A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Blue Ridge vs. Gatlinburg for Nightlife, Food, Hiking, and Couples

Should you visit Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge is a outdoorsy, historic, and quaint town. With plenty of activities and sights, this is a small town worth visiting. It's a gorgeous place to visit. Other reasons to visit include shopping, nightlife, and food.

Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a flashy, high energy, and wild city. Other reasons to visit include nightlife, hiking, and shopping.

Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for food and cuisine
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Small town charm
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Public transit not as usable
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good for hiking
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good public transit
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for food
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Gatlinburg. Although Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg are both popular with visitors, Gatlinburg has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Gatlinburg is more popular for its skiing, museums, nightlife, and resorts, while Blue Ridge is known for its food, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty. Gatlinburg is more touristy than Blue Ridge and is known for its countless entertainment venues as well as its easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also home to the Gatlinburg Strip. Blue Ridge is popular for its beautiful mountain setting, miles of hiking trails, and small town atmosphere.

How is Blue Ridge different from Gatlinburg?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Gatlinburg and Blue Ridge. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Skiing?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a good destination for skiing and snowboarding. However, Blue Ridge is not a skiing destination.

Gatlinburg is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. Ober Gatlinburg is the only ski area in Tennessee. The winter activities open after Thanksgiving and include snow skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and tubing.

Blue Ridge is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a good destination for its museums and history. However, Blue Ridge is lacking in good options for its museums and landmarks.

Gatlinburg is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. Museums range from gaudy to quirky. Check out the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Hollywood Wax Museum, and the Titanic Museum. There's also the Gatlinburg Space Needle and the Gatlinburg SkyBridge.

Blue Ridge offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While you don't immediately think of museums in the area, there are a couple. The Dahlonega Gold Museum gives information on the gold rush and mining industry in town. In nearby Tennessee, Ducktown Basin Museum is a historic mine site that is open for tours.

Is the Food Better in Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Blue Ridge is great for its local flavors and cuisine. However, Gatlinburg is not a good destination for its local cuisine and restaurants.

The food selection at local restaurants is excellent in Blue Ridge. You'll find plenty of small town restaurants serving local dishes like barbecue, trout, and biscuits with gravy. Southern food is popular, but you'll also find plenty of breweries and wineries in the area. Head downtown for an assortment of options that include southern, vegan, and even international flavors.

You'll find the standard options when it comes to food in Gatlinburg. Staying true to form, restaurants in Gatlinburg cater to the tourist scene and serve up burgers, pizza, pancakes, and other classic favorites.

Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Nightlife?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is an amazing city to visit for nightlife. Also, Blue Ridge is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for nightlife and partying.

Gatlinburg has a colorful and one-of-a-kind nightlife scene. Live music, theatrical shows, as well as bars and clubs that stay open late into the night give this town a huge party atmosphere. During the peak season the town is packed with people looking to have a good time and you'll find tons of things to do by simply walking down the main drag.

Blue Ridge has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Head downtown for a mix of breweries, bars, and clubs where you'll find live music and a casual meal.


Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Resorts?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a very popular place for its luxury resorts. However, Blue Ridge is not a resort destination.

There are plenty of resorts in Gatlinburg to choose from. There are plenty of resorts and vacation clubs near town. Many have pools, waterslides, or hot tubs.

Blue Ridge is not a resort destination.

Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Hiking?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Hiking trails can be found around both Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg, and they are high quality.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Blue Ridge. There are miles of hiking trails in the area that take you to waterfalls and viewpoints. The starting point of the Appalachian Trail is also nearby, and another popular trail is the Benton MacKaye Trail. Options range from beginner to expert with everything in between.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Gatlinburg. You'll need to head out of town into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but once you're there the hiking is impressive. There are waterfall hikes, trails to viewpoints, and loops that take you through wildflowers. Some of the most popular trails include Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Middle Prong Trail, and the Gatlinburg Trail.

Is the Shopping Better in Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Blue Ridge is great for shopping. Also, Gatlinburg is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its shopping opportunities.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Blue Ridge. You'll find artisan shops, art galleries, and boutique clothing vendors. Many places are concentrated in the charming downtown area, which is fun to explore for a day or two.

Gatlinburg offers some nice shopping areas. There are tourist traps and souvenir shops around town, but you can also head to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community where you can meet local artists and learn about their work.


Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Families?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Blue Ridge is great for its kid-friendly activities. However, Gatlinburg is not a family-friendly destination.

Blue Ridge is a very family-friendly destination. Kids who enjoy hiking and playing outdoors will have fun here. There are waterfall hikes, fruit picking farms, and plenty of playgrounds. There's also a scenic railway and lots of places to sample treats.

Gatlinburg is not a family-friendly destination. Ober Gatlinburg is a combination ski resort and amusement park that is a highlight for many families. During the warmer season, horseback riding and waterparks are popular. There's also a Ripley's Aquarium, minigolf, and Gatlin's Fun Center. Nearby you'll find Dollywood and Pigeon Forge.

Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Couples?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg both high quality destinations for a couple.

Blue Ridge makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. If you're looking for a cozy retreat where you can relax in a cabin, take long walks through nature, and enjoy local food, then this is your place. There are plenty of bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and rustic cabins with fireplaces and simple pleasures. If you want to escape it all then the mountains are the place to be.

Couples visit Gatlinburg frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. If you're looking for a flashy and ostentatious experience, then there are all the typical activities around town - Ripley's Believe It or Not, the Gatlinburg Space Needle, or Ober Gatlinburg. For a bit more nature, you can head out of town and enjoy one of the many hiking trails. There are also breweries and wineries in the area, as well as a range of resorts.

Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Blue Ridge is great for backpackers and budget travelers. However, Gatlinburg is not a good destination for backpackers.

Blue Ridge is very popular with the backpacker crowd. There are a number of campgrounds in the area as well as plenty of hikes that backpackers will enjoy. Nearby you'll also find the start of the famed Appalachian Trail.

Gatlinburg is a challenging destination for budget travelers and backpackers due to the higher prices. It's a touristy town with plenty of cheap motels in the area. There are also campgrounds and hiking not far away.


Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a good destination for times when you don't have a car. However, Blue Ridge is lacking in good options for its public transit.

Gatlinburg has some public transit options. There's a free trolley service that offers a convenient way to get around town.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Blue Ridge. There's no real public transportation system in the area.

Is Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg a more walkable city?

Blue Ridge
Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a very popular place for its walkability. Also, Blue Ridge is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

Gatlinburg is very walkable. The downtown area is pedestrian-friendly and most of the attractions in town can be reached on foot. If you want to leave town, a car is a must, but in town traffic and parking can be frustrating, so walk when you can.

Blue Ridge is a somewhat walkable place. While the downtown area is relatively walkable, if you want to hike and get out in nature, you'll need to have a car.

For even more information, also check out Is Blue Ridge Worth Visiting? and Is Gatlinburg Worth Visiting?.

Which place is cheaper, Gatlinburg or Blue Ridge?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Blue Ridge is $124, while the average daily cost in Gatlinburg is $190. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Blue Ridge $67
    Gatlinburg $80
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Blue Ridge $134
    Gatlinburg $160
Compare Hotels in Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg

Looking for a hotel in Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Blue Ridge


Hotels in Gatlinburg


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Blue Ridge Hotel Prices and Gatlinburg Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Blue Ridge $34
    Gatlinburg $35

Is it cheaper to fly into Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Prices for flights to both Gatlinburg and Blue Ridge change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Blue Ridge $35
    Gatlinburg $85

Typical Food Prices in Gatlinburg

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Gatlinburg:


  • Chinese Food Dinner (for 2)
    $21

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Blue Ridge $18
    Gatlinburg $24

Tours and Activities in Blue Ridge

For Blue Ridge, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • 2 Hour Culture Tour in Helen: $25
  • 2-Hour Helen Haunts and History Walk Tour: $29

Typical Entertainment Prices in Gatlinburg

For Gatlinburg, here are some examples of average entertainment and activity prices from previous travelers:


  • Horseback Riding Photos
    $22
  • Horseback Riding (for 2)
    $55

Tours and Activities in Gatlinburg

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Gatlinburg.

  • 3-Hour Nantahala River Fully Guided Rafting Experience: $65
  • 6-Line Zip at Night Tour: $72
  • 7-Line Zipline Experience in Sevierville: $119
  • Admission Ticket: Brian Hoffman's Remembering Red - A Tribute to Red Skelton: $35
  • Admission Ticket: Patty Waszak Show in Pigeon Forge: $35
  • Appalachian Trail Adventure: $175
  • Beyond The Lens Interactive Museum Admission Ticket: $27
  • Blue Ridge Parkway (Cherokee to Asheville) Self-Guided Audio Tour: $15
  • Blue Ridge Parkway: Audio Driving Tour: $25
  • Douglas Lake View Scenic Helicopter Tour: $41
  • East Tennessee Off Road ATV Guided Experience: $55
  • Extended Douglas Lake Region Tour by Helicopter: $63

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Blue Ridge $20
    Gatlinburg $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Gatlinburg

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Gatlinburg:

  • Famous Moonshine & Wine Tour From Pigeon Forge: $70


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg, we can see that Gatlinburg is more expensive. And not only is Blue Ridge much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Blue Ridge would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Blue Ridge and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Gatlinburg would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Gatlinburg than you might in Blue Ridge.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Blue Ridge Expensive? and Is Gatlinburg Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Gatlinburg has a larger population, and is about 4 times larger than the population of Blue Ridge. When comparing the sizes of Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg in the Summer?

The summer attracts plenty of travelers to both Blue Ridge and Gatlinburg. Many travelers come to Blue Ridge for the hiking, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences. Also, many visitors come to Gatlinburg in the summer for the hiking.

Blue Ridge is around the same temperature as Gatlinburg in the summer. The daily temperature in Blue Ridge averages around 81°F (27°C) in July, and Gatlinburg fluctuates around 81°F (27°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Gatlinburg this time of the year. In Blue Ridge, it's very sunny this time of the year. Blue Ridge usually receives less sunshine than Gatlinburg during summer. Blue Ridge gets 265 hours of sunny skies, while Gatlinburg receives 294 hours of full sun in the summer.

Gatlinburg receives a lot of rain in the summer. Blue Ridge gets a good bit of rain this time of year. In July, Blue Ridge usually receives more rain than Gatlinburg. Blue Ridge gets 5.2 inches (131 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 4.7 inches (119 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Blue Ridge 81°F (27°C) 
    Gatlinburg 81°F (27°C)

Should I visit Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg in the Autumn?

The autumn brings many poeple to Blue Ridge as well as Gatlinburg. Many visitors come to Blue Ridge in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Gatlinburg for the hiking trails and the shopping scene during these months.

In the autumn, Blue Ridge is around the same temperature as Gatlinburg. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Blue Ridge in October average around 63°F (17°C), and Gatlinburg averages at about 63°F (17°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Gatlinburg. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Blue Ridge this time of the year. In the autumn, Blue Ridge often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Gatlinburg. Blue Ridge gets 211 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Gatlinburg receives 213 hours of full sun.

Blue Ridge usually gets more rain in October than Gatlinburg. Blue Ridge gets 3 inches (75 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 2.7 inches (68 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Blue Ridge 63°F (17°C) 
    Gatlinburg 63°F (17°C)

Should I visit Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg in the Winter?

Both Gatlinburg and Blue Ridge are popular destinations to visit in the winter with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Blue Ridge for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Gatlinburg because of the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Gatlinburg can be very cold. Blue Ridge can be very cold during winter. In January, Blue Ridge is generally around the same temperature as Gatlinburg. Daily temperatures in Blue Ridge average around 40°F (5°C), and Gatlinburg fluctuates around 40°F (5°C).

Blue Ridge usually receives more sunshine than Gatlinburg during winter. Blue Ridge gets 145 hours of sunny skies, while Gatlinburg receives 134 hours of full sun in the winter.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Gatlinburg. It's quite rainy in Blue Ridge. In January, Blue Ridge usually receives more rain than Gatlinburg. Blue Ridge gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 4.7 inches (119 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Blue Ridge 40°F (5°C) 
    Gatlinburg 40°F (5°C)

Should I visit Blue Ridge or Gatlinburg in the Spring?

Both Gatlinburg and Blue Ridge during the spring are popular places to visit. The spring months attract visitors to Blue Ridge because of the small town charm and the natural beauty.

Blue Ridge is around the same temperature as Gatlinburg in the spring. The daily temperature in Blue Ridge averages around 62°F (17°C) in April, and Gatlinburg fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

In Gatlinburg, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Blue Ridge. In the spring, Blue Ridge often gets less sunshine than Gatlinburg. Blue Ridge gets 243 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Gatlinburg receives 263 hours of full sun.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge usually gets more rain in April than Gatlinburg. Blue Ridge gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Gatlinburg receives 3.6 inches (92 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Blue Ridge 62°F (17°C) 
    Gatlinburg 62°F (17°C)

Typical Weather for Gatlinburg and Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Gatlinburg
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (5°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 40°F (5°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm)
Feb 44°F (7°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm) 44°F (7°C) 4.7 inches (120 mm)
Mar 53°F (12°C) 5.6 inches (143 mm) 54°F (12°C) 4.8 inches (123 mm)
Apr 62°F (17°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 62°F (17°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
May 70°F (21°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm) 70°F (21°C) 3.3 inches (83 mm)
Jun 78°F (25°C) 3.7 inches (93 mm) 78°F (25°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Jul 81°F (27°C) 5.2 inches (131 mm) 81°F (27°C) 4.7 inches (119 mm)
Aug 80°F (27°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm) 80°F (27°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Sep 74°F (24°C) 3.7 inches (94 mm) 74°F (24°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Oct 63°F (17°C) 3 inches (75 mm) 63°F (17°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Nov 53°F (12°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 53°F (12°C) 3.5 inches (90 mm)
Dec 44°F (7°C) 5.2 inches (133 mm) 44°F (7°C) 4.5 inches (114 mm)