Pigeon Forge: Your Ultimate Guide To The Perfect Family Vacation

Families flock to the Smoky Mountains every year for a respite from everyday life and to enjoy some of the top amenities that Pigeon Forge has to offer. Families absolutely love the wide array of activities and attractions available and multi generational family trips offer some much needed reconnection.

Photo courtesy of Jim Grey/CC Flickr

With its close proximity to Smoky Mountain National Park, Pigeon Forge is nestled in some of the most beautiful natural settings in the country. Families can enjoy nature, world famous theme parks, dinner theaters, and other fun family activities such as miniature golf and go-karting.

Planning Your Trip:

The best time of the year to visit the Pigeon Forge TN area is summer time. That is when the destination is at its full capacity, all stores and attractions are open and you can enjoy outdoor amenities and there are lots of fun open air markets and craft shows.

That being said, every time of year Pigeon Forge has many great things to offers families looking for a fun and unique vacation. Fall is when the leaves are changing, the air is crisp and it’s a great time to catch the views, do some holiday shopping, and enjoy apple cider on a rocking chair.

December is a fun time for families as Pigeon Forge is home to the month long Winterfest. Lights galore, cozy cabins, and a magical trip to Dollywood all decked out in Holiday theme is a must. If you are looking for the most budget friendly option then January to May can’t be beat.

A stay at the Wilderness at the Smokies resort for some indoor waterpark action is a great way to melt away the Winter blues. Regardless of the time of year, Pigeon Forge is a fantastic family vacation destination.

Parking is usually not too big of an issue at most venues and attractions in Pigeon Forge. If you are staying at one of the many nearby hotels and would prefer not to deal with parking or pay for parking at Dollywood there is a trolley that you can take that stops at most major attractions for a reasonable price.

The Fun Time Trolley is a great stress free way to catch rides up and down the parkway for $2.50 for a wristband or just $0.50 a fare. These are great options for families or those who would like to enjoy themselves without having to worry about driving after dinner.

Lodging Options:

Pigeon Forge has a wide variety of lodging options catering to the various needs of its family vacationers. 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 that are in close proximation to attractions with 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 you may want to look into the Dollywood DreamMore Resort. This resort is a full service hotel with two casual dining options, large pool and lazy river, fire pits, and is a stunning option for families visiting the area. 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 resort located right in Pigeon Forge.The decor is very modern and chic with both island and mountain pieces intertwined. Families and couples love the fireplaces and balconies found in every room that make for a cozy atmosphere.

The resort also features a spa and several unique dining options including its own Margaritaville signature restaurant as well as Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen and Timberwood Grill. Margaritaville Resort is located conveniently on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge right next to major attractions.


One of the biggest draws to Pigeon Forge is the wide array of quality family attractions and activities available. Pigeon Forge is also an ideal destination for multi generational family travel and even family reunions because families will be able to stay all together in large cabins as well as find activities that will appeal to everyone in the group. With so many great activities to see and do here is a list of the most popular Pigeon Forge attractions.

Dollywood Amusement Park. One of the most famous and beloved attractions in Pigeon Forge is Dolly Parton’s Dollywood. Dolly Parton herself grew up in the Sevierville and Pigeon Forge area and since then has created 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 is great for the whole family because the park features entertaining shows, theater, shopping, exceptional dining options and a 20 minute steam train excursion through the Smoky Mountains.

The park is highly accessible for scooters and wheelchairs and even has a pet daycare so animals don’t have to be kept in hot cars or hotel rooms while their owners play. If you are coming in the summertime you may also want to consider a visit to Dollywood Splash Country, a seasonal waterpark that features a water roller coaster and many other fun and thrilling water rides.

Titanic Museum. 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 back when the ship was first launched. The Pigeon Forge Titanic Museum is the largest museum featuring the Titanic that is permanent standing.

The museum itself is built half-scale to what the real Titanic was, is two stories and lies in a pool of water so that museum go-ers can visualize the Titanic in the ocean. 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 allot for two hours to take a self guided tour. This attraction is a great way to enjoy a rainy day or escape the mid-day hot sun.

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and Dinner Show. The Dixie Stampede is a favorite among tourists and locals. Dinner shows are a popular attraction in Pigeon Forge and this one can’t be beat. Located directly on the Parkway, the show and music alone will be enough to please the crowd but add in some of Dolly Parton’s favorite foods such as chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, biscuits and a delicious turnover for dessert and you will be sure to leave full and entertained.

The entertainment doesn’t just begin with dinner. 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.

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 Alcatraz but it also features so much more than just that.

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, our society, as well as investigation processes and crime fighting. The museum itself is fascinating and with over 500 artifacts makes this a great attraction for families to learn and share a piece of America’s history together in a fun and experiential way. One of its most notable artifacts is OJ Simpson’s White Bronco which he was driving during the infamous car chase that was witnessed by many on live television.

Smoky Mountain National Park. Definitely one of the more natural and majestic family attractions for vacationers in 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.

Home to beautiful waterfalls, scenic hiking trails, and historic buildings and views, the Smokies draw in millions of visitors every year to its unbelievable views and sights. One of the most beloved way to visit 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 popular routes to see and experience all the park has to offer.

Cades Cove is another popular destination within the mountains and is about an hour drive from Gatlinburg. It is worth the time but you will want to spend the better part of the day experiencing this area as there is quite a bit to stop and see including historic cabins, the mill, churches and beautiful views.

Hollywood Wax Museum. For a lighthearted and fun outing with the family while on vacation in Pigeon Forge, the Hollywood Wax Museum can be a great option. The Hollywood Wax Museum showcases and highlights a wide variety of celebrities in lifelike wax figurines and is the biggest wax museum in the country. T

he museum is two stories and features historic celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and John Wayne as well as newer more recent celebrities that the kid’s may be more familiar with. Other notable celebrities include Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Anne Hathaway as well as many more. If you are looking something unique on your Pigeon Forge vacation than this attraction might be the right choice!

This is not a comprehensive list of all the amazing attractions that Pigeon Forge has to offer for families. There are also many others including miniature golf, trampoline parks, indoor skydiving, other great dinner shows and theater, horseback riding, delicious restaurants and shopping all found within the Parkway in Pigeon Forge.

Visitors love to visit the Old Mill which is the center of the town of Pigeon Forge and home to the historic Mill that once was essential in 1836. This area offers fantastic dining, shopping and is the arts and crafts district of Pigeon Forge plus beautiful views of the Old Mill nestled on the banks of the quaint Pigeon Forge River.

Helpful Hint:

How to tell the difference between Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville in Tennessee? Sevierville and Pigeon Forge border each other so it is often difficult to distinguish between the two.

Sevierville is the birthplace of Dolly Parton but Pigeon Forge is where you will find the Parkway with most of the main attractions.

Gatlinburg is the Gateway to the Smokies and is a few miles up the mountain. It has its own unique set of attractions, lodging, moonshine distillers and small tourist town fill. Because all three towns are all so close together it is easy to visit all places in one trip.

Pigeon Forge TN makes a great family vacation option. It has excellent various accommodations that will suit the needs of every family and budget. Its easily accessible to the Smoky Mountain National Park and has attractions that everyone can enjoy.

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Families absolutely love the wide array of activities and attractions available in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee it is the perfect family vacation.

Hilarye Fuller is a family travel writer and a natural health enthusiast. She homeschools her four small children and when she is not educating people about how to use essential oils in their homes safely and effectively, she is traveling and exploring the world with her family. Connect with her at Dotting the Map or http://get-essential-oils.com/

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