21 photos that show why a small town in Tennessee was just named America's next hot travel destination

Gatlinburg at nightShutterstock/Sean PavoneGatlinburg is lit against the Great Smoky Mountains.

TripAdvisor recently released the winners of its Travellers’ Choice Awards in several different categories, including the global and USdestinations that are on the rise.

The results were based on increases in positive traveller feedback as well as increased interest in accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.

This year, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, was ranked as the top US destination travellers should have on their radar. It also came in fourth place on TripAdvisor’s list of global up-and-coming destinations.

Set in the picturesque entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is home to a plethora of outdoor activities, a growing food scene, and eclectic attractions that make it a popular destination for travellers.

We’ve found 21 photos that showcase Gatlinburg’s beauty.

Gatlinburg attracts more than 11 million visitors per year. The charming town has three separate entrances that lead straight into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

With an incredible diversity of plant and animal life and stunning mountain scenery, Great Smoky Mountains is America's most visited national park. From Gatlinburg, visitors can explore its lush forests and scenic views.

Travellers can also experience the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park, which has outdoor activities that include snow tubing, skiing, and a freestyle terrain park.

Its aerial tramway offers majestic views of the Smoky Mountains. Departing regularly from downtown Gatlinburg, the cable car takes passengers on a stunning 2.1-mile ride.

The Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park also opened its Ski Mountain Coaster this year, which takes riders on a 1,000-foot uphill ride through the woods bordering the park. Full of turns, dips, and high speeds, the new addition is an adrenaline-packed adventure.

Speaking of food, adjacent to The Village Shops is Gatlinburg's beloved Pancake Pantry. As Tennessee's first pancake house, Pancake Pantry has been serving up fluffy pancakes and goodies made from scratch since 1960.

Crockett's 1875 Breakfast Camp offers diners hearty food in a rustic and cosy atmosphere. Sample their made-from-scratch biscuits, golden brown pancakes, or their crunchy and savoury pecan-smoked bacon.

But scrumptious breakfasts are not the only food that Gatlinburg is known for. In addition to its wide array of local and national restaurants, the town also offers top-notch barbecue at destinations like Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que, where you'll find fall-off-the-bone meats served smothered in sauces.

Many of Gatlinburg's eateries come with magnificent mountain views. At Greenbrier Restaurant, set in a log structure built in the 1930s, diners can enjoy quality seafood and steak dishes in a romantic setting.

Gatlinburg's Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery claims to be America's most visited distillery, thanks in part to its highly original flavours, like Apple Pie and Lemon Drop. The distillery offers a tour that shows what authentic working moonshine looks like -- you end the tour with a sampling for yourself.

The town's Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community has more than 100 shops along an 8-mile loop. As the largest gathering of independent artisans in North America, the destination is home to one-of-a-kind handmade crafts, treasures, and artworks.

Throughout the year, Gatlinburg also hosts a variety of parties, craft fairs, concerts, food festivals, and holiday celebrations. There's the Smoky Mountain Wine Fest, which includes wines and small bites selected from top Tennessee wineries, and fun events like the Gatlinburg Beans and Cornbread Festival.

More than 60,000 people come to see Gatlinburg's award-winning Annual Christmas Fantasy of Lights Parade, now in its 40th year. The event is filled with lighted floats, marching bands, giant balloons, and celebrity guests.

Other famous attractions in Gatlinburg include the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, which is a must-see for film and car buffs. The museum features memorable cars seen in major films like 'Ghostbusters,' 'Gone in 60 Seconds,' 'The Fast and the Furious,' and 'Back to the Future.'

There's also Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, which has more than 10,000 exotic marine creatures and 350 different species.

Finally, visit the Gatlinburg Space Needle, a 407-foot observation tower overlooking Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountains. Glass elevators take guests up to the observation deck for a 360-degree view. The site also has a 25,000-square-foot playground, shows, and lots of dining options to choose from.

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