Hey earth muffins! If you have been following me on Instagram, you will know that I recently took a trip to Tennessee. My fiancé and I spent a full week outside of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, and we got to explore both of these areas really well. It has been quite a long time since I’ve posted a travel guide to this blog… So in today’s post I’ll be sharing a travel guide to Pigeon Forge AND Gatlinburg! I’ll start out by sharing my top tips if you are thinking about traveling here…
So, Are You Thinking of Traveling to Pigeon Forge?
While nestled in the Smokey Mountains, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are definitely tourist destinations. This means they are busy with lots of people year round. The summer months are the busiest, but even on the off season make sure you are expecting lots of people. We ended up in town during a huge auto festival called Rod Run, so double check if there are any events taking place before you visit. If tourist destinations aren’t for you, then it might be best to pick another place to travel!
There are plenty of options for accommodations. If you want to stay in the bustle of the tourism, pick a hotel along the strip. There are thousands of cabin rentals on Airbnb too, which is what we opted for. This allowed us to make our Airbnb stay more sustainable and kept us away from all the people if we wanted to. And these cabins often have incredible views of the mountains!
Overall, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are great road trip destinations if you live in the Midwest like us. My fiancé and I aren’t fans of tourist areas, but we figured it would be fun to see these cities once. And we were correct – we had the perfect balance of relaxing in the mountains at the Airbnb and doing some cheesy tourist things. While we definitely won’t go back, it was fun to go there and experience it all once.
What To Do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN
- Hit up a fun museum – There are tons of interesting museums to choose from: the Titanic Museum (which we went to!), the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, the Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum, etc. You won’t be able to go to all of them, so pick a couple that sound interesting and enjoy!
- Go to a dinner show – Like other tourist destinations like Disney World, there are dinner shows to enjoy in these areas. Most popular is probably Dolly Parton’s Stampede, but there are others as well. Make sure you follow these tips to make your dinner show more sustainable!
- Walk around downtown Gatlinburg – There are many cute tourist shops to explore in Gatlinburg. We spent a morning walking around downtown which we thought was the right amount of time. Perfect to buy some fudge or taffy and embrace your inner tourist.
- Go mini golfing, hit up an arcade, or ride some rides – Pigeon Forge has a lot of fun things to do whether you are a kid or an adult. There are mini golf courses, arcades, indoor experiences/rides, and amusement park things as well. Just drive down the main strip and stop at anything that peaks your interest!
- Go to Dollywood – We didn’t end up doing this, but I’ve heard Dollywood is really fun! There are rides and tons of delicious food… Who doesn’t love a good eco-friendly amusement park day?
Where to Eat!
We ate at a lot of tasty places in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but here were a couple of our favorites:
- Mel’s Diner – I’m a sucker for a 50’s diner… So we just had to go to Mel’s! The food was so good (they have breakfast all day too!). It is pretty tiny inside so expect a wait. Or, you could go to Sunliner Diner which is another 50’s diner that is bigger inside.
- Applewood Farmhouse Grill – We ended up stopping here randomly and it turned out to be one of our most delicious meals! This place has free apple juleps, apple fritters, and warm apple butter with every order which was a great bonus. Plus, the whole Applewood complex has a couple cute shops and a cider mill to explore as well.
- Waffle House – There are no Waffle Houses in Michigan, so we just had to stop here once. And I can assure you that the waffles are DELICIOUS!
Overall, I think there is something for everyone at Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN! Whether you are into relaxing in the mountains or riding a bunch of amusement park rides, you can find it here. While it is definitely a tourist destination, it was fun to see once. Definitely a trip to remember! Have you ever been to Pigeon Forge and/or Gatlinburg, TN??
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