Ripping around adrenaline pumping roller coasters, viewing gorgeous mountain peaks from the tippy top of a Ferris wheel, strolling 40 feet across a tree canopy, waving hello to passing sea critters, and hiking to a dazzling waterfall…visiting the Great Smoky Mountains sure has its perks. When you’re not playing or relaxing at your cabin, the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas boast fun attractions of all kinds and for all ages. There are tons of Smoky Mountain attractions to choose from, so we’ve carefully narrowed down our top 5 for YOU!
If theme parks are your jam, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge will have you grinning from ear to ear. As the area’s most famous park — 35 years and counting — Dollywood won’t disappoint. The park is filled to the brim with fun, including shows, rides, an eagle enclosure, shops, craft demos, dining options, and special behind-the-scenes tours! And there’s always an exciting event livening the already happening party. It’s a great place to spend a full day with family and friends, eating sweet treats, zooming on roller coasters, snapping pics with park characters, watching artistic pros at work, and enjoying live bluegrass beats.
Coming in summer? Opt for Dollywood Splash Country — a sister water park with a wave pool, epic water slides, a kiddie play area, and a lazy river.
2. The Island
Ready to walk, shop, and play? Head to The Island — a shopping and entertainment complex with a variety of attractions in Pigeon Forge. With a dancing water fountain display, fun rides for kids and kids at heart, moonshine and wine tastings, Paula Deen’s home cooking, thrilling escape games, and 40 unique boutiques, getting lost here will be a pleasure. Stop by for a few hours or spend all day hanging at The Island with loved ones.
- The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
- The Escape Game
- Old Time Photo
- Arcade City
- Alcatraz East Crime Museum
- 7D Dark Ride Adventure
- Shooting Gallery
- The Flying Horse Carousel
Adventure awaits at Gatlinburg’s Anakeesta — an aerial adventure park atop a mountain that keeps growing with more activities for families and friends to enjoy together. Start your journey on the chondola (chairlift + gondola), grab a char-grilled burger followed by ice cream and shopping in Firefly Village, walk through the botanical Vista Gardens, zoom aboard the mountain coaster, mine for gems with your little ones, duel zipline with your bestie, sit back and enjoy the panoramic mountain views, and grab a professional photo before you go! Anakeesta really knows how to show guests there’s magic in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Upcoming 2020 additions include a scenic tower with 360 views, a brewery with views of Mt. LeConte from every seat, a water play area, and a family treehouse adventure!
4. The Ripley’s 8!
Alright…we’re cheating a little. Believe it or not, it’s hard to decide which is best of the 8 Ripley’s attractions in Gatlinburg. Walking among sharks, putt-putting around intricate courses, coming face to face with oddities, experiencing film like never before, getting spooked in a haunted house, finding your way through a maze of mirrors, and attempting to beat world records — YOU decide!
Ripley’s Unbelievable Attractions
- Aquarium of the Smokies
- Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf
- Davy Crockett’s Mini-Golf
- Moving Theater (5D)
- Haunted Adventure
- Mirror Maze
- Guinness World Records Adventure
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
What comes to mind first when thinking of the Smokies? Why the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! As the most visited national park in the country, it just might be our favorite attraction on our list. There are 800+ miles of hiking trails, great for trekking to picnic areas, camp sites, mountaintop scenery, or cascading waterfalls. Cycling, rock climbing, running, llama trekking, horseback riding, and fly fishing are also fun options. And you may run into wildlife along the journey, including black bears, elk, river otters, foxes, and raccoons. Not to mention, stunning mountain, valley, or forest views meet every glance. All ages and experience levels are welcome!
Continue to reconnect with nature by staying in a Cabins for YOU cabin rental with a mountain, wooded, or river view. There are cabins of all shapes, sizes, and types (including pet friendly) that can suit almost any budget with bonus amenities to boot!
Play, shop, dine, and make lasting memories with those you love at top Smoky Mountain attractions in Tennessee!