Explore America's Campgrounds
The area around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a haven for tourists looking for a taste of the rich history and southern culture of the Smoky Mountains. Attractions including the amusement park of Dollywood make this a hotspot for family vacations -- but couples will also ﬁnd romantic places to tuck away.
The cities are located adjacent to the entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where plenty of quiet solitude and enjoyment of nature await. A romantic way to while away an afternoon is to hike to any number of waterfalls in the park. One well-traveled destination is Laurel Falls, an 80-foot waterfall requiring a 2.6-mile hike from Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg. Also worth visiting -- and less-visited -- is Rainbow Falls, located along a moderately-difﬁcult, 5-mile hiking trail accessible from Gatlinburg. A handful of other waterfalls are located nearby; the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website offers detailed directions.
Pampering for Two
Once you've hiked to your heart's content, you may need a little relaxation. A number of spas offer couples massage or romantic couples experiences, including the Spa at Bear Mountain, the Spa at Bear Cove Falls and Beneﬁcial to Life Therapeutic Massage, a service that will travel to your location. The Spas, both located in Pigeon Forge, also have a couples suite with a ﬁreplace and a full bath.
A Dinner Experience
When it's time to eat, you'll ﬁnd a host of restaurants to choose from -- but your night doesn't have to include just dinner. Dinner theaters abound in the area, with shows that focus on everything from Southern culture to the top hits of the '50s, '60s and '70s. Start your evening off with a visit to the tasting room at the Mountain Valley Winery in Pigeon Forge, and then head onto experience the southern culture show, Dixie Stampede, the classic songs of the Smith Family Dinner Show or the raucous Lumberjack Feud Dinner Show.
Tuck Away at Night
A big part of a romantic getaway is ﬁnding the perfect accommodations. While you will ﬁnd any number of hotels and campgrounds in the area, perhaps the quietest and most private way to stay in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is to rent a rustic cabin. Ideally, you'll ﬁnd one in a quiet wooded area with its own hot tub. Some rental agencies will also provide you with a "romance" package that includes champagne, and sometimes even breakfast or dinner delivered to your door. Even if it's not officially a "honeymoon," check out the honeymoon cabin rentals offered at Elk Springs Resort or Honeymoon Hills -- both of which offer heart-shaped hot tubs in select cabins. Also track down rental agencies through the area's visitor guides and ask the staff about romance or honeymoon packages.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.