When TripAdvisor recently announced Pigeon Forge, Tennessee’s Grand Hotel and Convention Center as “the dirtiest hotel in America,” the biggest surprise may not have been the reviewers’ reports of “makeup on the pillowcases,” “dogs urinating in the stairwells,” or “food underneath the bed.”
No, the biggest shocker to those familiar with the area in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains was that so many people opted to stay in an Orwellian concrete-facade building in the middle of a congested city strip while so close to one of the country’s loveliest national parks.
If you’re traveling in the Appalachians and plan to stay in or near Pigeon Forge, flee the fleas and choose one of these options instead:
Pigeon Forge doesn’t really have anything to do with pigeons, but it does have a fair share of the Tennessee Valley’s nature and wildlife once you get away from the neon mini-golf and moccasin stand areas. Pitch your own tent at one of several parks, such as Twin Mountain, which charges a fee of about $25 for renting a pastoral spot by the river.
Pigeon Forge‘s cabin rentals put you right on the mountaintop. Expect a drive up a steep incline past roads with names like “Boogertown,” then stay in roomy, pine cottages that rival Twin Peaks’ fictitious Great Northern Hotel for rustic appeal.
Bed and Breakfasts
Tennessee is in the heart of the Bible Belt, so a B&B isn’t the best option if blasting grindcore music helps you drop off to sleep, but for those who want to stay in small, quaint historic houses run by friendly country folk with Southern accents, Pigeon Forge has –to use the local venacular– a mess of ’em.
If you’re one of the thousands drawn to Pigeon Forge by Dollywood, Archie Campbell’s Hee-Haw Village and the Elvis Museum, you might as well make it a full-on kitschy tourist adventure. Take the fam to the Inn at Christmas Place , where ’tis the season, even in the blazing summer.
Do you really need to stay in Pigeon Forge? With the actual mountains a mere six miles away, spend the day if you must, then keep driving. It gets prettier.