Gatlinburg  is chockablock with motels, especially along River Road, the road that runs parallel to the Parkway. Some are chain motels and others are independent.
Located right on the Parkway, The Gatlinburg Inn (755 Parkway, 865/436-5133, www.gatlinburginn.com , $58–114) was the third hotel to open in Gatlinburg. Today it holds on to an old-fashioned aura reminiscent of times gone by. The inn was built in 1937 by R. L. Maples Sr. His wife, Wilma Maples, continues to manage the hotel. The inn has 67 rooms and seven suites. There is a swimming pool and tennis courts, and a common sitting area at the front. Lady Bird Johnson, Liberace, Dinah Shore, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and J. C. Penney stayed here, and Boudleaux and Felice Bryant wrote the song “Rocky Top” in room 388.
The Gatlinburg Inn is clean and comfortable, but the decor is frozen in the 1970s. The maids wear pink uniforms that went out of style decades ago. All in all, it is a joyful retreat from the Parkway hustle-and-bustle, where the hospitality is still genuine. Its motto is “clean, quiet, and comfortable.” What more do you really want? The Gatlinburg Inn is open from April to October. Family suites for up to four people are available for between $94 and $112 per night. Infant cribs are available by request. No motorcycles or motor homes permitted.
The Riverhouse Motor Lodge (610 River Rd., 865/436-7821, www.riverhousegatlinburg.com , $60–170) has the most secluded riverfront rooms in town. Rooms have either two queen-sized beds or one king, and many come with fireplaces (gas or wood-burning) and balconies overlooking the river. Rates vary based on your choice of amenities and the season. Continental breakfast is included.