We have a few neighbors who are as welcoming as we are, all within a short drive of downtown Gatlinburg. Plan a day trip to a casino, Dollywood or one of the shows in Pigeon Forge.
The Gatlinburg area is one of the most popular places to visit in Tennessee, but we can’t take all the credit. The whole region is packed with sights and entertainment for children and adults alike, making for easy day trips from your home base in Gatlinburg. Head to a theme park, catch a sporting event, tour a mansion or enjoy a live show and be back in Gatlinburg in time for dinner. Read on to learn about the most popular regional attractions.
Not only is Gatlinburg your basecamp for fun and adventure in the Smokies, it's also centrally located to three other mountain hotspots, making a daytrip to more mountain attractions just a short drive from downtown. Pigeon Forge is a little ways up the road, with theatres, shows and unusual attractions for the whole family. Dollywood is one of the top Pigeon Forge attractions, with 150 acres of rides, fun and history. And if you're feeling lucky, take a drive through Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Cherokee and the casino.Check out these interesting places to visit in Tennessee below.
Just a short drive from downtown Gatlinburg is the one-and-only Dollywood. The rides are wild, and the music never ends in this incredible 150-acre theme park in nearby Pigeon Forge. New for 2012 is the $20 million Wild Eagle roller coaster, the first steel wing roller coaster in America. In addition to the incredible rides and shows, there's also Dollywood's Splash Country Water Adventure Park. Over 2.5 million visitors a year come to Dollywood, making it one of the most popular places to visit in Tennessee. It's only 13 minutes away. Directions are here. There's more about Dollywood here and Dollywood's Splash Country here
Dinner shows, Dixie Stampede
There are lots of fun dinner shows in the Smoky Mountains area including Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Show and Lumberjack Feud, to name just to name a few. They include things like a friendly North/South rivalry featuring 32 magnificent horses while feasting on a four-course meal, a story about two embattled local logging families as the timber industry is shut down by the announcement of the National Park, and side-splitting comedy shows such as Whodunit Lucy, Murder on the American Idle and Frankly Scarlett your Dead with a four-course meal to “die” for.
Depending on the direction you're coming to the Smokies from, you might pass through our neighbor, Pigeon Forge, on your way to downtown Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's almost always showtime in Pigeon Forge, with about a dozen theaters presenting as many as 20 shows daily. There are concerts, musicals, variety shows, comedy and magic, making it one of the most entertaining places to visit in Tennessee. Whether you love Broadway, country, rock, gospel or plain old humor, there's a curtain going up on a big performance every night in Pigeon Forge. Attractions in the area include The Old Mill, which still churns out meal and flour powered by its big, old waterwheel on the Little Pigeon River.
Titanic Pigeon Forge
It's been 100 years since the HMS Titanic's maiden voyage ended, but her legacy lives on at the Titanic Museum Attraction just up the road in Pigeon Forge. Book your passage and receive your own boarding pass for this interactive experience which pays homage to one of the most famous ships in history and allows you to step back in history.
Grownup games are a short drive away
On the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Cherokee Indian Reservation, a scenic hour-plus drive from downtown Gatlinburg. It is home to Harrah's Cherokee Casino. Cherokee is rich in Native American history and home to many of the 13,000 enrolled members of the Cherokee Tribe. It includes 56,000 acres along what is called the Qualla Boundary. Harrah's in Cherokee is the most-visited destination in North Carolina.
Cherokee, North Carolina
What is now Western North Carolina has been part of the homeland of the Cherokee people for centuries. Today’s Eastern Band members are direct descendants of those who avoided the Cherokees’ forced removal to Oklahoma in the 1830’s the “Trail of Tears.” Their home city adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park allows you to walk back in time. Cherokee is also home to North Carolina’s largest tourist attraction & Harrah's Cherokee Casino and Hotel.
Bristol Motor Speedway
Planning to be a part of the crowd at the next big Bristol Motor Speedway event? Since we’re just a short drive away from the track, Gatlinburg is the perfect locale to get ready for the big race beforehand or escape to afterward. Once you’ve joined up to 160,000 of your best friends for a few action-packed hours, it's always good to work in a little bit of the quiet and tranquility that a vacation in the heart of the Smoky Mountains can provide.
University of Tennessee Sports
Kickoff on the gridiron at Neyland Stadium. Tipoff at Thompson Boling Area, featuring action on the hardwood of The Summit. If catching the Big Orange this season is in your plans, it makes sense to make a vacation of it by staying the night just up the road in Gatlinburg. There’s no better place on Earth than the Smokies on a fall weekend or during the heat of basketball season.
Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt's 250-room chateau is as impressive today as it was more than a century ago. Biltmore House is truly an architectural and historical wonder and it’s located in Asheville, N.C., just a short day trip from Gatlinburg. See the enormous home, walk the grounds and view the beauty of this classic American estate.