Planning a trip to East Tennessee? Leave time to explore all the best things to do in Pigeon Forge! Famous for Dollywood, The Great Smoky Mountains, and true Southern hospitality, this fun-filled mountain city is packed with fun attractions for the whole family. Whether you want to enjoy delicious Southern food at the Old Mill or hit the trails, plan the perfect Pigeon Forge vacation with this guide!
Best places to visit in Pigeon Forge, TN
If you’re visiting Pigeon Forge in one day, Dollywood is the best place to start. Experience country music festivals and award-winning BBQ at this amusement park owned by Dolly Parton. Dollywood also has countless shopping and craft-making places to explore.
Also featuring a theme park, Dollywood is amazing family fun with dozens of rides, museums, and water park slides. Bring your sweet tooth to enjoy classic funnel cakes and chocolate-covered strawberries.
It’s easy to see why Dollywood is Pigeon Forge’s most popular attraction. Before leaving, make sure to take a tour of the replica of Dolly Parton’s beautiful Tennessee home.
Looking for a place to cool off from the Southeast USA summer heat? Splash Country is a water park in Dollywood. Voted one of the top 10 water parks in the U.S., the water park offers slides and fun activities for the entire family. For families, it’s one of the top places to go in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
If you’re more into relaxing instead of water action, take a lazy tube ride down the river. Children can race each other on the Wild River falls or the TailSpin Racer. As a family, you can enjoy the Raging River Rapids in a tube that fits up to 6 people.
After a day in the water, grab a hotdog or some Dippin’ Dots. Picnic in the Park just opened a few years ago. The eatery offers some healthy options to keep you looking slim in your swimming suit.
The Old Mill
Searching for a fantastic place to eat some local food? The Old Mill has some incredible options. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They’re best known for their country-fried chicken, Deep South chicken pot pie, and the old mill country breakfast.
The Old Mill Restaurant uses only fresh ingredients and decades-old family recipes. You can even stop by The Old Mill General Store and take some ingredients to bring home. You can also visit the Old Forge Distillery to sample some spirits or go to the Old Mill Creamery for ice cream or a sweet treat.
Before you head out, grab some freshly baked bread at the Pottery House Cafe. It’ll be perfect for breakfast the next morning!
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
With the slogan “ride the hill and feel the thrill,” you know the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is for adventure seekers. It’s a small roller coaster similar to the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. On the fun ride, you’ll see amazing views of the Smoky Mountains.
Located just 1.4 miles from the Pigeon Forge Parkway, it’s the longest alpine coaster in the United States. The best part is you can control how fast or slow your ride is. Bring your best smile as they snap photos of you along the way.
Visiting Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge is a great way to honor the veterans of the United States armed forces. Walk along the half-mile path to see flags from all 50 states. You’ll also spot special flags that represent the different branches of the military.
Patriot Park also gives you stunning views of the Little Pigeon River. Halfway through the walking path, make sure to snap a photo of the Patriot Missile.
Patriot Park also has several festivals throughout the year including 4th of July parades and Memorial Day food events.
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud
Looking to have some friendly competition and a dinner show? Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud is a show full of dancing, singing, and stunts. Become part of the longest family feud in history as you watch the two families fight out their differences.
Come hungry: The ticket includes an all-you-can-eat Southern food feast. The show is full of surprises and improv, including plenty of audience participation. Get your family ready for a night full of laughter!
Hollywood Wax Museum
Looking for the opportunity to meet your most-liked celebrity? Meet all your favorite actors at the Hollywood Wax Museum. A huge replica of King Kong also hangs on the side of the museum, making it easy to spot when you’re driving.
Feel like you’re walking down the red carpet at this wax museum with all your favorite Hollywood stars. See insanely realistic figures of Elvis Presley, Johnny Depp, Julia Roberts, and Marilyn Monroe.
Don’t forget your camera and strike a pose with all the stars. You can also learn about the history of wax figure making and the special tools the artists use to make the figures look so life-like.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede
If you haven’t had enough of Dolly Parton yet, make sure to get tickets to Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Featuring country music, horse trick riding, and amazing food, Dolly Parton’s Stampede is one of the top attractions in Pigeon Forge.
Arrive early to have a meet and greet with the horses and their top-notch riders. The famous music group Mountain Ruckus also performs at select shows. As you watch the show and special effects, enjoy a four-course meal including vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Located just a few minutes away from Dollywood Lane, the Stampede is a fantastic dinner show. It offers world-class entertainment in Pigeon Forge.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Looking for the best place to go hiking and get some family photos? Great Smoky Mountains National Park spans the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. Bring your water bottle and hiking clothes, and spend a full day exploring the park.
The most popular reason to visit the park is for the hiking trails. With over 150 trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an incredible way to see the prettiest parts of the Smoky Mountains. There are also kid-friendly hikes and trails perfect for dogs.
Invest in some bear pepper spray; hikers have had aggressive wildlife encounters in the past. Make sure to also download a copy of the hiking trail map on your phone so you don’t get lost.
PRO TIP: Experience Pigeon Forge’s finest natural scenery on the Valleys & Views Smoky Mountains Jeep Tour! The drive winds through Wears Valley along Little River Road and up the Foothills Parkway.
Outdoor Gravity Park
Ever seen zorbing on TV, you know, that crazy “sport” where people roll down the hill in big plastic balls? Pigeon Forge’s Outdoor Gravity Park is the only place you can go zorbing in the U.S. The balls are 11 feet tall and can fit up to three people.
Ride down a 1,000-foothill on one of the four tracks. The extreme zig-zag course at the gravity park is for one person. The fast tracks and funnel courses are perfect for rolling with your spouse or kids.
Bring your adventurous spirit and climb into one of the big inflatable balls. Choose the fast tracks for ultimate speed or the funnel courses to combine speed with twists and turns.
Alcatraz East Crime Museum
Obsessed with true crime or fascinated by serial killers? Alcatraz East Crime Museum is a fantastic place to explore in Pigeon Forge. With five unique galleries across two floors, the museum features all of America’s most notorious criminals.
Ted Bundy and O.J. Simpson both have exhibits; you’ll also find others covering lesser-known criminals. The Alcatraz East Crime Museum also has dedicated exhibits to forensic science breakthroughs, the secrets behind the justice system, and touching stories from victims.
Worried the kids might get too scared? There are 11 exhibits specifically for children to keep them entertained. Look for the Junior Detective area.
Explore one of the most famous events in history at the Titanic Museum. The self-guided tour takes you back more than 100 years in time. It entertains guests with the stories of all the passengers and crew members who were on the ship.
The two-story museum has over 400 original artifacts from the RMS Titanic valued at over $4.5 million dollars. You get a real experience of what it was actually like to be aboard the Titanic. Exhibits include touching a real iceberg, seeing the iconic Grand Staircase, and feeling the 28-degree water.
The Titanic Museum also overlooks the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll dazzle at an incredible view as you stand outside on the ship deck. You’ll leave feeling like you were actually on board the Titanic.
PRO TIP: Avoid line-ups by booking your Titanic Museum Advance Purchase Ticket online!
Rocky Top Wine Trail
Tasting the local wine on your to-do list? Rocky Top Wine Trail gets you acquainted with wines from 5 local wineries in the Pigeon Forge area. There are over 75 wines to try and beautiful souvenir wine glasses to take home.
Tennessee homemade wines range in flavor from dry to sweet, so there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. Mountain Valley Winery has the most popular flavors, including red velvet, watermelon, and rhubarb.
Apple Barn Winery is another popular spot. It’s located right on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. The wine is made with locally grown apples instead of grapes. Make sure to try a wine slushie as you take in the breathtaking view of the mountains and river.
PRO TIP: Taste Tennessee’s best moonshine and wine on the fun Moonshine & Wine Tasting Tour. The excursion visits three local distilleries and three wineries with taste tests of some of the industry’s more exotic flavors.
Pigeon Forge Snow
Visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, in the summer? You can still experience real snow that never melts at Pigeon Forge Snow. It’s America’s only indoor snow park, set up in a comfortable 70-degree room.
All the traditional snow activities are available. They include a room full of snow tubing hills and an area where you can build snowmen or snow castles. Leave your winter gear and snow boots at home, they’re not needed for this snow adventure!
Pigeon Forge Snow makes their snow fresh every day with no additives. It’s completely safe for the entire family to play in. There’s also a special snow play area for small children away from the tube race area.
If you’re visiting in winter and want to experience the real thing, head to Ober Gatlinburg. Located to the south in Gatlinburg, the alpine resort offers Tennessee’s top family-friendly winter activities. Options include ice skating, snow tubing, snowboarding, and skiing.
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park is consistently rated as the number one ziplining and adventure destination in Tennessee. Hopefully, you’re not afraid of heights: The park is home to the state’s longest, fastest, and highest zipline. Speed through the Smoky Mountains at up to 60 mph.
Featuring the top thrill rides in Pigeon Forge, you can choose between two different zip lines. Choose the Goliath tour if you’re interested in speed and heights. The zipline canopy tours are a little more relaxing with a beautiful view of Mine Falls.
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park also has hiking trails and ATV tours. If you’re still searching for adventure after ziplining, you can go white water rafting or go across the swinging bridge to see the Foxfire Gorge.
PRO TIP: Skip the queue and get your Foxfire Mountain Hiking & Swinging Bridge Adventure tickets online!
Great Smoky Mountain Wheel
Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is one of the best places to see in Pigeon Forge to get an aerial view of the city and the Smoky Mountains. Located at The Island Pigeon Forge, The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel takes you up 200 feet in a climate-controlled glass gondola.
Each gondola sits up to 8 people, so bring all the kids and relatives! The ride gives you stunning mountain views and is located across from Pigeon Forge on a small island area.
After doing the 20-story wheel ride, you can explore more of The Island in Pigeon Forge. Check out the Yee-Haw Brewery to sample award-winning beer or grab some southern eats at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Or for some after-dinner family fun, enjoy family-friendly arcade games at Arcade City.
With mini-golf, blaster boats, and bumper cars, The Track has activities for all ages. The elevated go-kart track has three different levels. In them, you can ride in double cars with your kids or let them go solo on the Kiddie & Rookie tracks.
The bumper cars are the most popular attraction set in a classic arena. Bump your kids or your spouse as you zoom around in these carnival cars. When you’re done, go the Skyflyer and soar 75 feet up in the air.
End the day with a mini-golf game through an 18-hole safari-themed course. Try to land your ball in the holes through tunnels and waterfalls while surrounded by elephants and giraffes.
Parrot Mountain and Gardens
Located minutes from Dollywood, Parrot Mountain and Gardens is one of the top Pigeon Forge tourist attractions for travelers looking for refuge from the busy mountain town center and amusement parks. Awash with beautiful scenery, the gardens sit on four acres of land teeming with tropical birds.
At Parrot Mountain and Gardens, you’ll meander along well-manicured pathways past bird cottages, waterfalls, and statues with religious motifs. On your walk, peacocks set the scene as butterflies and dragonflies flutter above.
The highlight of the attraction is its bird garden, home to hundreds of exotic birds from toucans to hornbills. Be sure to charge up your camera to capture the colorful residents in all their technicolor glory!
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Show & Adventure Park
Need more family-friendly excitement? Pack up the gang to dazzle at a fun performance at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Show & Adventure Park. At this famed Pigeon Forge dinner theater, the whole family will get whisked back in time to East Tennessee’s logging days and the story of two of the industry’s most infamous families.
Along the same vein as the Hatfields and McCoys, Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Show presents the dueling families of the local timber business: the Dawsons and the McGraws.
Skilled lumberjacks representing the families engage in a series of challenges, ranging from log rolling and tree chopping to climbing and ax-throwing. The result is an exciting and action-packed show that will be one of the highlights of your Pigeon Forge sightseeing itinerary!
After the performance, skedaddle to the Adventure Park to put your own lumberjack skills to the test. Add an adrenaline rush to the day with a ride on the Flying Ox, the first cable-to-rail zipline rollercoaster in the world. Or test your ability at the High Woodsman Challenge, a gravity-defying ropes course spanning several levels.
WonderWorks Pigeon Forge
Add a dash of quirkiness to your Pigeon Forge trip with a visit to WonderWorks Pigeon Forge. The popular indoor amusement park fuses together education and entertainment for an experience like none other in the mountain town.
The upside-down research lab features over 100 interactive exhibits, suitable for all ages. Head to the Hurricane Shack to experience the force of hurricane winds or to the Astronaut Training Gyro to see if you’ve got the stomach for deep-space exploration. Or attack your fear of heights head-on with a romp on the Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course.
If you’re up for an even bigger (or, shall we say, higher!) adventure at WonderWorks Pigeon Forge, test your resolve at the Wonders of Flight. Embark on a helium balloon ride, soaring 500 feet into the sky, for unforgettable sweeping views over the Smoky Mountains.
Want to dig into Pigeon Forge’s natural beauty? Slide into the depths of the Great Smoky Mountains at Cades Cove. About an hour southwest of Pigeon Forge, Cades Cove sits in a 6,800-acre valley that showcases some of Tennessee’s finest scenery.
Cades Coves was one of the earliest European settlements in the Smoky Mountains, dating back to the early 1800s. Its history has left a legacy of historic buildings that you can explore, ranging from old grist mills to log cabins.
To experience the best of Cades Cove, get behind the wheel and take a scenic drive along the Cades Cove Loop Road. Along the 11-mile route, you’ll sweep past mountain peaks, rolling green hills, and meadows blanketed with wildflowers.
Recommended places to stay
For most travelers, the best places to stay in Pigeon Forge lie in the town center and along The Parkway. The main highway is home to both the town’s best hotels and many of the top points of interest in Pigeon Forge. For more choices, you can also stay in Gatlinburg, located 15 minutes south.
Located on The Parkway, this budget-friendly hotel offers some of the best value in the area. Upgrade to a room with a balcony to fall asleep to views over the Smoky Mountains.
Douse yourself in island vibes at this popular mid-range Pigeon Forge hotel. The top-notch facilities include indoor & outdoor pools and an outdoor lounge with a fire pit.
Located next to Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud, this hotel is a great choice for couples and families. It’s chock-loaded with amenities including a hot tub, outdoor pool, lazy river, indoor pool, and fire pits.