Notable Cities: Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville
Beyond the Great Smoky Mountains lies a vibrant community of rustic arts, Appalachian culture and people who know how to have fun. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge sit right near the scenic mountains, which are ripe for exploring. And there always seems to be some kind of festival or celebration going on, so be sure to immerse yourself in everything that makes this region so unique. With all the wilderness and attractions you can handle, are you ready for a vacation to the Smoky Mountains?
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
You most likely came to Tennessee to visit the Smoky Mountains, which are the most popular national park in the country. There is so much to explore for every kind of difficulty, it’s hard to narrow it down: Rocky Top, Grotto and Laurel Falls, Cades Cove, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, Trillium Gap, Mt. Le Conte (top photo), Ramsey Cascades – the mountains are guaranteed to keep you busy. Get out there and see where the trails take you. Just watch out for bears!
No matter what season it is, bring your skis. Ober Gatlinburg is one of those rare parks that are open daily, year-round, so you can enjoy the snow whenever you’d like. You can even snowboard or go tubing, which is one of the most popular activities at the park and Gatlinburg. Though some attractions are seasonal, Ober Gatlinburg features an alpine slide, ice rink, mini-golf, life-size maze and more.
Named after Smoky Mountains native Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the premier attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. And like any amusement park, it has its fair share of thrilling rides – Blazing Fury, Barnstormer, FireChaser Express, Wild Eagle – as well as special shows and events for the whole family. Spend a couple of days at the park and bring your swimsuits during the summer for Dollywood’s Splash Country.
- The Island (Pigeon Forge)
- Space Needle (Gatlinburg)
- Ole Smoky Moonshine (Gatlinburg)
- Gatlinburg Ziplines and Ropes Course Adventure (Gatlinburg)
- Sevier County Choppers (Gatlinburg)
- Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (Gatlinburg)
- Guy Michaels Comedy Hypnosis (Gatlinburg)
- The Old Mill (Pigeon Forge)
- Titanic Museum Attraction (Pigeon Forge)
Festivals and Events
- SpringFest/Dolly Parton Homecoming Parade (Throughout spring)
- Bloomin’ Barbeque and Bluegrass Festival (Summer)
- OktOBERfest (October)
- Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort in Gatlinburg is the largest artificial skiing surface in the world.
- Most people visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park more than any other national park in the United States. More than nine million visitors explore the park each year, compared to the four million who visit the Grand Canyon, which is second on the list.
- Here’s an interesting one: the Great Smoky Mountains are actually considered the “Salamander Capital of the World,” with a total of 30 species roaming around. Some can be quite colorful!
- It is legal to drink moonshine in Tennessee.
“We had the time of our lives during our five-day adventure. The only negative: we didn’t get to stay longer. Perhaps we will the next time.”
–Jerry S. (Wyndham Smoky Mountains Resort – Sevierville, Tennessee)
“We went hiking for our entertainment but we do plan to go back as a family. There are so many things to do, it would take at least a month to do them all. We plan to do the Space Needle, aquarium, sky lift, and take in a show on the next trip.”
–Danna W. (White Oak Lodge and Resort – Gatlinburg, Tennessee)
“We had a wonderful time at the White Oak Lodge and Cabins. The view of the mountains was awesome! The cabin was cozy and very comfortable. The staff was very helpful and friendly. We were only 10 miles from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The drive to both places was scenic and beautiful. We enjoyed the quietness of the cabin location. We will definitely stay there again. Keep up the great job!”
-Rebecca R. (White Oak Lodge and Resort – Gatlinburg, Tennessee)