|

10 Things To Do in Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge is a great place to visit if you’re looking for family fun, excitement, and adventure. One of the best parts about Pigeon Forge is that there are so many things to do there for the entire family!

Collage of pictures of things to do in Pigeon Forge.

Pigeon Forge is nestled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and is the perfect location for spending quality time with your family.  There are tons of fun things to do in the mountain resort city that hosts millions of visitors annually. 

In this blog post, we will give 10 different ideas for things to do in Pigeon Forge.

View of Pigeon Forge from inside a cabin.

1. Visit The Island

Pictures of The Island in Pigeon Forge.

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a shopping and entertainment complex that offers something for everyone.  The Island is home to The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel – a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel that offers some of the best views of Pigeon Forge.

Kids will enjoy the various arcade games and rides at The Island and adults have fun things, too, like shopping at the 60+ retail and specialty shops and getting a massage at St. Somewhere Spa.  (My husband can personally testify that the massage is incredible!)

The Island is also home to over a dozen places to wet your whistle, get a little something sweet to eat, or dig into something totally filling.

Shops at The Island in Pigeon Forge.

The Island is located at 131 The Island Drive and is open every day of the year. Hours vary depending on the season. Parking is free.

The Escape Game at The Island

For those who have never been to an escape room, let me tell you briefly how they work.  You select the type of “escape room.”  Once there, you are briefed about what to do.  Much of what needs to be done will have to be figured out by YOU along the way.  You have only 1 hour to complete your mission

Entrance to The Escape Game at The Island.

At The Escape Game in Pigeon Forge, guests are given 3 clues.  You are allowed to request more clues, but each clue adds 3 minutes to your time.  The possibility exists that you may have to play with others during your time slot unless you book the entire room (see their website for more information).  You are not allowed to take pictures inside.

Boy and woman at the Escape Game.

The Escape Game is open daily from 10:00 am until 1:00 am. Reservations are recommended.

The Island Ropes Course

If you are feeling brave, then the three-story tall Sky Trail Explorer should be on your list of things to do.  The staff securely fastens guests in safety gear and then lets them go.  There are beams, ropes, and ziplines that take people from one point to another on the course.

Woman on a ropes course.

The ropes course costs $16.99 (Quick Jumps are $5.99). Participants must be at least 42″ tall and weigh between 35 – 300 pounds. You can purchase tickets online or at The Island.

2. Learn About Famous Crimes

Recreation of a jail.

Near the entrance to The Island is Alcatraz East Crime Museum, a museum devoted to educating guests about all things crime-related.  The museum has five galleries spread across 2 floors and  25,000 square feet of space that delve into criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement, and the American justice system.  The museum’s collections are very tastefully arranged and pay respect to those who are/were victims.

Be sure to allow yourself at least 2 hours to explore the museum.  It has over 100 interactive displays which you will want to check out.  My family and I went thinking that we could do it all in an hour – we were so wrong.  It’s on our list of places to visit (again) when we go back.

Ted Bundy's VW.
Ted Bundy’s Car

The museum is open Sunday to Thursday from 10:00 am until 9:00 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am until 10:00 pm. The last ticket is sold 1 hour before closing. Tickets can be purchased at the museum or online.

3. Dig Into Authentic Southern Cuisine

Pigeon Forge is truly a Southern town, and with that, there is plenty of good old-fashioned Southern fare to be found.  From pancakes to the all-you-care-to-eat offerings at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen to classic comfort food at Dollywood, you’ll find it in Pigeon Forge.

Hoe cakes and biscuits on a plate.
Hoecakes and Biscuits at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

Local Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast buffet with bacon, biscuits, and grits.

When you are in the Smoky Mountains, you have to begin your day with a hearty breakfast. Pancake houses are everywhere and you can even find those with breakfast buffets, like the one shown above at Reagan’s House of Pancakes.

The Old Mill

Step back in time and enjoy a Southern breakfast by the Little Pigeon River.

Omelet on a plate with an orange wedge.
Vegetable Omelet

The Old Mill’s history dates back to the 1830s when a water-powered gristmill was built on the banks of the what-was-to-be-called Pigeon River.  Meals and flours were ground at the mill and it became a popular gathering spot.  Fast forward almost 200 years, and it is now a popular place for people to grab a bite to eat, buy some freshly milled meal, flour, and mixes, and also buy some locally made unique pottery pieces.

Dining at Dollywood

Dollywood is home to sit-down restaurants serving everything from meat and veggies at Aunt Granny’s Restaurant to slow-cooked barbecue at Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse.

The Old Mill Pottery House Café & Grille

Bowl of shrimp and grits.

This quaint restaurant sits next door to The Old Mill Pigeon River Pottery.  What’s neat about it – in addition to some really good Southern food – is that they serve up their dishes on handmade pottery.  I recommend the Shrimp & Grits.  (You can see the full menu here.)

Of course, you’ll also find classic steakhouses, casual fast-food restaurants, sit-down BBQ joints, ice cream parlors, Chinese restaurants, a saloon, dinner theaters and so much more.  There’s no reason anyone should be hungry in Pigeon Forge.

4. Attend a Dinner Theater Show

People dining at tables at a dinner theater.

What’s not to love about attending a dinner theater in Pigeon Forge?  Nothing.  It’s a fabulous way to enjoy a show and sit down to a filling dinner.  There are several dinner theaters in Pigeon Forge, including the Dolly Parton’s Stampede, the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, the Grand Majestic Dinner Theater, and the Biblical Times Dinner Theater.

Whole chicken on a plate.

In addition to a really good show, the Dixie Stampede knows how to serve up a delicious meal.  The four-course meal starts with a creamy soup and savory biscuit, followed by a whole rotisserie chicken, smoked barbecue pork loin, a potato wedge, corn-on-the-cob, and topped off with a delicious pastry.

5. Bond with Your Kids

younger kids and for those times when you want to escape the heat, rain, or snow and still do something fun as a family. 

Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly destination.  There are over 70 attractions along the parkway PLUS award-winning Dollywood. Many of the attractions are located inside, making them weatherproof and a good backup plan for rainy days. If the weather is nice, there are go-karts, outdoor coasters, mini-golf, zorbing, and more!

MagiQuest

Indoor golfing lit with neon lights.

MagiQuest houses four different attractions under one roof.  The pirate golf is set in a Caribbean pirate village, the blacklight course has colorful pirate paraphernalia and a few obstacles which will challenge your putting skills. 

The Vault sign.

Another attraction at MagiQuest is The Vault.  Think security lasers coming from a hundred different angles protecting something valuable.  It will make you want to channel your inner Catherine Zeta-Jones (from the movie Entrapment) while avoiding the laser beams.

Mirror maze.

Think you could find your way out of the maze of mirrors quickly? You can find out at The Odyssey – A Mirror Maze Adventure.  There are twists and turns and just when you think you have found an opening, you discover quickly that you haven’t.

YouTube video

MagiQuest is located at 2491 Parkway and hours vary. Prices start at $10.99 for Pirate Golf for children ages 4-10 and go up to $99.99 for a Family Pass that includes the use of a Loaner Wand, 60-minute MagiQuest Game Experience, admission to Pirate Golf, Admission into the Odyssey Mirror Maze, and Adventure Credits for four.

6. Learn About the Fate of the Passengers on the Titanic

The Titanic Pigeon Forge pays respect to those souls who boarded the ship that “could never sink.”  

Molly Brown on the Titanic.

The museum displays artifacts recovered from the wreckage and has a few interactive displays to give visitors an idea of what the Titanic passengers experienced.  As visitors enter the museum, they are given a card with a name of an actual passenger from the Titanic.  At the end of the voyage, visitors learn of the fate of that passenger.

The Titanic Museum is located at 2134 Parkway and is open from 9:00 am until 8:00 pm on Mondays, 9:00 am until 6:00 pm Tuesdays – Thursdays, and from 9:00 am until 7:00 pm Fridays – Saturdays. Reservations are required and tickets can be purchased online.

7. Shop Local

Pottery on a shelf.

Artisans have been creating beautiful pottery works of art for over 50 years in Pigeon Forge.  You can find beautiful pieces for your home at The Old Mill Pigeon River Pottery.  You might even see some of the artisans at work on the pottery wheel.

At Dollywood, master craftsmen forge iron and steel into beautiful items such as knives and home and garden decor.  Other mementos that you will find in Pigeon Forge are a reminder of yesteryear, like the vintage firetruck replica pictured below.

Antique toy fire truck.

8. Explore Dollywood

Dollywood ranks high among my favorite theme parks.  It’s clean and beautiful, the people are friendly, the food is good, the shows are great, and the rides are thrilling.  There is so much more to say about it that I wrote a separate post.  You can read it here.

Dollywood sign.

For Summer Fun – Dollywood’s Splash Country

Dollywood’s Splash Country is a fun water park with water slides, a lazy river ride, a wave pool, places to dine at the park, lockers, and retreats.  It’s a great place to soak up some sun while the kids play in the water.

Dollywood's Splash Country.
Dollywood’s Splash Country (Photo courtesy of Dollywood.)

Tip: Book a cabana and enjoy your own private space to take a break from playing in the sun.

9. Take a Hike

There are over 800 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge area.  There are trails for novice hikers as well as experienced ones.  Spring is a great time to watch as flowers and wildlife start to emerge.

Path in the Smoky mountains.

Before heading out, be sure to check the forecast and dress accordingly.  Don’t forget to bring your camera, because there will be plenty of picture-taking opportunities of the beautiful scenery.

10. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains is THE most visited national park in the United States.  It comprises 500,000 acres of Southern Appalachian wilderness on one of the oldest uplands on earth.  Explore Cades Cove and visit historic homesteads and churches.

Horses in a field at Cade's Cove.

There is a one-way, 11-mile loop around Cades Cove with spots that you can pull over so that you can explore the area.  Be on the lookout for wildlife.  There are deer, squirrels, foxes, beavers, raccoons, and even bears!

Boy walking up to a log cabin in the mountains.

Admission to Cade’s Cove is free. On Wednesdays from May through September, the loop is closed to vehicles and the entire 11-mile loop can be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle.


Anakeesta

If you find yourself with plenty of time in nearby Gatlinburg, you’ll want to check out Anakeesta, a mountaintop adventure park, that offers everything from gem mining to ziplining as well as shopping and dining.

YouTube video

More Pigeon Forge Attractions

  • Lumberjack Feud – While food is not involved, there is plenty of action watching real lumberjacks challenge each other in 11 competitive events.
YouTube video
  • Pigeon Forge Snow – Does it snow in July in the mountains?  It does inside Pigeon Forge Snow, where visitors can partake in snowtubing or playing in the snow, regardless if it is 32 degrees outside or 102 degrees.
  • WonderWorks Pigeon Forge – Science and fun are combined at this whimsical indoor amusement park.  Who can resist entering the upside down building in the heart of Pigeon Forge?
  • Hollywood Wax Museum – Move over Madam Tsaud’s.  The Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge has life-like wax creations of popular Hollywood stars.  The museum even has props to you can take a selfie and have a fun photo to remember your vacation.
  • TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena – Needing a way to burn off some of the delicious food you ate on vacay?  Kids need to blow off some steam?  TopJump is a trampoline park with open jump, dodgeball, basketball, Fire & Ice Ninja Course, air bag, and a kid zone – that’s just to name a few of activities at Sevier County’s first trampoline park.  (Be prepared to jump at your own risk.)

Those are just some of the things that you can do in Pigeon Forge.  Pigeon Forge is THE vacation destination that combines the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains with so many family-friendly attractions, you’ll want to return again and again.

To discover more fun things, go to MyPigeonForge.com and be sure to request your free travel guide.

Locations

Trip map courtesy of Wanderlog, a road trip planner on iOS and Android

Where To Stay in Pigeon Forge

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

The DreamMore resort pool.

The DreamMore Resort opened its doors in 2015 and is located by Dollywood’s Splash Country and Dollywood amusement parks.  The resort has all of the amenities that you would expect and more.  The beautifully appointed resort is a reflection of Dolly, herself. It’s the best place to stay if you are planning on visiting the Dollywood parks.

Dollywood Cabins

View of Pigeon Forge from inside a cabin.

Yes – Dollywood has cabins.  Beautiful cabins with stunning views of the mountains.  There are park perks, too, for being a cabin guest.  Guests can purchase a Length of Stay Pass for the same price as a regular day’s pass and have unlimited visits to the park for the duration of their stay.

Margaritaville Island Hotel in Pigeon Forge.

Another great option is to stay at the Margaritaville Island Hotel.  It’s located at The Island, a shopping and entertainment complex in the heart of Pigeon Forge.  The Jimmy Buffett-inspired hotel has a laid-back tropical vibe with modern amenities and is only steps away from good food and fun. If you like being within walking distance of restaurants and entertainment, this is a great option.


I am delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Pigeon Forge Tourism and tell you about this awesome destination.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

9 Comments

  1. Great list! We loved our visit to Pigeon Forge..but that ropes course looks a little too challenging to me!

    We stayed at the Inn at Christmas Place and LOVED it!

  2. Looks like so many great things to do! Dollywood is already on my list – love her – but had no idea there’s so much more to it! The Dollywood cabins look lovely.

  3. I live close to the mountains, and I love going up there! I haven’t made it all the way to Pigeon Forge yet, but it is high up on my list. My mom and I were supposed to stop there last year, but we cut our road trip short… a week before the closing started!

    1. What a bummer. I bet if you had only known that you would have gone ahead and visited. I hope that you have a great time when you do go.

  4. This place is such a hidden gem! I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it. I’ll plan to check it out if ever have some time in TN

  5. I have always wanted to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so I really appreciated this post. Wow, there is a lot to choose from in Pigeon Forge! Thanks for so many helpful suggestions. I’d love to hike the trails and check out Dollywood. As a potter, I’d like to visit Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and the adjacent shop– how lovely to eat off of hand thrown dishes.

  6. These recommendations all sound like so much fun! The escape room, especially, sounds like a blast! I’ve been loving escape rooms lately, and that one looks awesome! The Old Mill also looks great for breakfast.

    1. There is an activity or type of entertainment for everyone there. We were blown away at the amazing things we did in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and Sevierville TN.
      Great list…
      @otradventures

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *