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This Underrated U.S. Destination Has Just Been Voted Best Fall Getaway 

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When it comes to choosing a destination for a fall trip, America is spoiled for choice.

With everything from mountain towns, desert landscapes, great lakes, small cities, and loads of coastline, there is something to check all the boxes.

One region that has recently made headlines as an epic fall getaway is the underrated destination of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA town skyline in the Smoky Mountains. copy

As part of their 10 Best Reader's Choice segment, USA Today has listed the best spots across the U.S. for a fall getaway.

Voted on by the readers as well as the editors, the destinations chosen all impress visitors from around the country for different reasons.

Aerial Tramway Ober Gatlinburg with tourist

While the state of Tennessee has many great places worth a visit, it’s Gatlinburg that takes top honors this year.

Not only does this charming town offer a wealth of things to do, but it also is the gateway to the popular Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 

So, from numerous town activities to hiking and other nature attractions, read on to find out why this area of the country has won so many people over for a fall destination. 

Beautiful capture of Gatlinburg Tennessee from the top of Anakeesta in fall

Here’s Why Gatlinburg Has Just Been Voted Best Fall Getaway: 

Endless Activities   

The town of Gatlinburg has an endless array of things to do for everyone, from Ripley’s  Aquarium of the Smokies and the Hollywood Star Cars Museum to the Gatlinburg Space Needle, where you can see the stunning landscape from a vantage point of 400 feet above the trees. 

Wineries and distilleries are another option for tours and tasting, and there’s loads of shopping to pass the time as well.

While the town has many things to do, most come here to get outside and into nature, where there are literally endless things to enjoy.

@lydialavenderlegge TOP THREE THINGS TO DO ON YOUR NEXT VISIT TO GATLINBURG, TN! ⛰️🤍🐻 #gatlinburgtennessee #smokeymountains #greatsmokymountainsnationalpark #skybridgegatlinburg @anakeesta #bearsingatlinburg #traveltogatlinburg ♬ Dreamy Vibes – Ocean Bay Jazz

Nature Nature and More Nature  

One main draw for many coming to Gatlinburg is to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and take part in the array of outdoor activities here to enjoy the surroundings.

Marvel at the foliage while on a ride on the Ober Aerial Tram, or enjoy the one-of-a-kind Anakeesta Mountain Top Theme Park, with everything from zip-lines to a Chondola. 

You can also find America’s longest sky bridge here, not to mention hiking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fishing, trail running, and everything else you can think of to get some fresh air. 

@familytravelshow Tennessee, you have a magical place! The village shops 🤩 #gatlinburg #nomadfamily #travelbucketlist #travellifestyle @Visit Gatlinburg #thevillageshops ♬ original sound – Family Travel Show | RV Family

Sweater Weather 

The best time for a visit to the area of Gatlinburg is between September and October, when fall foliage is at its peak and before the temperatures start to dip.

The average high for an October visit is about 75 degrees, and a low of 55 degrees, providing perfect weather to take in the fall ambiance and then get cozy by a fire with a glass of locally produced moonshine. 

If you wait until November to visit Gatlinburg, the weather starts to cool down, but it’s still enjoyable. There could be some rain (the average is about 9 days), and the expected high should be in the low 60s, with the low hovering around the mid-30s.

This is a time to bundle up, but remember that November will have fewer crowds and possibly lower prices, so it might be worth it, just remember to pack that extra sweater with you! 

@laurenllovestravel #traveltip #tennessee #travel #traveltok #traveltiktok #traveller #gatlinburg #gatlinburgtennessee #tennesseecheck #cadescove #foothillsparkway #scenicoverlook #smokymountains #thingstodo #mountains #roaringforkmotortrail #thevillage #donutfriar #chimneytops #picnic #thesinks #nature #waterfall ♬ Coastline – Hollow Coves

Get Outta Town  

While Gatlinburg might be the award-winning fall destination, the state of Tennessee certainly is not short of other great places for a visit while you are there.

Cities such as Nashville and Memphis (about a four-hour or six-hour drive from Gatlinburg, respectively) have seen an explosion in tourism recently and are now popular destinations year-round. 

About a three-hour drive from Gatlinburg, you can find the historic city of Chattanooga, and across the border, you can find Georgia’s beloved Chattahoochee Oconee National Forest. Only about an hour from Gatlinburg, you can visit Knoxville, a big city with a small-town vibe.

And only about 20 minutes drive from Gatlinburg, you can find another of Tennessee’s charming towns, Pigeon Forge, home to Dollywood and other things to see and do. 

@smoretimetogether Here's how to spend a weekend in Chattanooga (day one) Day one: Explore Lookout Mountain which is home to several unique activities such as: 1. Start off exploring Rock City. It features enchanted trails with beautiful gardens, unique rock formations, and a swing-a-long bridge with epic views! 2. Rock City also has a breathtaking waterfall & a lookout with scenic views of seven states and secret doors with passages that lead to the fairyland caverns! The cost is $27/adult. 3. Next take an elevator 260 below ground to see the stunning Ruby Falls which is a 145-foot underground waterfall (the tallest and deepest underground waterfall open to the public in the us). The cost is $26/adult. The falls were discovered in 1928 by Leo Lambert and named after his wife, Ruby. 3. Finally, brace yourself as you hop on the Incline Railway—one of the steepest passenger railways in the world with an incline of 72.7%! It offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The cost is $15/adult. #chattanoogatn #rockcitygardens #rubyfallstennesse #visittennessee ♬ Happy Ukulele – TonsTone

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