Hotels.com asked me to share my favorite things to do and see while traveling in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Over the past few years, these cities have grown tremendously in terms of family-friendly entertainment and fun things to do in the area. Lots of people would say that Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are mostly the same, since they are only about six miles apart. However, they are quite different and offer completely unique adventures. Thus, you should definitely try to visit both destinations while you are in the area. Why not treat your family to an unforgettable vacation by staying near all of this excitement? From indoor pools to spacious living rooms to breathtaking mountain views — no matter if you book a hotel room or rent a cabin — you are guaranteed not be disappointed in the relaxing and comforting atmosphere these unbeatable accommodations offer.
If you are thinking that you want to head there, the following are the five best things for you and your family to experience:
This attraction is a fantastic place to visit all year-round. No matter the season, there is always something to do and see. During the colder months, Ober Gatlinburg becomes a winter playground with snow-making machines extending the season if it ends earlier than expected. Guests can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snow tubing, etc. When the snow melts and the weather warms, opt for tubing, alpine sliding, rock wall climbing, wildlife encounters, water raft rides, mini-golf, etc.
This destination cannot be missed! It is definitely one of the most popular attractions for families in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area. Dollywood offers amusement park rides and water rides. One of the favorites is the Dollywood Express — a coal-fired steam engine that takes you on a 20-minute, five-mile journey through the foothills of the Smokies, so you can soak up the spectacular scenery of nature and take pictures along the way. There is also live entertainment, endless shopping, and restaurants with eclectic menus.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
There is simply no better place to see Mother Nature’s beauty than the Smoky Mountains. Few things can compare to the crisp mountain air, breathtaking panoramic views, lush valleys, and the feeling of accomplishment you get from standing on top of a mountain after a hike! As one of the largest protected areas in the country, this unspoiled beauty is also home to an abundance of diverse wildlife, ancient culture, and family-friendly adventures. Keep in mind that the fall colors peak in October while less crowds visit in September and November. Spring is the perfect time to view dazzling displays of flowering plants that reemerge after the snow retreats.
This gorgeous downtown area will absolutely delight you! Catch a free ride on the Gatlinburg Trolley for the best seat in the house and enjoy the beautiful sights around town. Be sure to stop at The Needle and enjoy 200 square feet of gaming action, restaurants, and the famous Gatlinburg Space Needle. The 407’ observation deck offers 360° views of the Smokies and Downtown Gatlinburg stretch.
If you are looking for a thrilling adventure then head straight to the SkyLift Park. Board the state-of-the-art three seat SkyLift chair and soak up amazing views as you ascend 500 feet up Crockett Mountain. While you are there, you can visit the the Gatlinburg Skybridge for an even more spectacular experience. Its claim to fame is being the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America that stretches 680 feet across the sky to offer incredible panoramic views of the valley below and mountains in the distance.
Please keep in mind that traveling in this moment remains uncertain, thus always make sure your safety and the safety of others is your #1 priority. If you are indeed comfortable with traveling, ensure you travel responsibly and within regulation. You travel at your own risk.
Here are some recommendations should you travel:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses. Be aware you might have to self-quarantine upon arrival.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
- Be patient and calm. Remember we are all trying to do our best and are in this together.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are a vacationer’s paradise and an adventurer’s dream. From hiking trails and natural wonders to amusement parks and bold excursions, the entire area offers just about every Bucket List experience you can imagine. Whether you have one week or just a long weekend to get away, you should be able to do a little bit of everything both towns have to offer. Prioritize your list and start with those that are most meaningful to you. So, get ready, your memorable mountain vacation is waiting in the Smoky terrain!