Hotel at a Glance: Island Drive Lodge
Island Drive Lodge lies in Pigeon Forge, a resort town at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Nearby attractions include Dollywood and its water park, Dollywood’s Splash Country, the Titanic Museum Attraction, and all the shops and restaurants of The Island entertainment complex.
- Complimentary continental breakfast served each morning
- Where you’ll stay: Comfortable, spacious rooms feature mini refrigerators, coffeemakers, microwaves, free WiFi, and new flat-screen televisions. Each king suite has a fireplace and a two-person hot tub.
- Dollywood and its water park are 5 miles from the hotel; numerous shops and restaurants are within walking distance.
- Across the street: You could walk to The Island, an outdoor entertainment, shopping, and dining center with a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel
- Distance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park: An entrance to the park is just 9 miles away.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: Family-Friendly Attractions and Outdoor Activities in the Great Smoky Mountains
Though it’s secluded in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge is home to some quirky destinations, including Dollywood, a Titanic museum that looks just like the famed ocean liner from the outside, and an interactive children’s museum housed in an upside-down three-story building.
In Pigeon Forge’s historical town center, a cluster of old-fashioned specialty shops and restaurants forms the Old Mill Square along the Little Pigeon River. Inside the mill, a pair of 4,600-pound granite stones has been grinding grain since the early 1800s. Another nearby attraction is Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, located a few miles down the road in Gatlinburg. Here, exotic stingrays and four-eyed anableps swim with other sea creatures beneath a backlit waterfall. At the shark lagoon, you can stand inside an enclosed glass tunnel to get an up-close view of green eels, sand tiger sharks, and sea turtles.
But the top draw is, of course, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located roughly 10 miles south of Pigeon Forge. You can hike along more than 800 miles of trails that lead past waterfalls and pioneer-era log cabins tucked deep within the densely forested mountains. Or take a bicycle ride on the 11-mile loop through Cades Cove, a broad valley known for its ample wildlife-viewing opportunities; deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and vacationing college mascots are all known to frequent the open meadows. One of the best places to catch a glowing sunset is Clingmans Dome, the park’s highest point of elevation at 6,600 feet.