Margaritaville Gatlinburg Pool

Best Indoor & Outdoor Water Parks in Gatlinburg TN 2023

Water Parks in Gatlinburg: An Adventure-filled Family Getaway

Water parks in Gatlinburg: Are you looking for the ultimate family vacation spot to please everyone in your family? Gatlinburg, a charming city in eastern Tennessee, should be your next stop. It’s one of our favorite destinations, and we spend plenty of time there (We also only live an hour away). Nestled at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance, Gatlinburg has tons of family-friendly activities, including water parks and everything from lazy rivers, water slides, hot tubs, and wave pools. Let’s dive in!

Indoor Vs Outdoor Water Parks in Gatlinburg

While it doesn’t boast large outdoor water parks within its boundaries, several resorts feature fantastic indoor water parks that offer year-round fun, regardless of the weather.

But hold on: If you’re craving the excitement of larger outdoor water parks, a 20-minute drive from Gatlinburg takes you to its sister city, Pigeon Forge. Here, you’ll find an array of outdoor water parks that will get your adrenaline pumping and provide hours of fun for the whole family. So here are the aquatic adventures awaiting you in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas as we explore things in this order:

  • Large Outdoor Waterparks in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge area
  • Hotel Resort Waterparks in Gatlinburg
  • Hotel Resort Waterparks in Pigeon Forge
  • Our Favorite Outdoor Water Park Resort Gatlinburg

Large Outdoor Water Parks Near Gatlinburg


Soaky Mountain

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Soaky Mountain is our top pick for large outdoor water parks in the Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge areas. Soaky Mountain Waterpark is just up the road from Gatlinburg in Pigeon Forge. This waterpark opened its gates in 2020 and has quickly become a notable fixture in the region’s line-up of family-friendly activities.

Soaky Mountain Waterpark, nestled in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, provides a thrilling and refreshing escape from the summer heat. Spread across a sprawling 50-acre area; this waterpark boasts various attractions catering to adrenaline junkies and families seeking fun-filled relaxation.

The park’s signature ride, the Avalaunch, stands out as a first-of-its-kind water coaster, providing an exhilarating experience that defies the typical boundaries of aquatic fun. For those seeking a more relaxing adventure, the Black Bear Rapids offers an enjoyable journey down an adventure river. The Soaky Surge, a massive 35,000 sq. ft. wave pool, serves as the park’s aquatic heart, inviting visitors to ride its impressive waves. Other rides include a wave pool, steep body slides, and raft rides.

Overall, Soaky Mountain Waterpark offers a mix of thrilling rides and relaxing attractions amidst the scenic backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. It’s a must-visit destination for families and thrill-seekers looking for a fun and refreshing way to enjoy their summer​.


Dollywood’s Splash Country

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Our family gets Dollywood season passes yearly, but Dollywood isn’t just a theme park. The area is also home to Dollywood Splash Country. It’s great summer fun for the entire family, with plenty of activities to keep your little ones busy.

Located just up the road in Pigeon Forge, Dollywood’s Splash Country offers a refreshing escape for the entire family. Nestled within the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains, this award-winning water park offers an array of attractions that cater to thrill-seekers and those looking for a leisurely day in the sun. It’s a great addition to adjacent Dollywood on a hot day, and our family has annual passes for both.

The park boasts a generous mix of high-speed water slides and more relaxed attractions. RiverRush, a hydromagnetic water coaster, stands out as a fan favorite, offering a unique combination of roller coaster thrills and refreshing splashes. The Big Bear Plunge, a white water rafting-inspired ride, offers an adrenaline-fueled adventure that will surely get your heart racing. For those who prefer to take things a bit slower, the Downbound Float Trip provides a leisurely lazy river experience that meanders around the park, perfect for cooling off on a hot day.

Splash Country also shines with its family-friendly amenities. Multiple play areas, like Little Creek Falls, offer safe and fun places for younger children to splash and play. With many food options and shopping venues, the park ensures guests have everything they need for a full fun day.

Despite its many strengths, Dollywood’s Splash Country has room for improvement. The cost of food and drinks within the park can be a bit high, and during peak season, lines for popular rides can get long when many people arrive in the afternoon. Additionally, like many water parks, locker rentals are an extra expense.

Our recommendation is if you have to pick one water park, to try out Soaky Mountain, which we give the win to. Splash Country is a great option for staying nearby or visiting the Dollywood amusement park.

Best Indoor Water Park Resorts in Gatlinburg Area: Luxury Stays at Gatlinburg Hotels

There’s a fantastic range of Gatlinburg hotels catering to every kind of traveler, from those seeking a luxury getaway to families needing spacious suites for their large family. We list the best places to stay on our Gatlinburg hotels post, but for now, let’s look at the hotels and resorts with indoor water parks in Gatlinburg.


Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Gatlinburg hotels have great indoor water parks, and the Holiday Inn Club Vacations is one of our favorites. 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 main attractions 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.

The resort’s small indoor water park, Splash Hollow, makes a big splash with slides and a kids’ zone, providing year-round fun even during winter.


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 main attraction of this hotel is the indoor water park, which you get access to as a resort guest.

The water playground is shared with Holiday Inn Club Vacations hotel guests. Make sure to check prices on both hotels, as they’re both connected to the water park. The Club Vacations resort also may be a better fit for long-term stays.

The hotel also provides a complimentary breakfast, perfect for fuelling up for a day of adventure.


Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park

Rating: 4 out of 5.

On Westgate Rd, you’ll find the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park tucked away in the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg. This stunning resort is a great place that offers guests exclusive access to an impressive indoor water park that’s open year-round, Wild Bear Falls Water Park, which even features a retractable roof.

Guests of all ages will be delighted with its exciting indoor water tube slides, a lazy river for those who prefer a relaxed pace, and a hot tub where adults can unwind while the kids play.

From water playgrounds to obstacle courses, it has all the ingredients for a fantastic family-friendly day. Plus, their large activity pool promises a lot of fun and gallons of water fun for everyone.

The downside to this resort? It’s not within walking distance of all the things to do in downtown Gatlinburg, and traffic and parking can be a challenge during busy weekends.


Park Vista by Doubletree

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Park Vista features a slightly smaller indoor water park. 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 with a water park, perfect for when mother nature doesn’t cooperate. The resort also has a fitness center and an onsite restaurant. The hotel’s unique circular design ensures every room has a great view.

Resort Water Parks Close to Gatlinburg

While these resorts are closer to Pigeon Forge, they’re still great options if you don’t mind a bit of a drive to Gatlinburg or prefer to stay in the Pigeon Forge surrounding area.


Governor’s Crossing

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Governor’s Crossing is an ideal getaway for families looking to make a splash. The resort offers spacious, clean rooms with a comfortable and relaxing experience. One standout feature is the array of amenities and activities available for children.

The outdoor water park area has two separate park areas. The pools and water slides are great summer attractions for kids.

Govenor’s Crossing has a great location and an indoor water park.

One notable convenience is the availability of a full-size kitchen and a washer and dryer in some rooms, providing a homey feel for longer stays. This is a great perk for families who prefer the flexibility of self-catering during their vacation​.


Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

2023 Note: We are hesitant to recommend it because of the amount of negative recent reviews around the time we were looking to book our recent stay, getting a 3.5 out of 5 on Tripadvisor. However, this is a huge resort worth checking out with expansion planned; check the most recent reviews before booking.

Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort, located a short drive from Gatlinburg, is Tennessee’s largest indoor waterpark

The resort is the largest water park resort in Tennessee, modeled after the expansive water parks in the Wisconsin Dells. As a mountain-themed cousin to its Midwestern counterparts, the resort offers various activities for children to enjoy​

You’ll find features like a see-through roof at the Wild WaterDome, the largest indoor water park resort at 66,000 square feet. This resort hotel also includes two outdoor waterparks—Lake Wilderness and Salamander Springs, a water park paradise featuring outdoor pools, lazy rivers, and thrill-inducing water slides.

Gatlinburg’s indoor water parks have various slides, from twisty tubes to high-speed indoor tube slides. It’s an exhilarating way to add adventure to your vacation, even during the colder months.

Additional amenities include a lazy river, a snack bar, an adventure ropes obstacle course, a laser maze, a mini-golf, and an on-site arcade, contributing to a fun-filled and versatile family adventure​.

Check out Adventure Forest, a family adventure center bound to make your vacation a hit. The Adventure Forest greatly keeps the family entertained, from laser tag to a ropes course.

Exciting developments are also on the horizon, with a 40,000 sq-ft expansion of the Wild Water Dome planned for the fall of 2023. This expansion will feature a lazy river with an immersive LED tunnel experience and a three-story water coaster, premiering the world’s first slide with Reverse AquaLucent effects.

Negative review notes: Some guests have commented that the rooms can be dark and gloomy, and there are not enough elevators to accommodate all guests during busy times. Others have mentioned encountering staff members who were not overly friendly and felt bothered by their presence.

The design of the guest rooms, with the bathroom sink/vanity area located in the living/sleeping area instead of the bathroom, and the quality of the fixtures, such as the toilets, have also been criticized​​. Furthermore, some visitors have noted that the resort is beginning to show signs of age and that the check-in process can be lengthy​​.

In conclusion, the Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort offers diverse activities and facilities, making it an excellent choice for a family-friendly vacation. However, the resort could benefit from facility upgrades and customer service improvements to enhance the guest experience.


Country Cascades Waterpark Resort

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Country Cascades Waterpark Resort has carved out a reputation as a family-friendly destination in Pigeon Forge, just north of Gatlinburg.

However, like any resort, the amenities make the stay truly memorable. The resort’s Splashaway Bay water park has water features like open and closed slides and dump buckets.

The resort seems to hit the mark when it comes to family vacations. Guests have repeatedly highlighted the friendly and accommodating staff as a key part of their positive experience. The front desk staff, in particular, were noted for their helpfulness, making check-in and check-out processes smooth and easy.

In summary, the Country Cascades Waterpark Resort is a great choice for families looking for a fun and convenient place to stay in Gatlinburg. This resort seems to be a hit with clean rooms, a great location, and a friendly staff.

Favorite Outdoor Water Park Resort in Gatlinburg

Top Hotel
Margaritaville Gatlinburg
Margaritaville Gatlinburg Pool

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 with slide, 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.

Check Expedia Prices

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

Amusement Parks for the Win

Gatlinburg Downtown. Hotels With Water Parks In Gatlinburg

Water parks aren’t the only game in town. Gatlinburg is also home to some amazing amusement parks and theme parks. With thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and more to see in this town than just a day’s fun. They’re the perfect complement to your water park adventures. Check out our Gatlinburg vacation guide.

Safety Measures and Convenience

Gatlinburg takes the safety of its guests seriously. Life vests are available at all major water parks, ensuring your little ones can splash and play safely. And for your convenience, the large water parks offer season passes. No more waiting in line daily – grab your pass and dive right in!

A Pit Stop at Cades Cove

While in the area, don’t miss out on visiting Cades Cove. It’s a beautiful, peaceful spot just a short drive away from the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg’s water parks.


  • Are there any indoor water parks in Gatlinburg? Gatlinburg offers several indoor water parks, including the indoor sections of Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Water Park and Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort.
  • Which is the largest indoor water park in Tennessee? Country Cascades Waterpark Resort is the largest indoor waterpark in Tennessee.
  • Are there water parks in the surrounding areas of Gatlinburg? Several water parks are in the Pigeon Forge area near Gatlinburg. These include Dollywood’s Splash Country and Soaky Mountain Waterpark.
  • Do water parks in Gatlinburg offer a season pass? Yes, Dollywood and Soaky Mountain offer season passes.
  • Are there any outdoor water parks in Gatlinburg? While Gatlinburg itself doesn’t have a large outdoor water park, Soaky Mountain or Dollywood’s Splash Country, an outdoor water park, is located nearby in Pigeon Forge.
  • Are there hot tubs in Gatlinburg water parks? Yes! Most water parks and resort hotels in Gatlinburg feature hot tubs for their guests.
  • Can small children enjoy Gatlinburg water parks? Many water parks in Gatlinburg offer kids’ zones, small pools, and other activities perfect for small children.
  • Are there snack bars in Gatlinburg water parks? Yes, most Gatlinburg water parks have snack bars where you can grab a quick bite between your water adventures.
  • What are some great options for families in Gatlinburg? Gatlinburg offers a wide range of family-friendly activities. From water parks to amusement parks and resort hotels, there are countless great options for families in Gatlinburg.
  • Is it true that many people visit Gatlinburg for its water parks? Yes! Gatlinburg’s water parks are popular attractions that draw many people each year. Whether it’s the summer heat or the winter chill, these parks offer year-round fun for visitors of all ages.

More Adventures in Tennessee

Gatlinburg is just one amazing part of Tennessee. The state is known for its rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm Southern hospitality. Consider exploring other attractions once you’ve soaked up all the fun in Gatlinburg’s water parks.

Outdoor Adventures: Fishing, Snow Tubing, and Fun for the Whole Family

The Great Smoky Mountains offer countless opportunities for outdoor fun for visitors of all ages:

Also, don’t miss the exciting, fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids for even more family-friendly attractions.

The Perfect Smoky Mountain Vacation: Cozy Cabins and Charming Small Towns

One of the best ways to experience the Great Smoky Mountains is by staying in a cozy cabin in the woods. Check out Cabins in Tennessee: Find Your Perfect Vacation Spot for inspiration.

Winter Wonderland: Exploring the Smokies in the Snow

Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains during winter offers a unique perspective on the park’s beauty. While some areas and facilities may be closed, the snow-covered landscapes and fewer crowds make for a serene and magical experience.


Whether you’re visiting during the heat of summer or in the cooler months, water parks in Gatlinburg, TN, are a great way to keep the fun flowing on your family vacation. With options ranging from indoor to outdoor and everything in between, Gatlinburg offers something for everyone. So pack your swimsuits, grab the sunscreen, and head on for a splashing good time!

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