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A woman enjoying 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains at Yourcation Awaits

The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains in Eastern USA on the Tennessee and North Carolina state border. It is a beautiful area for hiking and exploring nature, unplugging at a cabin in the woods, having fun at an amusement park and savoring delicious Southern comfort food. Overall, the Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect region to enjoy a well-needed escape for 3 days. (It’s also a wonderful destination to stop at along an East Coast road trip.)

During March 2021, I traveled to the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee area in the Great Smoky Mountains region of Southeastern United States. It was my first time in the Smokies and I found it to be an exciting place with so much to do for everyone and anyone.

I had heard of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg before, but it wasn’t until Yourcation Awaits invited me to stay at their mountain cabin in that area where I truly got a taste of how fun it was for a family vacation, friends trip, couples’ getaway and more. (It was my second time staying at a Yourcation Awaits property. The first time I visited one of their rental homes was in November 2020 where I got to stay at their beach home along 30a on the Florida Panhandle.)

Two women enjoying wine at their cabin rental

My 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee was combined with a trip to Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina. (Discover the best Asheville weekend itinerary.) I did this fun girls’ getaway with Hannah of Hannah Liz Weaver. We also met up with Mikayla of Woven to Wander who stayed with us during our time in Pigeon Forge.

In this article, read all about the fun things to do during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in the Great Smoky Mountains, Yourcation® Awaits in Pigeon Forge, TN hosted me for three nights.


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3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

Getting to the Great Smoky Mountains:

Views of the Great Smoky Mountains

Before we get into how I personally arrived in the Smokies, it is important to note that unless you are traveling with your own vehicle via a road trip, you will definitely need to rent a car to get around the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.

You can get away with not having a car in the town of Gatlinburg, since it is a downtown area where you can walk everywhere, but you will need something to get around in Pigeon Forge because it is more spread out, and you will also need a vehicle at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Since my full itinerary for this specific trip was Charlotte to Asheville to Pigeon Forge, I flew from Newark Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC. Hannah and I spent a full morning exploring the talented murals of Charlotte and also grabbing brunch before driving two hours west to Asheville.

The Great Smoky Mountains during a 3 day getaway in Tennessee

After spending two nights in Asheville, we drove two hours west to Pigeon Forge. The closest airport to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. That is the airport I took to fly back home.

Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have their own trolleys to take around and each town also has 24/7 Uber and Lyft services available.

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

The Best Pigeon Forge Cabin Rental – Yourcation Awaits!

A woman admiring the mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

During my 3-day girls’ trip to Pigeon Forge in the Great Smoky Mountains, I stayed at the beautiful and conveniently located Yourcation Awaits cabin rental. This stunning mountain home is spacious and super clean, like the rental in Rosemary Beach, FL, and it is also perfect for a girls’/guys’ getaway, family vacation, college reunion and bachelor/bachelorette party.

Yourcation Awaits mountain home during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains

The interior of the home is decked out in wood, giving off that cozy mountain vibe. There are also four bedrooms in this cabin: a master bedroom with a master bathroom that has a his and her sink, bathtub and shower, plus a king-sized bed and futon; a queen-sized bunkbed room with a full bathroom as well as two regular king bedrooms without a bathroom. The master bedroom and bunk room were located on the second floor and the two regular king rooms were situated on the first floor, where they shared a full bathroom in the hallway.

A woman relaxing and reading during her 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains trip

This was my second time staying at a Yourcation Awaits property and I can definitely tell you that the mattresses they use on their beds are absolutely amazing! I definitely slept very well during my stay in Pigeon Forge. I also love all of the Gilchrist & Soames bath products in all of the bathrooms of the home.

The kitchen at Yourcation Awaits cabin in Tennessee

Just like in Rosemary Beach, Yourcation Awaits Pigeon Forge cabin also has a smart lock keyless entry to get in the house; Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ home accounts; high-speed WIFI; free access to the community pool, which is a 5-minute walk (since it was still chilly outside, we didn’t get to enjoy the pool during our trip), a fully equipped and modern kitchen as well as a charcoal grill.

A woman playing pool at Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, TN

What makes the Pigeon Forge Yourcation Awaits property even more fun for family and friend groups is that there is a game room on the second floor that features a pool table, arcade and board games. There is also a poker table located on the third level that overlooks the Smoky Mountains from the windows.

A sunset over Great Smoky Mountains

Speaking of views, each room in the house has large windows that showcase the mountains all around. You will definitely enjoy some lovely sunsets over the Great Smoky Mountains during your 3 days in the area!

A woman enjoying coffee with mountain views during 3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains

In addition to all of the amazing rooms and amenities inside of the home, Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee also features a deck on the bottom floor that includes a hot tub to enjoy anytime of the day and night as well as numerous seating to relax at and enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a cocktail during dusk. There is also a deck on the second floor, outside of the master bedroom (just like at the Rosemary Beach property) and a small front porch.

Yourcation Awaits cabin rental in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Conveniency is huge when it comes to staying at a rental home and Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge is situated at one of the best locations within the Great Smoky Mountains. You can see Dollywood, which is Dolly Parton’s amusement park. (Even though the park is literally right behind the house, you still need to drive around five minutes to properly get into the park.)

In addition, the cabin is only in a short driving distance from The Island in Pigeon Forge, which boasts numerous restaurants, shops, moonshine distilleries, cafés, amusement rides and more, as well as all of the fun attractions in the area such as museums, music venues, mini golf courses and more.

Yourcation Awaits is also located around a 15 to 20-minute drive from the adorable mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee where you can do free moonshine and local wine tastings, enjoy a nice lunch or dinner and have fun at the many arcades and attractions the town offers. It is also around a half hour to 45 minute-drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park for incredible hiking in the area!

Overall, the three of us women loved our time staying at Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We also felt extremely safe staying at this rental home in the Great Smoky Mountains!

3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains – Things to do!

A woman enjoying a mountain escape in Tennessee.
Day 1:

Check into Yourcation Awaits Cabin in Pigeon Forge:

Two women celebrating 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains at Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge

Hannah and I arrived in Pigeon Forge in the afternoon. (Check in time is at 4pm and check out is at 11am.) After checking in and getting settled, we opened up a bottle of wine and enjoyed the coziness of the cabin while waiting for Mikayla to arrive. We even saw one of the best sunsets over the mountains! It was so nice.

(There is a convenient store located at the bottom of the community where Yourcation Awaits is located. It is a great place to grab food and beverages to bring back to the house.)

Visit the Island in Pigeon Forge:

The Island in Pigeon Forge during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a free admission amusement park that is perfect for everyone! (You can even bring your pet and there is also free parking.) It is located around a 5-minute drive from the Yourcation Awaits cabin and it features a variety of different restaurants and cafés, souvenir shops, rides, arcades and even hosts events year-round. It is a spot you cannot miss out on during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Some of the restaurants you can enjoy at the Island in Pigeon Forge is Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, where we ate; Margaritaville; Mellow Mushroom for pizza, Yee-Haw Brewing Company and more!

There are also clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, beef jerky stores, Byrd’s Famous Cookies, Build-a-Bear, wineries, moonshine distilleries, candy stores and more. You and your family and friends can also enjoy museums, arcades, laser tag, escape rooms, bumper cars, mazes, a Ferris wheel, old time photoshoots, a carousel and so much more. It truly is a great place to have fun at and if I had to compare it to somewhere, it is similar to Disney Springs in Orlando.

The Island in Pigeon Forge at nighttime

Hannah, Mikayla and I went to the Island in Pigeon Forge on our first evening and enjoyed a Southern, family-style dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Please note that Paula Deen’s restaurant in Pigeon Forge does not take reservations and there is always a long wait to get in. What I recommend doing is going to the restaurant first to put your name on the list and then enjoy the attractions on the island.

My 3 days in Pigeon Forge was the very first time I ever ate at a Paula Deen restaurant and I will admit that I was impressed. She also has restaurants in Savannah, GA, Nashville, TN, Myrtle Beach, SC, Foley, AL, Branson, MO and Panama City Beach, FL.

You can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and how their family style dinner works is that you can either choose “The Albany” where you select two main dishes and four sides for the table or “The Savannah” where you decide among three main dishes and four side plates. No matter which family style dinner you choose, everyone also gets a dessert! This restaurant is all-you-can-eat, so you can always order more at no extra cost.

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen at The Island in Pigeon Forge during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains

The portions at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen are actually somewhat small, so if you have a big group, you will definitely be ordering more. During our evening at the restaurant, the three of us chose “The Savannah” and we ordered the chicken and dumplings, Georgia fried catfish and spareribs for the “main” dish. For side plates, we got green beans, creamed corn, baked mac and cheese and broccoli casserole.

Everything was incredible and for dessert, we each enjoyed the “Ooey Gooey Butter Cake”. You can either get the vanilla or chocolate cake and of course, I had the chocolate one. Overall, I savored the fried catfish, chicken and dumplings, green beans, creamed corn and chocolate cake and it was all yummy!

Day 2:

Enjoy a Country Breakfast in Pigeon Forge:

Five Oaks Farm Kitchen for breakfast in Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountains thrive on Southern comfort food and during your 3 days there, I highly recommend taking advantage of all the deliciousness. (I RARELY have Southern comfort food because it really isn’t a staple where I live in New Jersey.)

For our second day in Pigeon Forge, the three of us had a hike planned in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To fuel up before our hike, we savored a delicious country-styled breakfast at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen.

This beautiful spot is known for its farm-fresh cooking and offers an incredible breakfast! (Five Oaks Farm Kitchen also has a great lunch and supper menu.) For my meal, I had the buckwheat cakes that was made up of granola batter buckwheat cakes with warm maple syrup. Both Mikayla and Hannah had omelets for breakfast and Mikayla also enjoyed the cinnamon roll, which was incredible because I had a bite of it!

Adventure through Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

A woman on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina

3 days in the Smokies would not be complete without visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Depending on where you go in the park, it will take you around a half hour to an hour drive from Yourcation Awaits to the National Park. We entered Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Gatlinburg entrance.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in both Tennessee and North Carolina. It features enchanting forests, stunning rivers and waterfalls, beautiful plant life and a great biodiversity.

The reason why the mountains in this part of the country are called the Smokies is because there is a natural fog that hangs over this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It looks like large smoke fumes from a distance. It is caused by vegetation and natural chemicals, which have a high vapor pressure that forms fog at a normal temperature.

Experiencing 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

This picturesque National Park is one of the only free ones in the USA. Please keep in mind that because Great Smoky Mountains is a free National Park, it is also the most crowded. If you are looking to do a hike in the park, I highly recommend getting there early so that you can easily find a parking spot. When we got to the park at around 11am, it was already super crowded.

There is a plethora of different hiking trails for you to choose from at Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the most popular hikes is to Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, Clingmans Dome was closed during our time in the Smokies, so we didn’t get to go, but if it is open when you visit, definitely check out the sunset there. It’s supposed to be incredible! (Please note that Clingmans Dome is closed to the public from early December to late March due to snow and ice.)

Discover the best Smoky Mountain hiking trails in the national park! The hike that Hannah, Mikayla and I did was called Sweat Heifer to Newfound Gap along the Appalachian Trail. It is a 3.3-mile heavily trafficked hike that starts exactly on the Tennessee and North Carolina state border. The hike itself is in North Carolina! (We used the AllTrails app to find this hike. It is important to download the app and hiking trail when you have cell phone reception so that it works in a no service area.)

The Appalachian Trail during Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

It was so cool hiking part of the Appalachian Trail for the very first time. This marked hiking trail starts at Springer Mountain in North Georgia and goes all the way to Mount Katahdin in Central Maine.

Overall, the Appalachian Trail a 2,200-mile trail (3,500 kilometers) on the East Coast of the United States and it goes through parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. There is an extension known as the International Appalachian Trail that continues into Canada to Newfoundland, Greenland and then through Europe and into Morocco. There is another separate extension called the Eastern Continental Trail in the South that goes into Alabama and Florida.

The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail is known as the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States. (I got to experience part of the Pacific Crest Trail during my time in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California during my Northern California and Oregon road trip.)

Sweat Heifer and Newfound Gap trail during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

The length of the Sweat Heifer to Newfound Gap trail is 3.5 miles and there is an 850 elevation gain. Overall, I would consider this trail to be an easy to moderate hike. In addition to all of the hiking trails, there are a lot of scenic overlooks and photo spots throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You cannot miss them!

Explore the Mountain Town of Gatlinburg:

Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

After our awesome hike, we went back to the town of Gatlinburg. This laid-back charming town features a plethora of restaurants, moonshine distilleries, Tennessee wine tasting rooms, breweries, cideries, arcades, shops, museums, rooftops and I can go on.

It’s one of the most exciting downtown areas that isn’t a large city! In addition to everything that downtown Gatlinburg offers, you can also take the gondola up to the Gatlinburg Skylift Park that overlooks the stunning Smoky Mountains; ride the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster; participate in a Tree Tops Ropes Course; have fun at Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park, ride the Gatlinburg Space Needle, visit the aquarium, play mini golf, do a ghost tour and more.

Gatlinburg during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains

Both Pigeon and Forge and Gatlinburg feature a lot of the same attractions, so you will not run out of things to do. There is also a ski area at Ober Gatlinburg. Click here to learn more on what to in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The entire town of Gatlinburg is like one giant amusement park! (Please note that it costs $15 USD to publicly park for a day in downtown Gatlinburg.)

Moonshine, Wine and Cider Tasting in Gatlinburg:
Moonshine tasting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

During our afternoon in Gatlinburg, we couldn’t wait to participate in some awesome tastings! What is cool about Gatlinburg’s wineries, distilleries, cideries, etc. are that a lot of them offer FREE tastings! The actual tasting cups are extremely small though. If you want to purchase bottles of wine, growlers of beer or cider and/or mason jars of moonshine, you will need to pay the full price for them.

When we first got to Gatlinburg, we visited Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, which does Tennessee moonshine tastings for only $5 USD. I honestly was the most excited for this, since I’ve only tried apple pie moonshine once before in college loved it.

For a while, moonshine was illegal in my home state because it is a high-proof liquor that was continuing to be produced illicitly. Over the years laws have changed and nowadays you can purchase moonshine at select liquor stores in New Jersey!

Our moonshine tasting was a lot of fun and we got to try a variety of different flavors – “hunch punch”, strawberry mango margarita, black cherry, apple pie, Reese’s peanut butter cup, butter pecan (which was my personal favorite from this tasting) and strawberries and cream! They were all delicious.

There are two Ole Smoky Moonshine Distilleries in Gatlinburg – “The Holler” and “The Barrelhouse”.

Free wine tasting in downtown Gatlinburg during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

After our moonshine tasting, we went over to Bootleggers Homemade Wine where we did a free wine tasting of five different wines. We tried a few berry wines as well as red and white table wines. Everything was awesome! We also visited Tennessee Homemade Wine and for $5 USD per person, we tasted 11 different wines (Blackberry, White Muscadine, Red Muscadine, Strawberry, Blueberry, Proper Peach, Old Apple, Classic Grape, Great Niagara, Southern White and Southern Red).

This may seem like a lot of alcohol consumption, but like I said, the tasting cups were extremely small and it was really only a sip. We loved the Southern Red homemade table wine the best, so we ended up purchasing a bottle to take back with us to the Yourcation Awaits cabin. (You must be 21+ to drink in the United States and all tasting rooms card every individual to ensure they are legally able to consume alcohol.)

Cider tasting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

Before we headed to dinner, we made a pit stop at Tennessee Cider Company where we tasted a few different ciders for free. I tried the watermelon cider, which was my favorite, as well as blueberry cider, strawberry cider and caramel apple cider. Everything was very tasty!

When the three of us were finished with our tastings, we were excited to grab dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina that had a rooftop overlooking the entire downtown area of Gatlinburg and nearby Smoky Mountains.

Fajitas from Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina in Gatlinburg

Everything we ate at Loco Burro was absolutely delicious! I had the chicken and shrimp fajitas, Hannah had a taco salad and Mikayla had taquitos. Their chips and guacamole were also great! This rooftop was also a prime spot to watch the sunset in Gatlinburg.

Day 3:

Have a Fun Day at Dollywood:

A woman enjoying Dollywood during 3 days in Pigeon Forge and Great Smoky Mountains

3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is definitely not complete without a day of fun at Dollywood. Since you can see the amusement park from Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, there is no excuse as to why you shouldn’t go to Dollywood!

As crazy as this may sound, I had never heard of Dollywood up until a few years ago when a family friend visited the Smokies. This amusement park has been around since 1986 and it is jointly owned by Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. It is a happy place with over 40 different rides for all ages, numerous entertainment venues, award-winning dining options, fun characters and more. (It costs $79 USD without taxes per adults and teens ages 10-61. There is a discount for children and senior citizens. Dollywood also has a waterpark that is open in the summer months called Splash Country. )

Unfortunately, Mikayla had to go back home to Nashville, but Hannah and I had a blast going on the rollercoasters at Dollywood. I had not been on a big amusement park roller coaster since I was in college!

A rollercoaster at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge

Because we visited Dollywood during spring break season, the park had longer lines than usual for rides. Hannah and I got to enjoy the Tennessee Tornado, Wild Eagle, Thunderhead and Lightning Rod.

My ultimate favorite ride at Dollywood was Lightning Rod, which is the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. It has a launch and the entire ride is smooth. I love a classic wooden coaster, but they are usually very rickety. This is also my current favorite wooden roller coaster in the world! My second favorite roller coaster at Dollywood was Wild Eagle. You can actually see this steel coaster from Yourcation Awaits and once you’re on it, the ride makes you feel like you’re actually flying!

In addition to all the thrilling rollercoasters, there are also kiddie rides, shows, a parade and even a chapel that hosts church services on Sundays.

Experiencing Dollywood during 3 days in Great Smoky Moutains

Dollywood is also known to have some of the best amusement park food in the country! For lunch, we ate at Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse, which is a family style, all-you-can-eat concept that is similar to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The portions were also similar to Paula Deen’s restaurant, which I talk about above.

I will be completely honest that all of the restaurants and food stands at Dollywood had long lines and wait times, so Hannah and I put our names on the list for Miss Lillian’s and we enjoyed some rides while we waited. Miss Lillian’s texted us when our table was ready and there was a 10-minute grace period to get back to the restaurant before they gave our table to the next party in line. Our timing was good!

During our lunch at Miss Lillian’s, we got the fried chicken, carved ham and smoked roast beef as the main meals and savored the green beans and French fries as sides. I had everything except the roast beef and it was all delicious.

In addition to Southern-styled cooking, you can also enjoy cinnamon bread, kettle korn, funnel cake, ice cream, Dippin’ Dots, corn dogs, pizza, freshly-squeezed lemonade and other amusement park favorites.

Savor Everything Apple at the Apple Barn Village:

Apple fritters from Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Another awesome thing you cannot miss out on during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains is a visit to Apple Barn. This wonderful village features a cider mill, apple orchard (behind the village), winery, creamery, farmhouse restaurant, grill, Christmas and candle shop as well as a cider house.

Hannah and I visited Apple Barn after our day at Dollywood and got to enjoy delicious cider, apple fritters and ice cream. Everything was delicious, but the village is really known for their warm apple fritters that they serve. These delicious fritters also come with a mouthwatering apple butter that everyone loves!


A woman at Yourcation Awaits cabin rental during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best things to do during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and reading about my experience staying at Yourcation Awaits cabin rental in Pigeon Forge. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., TN State Capital: Nashville, Time Zone: Time Zone: Most of Tennessee is on Central Standard Time, but the Smokies and anywhere in Knoxville or east of there is on Eastern Standard Time.

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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22 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on April 23, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Great blog on Pigeon Forge and the Smokies National Park! Yourcation awaits Mountain cabin that you stayed at was so beautiful ~ Love all your beautiful photography ~ it brings this lovely trip to life! Looks like an amazing and fun place to vacation at. It has all my favorite activities ~ hiking, amusement park with adventurous rides and awesome wineries, cideries and moonshine tastings! Love learning about Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg ~ beautiful region! Another great read! Love you, mom 👩 xoxo ♥️

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      Thank you mom! It really was a fun trip with so much to do. Love you too! <3

  2. Emma on April 24, 2021 at 1:12 am

    What a beautiful looking place, and that cabin is amazing. I love the rustic furniture although it seems like you might need a step ladder to get into that bed, it’s huge! Love the view though.

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:18 pm

      It’s such a great cabin! There is so much to do for everyone. 🙂 The beds were so cozy there!

      • Cosette on April 26, 2021 at 11:29 am

        Love the Gatlinburg area and the Pigeon Forge part also sounds great. We visited Great Smoky Mountains NP and Gatlinburg a few years back and loved the area, although we we’re there only shortly, since it was pouring down the whole day.

        • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:46 pm

          Ah I’m sorry the weather wasn’t in your favor during your time in the Smokies. It’s such a great place for families. 🙂

  3. Rhonda Thompson on April 24, 2021 at 10:40 am

    My Husband and I are going to Gatlinburg and pigeon forge in may for 35th anniversary. Any suggestions for us older folk? We’ve been told to go to Paula Dean,s but were not in shape to stand in line. Any other suggestions of good eats?

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:19 pm

      That is exciting! You both will love it. All of the restaurants I mention in this blog are great! 🙂

  4. Sharon Odegaard on April 24, 2021 at 11:07 am

    The Smoky Mountains are idyllic, and what a lovely place to stay! My favorite photos are of you in the rocking chair on the porch, just chilling. What a relaxing vacation!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:20 pm

      It really is a beautiful area! I definitely enjoyed my time staying there. 🙂

  5. Megan on April 24, 2021 at 11:15 am

    I love how much there is to do in that whole area! And that cabin looks so perfect I think I could live there!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:20 pm

      Yes, it is such a peaceful area. I love the cabin and how spacious it is! 🙂

  6. Farrah on April 24, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    I loved visiting Asheville and really want to get to explore the Great Smoky Mountains someday + hike everywhere! That cabin looks gorgeous!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:25 pm

      It really was amazing Farrah! You totally have to make your way to the Smokies at some point. You’d love it. 🙂

  7. ildiko on April 25, 2021 at 7:34 am

    What a fun getaway. It really is a beautiful part of the country. I have visited this area a few times. Gatlinburg is always fun to walk around and explore the many shops. I have yet to hike on the Appalachian Trail. Your pics of some of the trails looked beautiful.

    • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you Ildiko! It really was such a fun trip and there is so much for everyone to enjoy. 🙂

  8. Kayy on April 26, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Looks like a great mini vacation. So cozy in the cabin . The bed looks so huge for little ole me.

    • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      It really was such a nice and cozy cabin! I loved it so much! 🙂

  9. Francesca on April 28, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    I love this area of the country. It’s so beautiful. The cabin looked so cozy too!

    • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      It really is a stunning part of the USA! 🙂

  10. Mikayla on May 3, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Oh my gosh this is a perfectly detailed blog about Gburg and Pigeon Forge!! I had so much fun and still talk about that breakfast haha, 10/10 recommend those omelettes.

    • Taylor Deer on May 3, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      Ah thank you Mikayla! We really did have a good time. Best breakfast!

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Taylor-Yourcation-Awaits-Pigeon-Forge5

A woman enjoying 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains at Yourcation Awaits

The Great Smoky Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains in Eastern USA on the Tennessee and North Carolina state border. It is a beautiful area for hiking and exploring nature, unplugging at a cabin in the woods, having fun at an amusement park and savoring delicious Southern comfort food. Overall, the Great Smoky Mountains are the perfect region to enjoy a well-needed escape for 3 days. (It’s also a wonderful destination to stop at along an East Coast road trip.)

During March 2021, I traveled to the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee area in the Great Smoky Mountains region of Southeastern United States. It was my first time in the Smokies and I found it to be an exciting place with so much to do for everyone and anyone.

I had heard of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg before, but it wasn’t until Yourcation Awaits invited me to stay at their mountain cabin in that area where I truly got a taste of how fun it was for a family vacation, friends trip, couples’ getaway and more. (It was my second time staying at a Yourcation Awaits property. The first time I visited one of their rental homes was in November 2020 where I got to stay at their beach home along 30a on the Florida Panhandle.)

Two women enjoying wine at their cabin rental

My 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee was combined with a trip to Charlotte and Asheville, North Carolina. (Discover the best Asheville weekend itinerary.) I did this fun girls’ getaway with Hannah of Hannah Liz Weaver. We also met up with Mikayla of Woven to Wander who stayed with us during our time in Pigeon Forge.

In this article, read all about the fun things to do during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like. During my time in the Great Smoky Mountains, Yourcation® Awaits in Pigeon Forge, TN hosted me for three nights.


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3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

Getting to the Great Smoky Mountains:

Views of the Great Smoky Mountains

Before we get into how I personally arrived in the Smokies, it is important to note that unless you are traveling with your own vehicle via a road trip, you will definitely need to rent a car to get around the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg area.

You can get away with not having a car in the town of Gatlinburg, since it is a downtown area where you can walk everywhere, but you will need something to get around in Pigeon Forge because it is more spread out, and you will also need a vehicle at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Since my full itinerary for this specific trip was Charlotte to Asheville to Pigeon Forge, I flew from Newark Airport to Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, NC. Hannah and I spent a full morning exploring the talented murals of Charlotte and also grabbing brunch before driving two hours west to Asheville.

The Great Smoky Mountains during a 3 day getaway in Tennessee

After spending two nights in Asheville, we drove two hours west to Pigeon Forge. The closest airport to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson Airport. That is the airport I took to fly back home.

Both Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg have their own trolleys to take around and each town also has 24/7 Uber and Lyft services available.

(Click here if you are planning to road trip around the United States and want to rent an RV.)

The Best Pigeon Forge Cabin Rental – Yourcation Awaits!

A woman admiring the mountains in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

During my 3-day girls’ trip to Pigeon Forge in the Great Smoky Mountains, I stayed at the beautiful and conveniently located Yourcation Awaits cabin rental. This stunning mountain home is spacious and super clean, like the rental in Rosemary Beach, FL, and it is also perfect for a girls’/guys’ getaway, family vacation, college reunion and bachelor/bachelorette party.

Yourcation Awaits mountain home during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains

The interior of the home is decked out in wood, giving off that cozy mountain vibe. There are also four bedrooms in this cabin: a master bedroom with a master bathroom that has a his and her sink, bathtub and shower, plus a king-sized bed and futon; a queen-sized bunkbed room with a full bathroom as well as two regular king bedrooms without a bathroom. The master bedroom and bunk room were located on the second floor and the two regular king rooms were situated on the first floor, where they shared a full bathroom in the hallway.

A woman relaxing and reading during her 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains trip

This was my second time staying at a Yourcation Awaits property and I can definitely tell you that the mattresses they use on their beds are absolutely amazing! I definitely slept very well during my stay in Pigeon Forge. I also love all of the Gilchrist & Soames bath products in all of the bathrooms of the home.

The kitchen at Yourcation Awaits cabin in Tennessee

Just like in Rosemary Beach, Yourcation Awaits Pigeon Forge cabin also has a smart lock keyless entry to get in the house; Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ home accounts; high-speed WIFI; free access to the community pool, which is a 5-minute walk (since it was still chilly outside, we didn’t get to enjoy the pool during our trip), a fully equipped and modern kitchen as well as a charcoal grill.

A woman playing pool at Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, TN

What makes the Pigeon Forge Yourcation Awaits property even more fun for family and friend groups is that there is a game room on the second floor that features a pool table, arcade and board games. There is also a poker table located on the third level that overlooks the Smoky Mountains from the windows.

A sunset over Great Smoky Mountains

Speaking of views, each room in the house has large windows that showcase the mountains all around. You will definitely enjoy some lovely sunsets over the Great Smoky Mountains during your 3 days in the area!

A woman enjoying coffee with mountain views during 3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains

In addition to all of the amazing rooms and amenities inside of the home, Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee also features a deck on the bottom floor that includes a hot tub to enjoy anytime of the day and night as well as numerous seating to relax at and enjoy a morning cup of coffee or a cocktail during dusk. There is also a deck on the second floor, outside of the master bedroom (just like at the Rosemary Beach property) and a small front porch.

Yourcation Awaits cabin rental in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Conveniency is huge when it comes to staying at a rental home and Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge is situated at one of the best locations within the Great Smoky Mountains. You can see Dollywood, which is Dolly Parton’s amusement park. (Even though the park is literally right behind the house, you still need to drive around five minutes to properly get into the park.)

In addition, the cabin is only in a short driving distance from The Island in Pigeon Forge, which boasts numerous restaurants, shops, moonshine distilleries, cafés, amusement rides and more, as well as all of the fun attractions in the area such as museums, music venues, mini golf courses and more.

Yourcation Awaits is also located around a 15 to 20-minute drive from the adorable mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee where you can do free moonshine and local wine tastings, enjoy a nice lunch or dinner and have fun at the many arcades and attractions the town offers. It is also around a half hour to 45 minute-drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park for incredible hiking in the area!

Overall, the three of us women loved our time staying at Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We also felt extremely safe staying at this rental home in the Great Smoky Mountains!

3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains – Things to do!

A woman enjoying a mountain escape in Tennessee.
Day 1:

Check into Yourcation Awaits Cabin in Pigeon Forge:

Two women celebrating 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains at Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge

Hannah and I arrived in Pigeon Forge in the afternoon. (Check in time is at 4pm and check out is at 11am.) After checking in and getting settled, we opened up a bottle of wine and enjoyed the coziness of the cabin while waiting for Mikayla to arrive. We even saw one of the best sunsets over the mountains! It was so nice.

(There is a convenient store located at the bottom of the community where Yourcation Awaits is located. It is a great place to grab food and beverages to bring back to the house.)

Visit the Island in Pigeon Forge:

The Island in Pigeon Forge during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a free admission amusement park that is perfect for everyone! (You can even bring your pet and there is also free parking.) It is located around a 5-minute drive from the Yourcation Awaits cabin and it features a variety of different restaurants and cafés, souvenir shops, rides, arcades and even hosts events year-round. It is a spot you cannot miss out on during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains!

Some of the restaurants you can enjoy at the Island in Pigeon Forge is Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, where we ate; Margaritaville; Mellow Mushroom for pizza, Yee-Haw Brewing Company and more!

There are also clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, beef jerky stores, Byrd’s Famous Cookies, Build-a-Bear, wineries, moonshine distilleries, candy stores and more. You and your family and friends can also enjoy museums, arcades, laser tag, escape rooms, bumper cars, mazes, a Ferris wheel, old time photoshoots, a carousel and so much more. It truly is a great place to have fun at and if I had to compare it to somewhere, it is similar to Disney Springs in Orlando.

The Island in Pigeon Forge at nighttime

Hannah, Mikayla and I went to the Island in Pigeon Forge on our first evening and enjoyed a Southern, family-style dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Please note that Paula Deen’s restaurant in Pigeon Forge does not take reservations and there is always a long wait to get in. What I recommend doing is going to the restaurant first to put your name on the list and then enjoy the attractions on the island.

My 3 days in Pigeon Forge was the very first time I ever ate at a Paula Deen restaurant and I will admit that I was impressed. She also has restaurants in Savannah, GA, Nashville, TN, Myrtle Beach, SC, Foley, AL, Branson, MO and Panama City Beach, FL.

You can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and how their family style dinner works is that you can either choose “The Albany” where you select two main dishes and four sides for the table or “The Savannah” where you decide among three main dishes and four side plates. No matter which family style dinner you choose, everyone also gets a dessert! This restaurant is all-you-can-eat, so you can always order more at no extra cost.

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen at The Island in Pigeon Forge during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains

The portions at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen are actually somewhat small, so if you have a big group, you will definitely be ordering more. During our evening at the restaurant, the three of us chose “The Savannah” and we ordered the chicken and dumplings, Georgia fried catfish and spareribs for the “main” dish. For side plates, we got green beans, creamed corn, baked mac and cheese and broccoli casserole.

Everything was incredible and for dessert, we each enjoyed the “Ooey Gooey Butter Cake”. You can either get the vanilla or chocolate cake and of course, I had the chocolate one. Overall, I savored the fried catfish, chicken and dumplings, green beans, creamed corn and chocolate cake and it was all yummy!

Day 2:

Enjoy a Country Breakfast in Pigeon Forge:

Five Oaks Farm Kitchen for breakfast in Pigeon Forge

The Great Smoky Mountains thrive on Southern comfort food and during your 3 days there, I highly recommend taking advantage of all the deliciousness. (I RARELY have Southern comfort food because it really isn’t a staple where I live in New Jersey.)

For our second day in Pigeon Forge, the three of us had a hike planned in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To fuel up before our hike, we savored a delicious country-styled breakfast at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen.

This beautiful spot is known for its farm-fresh cooking and offers an incredible breakfast! (Five Oaks Farm Kitchen also has a great lunch and supper menu.) For my meal, I had the buckwheat cakes that was made up of granola batter buckwheat cakes with warm maple syrup. Both Mikayla and Hannah had omelets for breakfast and Mikayla also enjoyed the cinnamon roll, which was incredible because I had a bite of it!

Adventure through Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

A woman on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina

3 days in the Smokies would not be complete without visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Depending on where you go in the park, it will take you around a half hour to an hour drive from Yourcation Awaits to the National Park. We entered Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Gatlinburg entrance.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located in both Tennessee and North Carolina. It features enchanting forests, stunning rivers and waterfalls, beautiful plant life and a great biodiversity.

The reason why the mountains in this part of the country are called the Smokies is because there is a natural fog that hangs over this part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It looks like large smoke fumes from a distance. It is caused by vegetation and natural chemicals, which have a high vapor pressure that forms fog at a normal temperature.

Experiencing 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

This picturesque National Park is one of the only free ones in the USA. Please keep in mind that because Great Smoky Mountains is a free National Park, it is also the most crowded. If you are looking to do a hike in the park, I highly recommend getting there early so that you can easily find a parking spot. When we got to the park at around 11am, it was already super crowded.

There is a plethora of different hiking trails for you to choose from at Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the most popular hikes is to Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Unfortunately, Clingmans Dome was closed during our time in the Smokies, so we didn’t get to go, but if it is open when you visit, definitely check out the sunset there. It’s supposed to be incredible! (Please note that Clingmans Dome is closed to the public from early December to late March due to snow and ice.)

Discover the best Smoky Mountain hiking trails in the national park! The hike that Hannah, Mikayla and I did was called Sweat Heifer to Newfound Gap along the Appalachian Trail. It is a 3.3-mile heavily trafficked hike that starts exactly on the Tennessee and North Carolina state border. The hike itself is in North Carolina! (We used the AllTrails app to find this hike. It is important to download the app and hiking trail when you have cell phone reception so that it works in a no service area.)

The Appalachian Trail during Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

It was so cool hiking part of the Appalachian Trail for the very first time. This marked hiking trail starts at Springer Mountain in North Georgia and goes all the way to Mount Katahdin in Central Maine.

Overall, the Appalachian Trail a 2,200-mile trail (3,500 kilometers) on the East Coast of the United States and it goes through parts of Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. There is an extension known as the International Appalachian Trail that continues into Canada to Newfoundland, Greenland and then through Europe and into Morocco. There is another separate extension called the Eastern Continental Trail in the South that goes into Alabama and Florida.

The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail is known as the Triple Crown of Hiking in the United States. (I got to experience part of the Pacific Crest Trail during my time in Lassen Volcanic National Park in California during my Northern California and Oregon road trip.)

Sweat Heifer and Newfound Gap trail during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

The length of the Sweat Heifer to Newfound Gap trail is 3.5 miles and there is an 850 elevation gain. Overall, I would consider this trail to be an easy to moderate hike. In addition to all of the hiking trails, there are a lot of scenic overlooks and photo spots throughout Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You cannot miss them!

Explore the Mountain Town of Gatlinburg:

Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

After our awesome hike, we went back to the town of Gatlinburg. This laid-back charming town features a plethora of restaurants, moonshine distilleries, Tennessee wine tasting rooms, breweries, cideries, arcades, shops, museums, rooftops and I can go on.

It’s one of the most exciting downtown areas that isn’t a large city! In addition to everything that downtown Gatlinburg offers, you can also take the gondola up to the Gatlinburg Skylift Park that overlooks the stunning Smoky Mountains; ride the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster; participate in a Tree Tops Ropes Course; have fun at Rowdy Bear Mountain Adventure Park, ride the Gatlinburg Space Needle, visit the aquarium, play mini golf, do a ghost tour and more.

Gatlinburg during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains

Both Pigeon and Forge and Gatlinburg feature a lot of the same attractions, so you will not run out of things to do. There is also a ski area at Ober Gatlinburg. Click here to learn more on what to in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

The entire town of Gatlinburg is like one giant amusement park! (Please note that it costs $15 USD to publicly park for a day in downtown Gatlinburg.)

Moonshine, Wine and Cider Tasting in Gatlinburg:
Moonshine tasting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

During our afternoon in Gatlinburg, we couldn’t wait to participate in some awesome tastings! What is cool about Gatlinburg’s wineries, distilleries, cideries, etc. are that a lot of them offer FREE tastings! The actual tasting cups are extremely small though. If you want to purchase bottles of wine, growlers of beer or cider and/or mason jars of moonshine, you will need to pay the full price for them.

When we first got to Gatlinburg, we visited Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, which does Tennessee moonshine tastings for only $5 USD. I honestly was the most excited for this, since I’ve only tried apple pie moonshine once before in college loved it.

For a while, moonshine was illegal in my home state because it is a high-proof liquor that was continuing to be produced illicitly. Over the years laws have changed and nowadays you can purchase moonshine at select liquor stores in New Jersey!

Our moonshine tasting was a lot of fun and we got to try a variety of different flavors – “hunch punch”, strawberry mango margarita, black cherry, apple pie, Reese’s peanut butter cup, butter pecan (which was my personal favorite from this tasting) and strawberries and cream! They were all delicious.

There are two Ole Smoky Moonshine Distilleries in Gatlinburg – “The Holler” and “The Barrelhouse”.

Free wine tasting in downtown Gatlinburg during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

After our moonshine tasting, we went over to Bootleggers Homemade Wine where we did a free wine tasting of five different wines. We tried a few berry wines as well as red and white table wines. Everything was awesome! We also visited Tennessee Homemade Wine and for $5 USD per person, we tasted 11 different wines (Blackberry, White Muscadine, Red Muscadine, Strawberry, Blueberry, Proper Peach, Old Apple, Classic Grape, Great Niagara, Southern White and Southern Red).

This may seem like a lot of alcohol consumption, but like I said, the tasting cups were extremely small and it was really only a sip. We loved the Southern Red homemade table wine the best, so we ended up purchasing a bottle to take back with us to the Yourcation Awaits cabin. (You must be 21+ to drink in the United States and all tasting rooms card every individual to ensure they are legally able to consume alcohol.)

Cider tasting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

Before we headed to dinner, we made a pit stop at Tennessee Cider Company where we tasted a few different ciders for free. I tried the watermelon cider, which was my favorite, as well as blueberry cider, strawberry cider and caramel apple cider. Everything was very tasty!

When the three of us were finished with our tastings, we were excited to grab dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina that had a rooftop overlooking the entire downtown area of Gatlinburg and nearby Smoky Mountains.

Fajitas from Loco Burro Fresh Mex Cantina in Gatlinburg

Everything we ate at Loco Burro was absolutely delicious! I had the chicken and shrimp fajitas, Hannah had a taco salad and Mikayla had taquitos. Their chips and guacamole were also great! This rooftop was also a prime spot to watch the sunset in Gatlinburg.

Day 3:

Have a Fun Day at Dollywood:

A woman enjoying Dollywood during 3 days in Pigeon Forge and Great Smoky Mountains

3 Days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is definitely not complete without a day of fun at Dollywood. Since you can see the amusement park from Yourcation Awaits in Pigeon Forge, there is no excuse as to why you shouldn’t go to Dollywood!

As crazy as this may sound, I had never heard of Dollywood up until a few years ago when a family friend visited the Smokies. This amusement park has been around since 1986 and it is jointly owned by Dolly Parton and Herschend Family Entertainment. It is a happy place with over 40 different rides for all ages, numerous entertainment venues, award-winning dining options, fun characters and more. (It costs $79 USD without taxes per adults and teens ages 10-61. There is a discount for children and senior citizens. Dollywood also has a waterpark that is open in the summer months called Splash Country. )

Unfortunately, Mikayla had to go back home to Nashville, but Hannah and I had a blast going on the rollercoasters at Dollywood. I had not been on a big amusement park roller coaster since I was in college!

A rollercoaster at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge

Because we visited Dollywood during spring break season, the park had longer lines than usual for rides. Hannah and I got to enjoy the Tennessee Tornado, Wild Eagle, Thunderhead and Lightning Rod.

My ultimate favorite ride at Dollywood was Lightning Rod, which is the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world. It has a launch and the entire ride is smooth. I love a classic wooden coaster, but they are usually very rickety. This is also my current favorite wooden roller coaster in the world! My second favorite roller coaster at Dollywood was Wild Eagle. You can actually see this steel coaster from Yourcation Awaits and once you’re on it, the ride makes you feel like you’re actually flying!

In addition to all the thrilling rollercoasters, there are also kiddie rides, shows, a parade and even a chapel that hosts church services on Sundays.

Experiencing Dollywood during 3 days in Great Smoky Moutains

Dollywood is also known to have some of the best amusement park food in the country! For lunch, we ate at Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse, which is a family style, all-you-can-eat concept that is similar to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The portions were also similar to Paula Deen’s restaurant, which I talk about above.

I will be completely honest that all of the restaurants and food stands at Dollywood had long lines and wait times, so Hannah and I put our names on the list for Miss Lillian’s and we enjoyed some rides while we waited. Miss Lillian’s texted us when our table was ready and there was a 10-minute grace period to get back to the restaurant before they gave our table to the next party in line. Our timing was good!

During our lunch at Miss Lillian’s, we got the fried chicken, carved ham and smoked roast beef as the main meals and savored the green beans and French fries as sides. I had everything except the roast beef and it was all delicious.

In addition to Southern-styled cooking, you can also enjoy cinnamon bread, kettle korn, funnel cake, ice cream, Dippin’ Dots, corn dogs, pizza, freshly-squeezed lemonade and other amusement park favorites.

Savor Everything Apple at the Apple Barn Village:

Apple fritters from Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Another awesome thing you cannot miss out on during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains is a visit to Apple Barn. This wonderful village features a cider mill, apple orchard (behind the village), winery, creamery, farmhouse restaurant, grill, Christmas and candle shop as well as a cider house.

Hannah and I visited Apple Barn after our day at Dollywood and got to enjoy delicious cider, apple fritters and ice cream. Everything was delicious, but the village is really known for their warm apple fritters that they serve. These delicious fritters also come with a mouthwatering apple butter that everyone loves!


A woman at Yourcation Awaits cabin rental during 3 days in Great Smoky Mountains

I hope you all enjoyed discovering the best things to do during 3 days in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and reading about my experience staying at Yourcation Awaits cabin rental in Pigeon Forge. If you have any questions, please email me at [email protected]

Basic Facts of the United States:

Currency: United States Dollar, Capital: Washington D.C., TN State Capital: Nashville, Time Zone: Time Zone: Most of Tennessee is on Central Standard Time, but the Smokies and anywhere in Knoxville or east of there is on Eastern Standard Time.

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*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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22 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on April 23, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Great blog on Pigeon Forge and the Smokies National Park! Yourcation awaits Mountain cabin that you stayed at was so beautiful ~ Love all your beautiful photography ~ it brings this lovely trip to life! Looks like an amazing and fun place to vacation at. It has all my favorite activities ~ hiking, amusement park with adventurous rides and awesome wineries, cideries and moonshine tastings! Love learning about Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg ~ beautiful region! Another great read! Love you, mom 👩 xoxo ♥️

    • Taylor Deer on April 23, 2021 at 11:53 pm

      Thank you mom! It really was a fun trip with so much to do. Love you too! <3

  2. Emma on April 24, 2021 at 1:12 am

    What a beautiful looking place, and that cabin is amazing. I love the rustic furniture although it seems like you might need a step ladder to get into that bed, it’s huge! Love the view though.

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:18 pm

      It’s such a great cabin! There is so much to do for everyone. 🙂 The beds were so cozy there!

      • Cosette on April 26, 2021 at 11:29 am

        Love the Gatlinburg area and the Pigeon Forge part also sounds great. We visited Great Smoky Mountains NP and Gatlinburg a few years back and loved the area, although we we’re there only shortly, since it was pouring down the whole day.

        • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:46 pm

          Ah I’m sorry the weather wasn’t in your favor during your time in the Smokies. It’s such a great place for families. 🙂

  3. Rhonda Thompson on April 24, 2021 at 10:40 am

    My Husband and I are going to Gatlinburg and pigeon forge in may for 35th anniversary. Any suggestions for us older folk? We’ve been told to go to Paula Dean,s but were not in shape to stand in line. Any other suggestions of good eats?

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:19 pm

      That is exciting! You both will love it. All of the restaurants I mention in this blog are great! 🙂

  4. Sharon Odegaard on April 24, 2021 at 11:07 am

    The Smoky Mountains are idyllic, and what a lovely place to stay! My favorite photos are of you in the rocking chair on the porch, just chilling. What a relaxing vacation!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:20 pm

      It really is a beautiful area! I definitely enjoyed my time staying there. 🙂

  5. Megan on April 24, 2021 at 11:15 am

    I love how much there is to do in that whole area! And that cabin looks so perfect I think I could live there!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:20 pm

      Yes, it is such a peaceful area. I love the cabin and how spacious it is! 🙂

  6. Farrah on April 24, 2021 at 7:42 pm

    I loved visiting Asheville and really want to get to explore the Great Smoky Mountains someday + hike everywhere! That cabin looks gorgeous!

    • Taylor Deer on April 24, 2021 at 11:25 pm

      It really was amazing Farrah! You totally have to make your way to the Smokies at some point. You’d love it. 🙂

  7. ildiko on April 25, 2021 at 7:34 am

    What a fun getaway. It really is a beautiful part of the country. I have visited this area a few times. Gatlinburg is always fun to walk around and explore the many shops. I have yet to hike on the Appalachian Trail. Your pics of some of the trails looked beautiful.

    • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:41 pm

      Thank you Ildiko! It really was such a fun trip and there is so much for everyone to enjoy. 🙂

  8. Kayy on April 26, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Looks like a great mini vacation. So cozy in the cabin . The bed looks so huge for little ole me.

    • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      It really was such a nice and cozy cabin! I loved it so much! 🙂

  9. Francesca on April 28, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    I love this area of the country. It’s so beautiful. The cabin looked so cozy too!

    • Taylor Deer on April 30, 2021 at 4:46 pm

      It really is a stunning part of the USA! 🙂

  10. Mikayla on May 3, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Oh my gosh this is a perfectly detailed blog about Gburg and Pigeon Forge!! I had so much fun and still talk about that breakfast haha, 10/10 recommend those omelettes.

    • Taylor Deer on May 3, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      Ah thank you Mikayla! We really did have a good time. Best breakfast!

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