A lot of people think that there’s only one reason to visit Tennessee – its musical history.
And they’re not wrong, at least in the sense that Tennessee has music running through its veins. Elvis Presley, the soul sounds of Memphis, and many of the best country singers to grace the stage call Tennessee their home. But the state has so much more to offer. Explore Pigeon Forge and the surrounding areas, and you’ll find spectacular natural sights and wonderful attractions that entertain and inspire for weeks on end.
If music runs through the figurative veins of Tennessee, Pigeon Forge is the heart that keeps that bluesy blood pumping. And with that in mind, these are the reasons why exploring the heart of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge should be on your agenda if you visit Tennessee.
Reason 1 – It’s the Home of Dollywood
When you’re finally sick of working “nine-to-five,” Dollywood welcomes you with rides, whimsy, and a taste of what made the famous singer who lends her name to the theme park so special. Simply put – it’s a wonderland for people who love Dolly Parton. And if you’re in Pigeon Forge, you’re only a short drive away from setting foot on land that’s sacred to country music fans.
That might make Dollywood sound more solemn than it is. But the truth is that the park is anything but solemn, as it features rides galore that celebrate Dolly Parton and give you a thrill while they do so. Rollercoasters Big Bear Mountain and the Tennessee Tornado hurtle along so fast that you’ll be dizzy with delight by the time they end. And they’re just the start of the dazzling array of rides that Dollywood has to offer.
Of course, there are more sedate experiences to enjoy, too. Local musical artists play throughout the park. The Dollywood Express takes you on a scenic ride through what Parton’s talents have built. And there are even places where you can enjoy some arts and crafts if you need to take the weight off your feet.
Reason 2 – See the Stunning Smokies
The Great Smoky Mountains loom over Pigeon Forge like rocky giants casting shade over the entire region. And by visiting Pigeon Forge, you get to go up close and personal with the Smokies. For those with an eye for photography, the stunning scenery presents ample opportunities to snap some amazing shots.
But plenty of people who visit Pigeon Forge want a thrill as well.
If you don’t get your fill from Dollywood, or the park just isn’t for you, the ingenious minds behind the alpine coasters that dot the Smokies have you covered. Offering a cross between the thrills of a rollercoaster and the more sedate experience of a tour, alpine coasters take you into the heart of the mountains that you can see no matter where you are in Pigeon Forge. They’re fun and exciting, and they give you more control over your ride thanks to manual brakes that you can use to slow things down when you want to drink in the scenery.
Reason 3 – Some of the Country’s Most Unique Museums
It’s estimated that there are over 104,000 museums in the world, and Pigeon Forge hosts some of the most unique around.
Take Alcatraz East as an example. Named after the famous island prison off the shore of San Francisco, it combines artifacts connected to some of the country’s most notorious criminals, along with exhibits celebrating the work of those who stopped them. For those with a fascination for the foul and the fearsome heroism that goes into investigative work, it’s a must-see attraction in Pigeon Forge.
The TITANIC Museum is a more focused experience. As the name suggests, its exhibits highlight the one and only voyage of the most famous doomed ship of all – The Titanic. A collection of 400 artifacts pulled from the real wreckage are scattered around the museum’s cavernous halls, many of which are decorated to resemble the interior of the ship itself. Costumed “crew members” lend even more authenticity to the experience, in addition to offering guided tours and plenty of factoids about the ship.
Music, Adventure, and Nature – Pigeon Forge Has It All
No matter what draws you to Tennessee, be it the music or the stunning natural scenery, Pigeon Forge is the perfect place to set up a base for your visit. And this article only scratches the surface. Beyond the musical and educational experiences the region offers, you’ll find wonderful tribute acts, thrilling parks, and all of the trappings of old-fashioned Southern comfort you could ever want.