Families flock to the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee every year for a respite from everyday life by enjoying the many things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN. Young and old alike absolutely love the wide array of activities and attractions available – and multi-generational family trips offer opportunities to reconnect.
With its close proximity to Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Pigeon Forge is nestled in some of the most beautiful natural settings in the country. Families can enjoy mountain views, world-famous theme parks, dinner theaters, and other fun, family-friendly activities such as miniature golf and go-karts. Time to start planning your next Tennessee vacation.
Here are 12+ of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge!
PARTNERS WE LOVE
ICONIC PIGEON FORGE TN ATTRACTIONS
DOLLYWOOD AMUSEMENT PARK
The premier attraction bringing people to visit Pigeon Forge is Dolly Parton’s Dollywood. Dolly Parton herself grew up in the Sevierville and Pigeon Forge area, later creating arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Tennessee.
The theme park is home to more than 40 thrill and amusement rides, but Dollywood is more than that. It’s great for the whole family, featuring entertaining shows, theater, shopping, exceptional dining options, and a 20-minute steam train excursion through the Smoky Mountains.
Dollywood is highly accessible for scooters and wheelchairs, and even has a pet daycare where animal friends can play all day while their owners play in the park. If you are coming in the summertime, another fun thing to consider is a visit to Dollywood Splash Country, a seasonal water park that features a water coaster and many other fun and thrilling water rides.
NEW IN 2023: A new roller coaster is coming to town in 2023. Big Bear Mountain will take riders in search of the elusive "Big Bear" that's been spotted nearby. You'll reach speeds of up to 48 mph! The minimum height to ride is 39 inches, so most families can go on the journey together. It's expected to open in Spring 2023
THE ISLAND IN PIGEON FORGE
The Island is filled with eats, shops and tons of addition fun things for families. Here is a small sampling of the top things to do on The Island.
The Titanic Museum is a step back in time to 1912 where visitors can get a first-hand look at what it would have been like aboard The Titanic during is fateful journey. It’s the largest museum featuring the Titanic in permanent standing.
The museum itself is a half-scale model of the Titanic, two stories tall, and resting in water so that museum goers can visualize the “unsinkable” ship at sea. The museum houses over 400 artifacts from the Titanic and features 20 galleries. The best way for families to enjoy their time here is to take a self-guided tour, which takes about 2 hours. This attraction is a great way to enjoy a rainy day or escape the midday sun.
Get Your Guide is a great place to get your Titanic tickets in advance. Get your tickets here.
ALCATRAZ EAST MUSEUM
Although Alcatraz is located thousands of miles to the west, visitors can pick up a piece of its history right in Pigeon Forge. Alcatraz East is a museum that showcases information and artifacts from the historic prison located in the San Francisco Bay.
The museum also showcases crime in American history with five distinct galleries, all featuring various artifacts and information on how crime has affected individuals, pop culture, society as a whole, as well as investigation processes and crime fighting.
Over 500 artifacts make this a great attraction for families to learn and share a piece of America’s history together in a fun and experiential way. Of special note is the actual White Bronco OJ Simpson drove during the infamous live TV car chase.
THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN WHEEL
For a bird’s eye view of Pigeon Forge, climb aboard the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and ride to the top in an enclosed gondola.
Here you’ll spot many of the attractions in Pigeon Forge and the Great Smoky Mountains glimmering in the distance.
THE ESCAPE GAME
Participate in your own real-life adventure with The Escape Game. For one hour, you and your friends can be an art thief, make a prison break, save a spaceship or even find gold. Decipher clues and solve problems to get you and your teammates out of some dicey predicaments. It’s a stellar way to start an evening and gives everyone something fun to talk about the rest of the night.
That’s not everything at The Island, though! Don’t stop until you’ve also visited Arcade City, the Island Show Fountains (both the day and night time shows!) and the 7D Dark Ride Adventure.
Skip the lines with an advanced ticket to your 1-Hour Escape Room Adventure!
DOLLY PARTON'S STAMPEDE AND DINNER SHOW
Dolly Parton’s Stampede is a favorite among tourists and locals. Upon entry, you will be led to the Carriage Room where guests can snack on popcorn, nachos, and cold drinks while enjoying some world-class Bluegrass music. Then guests are led into the arena, where the showdown between the North and the South go down in a longstanding battle and entertaining tricks and activities.
Don’t expect to come to this show and use a fork and knife! The utensils are your hands -- it’s all part of the back country and mountain experience.
Dinner shows are a popular attraction in Pigeon Forge and this one can’t be beat. Located directly on the Parkway, the show alone will be enough to please the crowd, but add in some of Dolly Parton’s favorite foods such as chicken, potatoes, biscuits and a delicious turnover for dessert and you’ll be sure to leave full and entertained.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE
GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
One of the more natural and majestic family attractions for vacationers near Pigeon Forge is the Smoky Mountain National Park. While the park is not actually located in Pigeon Forge, it is just a short drive to the entrance of the park near Gatlinburg and Sevierville.
Home to beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails, and historic buildings and views, the Smokies draw in millions of visitors every year to its scenic wonders. One of the best ways to visit Great Smoky Mountain National Park is to go on one of the many driving tours. A map from the park rangers will detail some of the more popular routes.
Visit Cades Cove and drive the Cades Cove Loop Trail. Along this road is one of the best places for a picnic! Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is another favorite.
Want a Guided Escape? Try this Roaring Fork 2.5-Hour Jeep Tour from Get Your Guide!
The Riverwalk Trail is a 6-mile-long paved trail that runs along the Little Pigeon River. With sounds of the water and shady trees, you're bound to love it.
Walk or bike, and by all means bring Fido; it's dog-friendly!
EVEN MORE THINGS TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE TENNESSEE
HOLLYWOOD WAX MUSEUM
The Hollywood Wax Museum is a great option for a lighthearted outing with the family in Pigeon Forge. The museum showcases a wide variety of celebrities in lifelike wax figures and is touted as the biggest wax museum in the country.
The museum is two stories and features historic celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne, as well as more recent additions like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway and many more. If you are looking something unique on your Pigeon Forge vacation, then this attraction might be the right choice!
Be sure to bring your camera. Photos are allowed and encouraged, making this a truly memorable experience.
SPEEDZONE FUN PARK
The family will love SpeedZone Fun Park because it offers four go-kart racing options in one location!
The slick track is for the big people (56” and taller), but kids can ride with you on the Coaster track and the wild wooden Tennessee Twister. The Kids Track lets 4+ kiddos drive on their own.
XTREME RACING CENTER
Buckle Up! SpeedZone doesn’t have the corner on kart tracks...Xtreme Racing Center is owned by the same people and tout the fastest go-karts in Pigeon Forge. Because of the speed, kids have to be 11+ to drive.
If you have the need...the need for speed -- this is your place!
IMPOSSIBILITIES - MAGIC, MINDREADING AND MAYHEM!
Can mentalist Erik Dobell really read minds? Can comedian Chris Collins really do magic? Bring the family and find out for yourself at the Impossibilities Magic Show, live from the Iris Theater!
This action-packed, 1.5-hour show delivers hilarious comedy, amazing magic, and mindreading like you've never seen before. Best of all, this kid-friendly routine encourages crowd participation at every show!
CRAVE GOLF CLUB
Crave Golf Club is the best mini golf spot in Pigeon Forge and was named one of the top courses in the entire country by Travel Channel. Take on 19 holes on the rooftop, which is the place to be in good weather.
If the sun is too bright or the rain is falling, head inside for more mini golf, a mini bowling alley, and delicious ice cream. It’s bright, colorful, clean - and the perfect place for pics.
We love Rafting in the Smokies for whitewater rafting in Pigeon Forge. Take your choice of a tour on Upper Pigeon River and see the Smokies from an entirely new perspective, or savor the view on a family float with calmer rapids for kids as young as 3 years to enjoy.
Want the ultimate adventure? Pair your rafting trip with a zipline, rock climb or ropes course.
LUMBERJACK FEUD SHOW & ADVENTURE PARK
Lumberjack Feud Show & Adventure Park is your chance to catch high energy athletes fiercely competing in 13 thrilling and fast paced tests of skill and prowess, ranging from chopping and axe throwing to tree climbing and log rolling. Be a part of the experience by cheering on your faves!
Hecklers BEWARE!!! Too much smack talk and you may end up on the stage shaking in your boots against the professionals!
Not only do you get to see these lumberjacks and lumberjills perform, you get to take your chances at letting out your own inner beast! Unleash the animal within as you challenge yourself to these strategically themed courses including High Woodsman Challenge, Logger Sports, Timber Towers and the Flying Ox.
Get Your Guide is a great place to Lumberjack Feud Show tickets!
ROCKY TOP MOUNTAIN COASTER
If you have ever wanted to ride a thrilling coaster while gazing at a breathtakingly beautiful mountain backdrop? The Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is the best choice for you!
Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is the longest coaster in east Tennessee and the first one in the world with FOUR uplifts! This sled-style ride features beautiful Smoky Mountains scenery, 360-degree turns, and several tunnels on over 20 acres. Each sled can make it to speeds of up to 30 MPH and the best part is YOU control the speed.
Get your Rocky Top Mountain Coaster tickets from our partner at Get Your Guide!
THE USA'S ONLY ZORBING PARK IN PIGEON FORGE
Fly like Superman into an 11-foot GIANT inflatable ball and then roll down a HUGE hill at Outdoor Gravity Park! Invented in New Zealand, Zorbing is an action-packed, funny, and wildly tumbling good time. It's like a rolling slip and slide with 10 gallons of water and up to 3 people.
Have a blast as you fly down the park's 1,000-foot hill. Cold water in the summer, 90 degree warm water in the winter, and 3 different tracks to choose from, this unforgettable experience is one for the bucket list.
WHERE TO STAY IN PIGEON FORGE
Pigeon Forge has a wide variety of lodging options catering to the various needs of family vacationers. (Hot tub, anyone!!??) The most popular choice is to rent out a spacious condo where families and extended families can gather and meet and spend time together in a comfortable setting.
Cabins and cottages are also widely available to rent much for the same purpose. If you are looking for more budget-friendly family accommodation options, there are many great motels and hotels in close proximity to attractions, many offering amenities of both indoor and outdoor pools and a few with splash pad areas ideal for kids. There are also several full-service RV parks and campgrounds in the area.
If you are looking for a little more luxury, one of the best places to checkout is the Dollywood DreamMore Resort. This resort is a full-service hotel with two casual dining options, a large pool and lazy river, and numerous fire pits. Guests with families will love the ease of traveling to and from Dollywood on a comfortable shuttle bus as well as complimentary time saver passes for Dollywood and Splash Country.
Another popular hotel choice is the Margaritaville Island Hotel, right in the center of the city and the cornerstone to the popular Island in Pigeon Forge Amusement Park. The resort decor is very modern and chic, featuring an interesting mix of mountain and island themes, plus tons of fun things to do. Families and couples alike love the fireplaces and balconies found in every room, which makes for a very cozy atmosphere.
MORE THINGS TO DO NEAR PIGEON FORGE
You can't leave Pigeon Forge without a stop in Gatlinburg and Sevierville. Check out our posts on these nearby towns that offer even more:
- Aquarium of the Smokies
- Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Exotic Petting Zoo
- Big Rock Dude Ranch at Ponderosa
- Country Tonite Theatre
- Forbidden Caverns
- WonderWorks Pigeon Forge
The Smoky Mountains Sightseeing Flex Pass is the best way to see the top attractions in all of Sevier County. Select between a 3 Attractions or a 5 Attractions Pass and choose what you want to enjoy when you arrive. Coast down whitewater in the Smoky Mountain Rafting or River Rat Tubing adventures. Turn a hike into the extreme with sights from the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster Ride. Have your breath taken away from the top of Gatlinburg Space Needle or on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. Save up to 30% here!
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TENNESSEE VISIT
- YOUR TENNESSEE VACATION
- WATERFALLS: 13 Amazing Waterfalls In Tennessee You Should Chase
- OBER GATLINBURG: Winter Magic & Gatlinburg's Best Winter Excitement
- GATLINBURG RESTAURANTS: 29 Delicious Gatlinburg Restaurants & Foodie Treats
- GATLINBURG CABINS: 30 Captivating Rentals For Your Next Mountain Escape
OUR FAVORITE CABINS IN SEVIER COUNTY
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