Long overdue for a vacation or tired of the same old stops? It’s time to revisit the Great Smoky Mountains because there is SO much more than what you can remember! After going year after year with family to Pigeon Forge, I thought I knew everything about the area. But after visiting Dollywood’s Wildwood Grove, Ole Red, Anakeesta, and the SkyBridge, I realized I was so wrong and that the tourist town had come into its own in the second decade of the 21st Century.
These, and so many more new attractions, revitalize what made this area boom with tourism following the 1960s with an attention to the therapeutic beauty of the mountains, the importance of cultural art and history, and how being cooped up in a cabin with friends and family can be some of best times you didn’t know you needed. Check out some of our favorite new stops you have been missing out on in the past couple years:
Wildwood Grove in Dollywood
The newest expansion to the South’s premier theme park is like seeing the Smoky Mountains through the dream-filled eyes of Dolly Parton. Everywhere you look there are magical mountain creatures, fairies, giant butterflies, extravagant flowers, and water features. In the center of Wildwood Grove, a giant tree is filled with hypnotizing lights and butterflies, filling the night sky with a dream come to life. Of course, the 11 new rides supply you with all the same excitement and thrills we have come to expect from Dollywood, but this area is especially fun for families with young children.
Soaky Mountain Waterpark
90 MILLION dollars. That’s right. This impressive waterpark foot the bill to create a state-of-the-art waterpark like you’ve never experienced! Ground breaking began on August 6, 2019 and is expected to be finished in time for the summer 2020 season. There is SO much to be excited about when it comes to this park, from a water coaster that will be the first of its kind in the world to the 24,000-square-foot “not so lazy” river. Check out Knox News’ entire piece for all the coming highlights!
Since its grand opening in 2017, this dreamy mountaintop attraction has continued to build on to its already stunning campus. With restaurants, ziplining, treetop walkways, shopping, and gorgeous garden trails all centered around the beauty of the Smokies, you are in for a real treat at the end of the Chondola ride to the summit of Anakeesta Mountain.
If you have ever watched The Voice then you know exactly who Blake Shelton is, but did you know he has his own restaurant and bar that is all about singing talent, just like the show? The country music star and his team are constantly scouting for the area’s up-and-coming talent and using the stage at Ole Red to put them on full display while you dig into mouthwatering Southern cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails. Good food, good drinks, and good music – what more could you ask for during a night out in Gatlinburg?
You want some jaw-dropping views? Take a walk across the nation’s longest suspension bridge, spanning 680’ across and 140’ above the forests of Gatlinburg! The 5’ wide bridge has a glass bottom at the midpoint where you can look straight down (if the heights thing doesn’t bother you too much) and then look out to the city of Gatlinburg surrounded by massive mountains and stunning skylines. As a part of SkyLift Park, the SkyBridge really puts the beauty of the Smokies on full display.
Sevier Air Trampoline and Ninja Warrior Park
If you have any fans of the show American Ninja Warrior they will absolutely LOVE this new attraction in Sevierville, Tennessee, the third sister city to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. There are interactive games that involve dodging, hitting targets, and speed obstacle courses, along with smaller trampoline areas for younger ninja warriors!
Escape Rooms at Crave Golf Club
From shooting zombies to racing the clock to save yourselves from a disasterous submarine ride, enter the high-adrenaline situations of your favorite movies in The Escape Rooms at Crave Golf Club! These fun, immersible storylines are a cool break away from your normal tourist attractions. While you are there, play through one of Pigeon Forge’s premier miniature golf courses, bowl, and much more!
With so many new things to do and relaxing views on the deck of your cabin, you get the best of both worlds in one magical vacation in a Pigeon Forge, TN Cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains.