Dolly Parton has put Pigeon Forge on the National Geographic map. The music icon and her popular theme park have made the magazine’s annual Best of the World list.
The 2024 list released Jan. 30 includes exciting, meaningful, and one-of-a-kind travel experiences from around the world. The travel suggestions range from Paris and Niagara Falls to the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia and diving with sharks on Australia’s Coral Coast.
Parton and Dollywood made the cut because this year’s Best of the World edition goes beyond geographical locations. It also highlights hotels, restaurants, global travelers and travel products.
Dollywood is worth a trip to Pigeon Forge
National Geographic named Dolly Parton one of the travelers of the year because of her world travels and for bringing the world to Pigeon Forge through Dollywood and her resorts. HeartSong Lodge, Parton’s newest resort, was one of four hotels in North America included in the new “worth a trip” category.
“Well, we’re lucky to be in the part of the world that I believe is just absolutely the most perfect place that God has created, so we just look outside the window and those big, beautiful Smoky Mountains provide all the inspiration we could ever dream of finding,” Parton told the magazine.
National Geographic praised Parton for helping to make East Tennessee a popular vacation spot, helping kids explore the world through Imagination Library, her nonprofit that provides free books to children, and for her wildlife preservation efforts.
Dollywood partners with the American Eagle Foundation and features Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, the largest presentation of non-releasable bald eagles in North America.
What are the best places to visit in 2024?
The main Best of the World list showcases “travel’s power to transform us and our connections with one another,” according to the magazine. The top 20 travel experiences list is curated by National Geographic explorers, photographers, and editors.
After you enjoy Dollywood and HeartSong, here are the top 20 travel experiences National Geographic suggests for 2024:
- Horseback safari in Kenya
- Olympic Marathon in Paris, France
- Ski tour through UNESCO sites in Georgia
- Bear-watching at Katmai National Park, Alaska
- Live music in Kyoto, Japan
- Magdalena River Cruise in Colombia
- Road trip Route 66 in New Mexico
- Explore ancient rock art in Algeria
- Dive with sharks on Australia’s Coral Coast
- Volcano hiking in Panama
- Observe the total solar eclipse in Niagara Falls
- Trek a glacier in Chile
- Step back in time at Menorca’s archaeological sites
- Ride classic rails through the Scottish Highlands
- Indulge your taste buds in Isan, Thailand
- Wander the tea trail in Sri Lanka
- Gallery hop in Sao Paulo, Brazil
- Raft the rapids in West Virginia
- Go antiquing in the Hudson Valley, New York
- Sleep at a floating lodge on Tofino Island, British Columbia
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