Amid the splendor of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg embodies the simple goodness of small town life. It’s where folks gather together and stand in awe of nature’s glory. In addition to the majesty of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg’s largest attractions include Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies; the phenomenal 1.3 million gallon saltwater aquarium recently voted “#1 Aquarium in the U.S.” by customers of TripAdvisor. Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort & Amusement Park provides year-round ice skating and outdoor family fun in addition to great winter snow sports once the 120-person Aerial Tramway takes you to the summit. Gatlinburg vacations are action-packed and fun for the whole family!
Just seven miles north of Gatlinburg is Pigeon Forge – a shopper’s paradise. There are more than 200 stores in an array of outlet malls, offering discounts of up to 75% for popular brand names like Big Dog Sportswear, Nike, and Black & Decker, as well as Bibles, Christmas decorations, quilts, and cowboy boots. For shopping that's more quaintly "Tennessee" in tone, check out the Old Mill, a good place to pick up locally made gifts like jams and candy and stone-ground products for your own baking. Next door, the restaurant of the same name serves hearty Southern meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
No trip to this part of Tennessee would be complete without a visit to Dollywood, the amusement park owned by Pigeon Forge's beloved daughter, Dolly Parton. Souvenir stands, rides, and attractions are joined by Dollywood's tribute to Appalachia and the singer's own origins. Demonstrations showcase regional crafts such as basket making, pottery making, and glass blowing, and shops provide an outlet for these traditional skills that might otherwise be lost. Nightlife in Pigeon Forge focuses on family-oriented, Branson, Missouri-style musical theater. Long-running favorites include the family-oriented Smoky Mountain Jubilee and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, a dinner-theater show.