Hotel at a Glance: Clarion Inn Pigeon Forge
It’s easy to be taken aback by the breakfast spread at Clarion Inn Pigeon Forge; each morning, the staff sets out 40 options to help you start your day. Fill up on country-style potatoes or fresh fruit—it’s all on the house.
- Comfy queen rooms feature flat-screen TVs and beds with overstuffed blankets and pillows.
- Fire pits and a water slide add a fun vibe to the outdoor pool area, where you can relax in a hot tub beneath a sky full of stars.
- Have a snack: Cookies, popcorn, and drinks are served from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the daily meet and greet.
- The reviews are in: The hotel won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2014.
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.