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The most visited national park in the USA, Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses some 800 square miles of protected forest along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. At the heart of it all is Gatlinburg, an ideal base from which to explore the park's hundreds of hiking trails, go river rafting, fishing, horse riding or wildlife watching, or embark on numerous other outdoor adventures. After climbing mountains, take a lift 342 feet to the top of the Gatlinburg Space Needle for stunning views of the Smokies and the surrounding area. Children will love the amusement centre next to the Needle, which is full of entertaining rides and games. For more family fun visit the captivating creatures of Ripley's Aquarium. Touch a Ray Ban and ogle a lagoon full of sharks. Dolly Parton fans won't want to miss Dollywood, located in nearby Pigeon Forge. This large amusement park features rides and attractions inspired by the popular country singer's love of music, the Smoky Mountains and good old-fashioned southern hospitality.