The Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are a vacation destination unlike any other with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park the real star of the show. The magnificent natural wonder is a popular vacation destination on a year round basis. There are literally hundreds of scenic mountain trails to explore within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a myriad of activities to enjoy in the surrounding areas.
In the early part of the 20th century, the Smoky Mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee was an out of the way village populated mainly by immigrants of European heritage. These early settlers constructed a home base much like what they were familiar with in Europe. This is what accounts for the early beginnings of Gatlinburg, which boasts both a European/Germanic name and a European style architectural feel. This European origin gave and continues to give Gatlinburg a unique feel unlike any other popular tourist destination in North America.
Over the years, the city of Gatlinburg has sought to maintain and add to the “old European” flavor which marked its beginnings. Even though a Gatlinburg vacation is in reality a trip to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the old town flavor of the area is just as likely to make you think you’re visiting a town in the Swiss Alps! This experience is made up of a combination of architecture, shopping outlets, area names, old-time clothing, and more.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
One of the real highlights in Pigeon Forge is Dollywood, the famous theme park named after Pigeon Forge’s most famous citizen, Dolly Parton. This park offers thrill rides, a fun-filled water-park, and plenty of Smoky Mountain cultural charm.
Pigeon Forge has many other popular entertainment options that pulls visitors to Tennessee year after year. Ride in the fast lane at the Speed Zone fun park and the Nascar Speedtrack. Here the family can enjoy some competitive go-cart racing that is both safe and fun. Other popular attractions include a variety of dinner shows like Hatfield & McCoy, the Titanic Museum Attraction, miniature golf, and so much more. It isn’t called the “Land of More” for nothing.
Pigeon Forge is also home to a variety of historical sites. The city was actually originally named for the Little Pigeon River and a local iron foundry. Remnants of this can still be seen today. Perhaps the most well-known of these yesteryear monuments is the Old Mill and General Store. Here you can explore some old time Smoky Mountain architecture and enjoy some delicious old-style cooking where they “stubbornly adhere to the traditions of the past to ensure quality”.
What remains a lesser known location in the Smokies, though it is slowly growing in popularity as more and more vacationers discover it, is Sevierville, Tennessee. Sevierville is located at the crossroads of the major highways entering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Tennessee.
While Gatlinburg is known for its European styling and its artisan shops, and Pigeon Forge is known for its live theatre and theme park attractions, Sevierville is known for its more laid-back, slightly slower pace nature. For this reason, during the high season many Smoky Mountain vacationers find Sevierville to be a pleasant change of pace. And yet, far from being a sleepy little Smoky Mountain town, Sevierville offers a whole host of its own recreational attractions for Tennessee visitors to enjoy. The largest of these attractions: shopping. And the most known host for this activity: the Tanger Shopping Outlet Mall with over 120 different brands.