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The 8 best hotels in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, from budget family stays with water parks to hotels perched in the hills with hiking trails across the street

FAQ: Visiting Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Where are Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge?

Just seven miles separate Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, twin towns on the eastern Tennessee border with North Carolina. Neither city boasts a population above 6,000, but some 10 million visitors descend every year to both towns for their proximity to the Appalachian Mountains and a multitude of family-friendly attractions and theme parks. 

Should I stay in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge?

Most hotels in the area are situated on the main tourist strips that run through these two cities along US 321 and US 441.

For those wanting to spend most of the time at the theme parks and attractions, Pigeon Forge may be better suited, while those wanting to be close to the national forest may prefer Gatlinburg.

How much does it cost to stay at a hotel in Pigeon Forge?

Prices vary depending on the time of the year, but it’s relatively affordable to visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, especially compared to other Appalachian destinations like Asheville, North Carolina, or Greenville, South Carolina.

With so much competition among hotels, deals abound, especially in the winter off-season. Even in the peak of summer, a modest hotel can be had for $100 and a resort-style property is often within reach of $250.

When should I visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge?

Summer is peak season here, although spring and fall months also bring in the crowds. Expect extra traffic on mountain roads in the fall during peak leaf-peeping season.

During the holidays, both towns don decorations to bring in those hoping for a white Christmas, although snow is rare and highs in the winter often still reach the 50s. 

What is there to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge?

Ask the outdoorsy types and they’ll answer quickly: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With 522,000 acres, the park boasts camping, wildlife viewing, biking, and hiking. Even those not looking to summit a mountain can find activities here, like the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a six-mile drive with stunning mountain views and easily accessible waterfalls. 

In town, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer a very different kind of entertainment, with amusement parks, attractions, and entertainment venues crowding the main strip in both cities. 

Popular attractions include the Dollywood Theme Park, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Anakeesta Theme Park, Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena, Crave Golf Club, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, Ole Red, and Gold Rush Stables. 

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