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Colorful Umbrellas at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge

10 Unique Things To Do in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge

Published: July 4, 2024

Located about five miles apart from each other and only a 3.5 hour drive from Nashville, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are ideal for planning the perfect dual-destination Smoky Mountain getaway. And because we want you to have the best, wackiest, most memorable time possible, we’ve created this guide to the most unique things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

The Smoky Mountains are an outdoor adventurer’s dream– think hiking, mountain biking, and some of the best views in the country. They’re also (and we say this with love)... quirky.

Sure, you’ll find artisan boutique shopping, lovely restaurants, romantic skywalk tours, and the aforementioned array of outdoor sports… But you’ll also find roofs full of goats, mermaid breakfasts, the Batmobile, and something called zorbing that is not for the faint of heart. Oh, and lest we forget… DOLLYWOOD.

In a nutshell: you’ll make the kind of memories in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that will become immortalized in family stories for decades to come. In order to move between the two towns at your leisure, book easily accessible accommodations– we recommend our 100 Collection partner, Mountain Laurel Chalets.

Unique Things To Do In Gatlinburg, TN

Treetop Ropes Course Anakeesta, Gatlinburg, TN
The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community

There’s no better way to find souvenirs than by shopping local! The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community is a large collective of independent artisans.
In addition to hosting events such as hands-on classes and craft exhibitions, you can browse handmade ceramics, stuffed animals, textiles, wood carvings, metalwork pieces, paintings, and more.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Great for families.
Kids from 9 to 90 will love to see unique sea creatures, take a glass-bottomed boat tour, or even book Breakfast with a Mermaid!

Hollywood Star Cars Museum

If you’ve ever wanted to see the Batmobile in person, you’re in luck.
The Hollywood Star Cars Museum displays iconic movie and TV cars, along with other notable vehicles like the Beach Boys’ Thunderbird.

Ober Mountain

Ideal for the athletes in your group, Ober Mountain provides seasonal outdoor activities. In the summer, enjoy whitewater rafting, zip lining, and mountain biking. And in the winter, get ready to ski and snowboard.
To make planning your outdoor adventure easier, buy wristband passes that cover multiple activities.

Anakeesta

Anakeesta is a mountaintop theme park. Take a “chondola” tour (hybrid between chairlift and gondola) and catch a bird’s eye view of Tennessee from the treetop skywalk.
Then, stop by one of the park’s restaurants for dinner and craft beers.

Unique Things To Do In Pigeon Forge, TN

Dollywood Theater Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood

Take a break from working 9 to 5 and head over to Dollywood!
Its namesake country icon slash philanthropist needs no introduction, so just get your family ready for a fun day full of music, shows, rides, crafts, water park activities, and great food.

Goats On The Roof

In case it wasn’t clear enough from the name, the main draw to this roadside attraction is a sod roof full of fuzzy, four-legged friends.
In addition to being able to feed and take pictures with the goats, you can ride the self-paced Goat Coaster, play a round of dino-themed mini-golf, or purchase snacks and souvenirs.

Zorbing

The Outdoor Gravity Park located in Pigeon Forge is the only place in the United States where you can freely zorb to your heart’s content.
“What the heck is zorbing,” you say?
Envision a giant plastic orb filled with several gallons of water that you can roll around in like a human-sized hamster wheel. (We suggest stocking up on ginger candy and stashing away a couple of motion sickness wristbands so that the limits of your human body will not interrupt your zorbing extravaganza).

Foxfire Adventure Park

Foxfire Adventure Park is about 20 minutes outside of Pigeon Forge, but is definitely worth the drive.
Burn off some energy on the climbing wall or a hiking trail. And if you love the exhilarating feeling of being high up, you can zipline or cross the swinging bridge. Settle down with a cool cider afterwards at the steampunk-themed cidery.

The Island

The Island is a 23-acre family entertainment complex (accessible by bridge) located in the middle of the Little Pigeon River.
Admission is free, which is great because you’ll want to spend all your pocket money at its array of restaurants, treat shops, boutiques, novelty stores, museums, and arcades.

Best Places To Stay In Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, TN

View of Ober Tram from Gatlinburg Vacation Rental

Keep your Smoky Mountain adventure rustic by day and refined by night– book your stay at Mountain Laurel Chalets by Smoky Mountains Vacation Rentals.

Conveniently located in Gatlinburg (and close to Pigeon Forge), Mountain Laurel Chalets is family-owned and allows you to choose from a variety of different home sizes.

For small groups, consider a cozy two-bedroom. And if you’re planning a group retreat or larger family gathering, reserve a spacious, wood-paneled lodge. Each property offers tasteful decor, luxe textiles, plenty of natural lighting, chef-ready kitchens, and gorgeous views.

Amenities vary by property and can include high-end bedding and linens, game rooms, clubhouse and community pool access, outdoor lounge spaces, hot tubs… and a free Dollywood ticket per booking!

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