SmoAnyone who's been a regular visitor to the Great Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee knows what they're dealing with in terms of making out an itinerary. It's really tough, isn't it?

And I point out REGULAR visitors because they're the ones who have more of an opportunity to notice the fast pace with which Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville have grown. Here a theme park, there a theme park, everywhere a theme park, theme park. And pancakes, of course...I can't leave out the pancakes.

Seriously, if you're just planning a week, you would have to forgo SOMETHING. I mean, things change more quickly than they ever have before, but a week is STILL just seven days.

So I'm assuming different types of people plan different types of Smokies excursions. And if you're a shopper, you have to visit the unique experience that IS The Island at Pigeon Forge.

While most theme parks offer plenty of shopping opportunities, they seldom provide more than 40 "experiential retail stores", as the website calls it, like, for example, The Sneaky Squirrel:

Then there's a certain store that likely sees heavy foot traffic as the holiday season approaches:

Once there, you'll also discover a spa, a sweet shoppe, a trading post, a puzzle store, and on and on. Seriously, I COULD go on and on. There's even a store that sells nothing but socks:

Want more? Then head to The Island's shopping page and feast your eyes on all the possibilities. You really could just go for the merchandise, but that'll never fly with the rest of the family, will it? There are rides to be ridden, and plenty of them, including The Island's newest...SkyFly: Soar America.

Shop, ride, eat, repeat. Or maybe it's ride, shop, eat, repeat. Or maybe it's...well, you get the idea. When you're in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area, I know you want to shop, and when you're at The Island at Pigeon Forge, I know you WILL shop.

Just don't forget the socks.

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