By Leif Palmer
Posted on March 19, 2019
One of the first decisions any traveler makes when planning a trip to a fun destination is where to stay. And that goes for a getaway or vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains as well. The decision can seem like a tough one, though, because every town in our area – Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville – has a great selection of accommodations, and each one has a tempting lineup of attractions, shops and restaurants to choose from.
So what to do?
The good news is that no matter where you stay, you can always access the places you want to go in the Smokies. For example, if there are things you want to do in Gatlinburg – let's say Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies – you can always find a lodging provider like Bearskin Lodge or Old Creek Lodge here in town. That means you can park at your hotel property and either walk or take the Gatlinburg trolley to get to the aquarium (or any other attraction, restaurant or shopping destination). That's the simplest way to do it.
But if Ripley's Aquarium is on your bucket list, you're not committed to staying in Gatlinburg. If your itinerary also includes a trip to Dollywood, you could stay somewhere like Cherokee Lodge in Pigeon Forge and then take that city's Dollywood trolley route to the theme park one day and then take another route to the Gatlinburg Welcome Center another day. From there, you would just switch over to a Gatlinburg trolley that would take you to the aquarium.
Of course, you could always drive your own vehicle if you want the freedom and independence of living by your own schedule. So if you drove to Gatlinburg for the day, you could park in one of our seven lots located throughout town, all which offer very reasonable rates and better operational times than most other Gatlinburg parking garage hours.
Even if you want to stay somewhere like The Lodge At Five Oaks in Sevierville, the same scenario works. The Pigeon Forge trolleys go all the way to Five Oaks, so you could use that system to travel to either Dollywood in Pigeon Forge or Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg.
The bottom line is that you don't always have to base your accommodation decision on the places you want to visit the most, especially if you have priorities in multiple towns. Just know that between the area trolley systems and our handy parking facilities in Gatlinburg, you can easily get where you need to go.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.