Holidays at Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park

This attraction in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, sits on 70 acres and boasts opportunities for dining and shopping, a mountain coaster and a treetop walk.

Person walking over illuminated suspension bridge at sunset at Gatlinburg, Tennessee’s Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park (photo courtesy of Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park)

Up above the tourist-driven city of Gatlinburg is a world that feels all its own, filled with expansive mountaintop views, daring skywalks and warm Edison lights in the trees. Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park sits on 70 acres and boasts opportunities for dining and shopping, a mountain coaster and a treetop walk. Just hop on the chondola — a continuous chair lift that transports riders 600 feet up into the Great Smoky Mountains — or grab a seat on the Ridge Rambler bus for a trip up the mountainside.

Take the family to The Smokehouse for southern barbecue favorites like pulled pork and brisket. (Mom and dad can grab a specialty cocktail at the Bar at the Top of the World.) Afterward, enjoy fresh homemade pie at Pearl’s Pie in the Sky before kicking back in one of the rocking chairs to take in the scenery of eastern Tennessee.

While the mountaintop views are breathtaking year-round, a visit at Christmastime provides a magical memory for the family under the glow of thousands of twinkling lights. The Enchanted Christmas season brings additional attractions to the mountaintop, including weekend-morning breakfasts with Santa — a personalized event in which the jolly old elf knows the names of the children who visit to share what they want for Christmas — complete with hot chocolate with all the fixings and a hot breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon. Afterward, enjoy carolers singing holiday favorites or visit in the evening for Astra Lumina, a mile-long lighted nighttime walk that tells the story of stars that fall to the Earth (available with a $15.99 add-on to a regular Anakeesta ticket). At the end of the night, return to the heart of Gatlinburg in a chondola lit up in red and green for the Christmas season. 576 Parkway, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738, 865/325-2400,