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Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are two of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States. Although they are located right next to each other, each city provides a totally unique experience for visitors to East Tennessee. To help you decide which Smoky Mountain city is right for you, Top Cabin Rentals has put together a guide about what you can expect when you stay at our Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge cabins.

(See Related: About the Smoky Mountain Area)

Downtown Gatlinburg: Walkable and Charming

The city of Gatlinburg can feel like a quaint German town transplanted in Tennessee. Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg  is home to a thriving arts and crafts community, one of the area’s only ski resorts, and a charming downtown area. Not bad for a city that is only two miles long by five miles wide!

Staying in a cabin close to downtown Gatlinburg is ideal for vacationers who like to walk around and explore. Once you park you car in one of the numerous lots in Gatlinburg’s city center, you’ll be able to spend hours checking out all the shops, restaurants, and attractions packed into this compact city. During the summer and winter months, visitors will frequently be serenaded by talented musicians as part of Gatlinburg’s annual Tunes and Tales festival.

Follow the link to see our wonderful selection of downtown Gatlinburg cabins. Many of our vacation rentals are just a five minute drive from the heart of Gatlinburg.

Overview of side road new Pigeon Forge Cabins near the ParkwayThe Pigeon Forge Parkway: Overflowing With Fantastic Entertainment

In 1907, Pigeon Forge had just 154 residents. Today, millions of people flock to a city that has become a hub of quality family entertainment in the South. Unlike Gatlinburg, which has an easily walkable downtown, Pigeon Forge is best explored by motor vehicle. The centerpiece of this vacation destination is the Parkway, also known as The Strip.

Along the Parkway (part of Highway 411), visitors will encounter an endless parade of attractions, including dinner theaters, museums, wineries, and so much more. Your children will be delighted when they see an enormous replica of the Titanic, King Kong climbing the Empire State Building at the Hollywood Wax Museum, the upside down WonderWorks attraction, and a tremendous ferris wheel at The Island entertainment complex.

Top Cabin Rentals has a variety of excellent Pigeon Forge cabins near the Parkway.

Gatlinburg: Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Gatlinburg boasts some of the main entrances into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Completely free to enter, the GSMNP is the most visited national park in the United States! When you stay in Gatlinburg, you’ll be minutes away from over 500,000 acres of unspoiled Appalachian wilderness. If you love spending time hiking, fishing, or horseback riding, a Gatlinburg based vacation might be right for you.

Dollywood flower butterfly at entrancePigeon Forge: Home to Dollywood  

Pigeon Forge is home to the South’s favorite theme park! Dollywood is the brainchild of music superstar Dolly Parton, a Sevier County native who has given so much back to her community. At Dollywood, guests will enjoy awesome rides, musical shows, and seasonal festivals that bring talented performers from all around the world right to Pigeon Forge. During the summer, vacationers can visit Dollywood’s Splash Country for some wet and wild water park fun.

Summary: Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge  

Staying in Gatlinburg is best for people who love:

  • A small town feel (but still lots to do)

  • Walking around and exploring

  • Being close to the national park

Staying in Pigeon Forge is best for people who love:

  • Fantastic family entertainment

  • Driving to attractions and taking in the sights

  • Being close to Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country

(See Related: Why You Should Rent a Cabin in The Great Smoky Mountains)

If you’re still not sure which city to vacation in, don’t worry! Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are just 20 minutes away from each other, so it’s easy to enjoy the best of both worlds.