If you love Myrtle Beach, then you will love Pigeon Forge. The setting may be the Great Smoky Mountains instead of the Grand Strand, but many of the attractions will feel really familiar. Off the main strip, visitors can choose from a wide range of ways to be entertained from amusement rides, miniature golf, outdoor adventures, arcades, go-cart racing, and dinner shows. It takes just over 3 ½ hours to get there from Charlotte, so skip the beach and head to Pigeon Forge for your next weekend away.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
On your way to Pigeon Forge, take a detour into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - you want regret it. A ride through the most visited national park in the US will be well worth your time. Take Highway 441, this road follows alongside the Oconaluftee River, which provides beautiful river and forest views.
A popular stop along Highway 441 is Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the national park and at 6,643 feet the third highest peak east of the Mississippi. The iconic spiral observation deck provides panoramic views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. On clear days when weather and air quality conditions cooperate, visitors can view seven states. There is a half-mile hike on a paved path to get to the dome. It’s a steep hike, but there are benches along the way to catch your breath.
Titanic Museum is a two-story museum shaped like the ill-fated RMS Titanic with the iceberg on its starboard side. It houses over 400 artifacts in twenty galleries. As visitors enter, everyone is given a boarding pass with the name of an actual passenger or crewmember. In the Titanic Memorial Room, they will find out whether their passenger survived or perished. A self-guided tour with interactive exhibits should take approximately two hours.
Hollywood Wax Museum
This is the only wax museum in the country devoted entirely to celebrity figures. You have the chance to rub elbows with your favorite television and movie stars as long as you don’t touch the figures. You are able to take countless photos with any star from your dreams. Current favorites Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Bradley Cooper, and many more await your arrival. Classic stars such as Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and John Wayne are timeless favorites found here.
Only four years old, The Island is a bustling entertainment center that has grown into a popular hot spot. Family-friendly rides, arcades, shops, and restaurants such as Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville can be enjoyed here. Don’t miss the Fountain Show. This is especially spectacular at night, having a water dance and light show choreographed to music.
Soar high over Pigeon Forge aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Wheel, where you’ll enjoy the spectacular views in climate-controlled comfort while riding in all glass gondolas. At night, over one million LED lights brighten the night sky from this 20 stories high Ferris wheel.
Old Mill Village
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Old Mill Village is a 200-year step back in time. Surrounding the water-powered gristmill you’ll find the village’s offerings, where you can sit down for a family-style meal at the Old Mill restaurant featuring Southern classics. Purchase fresh-ground grain products in the General Store, get a scoop of ice cream at the Creamery, and watch an in-house potter at the Pigeon River Pottery.
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
Not your typical roller coaster, Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is a mile-long spiral down the mountainside. Passengers are in full control of their ride with the ability to put the brakes at any time. It’s the first alpine coaster in the Southern states and the longest downhill track in the US. Don’t miss this thrill ride.
For more information, go to www.mypigeonforge.com.