Just 85 miles away is Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge Tennessee, home to many attractions including Ripley's Aquarium and Dollywood. You can drive to Gatlinburg direct (1.5 hours) from Asheville via I-40, taking exit 443 and following the Foothills Parkway to US 321 South. Or you can drive through Maggie Valley, Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (3 hours).
Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies: Walk through the world's longest underwater aquarium tunnel surrounded by sharks at this 1.4 million gallon mega fish bowl. Touch a stingray, hold a horseshoe crab, and see more than 10,000 exotic sea creatures. Hourly dive/feeding show.
Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway: Ride the 120-passenger tramway from downtown Gatlinburg up to Ober Gatlinburg ski resort and amusement park with spectacular year-round views.
Guinness World Records Museum: See hundreds of exhibits from the best-selling Guinness Book of World Records with memorabilia of famous record-holders and hundreds of exhibits in downtown Gatlinburg.
Smoky Mountain Winery: Sample wines which have received hundreds of regional, national and international awards. Visit the production area for a free tour. A knowledgeable and courteous staff will answer your questions on the aspects of wine making.
Space Needle: Ride to the top of this 342-foot observation tower in the middle of Gatlinburg for panoramic views of the valley and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Gatlinburg Sky Lift: Ride up Crockett Mountain from downtown.
Ripley's Haunted Adventure: Scream and have fun in this multi-million dollar haunted attraction with live actors and special effects.
Hillbilly Golf: Ride an incline 300 above the city to play the "world's most unusual" miniature golf.
Motion Ride Movie Theater: This vitual reality motion stimulator will take you on a fun adventure.
Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum: See more than 500 exhibits of outstanding and incredible artifacts from around the world.
Star Cars Museum: See 30 real Hollywood movie and TV cars in recreated sets with sound, lights and action.
Ripley's Davy Crockett Mini-Golf: Two 18-hole courses replicating the "old days" when a Tennessee hero named Davy Crockett roamed "them thar hills."
Ripley's Moving Theatre: This 3D motion stimulator lets you feel the wind and snow as your seats move with the 70 mm film action.
Cooter's Place: Take a trip back in time at Cooter's Dukes of Hazzard store and Museum.
Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg: Adventure of fantasy and fear in this "turn of the century" haunted mansion.
Pigeon Forge & Dollywood
In addition to Dollywood, the number one attraction in Pigeon Forge, there are nearly 50 fun-filled vacaction attractions in town. Enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding mountains or stay in town for shopping and many fun-filled activities. You can even be a kid again with go-cart tracks, bumper boats, arcade games, bungee jumping and miniature golf!
Dollywood: Dolly Parton’s influences are found throughout her 150-acre Dollywood family adventure park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Her creativity as well as her fond childhood remembrances of what it would be like to be a star inspire many of Dollywood’s attractions and add to the uniqueness that is found only at Dollywood in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. We especially like the Dollywood Festival of Nations. Dolly’s career has taken her from the hills of East Tennessee to the world’s most prestigious stages. A firm believer that music unites us all—regardless of the language in which it is delivered—Dolly was inspired to add the international Festival of Nations, a multi-faceted celebration of music, dance, food and art from around the world.
Dollywood's Splash Country: This is a favorite cooling-off spot for Pigeon Forge visitors. This fun-filled water adventure park covers nearly 25 acres and includes thrilling water slides, a 25,000-square-foot wave pool, a mountain raft ride, a relaxing lazy river ride, a children’s activity area, and plenty of sun and shade areas.
Shopping: Pigeon Forge and the next door town of Sevierville has plenty of shopping. There are 500+ stores, shops and outlets to satisfy every shopping craving during your visit.If you are looking for something a bit more unique you’ll find hand-blown glass, handmade pottery, instruments, and many more arts and crafts. The Pigeon River Crossings is an outlet with over 80 stores and you can find great deals all the time! Tanger Outlet Center in Sevierville offers over 100 brand name manufacturer and designer outlet stores.
Old Mill: In continuous operation since 1830, this historic structure and its 24-foot wheel generated electricity for Pigeon Forge until 1930. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mill is one of the city’s most photographed locations. Visitors can tour the mill and purchase a variety of products made on site including corn meal, grits and flour.
Bluff Mountain Adventures: Guide ATV trail rides on 7,000 acres of mountain trails with scenic views.
Smoky Mountain Car Museum: See more than 30 gas, electric and steam vehicles owned by some famous folks. Go to their Web site.
Dinosaur Walk Museum: See 60 life size dinosaurs and 20 reptile exhibits.
Boyds Bear Country: Tour the "World's Most Humongous Teddy Bear Store."
Carbo's Police Museum: As seen on David Letterman, with police items from around the world. Open April-October.
Lost Sea: Take a ride on a glass bottom boat on "America's largest underground lake."
Pigeon Forge Gem Mine: Be a prospector and mine for rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
Veterans Memorial Museum: This impressive collection of military memorabilia begins with artifacts from the Revolutionary War and continues through to present day.
Mountain View Canoe Rentals: Great choice for canoe trips and tours, tubing, and just plain ole fun. Tours include horseback riding, helicopter tour, lunch, ghost-walk and much more.
Elvis Museum: World's largest private collection of Elvis memorabilia.
Flyaway Indoor Skydiving: Following a brief orientation, Flyaway visitors can accomplish the feat of skydiving . . . indoors! This vertical wind tunnel allows visitors to break the bonds of gravity and soar above the ground. The Pigeon Forge facility is one of the few indoor skydiving simulators in the nation.
Scenic Helicopter Rides: Enjoy spectacular views of the mountains.
Haunting Tours: Enjoy 60 to 90 minutes of history, folklore, and authentic ghost stories of the Great Smokies.
Floyd Garrett's Muscle Car Museum: Go back in time and see 90 ground-pounding, fire-breathing examples of American automotive culture.