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If you’re planning a trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, you’re in for a treat! Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, these two towns offer a wealth of activities and attractions for visitors of all ages. From outdoor adventures to family-friendly entertainment, there’s no shortage of things to do in this scenic region.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful mountain getaway or an action-packed vacation, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore 15 of the top things to do in these two vibrant Tennessee towns.

Cades Cove at sunset15. Cades Cove

(image via Flickr)

Cades Cove is a picturesque valley located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. It is a popular destination for visitors to the park due to its scenic beauty and rich history. The area was originally inhabited by the Cherokee people before European settlers arrived in the early 1800s.

Today, visitors can explore the cove via an 11-mile scenic drive, where they can see historic buildings, churches, and a working grist mill. The area is also known for its wildlife, including black bears, deer, and wild turkeys. Cades Cove is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

View of the Alpine Coaster amongst the trees14. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

(image via Instagram)

The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is a thrilling attraction located in Pigeon Forge. It is a unique coaster experience where riders control their speed as they race through the mountainside on individual carts. The coaster is open year-round and offers a scenic view of the Smoky Mountains. Riders can choose to ride solo or with a partner and can adjust their speed using the brake handles on their carts.

The coaster reaches speeds of up to 27 miles per hour and features twists, turns, and drops that provide an adrenaline-pumping adventure. The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is a must-visit for thrill-seekers and those looking to experience the beauty of the Smokies.

Performers at The Comedy Barn Theater13. The Comedy Barn Theater

(image via Instagram)

The Comedy Barn Theater is a popular entertainment venue located in Pigeon Forge. It is known for its family-friendly comedy shows that feature a variety of acts including comedians, magicians, jugglers, ventriloquists, and more. The theater has been entertaining audiences for over two decades with its clean humor and interactive performances that engage both adults and children.

The Comedy Barn Theater offers a unique entertainment experience that is suitable for all ages, making it a popular destination for families and groups. With its talented performers and hilarious acts, The Comedy Barn Theater is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Pigeon Forge.

Person holding a jar of Sugarlands Shine12. Sugarlands Distilling Company

(image via Instagram)

Sugarlands Distilling Company is a distillery located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg. The company is known for producing award-winning moonshine, whiskey, rum, and liqueurs, using local ingredients and traditional techniques. Sugarlands Distilling Company offers a variety of tours and tastings, where visitors can learn about the distillation process and sample their products.

They also host live music events and have a gift shop with merchandise and souvenirs. Sugarlands Distilling Company is committed to preserving the history and culture of the Smoky Mountains, and they support various local charitable organizations.

View of an arts and craft booth11. Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community

(image via Instagram)

The Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is a unique destination in Gatlinburg that showcases the work of over 100 local artisans. The community spans an 8-mile loop road and features a wide range of handmade items such as pottery, woodworking, jewelry, candles, and paintings. Visitors can watch the artisans at work and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces directly from the makers themselves.

The community also offers a variety of shops, galleries, and restaurants, as well as events and festivals throughout the year. The Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community is a must-see for anyone interested in experiencing the rich culture and artistry of the Smoky Mountains.

View of a ferris wheel, fountains, and buildings at the Island in Pigeon Forge10. The Island in Pigeon Forge

(image via Flickr)

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a popular entertainment destination. It features a variety of activities for all ages, including amusement rides, games, live music, shopping, and dining. The centerpiece of The Island is the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Visitors can also enjoy a dancing fountain show, escape rooms, and a ropes course. The Island hosts numerous events throughout the year, such as car shows, festivals, and holiday celebrations. It’s a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to the Smoky Mountains region.

View of the slopes at Pigeon Forge Snow9. Pigeon Forge Snow

(image via Instagram)

Pigeon Forge Snow is an indoor snow park that features over 15,000 square feet of real snow, making it a unique attraction in the area. Visitors can enjoy a variety of snow-related activities such as tubing, snowboarding, and snowball fights. The snow is made from 100% pure water and is kept at a constant temperature of 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pigeon Forge Snow is a great option for those who want to experience winter activities all year round or for those who want to escape the heat during the summer months. It’s a fun and family-friendly attraction that’s definitely worth checking out.

View of the Space Needle with a bright blue sky background8. Gatlinburg Space Needle

(image via Instagram)

The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a popular tourist attraction. Standing at a height of 407 feet, it offers breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains and the surrounding area. Visitors can ride the glass elevators to the observation deck, where they can enjoy 360-degree views of the mountains, downtown Gatlinburg, and the Little Pigeon River.

The observation deck also features a gift shop and a restaurant that serves delicious food and drinks. The Gatlinburg Space Needle is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the Smoky Mountains region, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

View of the building with flags out front7. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

(image via Wikipedia)

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies is an amazing tourist hotspot. It is home to over 10,000 sea creatures representing more than 350 species, including sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, and many more. The aquarium is divided into several exhibits, including Shark Lagoon, Penguin Playhouse, and Coral Reef.

Visitors can also experience hands-on interactive exhibits, like Touch-A-Ray Bay and the Discovery Center. In addition to the exhibits, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies offers special experiences like sleepovers and behind-the-scenes tours. It’s a great place for families and individuals to learn about marine life and have a fun day out.

Person posing next to vintage car6. Hollywood Star Cars Museum

(image via Instagram)

The Hollywood Star Cars Museum is a must-see attraction for car enthusiasts and movie buffs. The museum houses an impressive collection of vehicles featured in popular Hollywood films and TV shows. Visitors can see iconic cars such as the Batmobile, the DeLorean from “Back to the Future,” and the General Lee from “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

The museum also features props, costumes, and other memorabilia from beloved films and TV shows. With its unique collection and interactive exhibits, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum offers a fun and nostalgic experience for visitors of all ages.

View of exhibits inside the Titanic Museum5. Titanic Museum

(image via Flickr)

The Gatlinburg Titanic Museum is a replica of the famous Titanic ship and features various exhibits and interactive displays showcasing the history and legacy of the ill-fated vessel. Visitors can experience what it was like to be a passenger on the Titanic, view artifacts recovered from the wreckage, and learn about the lives of the ship’s crew and passengers.

The museum also offers educational programs for school groups and hosts events throughout the year. The Gatlinburg Titanic Museum is a unique and informative experience for anyone interested in maritime history and the story of the Titanic.

Distant view of the SkyBridge with mountains in the background and buildings below the bridge4. Gatlinburg SkyBridge

(image via Instagram)

The Gatlinburg SkyBridge is a suspension bridge that stretches 680 feet across a deep valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. The SkyBridge offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and forests, as well as a glass bottom section that allows visitors to see the ground beneath their feet.

The bridge is also equipped with multiple observation areas and seating areas for visitors to take in the breathtaking views. The Gatlinburg SkyBridge is a must-visit attraction for anyone traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains region.

View of the mountains at Ober Gatlinburg3. Ober Gatlinburg

(image via Wikimedia)

Ober Gatlinburg is a mountain resort located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. It offers a variety of year-round activities such as skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, wildlife encounter, an aerial tramway, an alpine slide, and more. In the winter, it is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, while in the summer, visitors can enjoy scenic chairlift rides, mini-golf, and a water slide.

The resort also features a restaurant, snack bar, and multiple shops for souvenirs and gifts. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains and a wide range of activities, Ober Gatlinburg is a must-visit for those traveling to Tennessee.

View of a roller coaster ride at Dollywood2. Dollywood

(image via Flickr)

Dollywood is a theme park located in Pigeon Forge. It was founded by country music legend Dolly Parton and named after her. The park features a variety of rides and attractions, as well as live entertainment shows, restaurants, and shops.

Some of the most popular rides include the Wild Eagle roller coaster and the Lightning Rod wooden coaster. Dollywood also hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the famous Smoky Mountain Christmas festival. The park has become a major tourist destination in the region and draws in visitors from all over the world.

View of a sunrise over the misty mountains of Great Smoky Mountains National Park1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(image via Instagram)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a stunning natural reserve located in the eastern United States, spanning over 800 square miles of land in both Tennessee and North Carolina. Known for its lush forests, scenic mountains, and diverse wildlife, this park attracts millions of visitors every year.

It is home to over 1,500 species of plants, more than 200 species of birds, and a wide range of mammals, including black bears, elk, and white-tailed deer. Popular activities in the park include hiking, fishing, camping, and scenic drives. With its breathtaking beauty and rich ecological diversity, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.




As you can see, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have a lot to offer everyone. If you are looking to do more in the surrounding area, check out other weekend trips from nearby Tennessee.

These areas are perfect for a quick day trip or a long weekend getaway. Explore our favorite things to do or peruse some pre-built itineraries.

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