From Amusement Parks to Natural Wonders – Find it all in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

This year, I spent my summer vacation in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Now, I know a lot of you may not be familiar with Pigeon Forge, but if you’re looking for an area that truly has something for everyone, then this is it!

dollywood-collageOne of the main attractions in Pigeon Forge is Dolly Parton’s Dollywood, hailed as one of the best theme parks in the world. My husband Michael and I both felt the honor was well-deserved! The park is very clean and well maintained, with some of the most amazing roller coasters in the world, a fact lost on Michael since he’s really not a fan of fast rides, especially ones with names like Daredevil Falls, Tennessee Tornado, and their newest ride, Lightning Rod, the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world! The Wonder Wheel, Dollywood’s 60-foot-tall Ferris wheel, was more his speed. But there were plenty of other (calmer) attractions and things to do to keep him entertained while I was enjoying my adrenaline rushes!

But Pigeon Forge is much more than the home of Dollywood; it is a beautiful, fun-filled resort town with lots of shopping (from quaint boutiques to outlet stores), wonderful eateries, interesting museums (including a ship-shaped, interactive Titanic museum!) and so much more. But one of the biggest draws for me is that Pigeon Forge is located just 5 miles north of The Great Smokey Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the country.  This incredible World Heritage Site attracts more visitors than even the Grand Canyon! But you don’t have to worry about crowds because the park encompasses over 800 square miles, more than enough space to accommodate its many visitors.Great Smokey Mountains

Waterfall at Great Smokey Mountains State ParkMost people choose to explore the park by car, a nice way to take in the breathtaking views of the seemingly endless forest, the majestic mountains and ridges, and the incredible diversity of plants and wildlife, including black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, and over 200 species of birds. Others (like me) prefer a more hands-on approach, and this national treasure doesn’t disappoint. There is so much to see and do here, with activities ranging from camping and fishing to horseback riding and hiking, two activities I especially enjoy. I’ve hiked many trails in my day, and I can honestly say that the ones I explored here were some of the most beautiful and stunning I have ever experienced. I saw lovely waterfalls, pristine mountain streams, all types of plants and animals, and I even came upon some fascinating buildings. (Over 90 historic structures, including barns, churches and mills, have been preserved in the park.)

Great Smokey Mountains State Park

These are just a few of the incredible things to see and do in Pigeon Forge, an absolutely beautiful area of Tennessee with something for everyone!

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