There are no growing pains as Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are each adding new, soon-to-be tour & travel favorites to their lineup
From new attractions and entertainment to accommodations and dining options, 2019 saw expanded Smoky Mountain offerings with even more to come. “2019 was a great year for Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains and we’re ready to welcome even more groupfriendly hotels, restaurants, attractions and theaters in 2020,” said Joy McNealy, CTIS senior sales manager for the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism. Here are just a few new attractions to gather your interest.
Sometimes the journey is half the fun. From Downtown Gatlinburg, you can take the Chondola or 45-passenger Ridge Rambler to Anakeesta. You’ll arrive at Firefly Village filled with quaint shops, dining options, a botanical garden and truly panoramic views. Firefly Village is your gateway to adventure including racing ziplines, the Treetop Skybridge, North America’s longest tree-based bridge, the Rail Runner Mountain Coasters and a whimsical tree house village connected by bridges of varying challenge levels. New restaurants and expanded retail space will be opening in spring 2020. anakeesta.com
Since 1954, SkyLift Park has offered Gatlinburg’s best views and most memorable experience. It got even better in 2019 with the opening of the spectacular new SkyBridge, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America stretching 680 feet. Also, the expansive new SkyDeck overlooking Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains is perfect for catching a sunset, or just relaxing on the top of Crockett Mountain. gatlinburgskylift.com
Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area added 250-foot lanes for summer tubing. More than 100 rare pinball and retro arcade games are housed at the Pinball Museum at the Gatlinburg Space Needle. Gatlinburg’s Tennessee Cider Company offers the sweetest ciders and southern hospitality. The Goodwater Winery Gatlinburg offers the vineyards unique and locally made blends. Specializing in craft beer, craft pizza and cold brew nitro coffee, Gatlinburg Brewing Company is located downtown.
Blake Shelton’s Ole Red Gatlinburg restaurant is now open, as is Local Attraction Gastropub. Located in the marketplace, Cookie Dough Bliss is where you can satisfy your sweet tooth. Slug in the Village shops features gifts and souvenirs by local artists, designers and makers. Paying tribute to the Appalachian Trail and the Gatlinburg mountain setting, Appy Lodge offers a truly local feel.
Located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, Mountain Mile is a major development as a new retail, entertainment, attractions and dining destination. Construction of the Tower Shops retail space is underway
with a variety of upscale retail partners, including premier national brands and local shops committed to 2020 openings. REI Coop and Appalachian Apparel company are just a few retailers committed. New dining options at Mountain Mile will be Cream & Sugar Sweet Shop, Currahee Winery, Mountain Rifle Coffee Company, while Junction 35 began serving late October. Already open and centered in the Tower Shops, the Mountain Monster features three rides from a 200-foot tower. mountainmilepigeonforge.com
When the Dawson and McGraw families square off in 13 competitive logger events, there’s sure to be real completion among world-class lumberjacks at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show. This authentic outdoor show performs regardless of the weather with the lumberjacks outside and spectators in a climate-controlled grandstand. The adjacent all new Lumberjack Adventure features the Flying Ox Zipline Roller Coaster, High Woodsman Challenge, Logger Sports and Timber Towers. lumberjackfeud.com
The newest way to see the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is on a guided excursion with Pink Jeep Tours. For the first time in its 60 year history, Pink Jeep Tours has expanded east from the desert southwest. The expansion offers a number of guided tour options in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—the most visited national park in the United States. Pink Jeep Tours offers group rates on tours.
Groups will learn of history, geology, flora, and fauna from a Pink Jeep Tours certified interpretive guide. The tour of Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail takes guests on ecosystem changes equivalent to drive from Georgia to Maine on your 3,000-feet climb to Newfound Gap. Groups will experience some of the most incredible views in the nation along Foothills Parkway and learn the story of the decades-long project. Each tour concludes with a thrilling off-road experience on private land, designed and built by Pink Adventure Tours. “We’re excited to be part of the Pigeon Forge Community. Groups of all ages will enjoy their guided experience through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the 4×4 adventure on private land,” said Jodi O’Gara, sales manager. pinkadventuretours.com
The Big Show came to Pigeon Forge in October with music and comedy production and an uncommon twist. Arrows are flying through the theater. Silverbowshow.com
The Buttonwillow Civil War Theater is no longer a dinner theater at its new location on the Parkway, but it’s still perfect for groups that love history and like to laugh. Buttonwillowcivilwartheater.com
Plenty of new attractions were added in 2019 and there’s still more to come. The Flying Ox has opened and is considered the first cable-to rail zipline rollercoaster. If you’re ready to ride, Eaglerider Rentals and Tours offers discounts for as few as four. The Escape Rooms at Craven Golf Club pits your team against the clock with clues to direct your escape.
The Rowdy Bear Ridge Adventure Park has opened in Pigeon Forge with a 500-plus-foot year-round tubing hill and the first Alpine Flyer laser gun coaster. The Micro Wrestler’s Federation has found a home at the Microtorium bringing wrestlers fewer than five feet to the ring. Holgate Virtual Reality is open at TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena. Santa’s Haus, a 2,000-square-feet Christmas themed attraction opened in plenty of time for Christmas.
With a summer opening planned, Sevierville’s newest attraction, Soaky Mountain Waterpark, will be 50 acres of water fun. Soaky Mountain will feature a first-of-its-kind water coaster, plenty of waterslides, a winding wave river and a 35,000 square foot wave pool capable of generating waves up to six feet high and more. soakymountainwaterpark.com
The Historic Central Hotel is scheduled to open in downtown Sevierville in February 2020. Oak Haven Resort is adding additional luxury cabins and The Resort at Governor’s Crossing recently opened 67 new condo units.
Aubrey’s Restaurant has opened on Dolly Parton Parkway with steaks, seafood and fresh local vegetables on the menu. Local Eatery & Grill is all about authentic with a great menu and live music. Farmer’s Market concept Ogle Brothers General Store offers local jams and honey and recently added a clothing line.