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h2odivers...Ray

Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?

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Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?

 We were talking about going to the pigeon Forge Gatlinburg area this next summer. We want to go to Dollywood at least one day perhaps two days. We also want to sightsee, shop, see a show or two and enjoy some local cuisine.  We will be there at least 5 days and as many as 7.

I know a few of you have been to pigeon forge/ Gatlinburg and also Branson  and I’ve heard they’re similar.  Is Gatlinburg or pigeon forge like branson?

Questions...

1.  Dollywood-1 or 2 days?

2.  Where to stay?  Pigeon forge or Gatlinburg?

3.  Must do’s?

4.  Restaurants?

 

thanks

ray 

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I would shoot to stay in Pigeon Forge unless you are just wanting to try to be closer to the mountains. You will have way more options in the PF area, and be much closer to all the stuff there is to do. 
I would say 2 days at Dollywood to be able to move around at a leisurely pace and see everything. 
Other things to check out in the area would be Cades Cove in the park, Clingmans Dome in the park, and any of the nature trails\hikes in the park.
It's sad that I live 30 minutes from there and couldn't really tell you about any of the food choices up there. I always hear people talk about the Apple Barn so check into that. Another good place is Calhouns or Smoky Mountain Brewery. They are owned by the same local company and have good eats.

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Love the Apple Barn!  We've also been to Huck Finn's Catfish a couple of times. 

Dollywood used to have an arrive after 4 pm and your ticket was good for the next day also.  1-2 days depends on whether you want to do shows, rides, all or some. The shows are set times and usually more in the afternoon than morning. We've done 2 days when we want to see all the shows at Christmas because of the scheduling. 

Hotels - we usually stay in Pigeon Forge or even Sevierville which usually is a little cheaper. Gatlinburg is more walk around and Pigeon Forge is more drive between shops, restaurants, attractions. 

There's tons to do but I've mainly only been to Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, and outlet shopping. Someone I know has recommended the Titanic museum and I hope to get there someday.

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We've been to both Branson and PF, both are pretty towns.  For us, Dollywood is doable in one day but if they still offer the 4p and the next day is free, we'd definitely do that again.  We just wouldn't pay to do two full days at Dollywood.  We would like to try the water park and will probably do so on our next visit, now that our kiddos are older.   We've never been to Gatlinburg and would like to go. 

We've heard that there is more nature in Gatlinburg, but more tourist/shopping in PF.  We've stayed at The Resort at Governor's Crossing, back in 2013 and had a great time.  Stayed at another hotel, a few years before that, but I cannot remember the name of it.  We've camped at River Plantation and enjoyed our visit. 

15 hours ago, Seals said:

 There's tons to do but I've mainly only been to Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, and outlet shopping. 

Sounds like us.  We've wanted to do the putt-putt, go-carts and a museum... but they are not cheap. 

The only food I can think of, was a pizza buffet place so, can't add anything there (sorry!).  I think everyone should visit both Branson and PF at least once in their lifetime.  We really enjoyed our visits.

Have fun!!

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We prefer Pigeon Forge over Gatlinburg for camping.    And yes go to the Apple Barn.  We spent two weeks in the area and loved every minute.  They have several mountain coasters, but the kids loved  " Goats on the Roof".     We enjoyed Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que also.    I also have to tell you that Dollywood has some excellent food that shouldn't be overlooked.  Gatlinburg was also fun and as stated Calhoun's and Smokey Mountain Brewery were good.  We also had a great lunch at Mountain Edge Grill in Gatlinburg.   The Bush's Baked Bean Headquarters and factory is within an hour of Pigeon Forge and we had a fun time visiting it.

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Restaurants that are my favorite: (not in any particular order)

Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge - for breakfast is a must

Blue Moose in Pigeon Forge - Bar type atmosphere with great selection of wings (all you can eat at lunch)

BullFish in Pigeon Forge -  Upscale with some very good pasta dishes along with steaks

Buddy's BBQ - Pigeon Forge- Very much a fast food feel BBQ place, but a locally owned place out of Knoxville that has some darn good BBQ

Calhoun's - Upscale BBQ, must try ribs if you go.

Smoky Mtn Brewery has good beer selections and decent food - nice family dining area, as well as a bar seating area with several TV's for sports watching

Pancake Pantry  in Gatlinburg - very good breakfast, just expect a long line if you go.

 

If we are camping, we stay at Imagination Mountain (Formerly Jellystone Campground) on the back side of Gatlinburg in Cosby TN. Requires a drive into Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge but very much a quieter side of the smokies along with some activities for the kids.

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Not sure if anybody mentioned this yet or not, but Dollywood offers a deal where if you enter the park after 3pm, you can come back the next day for free.  We took advantage of that this past summer when we went and you can really do a lot in the 5-6 hours you are there the first day. (Park closes around 9 pm) We were really glad we didn't spring for 2 day tickets.  I think everyone above has pretty much covered it. We stay at Bear Cove Village if we stay in PF, and a place called Smoky Bear Campground in Cosby if we want to be out of the touristy parts of the area. It's a great part of the country.  Definitely see the park, the go karts are great but hiking to, say, grotto falls is amazing!  Hope you make it, have fun!

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Does pigeon forge or gatlinburg have more  live music venues?

which town is more like Branson?

we usually like to go to a nice restaurant when we travel. Someplace that has a nice wine list.  Any suggestions?

uber?  We don’t drink and drive

i read about a shuttle that goes to Dollywood.  Does it go to most of the resorts in Pigeon Forge?  

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Not sure about the Island but could be worth a trip for people watching. PF has a trolley system to get you around the area with a lot of stops and cheap. We used it to go to Dollywood, cheaper then the parking fee and drops you off near the entrance gate.

We are thinking of hitting Branson with the rv this summer so any tips there would be helpful, thanks.

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56 minutes ago, dblr....Rennie said:

Not sure about the Island but could be worth a trip for people watching. PF has a trolley system to get you around the area with a lot of stops and cheap. We used it to go to Dollywood, cheaper then the parking fee and drops you off near the entrance gate.

We are thinking of hitting Branson with the rv this summer so any tips there would be helpful, thanks.

 We’ve never stayed at any campgrounds in Branson. So I won’t be any help there. We did pass by the KOA campground and it looked pretty nice. And we do have a friend that camps there occasionally. I can ask them if you’d like some recommendations. 

 And Branson consists of many theaters and attractions. Looking at pictures of pigeon Forge they seem to have quite a few of the same attractions. I. E. The titanic exhibit.   

 Downtown Branson in the Riverwalk area is very nice with some great shops and excellent restaurants. There is also a small bass pro shop there. Downtown Branson is on the far east end of Highway 76 approximately  12 miles west on highway 76 is Silverdollar city. In between the two are where all the hotels, theaters, attractions, and shopping is.

Highway 76 is always crowded. Try to avoid it if you can.  The hotel we always stay at is 2 1/2 miles west of downtown Branson on Highway 76 on any given day it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get there from downtown. And if you hit Highway 76 before or after the theaters open that could easily change to 30 to 40 minutes.  But we take the blue route and we can make it in 5-10 minutes  

The hotel we always stay at is 2 1/2 miles west of downtown Branson on Highway 76 on any given day it takes 15 to 20 minutes to get there from downtown. And if you hit Highway 76 before or after the theaters open that could easily change to 30 to 40 minutes.   

There are several alternative routes you can take. These alternative routes are called the blue route, yellow route, and read route, google a map showing the routes.   The green route on any map is Hwy 76  

If you take Highway 76 from downtown Branson to Silverdollar city expect to be in the car for 45 minutes to an hour. But if you take the red route you can make it in 20-25 minutes.   I see if I can find a good map showing the different routes and post it for you. 

 If you’re coming in to Branson from the north. You’ll be coming through Springfield Missouri. It is home to the original and biggest bass pro shop there is. It’s well worth stopping for a few hours.  There’s also a new museum there that just recently opened. We have not had a chance to see it yet but heard it is incredible. And if your hungry the bass pro shop has a great restaurant, Hemingway’s.  Even if you don’t eat there you must walk into the restaurant and check out the bar. It has an awesome saltwater aquarium that takes up the whole back wall of the bar.  

 If you want to eat that are very touristy spot stop at lamberts Café. It’s home of the thrown rolls. It’s a tourist trap and the lines are always long that they have excellent food and you will not leave their hungry

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2 hours ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

Does pigeon forge or gatlinburg have more  live music venues?

which town is more like Branson?

we usually like to go to a nice restaurant when we travel. Someplace that has a nice wine list.  Any suggestions?

uber?  We don’t drink and drive

i read about a shuttle that goes to Dollywood.  Does it go to most of the resorts in Pigeon Forge?  

I haven't been to Gatlinburg, but I have been to both PF and Branson.  I think Branson has more shows than Branson.  From memory (of conversations with others), I think Gatlinburg is more about the history... not as much on the "theme park" stuff.  But, haven't been, so I'm probably way off :P

I think Branson feels more spread out than PF, but both had the theme parks, some shows, and the tourist stuff like putt-putt, go-carts, Ripley's museum, etc.

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Ray thanks for all the info, I will keep the side routes in mind. We are planning this trip so our son from New Mexico can meets us there, it looks to be about a 13 hour drive for him so we shall see how the planning goes. Thanks again.

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56 minutes ago, dblr....Rennie said:

Ray thanks for all the info, I will keep the side routes in mind. We are planning this trip so our son from New Mexico can meets us there, it looks to be about a 13 hour drive for him so we shall see how the planning goes. Thanks again.

https://www.bransontourismcenter.com/page/map-of-branson

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2 hours ago, twiceblessed....nacole said:

 I think Branson has more shows than Branson.  

I see Nacole has started drinking already today.   :lol:

 

Ray, I think you would like Gatlinburg.   It's a nice walkable town with lots to do without getting into a car or a trolley.   You can have dinner and some drinks and then walk if you book a downtown hotel.   PF has tons to do but is very car dependent.  Yes the trolleys are fine, but can take a lot of time (worse than Disney transportation at times) if you need to transfer trolleys.   I use it for direct routes like the KOA to Dolly but not when transfers are required.   

Unless there's something at the Island that interests you, I'd skip it.  It's crazy busy.   

And this I can't stress enough.... avoid driving on the Parkway as much as possible.   Try to avoid driving from I40 to Gburg through Sevierville and PF.  It'll take forever.  There are alternate routes. 

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26 minutes ago, DaveInTN said:

I see Nacole has started drinking already today.   :lol:

 

Ray, I think you would like Gatlinburg.   It's a nice walkable town with lots to do without getting into a car or a trolley.   You can have dinner and some drinks and then walk if you book a downtown hotel.   PF has tons to do but is very car dependent.  Yes the trolleys are fine, but can take a lot of time (worse than Disney transportation at times) if you need to transfer trolleys.   I use it for direct routes like the KOA to Dolly but not when transfers are required.   

Unless there's something at the Island that interests you, I'd skip it.  It's crazy busy.   

And this I can't stress enough.... avoid driving on the Parkway as much as possible.   Try to avoid driving from I40 to Gburg through Sevierville and PF.  It'll take forever.  There are alternate routes. 

Maybe she just thinks Branson has more shows in Branson. LOL

Good info on the trolleys. 

The Ferris wheel and margaritaville interests us about the Island. We are parrot heads.  Lol. 

We will be coming down I-40 from Oklahoma. How would you recommend we go?How would you recommend we go?

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It's been many many years since we went to Branson and I'm not sure if they still let you in without tickets but the bathrooms at the Shoji Tabuchi theatre are amazing. I know when we went we didn't see a show there but someone told my grandma about them so we went and checked them out. Can't remember if there was a charge or not but I don't think so. That all might have changed now, they were voted Americas best bathrooms 2009.

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/americas-best-bathrooms/

Not your normal tourist attraction but if ya gotta go they are the place to do it.

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2 hours ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

Maybe she just thinks Branson has more shows in Branson. LOL

Good info on the trolleys. 

The Ferris wheel and margaritaville interests us about the Island. We are parrot heads.  Lol. 

We will be coming down I-40 from Oklahoma. How would you recommend we go?How would you recommend we go?

We went to the Margaritaville there and it was fun, so prob worth a visit then. 

Recommended route would depend on whether you are going to PF or Gburg.  For PF I recommend getting off 40 at the Sevierville exit, and then in Sevierville you can cut over to Veterans Blvd to drive down into PF.  To go to Gatlinburg I prefer going past Sevierville and exiting at exit 435 at Cosby, then backtracking on route 321 to Gburb. Actually quite a bit longer... but quicker during busy times.   If it's not terribly busy, you can use the same route I said for PF, and then where Veterans Blvd dead ends at the Parkway turn left and head toward Gatlinburg.

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20 hours ago, DaveInTN said:

I see Nacole has started drinking already today.   :lol:

 

 

Oh gosh... lol :lol:

20 hours ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

Maybe she just thinks Branson has more shows in Branson. LOL

 

Yep... that was it.  Branson definitely has more shows IN Branson :P    Meant to say, that I think Branson has more shows than PF.

 

22 hours ago, dblr....Rennie said:

Ray thanks for all the info, I will keep the side routes in mind. We are planning this trip so our son from New Mexico can meets us there, it looks to be about a 13 hour drive for him so we shall see how the planning goes. Thanks again.

I've been researching NM a lot these past 36 hours... planning our trip to the SW, for the end of April.

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I see Nacole has started drinking already today.   
 
Ray, I think you would like Gatlinburg.   It's a nice walkable town with lots to do without getting into a car or a trolley.   You can have dinner and some drinks and then walk if you book a downtown hotel.   PF has tons to do but is very car dependent.  Yes the trolleys are fine, but can take a lot of time (worse than Disney transportation at times) if you need to transfer trolleys.   I use it for direct routes like the KOA to Dolly but not when transfers are required.   
Unless there's something at the Island that interests you, I'd skip it.  It's crazy busy.   
And this I can't stress enough.... avoid driving on the Parkway as much as possible.   Try to avoid driving from I40 to Gburg through Sevierville and PF.  It'll take forever.  There are alternate routes. 

Dave has accurately described why we love Gatlinburg. We do exactly as he says. Park the car at the hotel or condo and walk everywhere while we are there.


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On 11/15/2017 at 10:42 AM, h2odivers...Ray said:

Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?

 We were talking about going to the pigeon Forge Gatlinburg area this next summer. We want to go to Dollywood at least one day perhaps two days. We also want to sightsee, shop, see a show or two and enjoy some local cuisine.  We will be there at least 5 days and as many as 7.

I know a few of you have been to pigeon forge/ Gatlinburg and also Branson  and I’ve heard they’re similar.  Is Gatlinburg or pigeon forge like branson?

Questions...

1.  Dollywood-1 or 2 days?

2.  Where to stay?  Pigeon forge or Gatlinburg?

3.  Must do’s?

4.  Restaurants?

 

thanks

ray 

If you ARE doing more than 1 day at Dollywood. Buy the annual pass, as it cost less then 2 days at the park. Bear cove village is the closest campground to the park and is now a YOGI BEAR campground. 

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7 hours ago, twiceblessed....nacole said:

 

I've been researching NM a lot these past 36 hours... planning our trip to the SW, for the end of April.

I am currently up in Taos for ski season and it is beautiful out here, where are you looking at?

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