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A Pet-Approved Vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains

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Hello, new friend! My name is Layla the Black Lab. I’m doing everything I can to help my fur brothers and sisters to have as much fun as I did when my parents took me on a grand adventure to the Great Smoky Mountains. All too often, my brethren and I are forced to remain at home and miss Mom or Dad when they go away for many days at a time. It’s no fun dealing with separation anxiety while you’re away, nor staying angry with you upon your return. That’s why I feel called to inform wanderlusting fur baby parents like you about all the pet-friendly Pigeon Forge entertainment and lodging options so that you never have to leave us behind again!

Doggy Adventures

Doggywood

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Folks from all over the country travel to Pigeon Forge to try the exhilarating rides at Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country. As much as we would love to accompany our owners there, four-legged individuals are not permitted inside the Dollywood premises. Doggywood, on the contrary, has completely gone to the dogs! Your fur-bestie still gets to come with you on vacation when you make reservations at Doggywood, a top-notch boarding facility with kennels and cottages available at affordable prices. Make sure she’s up to date on her shots, and remember to bring her vaccination records and enough food for the day.

Sevierville’s PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park

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Okay, this particular one isn’t located in Pigeon Forge. However, only a 15-minute drive away is the little town of Sevierville, where May 13th has been declared “PetSafe Day.” Sevierville’s PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park features separate fully fenced areas for large and small dog breeds. I had a blast showing off my high-flying tricks on the agility equipment and socializing with all my new friends! When I got tired or overheated, I was relieved to find free water at the doggy fountains, plenty of shady areas and some benches where I could relax and give my parents kisses. Their amenities for humans include WiFi, waste disposal, observation cameras and space for dog training.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Does your pooch love to hike as much as I do? If so, you can’t miss the iconic Great Smoky Mountains when you stay in Pigeon Forge. The National Park is brimming with picturesque hiking, camping, fishing and picnicking opportunities that would delight you and your fur baby. Even though I was required to be on a leash, my favorite hiking area was Cades Cove, where my humans let me explore 11 miles of campgrounds, picnic areas and scenic roads. The historic sites in Cades Cove were off-limits to me, but I still enjoyed borking at wildlife in the undergrowth. Next time we go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I hope we’ll check out the Gatlinburg Trail and Oconaluftee River Trail, which are two other dog-friendly hikes perfect for photo ops!

Pet-Friendly Lodging

Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rental

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The staff at Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rental give the best butt scritches! They love pooches of all kinds and will excitedly recommend you lots of hikes, parks and spas to do with your pup. With dozens of pet-friendly cabins and chalets to choose from, you can enjoy scenic views of the river or the mountains while your doggo stretches her legs in the backyard. Cabins sleep up to 24 people and are furnished with family-fun amenities like private indoor pools, outdoor hot tubs, air hockey tables, foosball, arcade games, pool tables and in-home theaters. The rustic comfort and spacious properties at Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rental will make your dog one happy camper!

La Quinta Inn & Suites

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For those who prefer a more contemporary indoor setting, La Quinta Inn & Suites is a fantastic pet-friendly option within walking distance to downtown Pigeon Forge. Their spacious accommodations include modern amenities like an indoor pool, hot tub and sundeck, free WiFi and an outdoor patio and grilling area. La Quinta Inn & Suites is only a few miles away from other dog-friendly businesses like Sevierville’s PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park and Doggywood. The best part is that your two furry family members under 50 pounds can stay with you in a petfriendly room for no additional fee!

Campground Riverslanding

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Campground Riverslanding is one of my favorite places to stay in Pigeon Forge because of their awesome dog park. Not only this, but they offer daily shuttle service to and from Smoky Dog Lodge. Sitting on the beautiful banks of the Little Pigeon River, the campground is home to the Riverslanding Farmhouse, a 4-bedroom vacation rental home complete with an in-home theater, electric fireplace and full kitchen. If you’re like me and you prefer camping a bit closer to the outdoors, there are four different sized RV site types with access to a heated pool, bathhouse, laundry facility, arcade, and basketball and tennis courts. I sure do love the smell of campfiregrilled meat while I play outside with my doggo friends from next door!

Carnivorous Eats

Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que

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Dad says I’m not allowed to eat human food, but sometimes Mom sneaks me a bite in secret! The smells coming from Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que made me salivate so much that I thought I was in puppy heaven. Their pork ribs, chicken, chopped pork and beef brisket are smothered in Bennett’s homemade sauce and smoked for 14 hours over hickory wood. Served alongside irresistible side-dishes like deep-fried pickle chips, deviled eggs, green beans and potato salad, their juicy meat is so tender that it almost melts in your mouth. Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que is one “hecking” treat for both you and your scent-loving fur baby.

Maddog’s Creamery

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After I finished my puppy chow dinner, my parents took me out for dessert at Maddog’s Creamery. Boy, was it so much fun! While they chose between 24 ice cream flavors, sweet cakey donuts, cream-filled donuts, soft serve, sundaes, banana splits and milkshakes, I got to play with some new dog toys Maddog’s keeps available for puppers like me. We sat outside at a picnic table, where there was a water bowl already waiting for me, and enjoyed the crisp leafy autumn weather. The smell of delicious dog treats wafted to me from Mom’s bag. At last, she let me munch on a few of Maddog’s gourmet dog treats, which are made with natural, humangrade ingredients. They’re even shaped like cute little donuts and ice cream cones!

Mom and Dad always say, “That Layla puppy is so spoiled. She even gets to go on trips with us!” In my mind, though, pets should have the inalienable right to accompany their humans no matter where they go. The multitudes of pet-friendly activities and accommodations around Pigeon Forge make it easy to do. At least, the Great Smoky Mountains have this pup’s stamp of approval! Next time you plan a vacation for you and your family, think about how much more fun it could be when you include the “goodest” family member of them all.