When you go to the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee, how long do you stay? I used to think one week was enough, but now I don't see how you could get everything done in seven days. There's just so much to do, and it's hard deciding what to leave off of the itinerary.

For the longest time, going to the Smokies meant you were probably going to Gatlinburg. But now that Pigeon Forge and Sevierville have realized the tourism gold mine they have at their disposal, that whole region of the Volunteer State is chock full of one attraction after another. And the theme park known as The Island in Pigeon Forge has quickly become one of the area's most popular destinations.

Completed in 2013, The Island has quickly become one of the most popular theme parks in Tennessee, if not the southeastern United States. And that might have something to do with the fact that, like other such parks in the region, it's open 365 days a year--yes, even in winter. I mean, it HAS to be open in the winter so they ring in the new year and welcome throngs of visitors, like this year, for example:

And in 2023, The Island will open a brand new attraction called High Score that kids are sure to LOVE. The park has been teasing the new ride and asking folks what they think it does:

But I guess they couldn't wait and went ahead and revealed the answer in a comment:

This is a ride perfect for your little kiddos. You get to sail up in a sports balloon and see Pigeon Forge & The Island from a new perspective while spinning around in your balloon! We can’t wait for you to try this one!

So what do you think, winter travelers? Are you ready to pick a mild weekend and head to the mountains? Or are the Smokies so much a part of your DNA that you don't care how cold it is?

Either way, have a great time and Happy New Year.

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Some of my favorite vacations have been to go spend time in Gatlinburg, and soaking in those Smoky Mountains. Here's the must-see sights and must-do activities so you get the most out of your next Gatlinburg vacation!

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