By: Rob Delaney, Greenheart Exchange Work and Travel Employer Services Coordinator

This week, I had the pleasure of visiting a number of Greenheart Work and Travel participants who are spending their summer in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  These two cities, along with nearby Gatlinburg, welcome more than 1,000 Summer Work Travel participants each year.  With beautiful scenery and plenty of theme parks and attractions, there’s too much to visit in just one summer!  I think that’s why so many participants choose to come back to the area for a second or third year – there’s just so much to do.

Here are my top 5 things to see and do in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg:

  1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

No visit to the area would be complete without a stop to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is the most-visited national park in the United States, with more than eleven million visitors in 2016. The Smoky Mountains get their name from the mist that often blankets them at different times of year. The Native American Cherokee name for the mountains translates to the “place of blue smoke”.  With 803 miles of trails in the park, it’s the perfect place for nature lovers.

  1. Dollywood

Dollywood is an amusement park owned by the one and only Dolly Parton, a country music legend who is from Sevier County. The park sees about 3 million visitors every summer!  Popular attractions include the Wild Eagle and Tennessee Tornado roller coasters.  The park is also dedicated to conservation and “thinking green”.  Some of its environmental initiatives include planting trees to prevent runoff due to erosion and using environmentally friendly building materials. The park also owns the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, which is the largest exhibit of non-releasable Bald Eagles in the United States.

  1. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies opened in 1997, and in 2017 it was voted the best U.S. Aquarium by USA Today. It attracts about 1 million visitors every year. You can pet sting rays, see sharks, and get a close-up look at some friendly penguins!

  1. The Food

The South is famous for its food, and the culinary options here don’t disappoint!  Some local favorites include fried catfish and barbeque pork ribs. Those with a sweet tooth will have to visit Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen for its famous salt water taffy and fudge.

  1. Breath-taking views!!!

A chair-lift ride up the mountain in Gatlinburg or a ride on the 200 foot-tall Ferris wheel in Pigeon Forge is not for those with a fear of heights, but the views from up high are just spectacular!

If you want to explore these famous and beautiful attractions in the United States, look into our Summer Work Travel program. Follow us on Instagram to see the fabulous places our participants’ stay while visiting.