Are you planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains soon and unsure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. There is a lot to see and do. The Smoky Mountains include Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Asheville, and Sevierville. When it’s about all these different cities with their burst of thrill, how should you select which one as the home base for your trip?
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are some of the most popular places in the US to stay when it comes to vacationing in the Mountains. While Gatlinburg is home to various popular attractions like Space Needle and Anakeesta, Pigeon Forge is home to exciting attractions like Island at Pigeon Forge and Dollywood. In addition, both the towns offer you amazing food spots, from the best steaks to mouth-watering BBQ.
When it comes to deciding which one to visit, it can be a little tricky. So, if you’re looking forward to your trip to the mountains, consider these factors to choose the best destination.
The best news is that Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are less than ten miles apart. Therefore, overall, there aren’t any major differences between the two, and you can find accommodation anywhere. Try looking up keywords like places to stay Pigeon Forge or hotels in Gatlinburg to review your options. In addition, no matter where you’re staying at night, you’ll be near Smoky’s best sights. However, what might make the difference for hiking lovers is that condos and cabins are located right next to the park’s entrance. Besides that, you’re likely to find amazing cabins with loads of amenities and beautiful mountain views in both towns.
There are only a few miles between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the short distance making them quite similar destinations. However, they have a lot of noticeable differences, a significant one being the feel. Settled in the center of the mountains, Gatlinburg looms you with a delightful small-town feel and a wonderful city center area you can discover by walking in a day. Home to about 4000 citizens, the charming mountain is visited by more than 12 million tourists every year to enjoy its vibe. Being at the bottom of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a major attraction for people who want to spend their time hiking or on trails.
While not having the same thrilling location for explorers as Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge amazes you with gorgeous views of the mountains. While the town and its bottom areas are widespread, you can’t explore Pigeon Forge easily by walk, meaning you have to drive around. Gatlinburg has secluded locations for nature lovers, and Pigeon Forge welcomes people looking for various exciting activities. You’ll always find something to do in Pigeon Forge, regardless of the weather. For instance, if it’s raining, you might not be able to go for a hike. But you can visit the amusement park Dollywood and spend your day in the best possible way.
Pigeon Forge has a lot of exciting activities to enjoy. Whether indulging in an amazing dinner show, hopping on a comedy bus tour, or having educational fun in one of its many unique museums, you’re bound to fall in love with the place. Staying in the city means having close access to all of the fantastic attractions like Dollywood. If you plan on staying in Gatlinburg, you’ll have to plan around traveling anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes, varying on traffic.
Gatlinburg will not disappoint you regarding the thrilling and awesome attractions. Gatlinburg is more tourist-based, and once you go through the beautiful scenery of the Skylift Park or go through the bends of mountains on the Rowdy Bear Mountain Coaster, it’ll be evident why it’s such a hot spot for vacations. In addition, this town has many of Ripley’s favorites, wineries, mini-golf, and some adorable shops.
Not only has it exciting and fun attractions, but the eateries in Gatlinburg are surely something to be admired. If you’ve gone to a tearoom or if you’ve been craving some delicious steak, Gatlinburg is the perfect spot for you. It tends to provide high-end restaurants. For instance, Gatlinburg is a better option for high-end food if you’re planning a date night dinner. This town offers you everything: seafood, the best steakhouses or Mexican cuisine. Moreover, don’t forget about the small chocolate shops and moonshine distillery on the way.
Pigeon Forge offers amazing dining options too. Let’s talk about some delicious eats that wait in Pigeon Forge. French toast, bananas, sweet goodness, and other special finds—each place knows how to improve your day by serving you some of the best flavorful dishes. Besides that, in town, you’ll also find many family-friendly options. Picky eaters and kids might find more delicious foods in Pigeon Forge. There are also various opportunities to enjoy wineries, coffee shops and craft brews. You’ll probably never run out of options for eating while visiting this town!
Are you searching for a great deal on a designer bag? How about a special, one-of-a-kind souvenir? Depending on which of these you’re in search of, you might have to travel between Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge to find them. Pigeon Forge is widely known for its outlet shopping. From the Tanger Outlets to Mountain Mile, there are a lot of brand stores to shop from in Pigeon Forge. Not only will you find the popular brands, but you will also get the discounts you love when you’re on a bargain search.
On the other hand, Gatlinburg is known for local arts and crafts. Are you the type of person that likes to support local and small businesses? Gatlinburg is full of locally owned ventures such as the Great Smoky Arts and Craft Community, gift stores and restaurants. You’ll find all such items in this town, from handcrafted items to airbrushed T-shirts and amazing hand-painted mugs.
Take a drive outside the downtown, and you’ll discover the hidden gem of Gatlinburg, The Glades Arts & Crafts Community. This outstanding 8-mile loop is a wonderful drive; you’ll find everything from hand-forged knives to an old-style soda.
There isn’t any doubt that your trip to Tennessee will be memorable whether you select Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. Even though there are many obvious differences between the two, both places offer outstanding outdoor adventures and entertainment. Not just that, both the towns have great accommodation options and fun activities, making your vacations memorable.