Is it better to stay in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg? When visiting the Smoky Mountains, most people will ask themselves this same question. Today, let us guide you through the advantages of both locations so you can make an informed decision about where to stay.
Many people find it difficult to choose just one of these two amazing towns for their vacation destination. The good news is that no matter which town you choose, you’ll be in for an incredible experience! Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg offer a wide variety of attractions, restaurants, shops, and more.
Join us as we explore each area and answer the question: Is it better to stay in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?
Is it cheaper to stay in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg?
Pigeon Forge is home to a wide variety of hotels and motels, most of which offer budget-friendly rates.
However, if you want more upscale accommodations with modern amenities and luxury features, then Gatlinburg may be a better option since it has several high-end resorts.
The cost of dining and entertainment in both towns is relatively similar, but there are more restaurants to choose from in Gatlinburg.
Additionally, Gatlinburg has a few attractions such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Ripley’s Aquarium that can add up quickly if you take advantage of them.
If you’re looking to save money, then Pigeon Forge is likely a better option since there are more budget-friendly lodging options in the area.
Is Pigeon Forge Or Gatlinburg closer to Smoky Mountains?
The city of Gatlinburg is located just 5 miles away from the Smoky Mountains National Park entrance, while Pigeon Forge lies around 8 miles away.
This makes Gatlinburg the closest city to the park and its many attractions, including hiking trails and scenic overlooks.
In addition to being closer in proximity to the park, Gatlinburg also offers a variety of attractions and activities within city limits.
From its Ober Gatlinburg Ski Resort and Ripley’s attractions to its unique shopping district, there’s plenty to see and do in this mountain town.
Which Is More Kid-Friendly, Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge?
Both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge offer plenty of family-friendly activities and attractions, so it really depends on the type of experience you are looking for.
Pigeon Forge is often thought to be more kid-friendly as there are a variety of amusement parks and attractions specifically geared toward children, including the famous Dollywood theme park.
While Gatlinburg offers plenty of attractions that are suitable for children, the appeal of its moonshine distilleries combined with outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting and hiking tend to pull in a more mature crowd.
Advantages of Staying in Pigeon Forge
- Lodging is generally cheaper
- Most attractions offer free parking
- Home of Tennessee’s no.1 attraction, Dollywood
- If you like driving around, then Pigeon Forge is better
- Plenty of kid-friendly attractions
- Dinner Shows
- More discount outlet stores
- More family-style restaurants
Advantages of Staying in Gatlinburg
- Very Walkable
- Closer to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing and more.
- Offer more upscale lodging and restaurants, including the best pancake places and steakhouses in the Smokies.
- There are plenty of things to do in Gatlinburg for adults
- Home of the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community
In conclusion, the decision of whether to stay in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg really depends on your individual needs and preferences.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option with plenty of kid-friendly attractions, then Pigeon Forge may be the better choice.
On the other hand, if you want more upscale accommodations close to The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and its many outdoor activities, then Gatlinburg could be just what you need.
Ultimately, both towns offer an incredible experience – making it hard to go wrong no matter which one you choose!
Smoky Mountains 7-Day Itinerary
I understand how difficult it can be to plan a trip, especially if it’s your first time going. That’s why I created this 7-day itinerary for the Smoky Mountains. It outlines all of the best places to go in the area and comes with insider tips that will save you a lot of stress–trust me, they saved me when I was planning my own trip!
- Our 7-day itinerary takes you to the best places in the Smoky Mountains.
- You’ll get to see all the best sights and attractions with driving directions
- The itinerary is designed to show you the most scenic routes.
- Packing Checklist for every season.
- You’ll have everything you need to make the most of your trip.
- Insider Tips!
Here’s a quick overview of our Smoky Mountains 7-Day Itinerary.
- Day 1: Cades Cove Loop
- Day 2: Rich Mountain Road
- Day 3: Cataloochee Valley
- Day 4: Newfound Gap Road
- Day 5: Roaring Fork Motor Trail
- Day 6: Little River Road
- Day6: Foothills Parkway
Get Our FREE Smoky Mountains Checklist!
Related Smoky Mountain Resources
- Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide
- Gatlinburg Vacation Guide
- 125+ Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
- Great Smoky Mountains Family Vacations Facebook Group
More Related Resources
If you’ve finally decided where to stay for your vacation, congratulations! Now it is time for you to check out our list of 125+ Amazing Things To Do in the Smoky Mountains!
Try this national park photo scavenger hunt idea from PhotoJeepers to take photos and make your trip even more exciting!