Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is known for its spectacular foliage during October and November. But it has plenty more planners will fall for. With more than 40 attractions, 500 shops and 100 restaurants—the majority of which are within walking distance of the city’s hotels—Gatlinburg overflows with entertainment, a key factor in many groups’ decision to host conferences there.
During downtime, attendees can participate in activities from skiing to goofy golf to shopping for airbrushed T-shirts, says Dudley Chancey, program director of The Winterfest Group, which has held meetings for teens in Gatlinburg for nearly three decades. Nearby, Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides many opportunities for nature retreats, picnics or teambuilding exercises. Attendees also can find zip lining, white-water rafting, golf, horseback riding, biking, hiking and fishing in the surrounding area.
Chris Lee, associate director of the youth-focused Xtreme Conferences and the senior adult-focused Jubilee Conferences, is also fond of Gatlinburg. He says attendees love its family atmosphere, shopping and The Funnel Cake Company’s famous deep-fried Oreos. “Attendees can park their cars for the majority of their stay and walk all around town,” he adds.