Most travelers head to Gatlinburg, Tennessee because it acts as a gateway into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Families, couples, and friends all head to this popular park for its hiking trails, fishing, horseback riding, and water tubing. In order to save money for the many available area activities, we set out to find hotels that will give us the most bang for our buck. So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly pick that doesn’t skimp on the amenities, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at the best value hotels in Gatlinburg and start planning your getaway.
The three-pearl Bent Creek Golf Village is a time-share property situated on an 18-hole golf course set in a forested landscape. Features include indoor and outdoor pools, a hot tub, a gym, a game room, barbecues, and basketball and volleyball courts. The hotel offers 84 apartment-style units and cabins with flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, kitchens, and forest views from balconies or screened porches. Some also have whirlpool tubs.
Riverhouse at the Park is a proudly old-fashioned, well-maintained budget property on Little Pigeon River, an easy walk to downtown, and beside the national park’s entrance. Free homemade donuts and coffee are delivered in the mornings to the property's 50 retro cabin-style rooms with stone fireplaces, mini-fridges, microwaves, and whirlpool tubs -- many with riverfront balconies. There are a clean outdoor pool and hot tub, a laundry room, and coffee in the lobby, but no in-room coffeemakers or on-site gym.
On the border of Smoky Mountains National Park, the 112-room Best Western Twin Islands is a laid-back two-pearl property popular with families. Rooms are old-fashioned and have thin walls, but come with riverside balconies, microwaves, mini-fridges. Suites have kitchenettes and some even have fireplaces. A barbecue picnic area and playground add to the laid-back atmosphere, and there are an outdoor pool, a hot tub, a kids' pool, a breakfast lounge, and a laundry room.
The hotel is on the outskirts of the busy Gatlinburg Parkway, so while it's a bit removed from the heart of town, it's also quieter, and guests can avoid some of the traffic that plagues the main strip during tourist season. Most of the town's action is just outside of walking distance of the hotel, but there are a few restaurants nearby. There's also a convenient trolley stop at the hotel and mini-golf right next door. The two pools and water slide make this a family-friendly spot, though the average rooms may not be large enough for groups. The quiet location and business-friendly amenities, such as comfortable work chairs and meeting space, are perks for traveling professionals.
Location is everything at the mid-range Old Creek Lodge. It might be short on amenities, but it's convenient to downtown Gatlinburg yet still feels tucked away, thanks to the views of the mountain creek behind the hotel. Just off the parkway, it's on the trolley route and is within walking distance of all the main tourist attractions, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the convention center. The rooms are large with nice bathrooms, and each has a gas fireplace and private balcony.