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Situated just 6 miles (10 km) apart, the small towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge lie in the foothills of Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg draws an endless stream of outdoor enthusiasts with its location on the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, while Pigeon Forge has established itself as a country music capital with attractions like Dolly Parton's Dollywood theme park and the Dixie Stampede Theater. Beyond these claims to fame, though, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge also play host to a rich variety of museums and adventure activities, offering plenty of ways to fill up your vacation. Prepare to be impressed by everything these neighboring Tennessee towns have to offer, all in the midst of eastern Tennessee's Appalachian splendor.
Thanks to their close proximity to one another, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge can be easily explored in a single trip. And no matter which town you choose to stay in, you're never more than a few minutes away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Though it's best known as the gateway to the national park in its backyard, Gatlinburg is also home to Ober Gatlinburg—Tennessee's only ski area—as well as popular destinations like Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies and the Hollywood Star Cars Museum.
Just a few miles away from Dolly Parton's hometown of Sevierville, Pigeon Forge bears the legacy of the beloved country superstar. The town's Parton-owned attractions include the Dollywood theme park, Dollywood's Splash Country waterpark, and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede Dinner Attraction.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the most visited national park in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses over 500,000 acres (202,342 ha) of forest-covered peaks, sprawling valleys, hiking trails, and fish-filled waters. At historic Cades Cove, preserved buildings and homesteads offer a snapshot of the area's early settler days.
In addition to the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains and the country-loving allure of Dollywood, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge boast fascinating museums for you to discover. Get swept up in the tragic story of the RMS Titanic at the Titanic Museum, the world's largest permanent museum devoted to the legendary ocean liner, or enter the wonderfully weird world of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium. Movie buffs can pay tribute to their favorite stars of the silver screen at the Hollywood Wax Museum or the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, which houses over 40 cars featured in iconic movies and TV shows. At Alcatraz East, interactive displays and artifacts chronicle the intriguing history of crime in the United States.
The list of things to do in the Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge area is an extensive one. Embark on an under-the-sea adventure at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, whose massive collection of marine critters spans playful penguins to giant stingrays and sharks. Outdoor lovers can take advantage of opportunities for adventure in the forests and rivers of the Great Smoky Mountains. Take in the lush scenery as you whiz through the treetops on a zipline canopy tour, or conquer the churning rapids of the Pigeon River on a whitewater rafting trip. For a dose of family-friendly entertainment, don't miss the Smoky Mountain Opry Variety Show, the area's largest musical variety show complete with dazzling costumes, state-of-the-art special effects, and high-flying musicians.