What to do in the Smokies?

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Smoky Mountain Attractions

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Gatlinburg Attractions


Arts & Crafts CommunityArts and Crafts Community

The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, with more than 70 affiliated members, is known as the largest group of independent artisans in the country. The 8-mile loop of shops, studios, and galleries takes visitors back to a time gone by where skills developed by early settlers 200 years ago are demonstrated in these shops and studios. An array of fine, handcrafted gift items are available to everyone and each are made right here in the Great Smoky Mountains. Directions: From Gatlinburg, turn at light No. 3 and travel east on Highway 321 for approximately 5 miles and turn left on Glades Road (by the Battle's grocery store). Highlights: Wild Plum Restaurant, Jim Gray Gallery.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg - Come take in the splendor of some of nature's most exotic undersea life in the heart of the Smoky Mountains - downtown Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg AcquariumHome to thousands of fish and other types of aquatic life from around the world, the $42 million, 100,000-plus square foot marine attraction is the centerpiece of downtown Gatlinburg. The aquarium features an underwater acrylic tunnel in which visitors can ride through 700,000 gallons of water on a 320-foot moving glide path, just inches away from large sharks, poisonous ocean predators and numerous varieties of tropical fish. Intern study programs are also in the works for those interested in careers in marine science. Ripley's Aquarium offers self-guided tours, and guests should plan on exploring the ocean depths for as long as two-and-a-half hours. Sea life exhibits are found throughout, and visitors will also find Ripley's Cargo Hold gift shop and a deli-style restaurant complete with outdoor veranda. Ripley's can also serve your business or company, there are meeting rooms as well as banquet and wedding facilities available on the property for guests with a specific interest or desire. Previously home to the Greystone Hotel, the aquarium was constructed on a 6.9-acre site in downtown Gatlinburg.

Craftsmen's Fair - Occurring during the summer and fall at the Gatlinburg Convention Center. More than 150 craftspeople gather to demonstrate their skill and sell their unique art - (865) 436-7479

Golf - The Gatlinburg Municipal Golf Course is a year-round course and offers a fully-equipped pro shop, food services, as well as a picturesque setting that's hard to beat. Designed by noted golf course architect William Langford, this beautiful 18-hole course underwent its last major renovation in 1993 by Bob Cupp & Associates of Atlanta.

Guinness World of Records Museum - This museum features hundreds of exhibits of facts, feats and records such as the world's tallest man, the most expensive car, and the Batmobile.

Ober Gatlinburg - Ober is the place to ski in Gatlinburg. A 120-passenger chairlift leaves every 20 minutes to carry you to the resort's skating rink, alpine slide, go-cart track, bungee jump, batting cage, trampoline, video/arcade center, and craft and gift shops.

Pigeon Forge Attractions

Pigeon Forge Shopping Outlets

In 1996, Pigeon Forge was ranked in Southern Living magazine's Readers' Choice Awards as the No. 1 shopping destination in the South with over 100 outlet stores represented in the area's outlet malls. Directions: Pigeon Forge outlet shopping is only about 8 miles from Gatlinburg on Hwy 441. Turn east at light No. 3. Hightlights: River View, Tanger, and Belz Factory Outlets.

Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country - Dollywood features 40 live shows daily, 30 rides and attractions, crafts, and special events. Plus America's highest, longest and fastest waterfall ride.

The Comedy Barn - Nationally known comedians, jugglers, magicians, fire-eaters, and Arnold the mind-reading pig. 2775 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee (865) 428-5222

Dixie Stampede - Enjoy a night of whip cracking, horse racing, and assortment of belles, heros, and ostriches – all while sitting down to a four-course meal. One mile from Dollywood. 3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 1-800-356-1676.

Great Smoky Mountain Attractions

The National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in our National Park system with nearly 10 million visitors yearly. Highlights:

Cades Cove is the most popular destination in the park, located just outside of Townsend, Tn. Cabin in Cades CoveCades Cove's preserved pioneer homesteads, the backdrop of blue-misted mountains, and the abundant wildlife which now populate the area, bring in millions of visitors each year to the Cove. To accommodate the high number of guests, the Park provides a self-guided tour book at the Cove's entrance. In all, the 11-mile loop road takes around 45 minutes, by car, to complete. A more detailed look at all the homesteads, some of which must be done by hiking to the site, can take up to several hours. Or, just make it a Cades Cove day - stop at the Cable Mill area visitor center and include a 5-mile (round trip) hike to Abrams Falls.

Hiking - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park itself is by far the best part of the Great Smoky Mountains. With over 800 miles of trails, and more than 500,000 acres of land there's room for a lot of good stuff. During your visit to the Smokies, be sure to take in at least a few of the hikes. Highlights: Alum Cave Bluff, Ramsey Cascades, Abrams Falls.

Flyfishing the SmokiesFishing - You'll need a valid Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license to fish in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While they are not available in the Park, they can be purchased from different businesses in Gatlinburg, Townsend and Pigeon Forge. Officials with the Park limit fishing to one-half hour before sunrise and one-half hour after sunset in the Smokies year round. There are also restrictions on the type of fish you may keep. Highlight: Treat yourself to a day with professional guide Bobby Shults at the Smoky Mountain Angler in Gatlinburg TN (865) 436-8746.

Mt LeConte Lodge - There is no better place than Mt. LeConte to take in a Smoky Mountain sunrise, or sunset. Numbers of hikers have viewed the sunrise from Myrtle Point on LeConte's eastern side, and hurried to Clifttops to see the sun set over Clingman's Dome on the western flank. On average, LeConte Lodge can accommodate 45 guests per night, and normally fills up a year in advance. Details and photos. Directions: From Gatlinburg travel 9 miles on Newfound Gap Road to the Alum Cave Bluff trailhead. You'll begin your 5-mile hike to LeConte Lodge from the back of the parking area. Highlight: The views.

Fall Foliage - With Fall's bright sunny days and cool nights officially beginning September 23, there's really no time to waste. The Smoky Mountains' magical color show is dependent on frost or freezing temperatures--to trap the sugars in the leaves. Fall Foliage in the SmokiesThis act of nature gives way to the best reds and most vibrant colors throughout the month of October. Still, some of those colors will remain into November – just something to consider when determining the best route into the Park that time of year. More info and photos Highlights: Winding 32 miles between Gatlinburg, Tn and Cherokee NC, Newfound Gap Road offers a sample of the Park's vast splendor - including a wide pallet of color. Deciduous trees (in contrast with the evergreen of balsam fir and hemlock) range in altitude to include thousands of feet, and make for wonderful fall color. If you're into auto touring, Little River Road, which is on the way to Cades Cove, offers numerous miles amidst the season's grand finale.

Amusements & Entertainment

Smokies Class AA Minor League Baseball - The Tennessee Smokies play AA baseball just outside of Sevierville, Tn in Kodak. The stadium is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Interstate 40 and State Hwy 66 at exit number 407.

Outdoor Adventure

Whitewater Rafting - With five area rivers including the Nantahala, Nolichucky, Ocoee, Pigeon, French Broad, and the Chattooga in North Georgia there are numerous opportunities to raft Class II through Class IV rapids. Guide-assisted trips and lunch are options for each trip. Highlight: Rushing through the Nantahala Gorge in the Nantahala National Forest, this half-day 8 mile trip culminates in a plunge through Nantahala Falls.

Hiking - Fishing - Backcountry Camping - The Great Smokey Mountains National Park is what people come here to see. Its numerous trails and outdoor adventure opportunities are what keep people coming back. Get complete Park details here.

Regional Interests

The University of Tennessee Volunteers: For Big Orange fans who can't get enough Tennessee Vol football or basketball, we provide the following links.

Biltmore Estate - Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895, Biltmore Estate is America's largest private home. The 250-room French Renaissance chateau is located just outside Asheville, NC on 8,000 mountain acres.

Cherokee, North Carolina - Cherokee is one of five major gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and home of the Cherokee Indian. Highlights: Museum Of The Cherokee Indian and "Unto These Hills" Outdoor Drama and Directions: Cherokee is the southern gateway to the Smokies and can be reached via old route 19 or Hwy 441.

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