If you’re hitting up Pigeon Forge, there’s one place you simply can’t miss: Dollywood. This theme park is partially owned by the country music legend and features rides, shows, festivals, a water park, resort accommodations and more.
Whether you’re honeymooning, escaping for a few days with your other half or bringing the whole family along, here are 10 of our favorite destinations-within-the-destination:
1. Lightning Rod
Ever wanted to go 73 miles an hour outside a vehicle? Well, now you can. The Lightning Rod lives up to its name, with the fastest top speed of any wooden roller coaster in the world.
2. The FireChaser Express
If you’re a true blue rollercoaster enthusiast, then you absolutely must make time for this crazy new ride. The FireChaser Express goes backward as well as forward and is sure to leave you smoking at the ears. It’s a dual launch coaster, which means you get that shot-out-of-a-cannon feeling more than once! Perfect for parents of teens.
3. Mountain Laurel Home
Décor lover? You’ll find everything you need to outfit a rustic cabin or country-themed house here. Taking its inspiration from the surrounding Smokies, the shop offers pillows, blankets, wood carvings and goods galore – all with a background of stone and wood.
4. Ashley’s Antique Tintype & Photo
Ever wanted one of those old-timey photos with traditional dress and a classic sienna tint? Now you can at this photo shop. Stage the whole family in 19th-century garb for a long-lasting memory.
5. Custom Glassworks
While visiting Dollywood, a visit to Craftsman’s Valley is a must. While there, we highly recommend you stop by Custom Glassworks to see these artisans at work and catch a view of these beautiful creations.
6. Dollywood Express
This 110-ton coal-fired steam engine is the real deal. Hop on the Dollywood Express to enjoy 5 miles through the Great Smoky foothills, with some of the most gorgeous views Tennessee has to offer. Be sure to bring a camera!
7. Grist Mill
Love cinnamon bread – and all things baked and beautiful? You can’t miss the Grist Mill, an authentic shop that churns out bread, cookies, jams and more. You can even get cast iron cookware there, so leave a little room in the budget for this stop.
8. Aunt Granny’s All You Care to Eat Buffet
Crave that classic all-you-can-eat experience? Head to Aunt Granny’s where the entire family can load up on Southern favorites like fried chicken, mashed potatoes and cornbread. Don’t worry, you can also find a salad there. And more importantly, a wide range of desserts!
Coming during the hot season? Cool off with this whitewater rafting adventure … on a track. A rollercoaster in water, this ride mimics a river adventure, with all the bumps and splashes you could desire. Make sure to wear clothes that can get soaked – and smile for the onboard cameras!
10. My People, My Music
If you love Dolly Parton as much as we do you will LOVE this show! My People, My Music celebrates her family who inspired her and shares their deep love for the Smoky Mountains.
The truth is, you could plan an entire vacation just around Dollywood. Make sure to review the above list before you visit – otherwise, you’ll have to come back for more! Actually, scratch that: Chances are high you’ll be back anyway. Have fun!