The natural outdoor allure of the Smoky Mountain destinations of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is easy to understand. With the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as their backyard, these two vacation destinations allow guests to discover what they’ve been missing…refreshing, all natural fun!
1. Cades Cove: This is a great area for a scenic drive! There is an 11 mile one way loop that winds around the valley, complete with wildlife, campgrounds, bike rentals, spectacular foliage in autumn, facilities for horseback riding and historic buildings.
2. Sugarlands Visitor Center: A free 20-minute orientation motion picture provides an in-depth look at the Smokies and the enormous diversity of plant and animal life in the Park. Natural history exhibits include mounted specimens of park animals in recreations of their habitats and reproductions of journals kept by the first park naturalists are also on display. Ranger talks and slide shows are presented daily from spring through fall. You’ll also want to visit Laurel Falls, a beautiful waterfall located off Little River Road near the Sugarlands Center.
3. Patriot Park: Located in Pigeon Forge, this park is home to a big "liberty" bell, all 50 state flags, a historic patriot missile and a picnic pavilion amongst the open fields & a veteran's memorial park. Relax with the family while enjoying the beauty of Pigeon Forge.
4. Clingman’s Dome: Clingman's Dome is a short drive from Gatlinburg through the national park. There is a steep 1/2 mile hike to the top lookout, but anyone can enjoy the views from the level parking lot area. However, the views at the top of the dome are well worth the hike.
5. Free Child Admission at Pigeon Forge Shows: Many Pigeon Forge shows offer free admission for children (with a paying adult ticket). A few of the shows that participate in free kids admission are The Comedy Barn, Smith Family Dinner Show, and Country Tonite.
6. Wildlife Watching: Whitetail deer, turkeys and of course the famous black bear are frequently spotted in the Smokies. You'll want to bring a camera, and even a pair of binoculars, to see all the wildlife on hand at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
7. The Old Mill: Visit the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge to tour the shops, including the candy kitchen, where you’ll get a free sample of fudge or taffy. Guests will also want to tour the Old Mill to see how they make corn meal and other products. The tour is about 30 minutes and there is a small admission fee of $3.
8. Great Smoky Mountains Arts and Craft Community: This is the largest group of independent artisans in North America. This historic 8-mile loop has been designated a Tennessee Heritage Arts & Crafts Trail. Established in 1937, these artisans create unique and treasured pieces. It doesn’t cost a dime to explore the shops and craftsmen at work.
9. Newfound Gap Road: The 33-mile drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee North Carolina along Newfound Gap Road is the only route that completely traverses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The drive offers a unique opportunity to enjoy an abbreviated experience of everything the Park has to offer, without necessarily trekking far from your automobile.
10. Hiking: Enjoy a hike on any of the more than 800 miles of trails through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. With over fifty trails available to hike, you’ll discover a new treasure each time you explore.
11. Douglas Lake: Beautiful Douglas Lake extends its 33,000 lake acres and 513 miles of shoreline to the rolling hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, attracting nearly 2 million visitors each year. Favorite activities at Douglas Lake include fishing, boating, rafting, swimming, camping, and bird watching.
12. Little River Railroad & Lumber Company Museum: This free museum teaches visitors about the history of steam logging in the Smokies. It is both an indoor and outdoor museum, with outdoor exhibits featuring a vintage caboose and portable Frick steam engine.
13. Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook: Simple yet stunning, a visit to the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook doesn’t cost a thing but is something you’re sure to remember. From this spot, you can see the mountains and downtown Gatlinburg. It’s especially beautiful in the fall, but the lushness of summer doesn’t disappoint.
14. Shopping in the Smokies: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are a shopper’s dream and it doesn’t cost a thing to look! There are several Outlet malls, such as Tanger Outlet Mall, as well as hundreds of unique shops to explore.
15. Festivals: Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are a haven for festivals. Many of these, such as the Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass Festival, have free admission and concerts!
16. Plus, at Dollywood, you can get your next day FREE if you arrive at the park after 3 pm!
With so many things to see and do in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, you and your family are sure to experience the vacation of a lifetime!