This is a typical tourist location being in the Smoky Mountains. Gatlinburg is beautiful if you can see through the traffic, the Time Share salespeople on the sidewalks, the tshirt shops, etc.
Things are expensive, taxes in all of Sevier County are 9.75%, hotel taxes are 13.5%.
Dollywood is fun but nothing like a big theme park, be prepared for a lot of walking, uphills.
If you go after 3:00, you can return the next day for FREE.
Christmas time in Sevier County is AWESOME. The millions of lights, lighting displays are the best I've ever seen, you may even get to see the beautiful snowfall... but watch for the ICE, and the curvy roads, not a good combination.
Car shows happen nearly every weekend from April to September, while they are very cool, be prepared for hours of traffic. You can stay in a motel right on the strip through town (which goes all the way from the interstate (Exit 407) through Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee, North Carolina. Where you can either watch the cars from your motel/hotel or bring a lawn chair and sit on the sidewalks and watch the nonstop action.
Unique Suggestions: When going to the grocery store, get a shoppers card, that gives you the discounts/sales even if you only use it once it will save you. It doesn't matter if you live there or not, just ask for one.
A rental Cabin is really your best bet, all you need to bring is your food and clothes, EVERYTHING ELSE IS INCLUDED, all cooking utencils, refrigerators, washer/dryer, hot tubs, jacuzzi tubs, pool tables, all decorated impecably.
The amount of money you will save just by cooking your own meals and being away from everyone else is worth it.
In downtown Chattanooga, you will see ads for Ruby Falls as if it is some kind of amazing water fall! To be honest it is over priced and not very impressive! It is in a cave so if you enjoy walking through caves you might enjoy this! They have some sad "lighting effects" on the actual "waterfall" (which is more the effect you get when you turn your sink on just barely, but it falls from high up). I wouldn't recommend wasting your money.
Unique Suggestions: Enjoy the view on Lookout Mountain at night!!! The city is so pretty and the sky is very clear!
Fun Alternatives: Covenant College. It is free and historic! Visit the visitor's center and get a tour of the old hotel, which is now a dorm for the college. Ask about the ghost that lives on one of the halls!There are also many places on campus to get a great view of the Valley!
The name Gatlinburg conjures up images of the Great Smokies, mountain folk, country living and beautiful scenery. But Gatlinburg town is far from scenic - with an influx of tourist traps like Ripley's Believe It or Not and Hard Rock Cafe, it's become a veritable Niagara Falls. Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have lost their identity in a maze of overgrown outlet malls, restaurants and hotels.
Unique Suggestions: Tour around Cades Cove, go into the Great Smoky Mountain park, hike the Appalachian Trail, go up to Ober Gatlinburg (still touristy, but on a smaller scale).
Fun Alternatives: Get on the Appalachian Trail and just walk away! For camping and great scenic mountain views, go north, to Roan Mountain State Park. For great antiquing and a small-town feel, head to Jonesborough, Tennessee.
What some people call a "tourist trap" other people flock to see. In one sense all of the Gatlinburg area or at least Pigeon Forge is a tourist trap. Some people would not like the Outlet Malls.
But I fully enjoyed the WHOLE experience !!
Unique Suggestions: You can plan ahead of time what you REALLY want to do
Fun Alternatives: Just look around! There is natural beauty with hiking trails and still there are many things to keep you busy!!
Dollywood is a fun amusement park, but as much a corny tourist trap as you could ever imagine! So laugh a little and enjoy the hokeyness! Some great country music and tasty homecooking are available as you laugh and frolic around the park.
Gatlinburg and Cherokee,NC are two of the areas greatest sources of genuine made-in-China souvenirs. Nestled in the Smokey Mountains at the gateway to the most wonderful National Park is this major tourist town. Its fun, but I prefer the towns like Newport for looking a real handmade quilts, woodcrafts, and antiques.
Pigeon Forge in general. While there is lots to do here, and Dollywood is a nice little theme park, Pigeon Forge is a mess! Don't even try to go there on Friday afternon or evening or try to leave Sunday afternoon or evening. There is only one good road into and out of town.
It IS a family-oriented place, but packed to the gills! Good 'outlet mall' shopping but crowded.
Watch out for Pidgeon Forge and Gattlinburg. These towns are a complete mess. They are filled with rip off joints and side shows. The only things they poses that make them worth while are Dollywood in Pidgeon Forge and Ripely's Aquireum in Gatlinburg but to get to them you must venture through the terrible traffic and the circus looking towns that the reside in. I found that Blount County offered a more peacful and freindly enviroment.
I like going into 'touristy' gift shops (I'm a sucker for 'em), but for those of you that don't...Graceland is full of these little gift shops! In fact, as I mentioned in my 'Must Do's' about Graceland, everywhere you turn there's a gift shop (except at the actual house; all the gift shops and more activities are across the street in this strip mall). As you leave the auto museum, the planes, a movie, etc., you walk into a gift shop!! So, if you're not interesting, just keep on walkin' through!
Probably, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Although, I don't want to discourage you from going there. It is in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, and it is a beautiful area. It is the gateway to the Smokeys, and I'm just saying that it is a 'tourist' area, but it is still a great place to visit. There are many stores and restaurants and shops lined up down the highway, and it just reminds me of the malls at home. It just seems out of place for the beautiful natural location of this area, and the purpose of visiting this area.
Dollywood would be the trap of a lifetime. Even though I think every family should see it ONCE. Which was enough for us. When you have to pay over $100.00 to get in for a family of 4 and pay $36.00 for 4 ham and cheese sandwichs and then $2.00 each for a coke,this, to me would be a tourist trap. The only way to get this tourist attraction at a bargain would be to buy season tickets, however you have to visit Dollywood more than once a year(the second part of the trap).
Do not sign up for the Visit to the Fairfield glad golf resort and pay the weekend package cost. It is no cheaper than buying all the items you get yourself.
You also have to set through the sales pitch and it is not a nice experience
If you're looking for tourist sites.... don't miss Gatlinburg and Pidgeo Forge.... home of Dollywood and several other theme parks and attractions.... not to mention the whole town(s) are worth walking for the decor and
selective touristy shopping.
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