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Overview

The major gateway and provisioning stop at the western entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a bustling family destination, with plenty of shopping, kids museums and theme parks. This is where visitors can find outfitters to lead them into the national park on horseback or hiking excursions, or sign up for fishing or rafting trips. Nearby, Pigeon Forge is famous for Dollywood, Dolly Parton's colossal namesake theme park with roller coasters, a water park, plenty of games and — of course — plenty of BBQ and country and bluegrass music shows, including the fanatical Smoky Mountain Christmas. Both Gatlinburg and ...

The major gateway and provisioning stop at the western entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg is a bustling family destination, with plenty of shopping, kids museums and theme parks. This is where visitors can find outfitters to lead them into the national park on horseback or hiking excursions, or sign up for fishing or rafting trips. Nearby, Pigeon Forge is famous for Dollywood, Dolly Parton's colossal namesake theme park with roller coasters, a water park, plenty of games and — of course — plenty of BBQ and country and bluegrass music shows, including the fanatical Smoky Mountain Christmas. Both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are replete with souvenir shops, so don’t worry, you'll have plenty of places to buy a magnet or T-shirt!

Debra Landau
About the Expert

Debra Landau has written eight Lonely Planet guidebooks, including books on the USA, Caribbean, and the South.

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Debra Landau for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid-summer is the busiest time, so if you can visit in spring or fall, you'll have fewer crowds.