms with flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, and it’s just a stone’s throw away from the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. The inn also has an outdoor heated pool and a picnic area, making it a great place for family reunions.


Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Located just south of the parkway (About a 6-minute walk), the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort offers easy access to the best of Gatlinburg.

One of the best features of this resort is the indoor water park it shares with the Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown (Check prices on both hotels, as they’re connected), promising a splash of fun for all. Each unit at this resort features a kitchen, making it perfect for longer stays.


Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Holiday Inn Express Gatlinburg Downtown is a fantastic choice for families. About a 6-minute walk south of the parkway, the highlight of this hotel is the indoor water park, which it shares with Holiday Inn Club Vacations (Make sure to check prices on both hotels, as they’re connected). The hotel also provides a complimentary breakfast, perfect for fuelling up for a day of adventure.


Bearskin Lodge on The River

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Located on the south end of Gatlinburg near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s rustic charm and modern amenities make it a great place for your mountain getaway, and kids will love the lazy river.

While its location on the south end of the parkway makes it easy to get to from places like Cades Cove, it’s a hike to the attractions on the north end of town like Ripley’s aquarium.


Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg

We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn in early 2023, our preferred Hilton-brand resort in Gatlinburg. It offers an indoor pool and a large outdoor jacuzzi. Plus, it’s just a block away from the Parkway and Gatlinburg’s favorite restaurants and best attractions, making it one of the best places to stay in downtown Gatlinburg, TN.


Greystone Lodge on The River

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Greystone Lodge is a charming hotel nestled on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. Its rustic charm and warm hospitality make it a favorite. Some rooms have private balconies overlooking the river. It’s a short walk from Ripley’s Aquarium, making it a great place to stay if you want to explore downtown Gatlinburg.


Courtyard by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Courtyard by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown, just a 5 minute walk south of the parkway, also puts it near the Gatlinburg Convention Center. The hotel offers spacious rooms with modern amenities. After a day out, you can relax in their heated indoor pool or large outdoor jacuzzi. The hotel’s onsite restaurant serves delicious meals, adding convenience to your stay.

One major benefit of downtown Gatlinburg hotels is their easy access to many attractions. You’re just a short walk or a short drive away from everything. Most of these hotels have great amenities like an indoor pool, free WiFi, and a fitness center. Some even have private balconies where you can enjoy the beauty of Gatlinburg right from your room!


Hampton Inn Gatlinburg

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

One of two Hampton Inns in Gatlinburg, the Hampton Inn on the Parkway is a prime spot for anyone looking to experience the heart of Gatlinburg.

While not the newest or best hotel in Gatlinburg, the Hampton Inn’s location is one of the best!

A Mountain Getaway at Our Doorstep

There’s something magical about waking up to the sight of the Great Smoky Mountains. The scenic drive to Gatlinburg feels like a mini-vacation. The majestic mountains, the meandering Little Pigeon River, and the lush greenery are a feast for the eyes.


Park Vista by Doubletree

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Perched atop a hill, Park Vista is a hotel with stunning views of the Smoky Mountains. The hotel offers spacious rooms with private balconies to soak the mountain vistas.

While a great hotel, the Park Vista is further down the list because its location is further from downtown. Getting downtown would take about 25 minutes of walking.

The amenities here are top-notch, including an indoor pool, fitness center, and an onsite restaurant. The hotel’s unique circular design ensures every room has a great view.


Sidney James Mountain Lodge

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Finishing up the list, the Sidney James Mountain Lodge is an option if you don’t mind being further from the downtown attractions. Located on the south end of town, it’s a long walk to all the action and recent reviews haven’t been as good as other options in our list.

FAQs About the Best Gatlinburg Hotels

  • Are there hotels with free parking in Gatlinburg? Yes, many hotels in Gatlinburg offer free parking. For example, the Old Creek Lodge, the Hampton Inn Gatlinburg, and the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg all offer free parking to guests.
  • Are there any hotels in Gatlinburg with hot tubs or Jacuzzi tubs? Several hotels in Gatlinburg offer rooms with hot tubs or Jacuzzi tubs. The Wyndham Gatlinburg, for instance, offers rooms with private hot tubs. The Hilton Hotel in Gatlinburg also offers rooms with Jacuzzi tubs.
  • Do any Gatlinburg hotels offer a complimentary breakfast? Yes, many hotels in Gatlinburg offer a complimentary breakfast. The Hampton Inn Gatlinburg, for instance, offers a complimentary hot breakfast to kickstart your day, while the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg provides a complimentary continental breakfast.
  • Which Gatlinburg hotels have fitness centers? If you like to stay active even on vacation, you’ll be pleased to know that many Gatlinburg hotels have fitness centers. These include the Hilton Garden Inn Gatlinburg and the Wyndham Gatlinburg.
  • Are there any Gatlinburg hotels with business centers? Yes, several Gatlinburg hotels have business centers.

Dining and More

When it comes to food, Gatlinburg is a gastronomical delight. We always visit our favorite restaurants like Ole Red, and there’s always a new one to try. One of our family traditions is to finish off our Gatlinburg day with a sweet treat from one of the local candy shops.

Ole Red Gatlinburg

Our Go-To Places in Gatlinburg

Once in Gatlinburg, some of our favorites are Anakeesta (Check out our complete review) and Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg. The views from up there are breathtaking, to say the least. Ripley’s Aquarium is another place we visit often.

We also love exploring the trails at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With every visit, we discover a new trail, a new waterfall, or a new picnic spot. It’s nature’s playground at its best!

Wrapping Up

So, there you have it, folks! That’s our list of the best places to stay in downtown Gatlinburg, TN. Whether you’re looking for a hotel with a hot tub, fitness center, indoor pool, or a great location, you will find it in Gatlinburg. Now, all you have to do is book your favorite hotel and prepare for a great time. Safe travels!

Related Gatlinburg Links

Please note: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this information, it’s always a good idea to double-check the details with the hotel before making a reservation.

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