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Much to See in Tennessee on your Rental Car Roadtrip

Fly into McGhee Tyson Airport and you’ll be just 15 minutes south of Knoxville, Tennessee. Here also you’re close to the sights and sounds of Maryville, and about an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains. It is a perfect area for making lasting memories as you explore the region in your Thrifty rental car.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Lush forests and awe-inspiring mountains stretch across this eastern area of Tennessee to North Carolina. Hike along routes that twist and turn around streams, rivers and waterfalls that are part of the Appalachian Trail. Head to the observation tower atop Clingmans Dome for the most expansive views from the highest point in the misty woodlands.

Market Square

Knoxville’s pedestrian mall was created in 1854 as a farmer’s market. Today, it has developed into a mixed-use venue for different types of public events. It’s not uncommon to find artists and street performers in the square. The buildings surrounding the square are a mix of 19th and 20th century architecture styles, with quaint and colorful cafes and storefronts.

Pigeon Forge

Drive your Thrifty rental car out to this quirky little mountain town and you’ll be surprised at the different sights you’ll see. From amusement parks to dinner theaters, there’s always something to do around here. Take a helicopter ride, go river rafting, see a magic show, check out the wax museum, tour a winery … there’s even indoor skydiving and horseback riding.

Sunsphere Tower

Constructed for the 1982 World's Fair, the Sunsphere is a golden glass sphere atop a steel structure. The tower’s windows are actually covered in 24-karat gold dust. It features an observation deck on the fourth level that offers a spectacular view of Knoxville, and it houses a restaurant and bar on the fifth level.


In Pigeon Forge, you’ll also find Dollywood, country singer Dolly Parton’s theme park. This popular Tennessee attraction features thrill rides, a water park and a museum of Dolly’s costumes and memorabilia. It also hosts concerts, and sometimes you can even catch a performance by Ms. Parton herself.


The airport is also very close to the town of Maryville, where you’ll find the Foothills Mall, Cades Cove Museum, Capitol Theater, golf courses, water sports and more. There’s plenty of outdoor fun to enjoy and it’s a great place to go antiquing with many antique shops and malls.