Best Things To Do in Pigeon Forge
For a small town, Pigeon Forge packs a large punch with its plethora of things to do. Most travelers come here to visit Dollywood or one of the many... READ MORE
For a small town, Pigeon Forge packs a large punch with its plethora of things to do. Most travelers come here to visit Dollywood or one of the many water parks. Even if these are the main events on your planned trip, don't sleep on some of the other top attractions. Nature lovers can see the beautiful flora and birds at Parrot Mountain and Gardens, play a round (or a few) of mini-golf or head to Wear Farm City Park for a picnic. Meanwhile, entertaining kids is a breeze at the various educational attractions around town, including WonderWorks, Beyond the Lens! and Iron Mountain Metal Craft. Wholesome family fun also abounds at the various musical and comedy shows in town. And when it's time to wind down or enjoy some time away from the kids, Pigeon Forge has a few wineries and breweries waiting to be explored.
Updated September 24, 2020
- #1View all Photos#1 in Pigeon ForgeAmusement Parks, Recreation, SightseeingTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement Parks, Recreation, SightseeingTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Dollywood is likely one of the main reasons you're planning a visit to Pigeon Forge: It's a sprawling amusement park that boasts more than 50 rides and attractions, music and entertainment shows, multiple dining options and festivals and events galore. Owned by legendary country music singer Dolly Parton, the park is a Pigeon Forge staple. Popular rides include rollercoasters like the Barnstormer, Dragonflier and Wild Eagle, and kid-friendly attractions like a carousel, a scrambler, bumper cars, swings and more. In addition to rides and attractions, Dollywood hosts '50s- and '60s-themed a capella shows and wildlife demonstrations. If you're planning to visit around a holiday, check out the events during Dollywood's Harvest Festival in the fall and Smoky Mountain Christmas in the winter. Not to mention, the park has several souvenir shops, craft stores and dining outlets.
As expected, Dollywood receives rave reviews from recent parkgoers, with many praising the number and quality of the rollercoasters (a surprise for some). Several patrons said the theme park was a bit bigger than they anticipated and recommend purchasing the two-day pass to ensure you have time to try most or all of the rides you want, in addition to exploring the craft shops and seeing shows. Visitors also say the staff members here are friendly and helpful. A few people warned, though, that the Dollywood app, which has info on ride wait times and a map, can be unreliable. You may want to download and print off a map of the park before you go.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Pigeon ForgeAmusement Parks, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement Parks, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Full of slides and rides, the 35-acre Splash Country water park is an excellent spot to cool off when the weather is warm. From thrilling whitewater raft rides and winding, twisting waterslides to a wave pool and a lazy river, this water park provides the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. There are 12 water rides and features at Splash Country, and the website classifies the attractions in different categories so visitors will know which are family-friendly and low impact, and which are considered thrill rides for more adventurous types. Keep in mind, if there is lightning detected in the area the water park policy is that it must close until the lightning has moved on. Past visitors recommend asking for a rain check if this happens to gain admission for different day.
Recent travelers loved the variety of water rides for kids of all ages here, with many saying this is an excellent way to spend a fun day with family. Some warned though that it can get crowded during the summer, which means longer lines for the water rides and for the bathrooms.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Pigeon ForgeParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDParks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
People who love unique, colorful birds and scenic gardens will enjoy visiting Parrot Mountain and Gardens. Situated about 5 miles east of Pigeon Forge, this attraction features 4 acres of landscaped gardens and many refer to it as a "must-see" and a "hidden gem" in the area. Parrot Mountain and Gardens is home to hundreds of tropical birds and a wealth of plants, flowers and trees that travelers can enjoy. Types of birds you might come across include toucans, magpies, macaws, cockatoos and lory parrots. You'll have the opportunity to hold and feed some of the birds if you wish, and can take photos with them as well.
Recent patrons overwhelmingly enjoyed spending time among the birds and gardens here, saying they loved how beautiful and friendly the birds were and that they could interact with them. Many said it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is well worth the ticket cost.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Pigeon ForgeEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
The Comedy Barn Theater features an entertaining variety show that packs lots of laughs into every performance. Patrons can expect everything from magicians and jugglers to comedians and ventriloquists on stage during the show. Musicians and singers entertain audiences with a mix of country, bluegrass and gospel tunes, and even barnyard animals join their human handlers for on-stage performances.
"Hysterical," "awesome" and "can't-miss" are just a few ways recent visitors described The Comedy Barn Theater show. Many appreciated the family-friendly content and environment. A few warned, though, that the snacks at the concessions stands are a little pricey.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Pigeon ForgeMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
WonderWorks is situated in a quirky upside-down building off of the town's main drag – the premise here is that the attraction was once a "top-secret laboratory" in the Bermuda Triangle and an experiment gone wrong transported it to Pigeon Forge. Billed as an "amusement park for the mind," the venue sprawls across 35,000 square feet and offers what it describes as "edu-tainment." The 100-plus hands-on exhibits and activities here fall within six main "wonder zones:" extreme weather, physical challenge, light and sound, space discovery, wonder art gallery and imagination lab. A few of the traveler-approved activities include the glow-in-the-dark ropes course, the laser tag arena, the virtual wonder coasters, the giant piano and the hurricane shack.
Recent visitors loved WonderWorks, and say it's an especially good indoor activity for school-aged kids to teenagers. Many said that the variety and quality of the exhibits are excellent. One tip: Recent travelers suggested arriving earlier in the day to be able to take full advantage of everything WonderWorks has to offer and to avoid crowds – the attraction is popular with school field trips and can get busy.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Pigeon ForgeMuseums, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
The world's largest Titanic museum is located in Pigeon Forge and pays tribute to the ship, its passengers and the crew. Visitors can experience what it was like to walk through the halls, parlors and staterooms of the famous luxury liner, and view the 400-plus artifacts on display that were recovered from the ship and its passengers. Upon entry, each person receives a boarding pass of someone who was a passenger or crew member on the Titanic. Other things to see and experience include the grand staircase replica and the sloped decks of the ship; you can also touch an iceberg and feel the frigid water to envision what it might have been like in the ocean on that fateful day.
Described as educational, fascinating and well done, the Titanic Museum Attraction receives high marks from recent visitors. Many commented on how beautiful the museum is and how moving it is to experience. Families with kids also were impressed with the interactive exhibits geared toward younger ones.
- #7View all Photos#7 in Pigeon ForgeAmusement ParksTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDAmusement ParksTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Situated just west of town near Wear Farm City Park, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is a thrilling and scenic ride for adventure travelers of all ages. The coaster is the longest of its kind in the United States, boasting more than a mile of track that snakes through the forest and mountains, offering beautiful views along the way. What's more, riders can control how fast or slow their "sled" goes. The sleds can accommodate one or two passengers, and a typical ride takes about seven or eight minutes. At night, the track is illuminated by colorful lights.
According to recent riders, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is a fun and exhilarating attraction, especially for thrill-seekers who love traditional roller coasters. The sleds max out at 27 mph, but many say it can feel like you're going much faster when you're coasting down the hill. Others recommend taking advantage of the group discount or looking for Groupon or other discount options online, since it is a bit pricey per person. A few also warned that the wait to ride can be long.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Pigeon ForgeAmusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Neighborhood/Area, Recreation, Shopping, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDAmusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Free, Neighborhood/Area, Recreation, Shopping, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Featuring a mix of amusement park rides, shops, hotels and restaurants, The Island in Pigeon Forge offers plenty of fun things to do to keep all types of visitors engaged. Some of the most popular rides and activities to check out here include The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel (a 200-foot-tall observation wheel offering sweeping views of the region), bumper cars, a fountain water show, a ropes course and an arcade. Those interested in shopping will appreciate the 40-plus stores that sell everything from sweets and toys to clothing and accessories. When it's time to eat, you'll find casual options like The Island Creamery ice cream shop, Beef Jerky Experience and The Fudgery, in addition to sit-down options like Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, Timberwood Grill and Yee-Haw Brewing Co.
Visitors say The Island is a great spot to spend a few hours walking around, shopping, enjoying rides and grabbing some food. Travelers were particularly impressed by the fountain's water and light show (typically every 30 minutes), which is set to music.
- #9View all Photos#9 in Pigeon ForgeMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
People interested in crime, history and mysteries will appreciate the wealth of exhibits at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. Sprawled across 25,000 square feet of space, the museum is designed to look like a a blend of Alcatraz Island prison and the Tennessee state prison. It includes 100-plus interactive exhibits across five galleries that highlight criminal profiles, victims' stories, forensic science, law enforcement and more. Two notorious artifacts you can view at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum include O.J. Simpson's white Ford Bronco and Ted Bundy's Volkswagen Beetle. Visitors can learn about police lineups, lie detector tests, DNA, blood analysis, fingerprinting, counterfeit crimes and more. The museum also features temporary exhibits, so be sure to check the website to see what will be on display during your visit.
"Informative" and "fascinating" are a few ways recent patrons described the museum. Most said this will be better for families with older kids like teenagers, due to the nature of the content and the amount of reading.
- #10View all Photos#10 in Pigeon ForgeEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and NightlifeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Pigeon Forge visitors hoping to get a taste of country song and dance must plan to see a show at the Country Tonight Theatre. The family-friendly theater seats 1,500-plus and the show includes energetic and brightly costumed actors singing and dancing, comedy acts and more. The show boasts a faith, family and freedom theme and includes country classics and newer music, fun choreography and colorful light displays. Recent attendees said the performers are exceptionally talented and highly recommended checking out a show. Many described the performances as engaging and entertaining, and were impressed not only with the talent of the actors, but also how it seemed like they were having a great time themselves. Keep in mind, the show includes gospel music and has some religious tones so if that's not something you're interested in, it may not be the best option for you.
The Country Tonite Theatre is located just north of town. Shows last about two hours and showtimes are typically 8 p.m. daily, although some days the venue hosts a 3 p.m. show and there are varying specialty concerts throughout the year and around the holidays. Tickets cost $37.50 for adults and $33.50 for teens, but if you purchase your tickets online you automatically receive a $5 discount. Kids 12 and younger can attend for free. For more information, to book tickets and see schedules, visit the Country Tonite Theatre's website.
- #11View all Photos#11 in Pigeon ForgeAmusement Parks, Sports, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDAmusement Parks, Sports, RecreationTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Outdoor Gravity Park is home to the only zorbing park in the U.S. What is zorbing you may be wondering? It's an activity and an extreme sport that originated in New Zealand. Basically, you climb into a giant, 11-foot inflatable ball and roll down hills and across various terrain, enjoying the speed and bouncing along the way. The Outdoor Gravity Park offers a few different tracks riders can choose from: one zigzags down the mountain, one is a straight shot down the hill with an emphasis on speed and another combines a bit of zigzagging and speed. Water is added to the inflatable balls (cool water in the summer and warm in the winter) to make for a slip-and-slide type of experience. Dry zorbing is also available from November through March.
Expect to laugh until your sides hurt after zorbing down the hill, say many recent visitors. Travelers described this as an extremely fun and unique activity, and many added that the staff here is excellent. Some warned that it is a bit pricey, especially if you want to roll several times, but most agreed that it was well worth the money spent and recommended purchasing more rolls upfront for more savings.
- #12View all Photos#12 in Pigeon ForgeNatural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, SportsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, SportsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
See the eastern Tennessee mountains from a different vantage point by soaring through the treetops and forests via zip line. Legacy Mountain Ziplines offers a few different zip line tracks across 400 acres of land. You'll fly through the air quite quickly – up to 50 mph in some cases – on the course's 4 ½ miles, which at some points stands more than 500 feet high. The course includes seven different zip lines and a few ropes bridges riders walk across, while offering sweeping mountain and valley views. Each visitor is outfitted with a harness, gloves and a helmet. The company assures travelers that its equipment is inspected daily for safety requirements; the website also notes that riders will be strapped to two lines and that safety is a top priority.
Recent zip line riders called the views from this course breathtaking and commend the staff members for being so friendly, helpful and safety-conscious. A few noted that the employees were particularly great at inspiring confidence in and supporting people who were a bit nervous or hesitant about the activity. Others reported returning to Legacy Mountain Ziplines every time they're in Pigeon Forge because it's so much fun.
- #13View all Photos#13 in Pigeon ForgeFree, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
With sports fields, playgrounds and plenty of space to spread out, Wear Farm City Park is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike to enjoy the outdoors. The 118-acre park includes baseball fields, a football field, a basketball court, two playgrounds and three pavilions, in addition to various walking trails and concessions stands. The pavilions include lights, outlets, picnic tables and charcoal grills. If you want to host a gathering here, specific facilities can be reserved in advance through Pigeon Forge's Department of Parks and Recreation.
Recent visitors said the park is a solid place to take kids to play and run around, thanks to the sports courts and playgrounds. Many recommended bringing picnic food to enjoy or even food to grill on-site under one of the pavilions. Recent families also appreciated how clean and well-maintained the park is, and that it's free to access.
- #14View all Photos#14 in Pigeon ForgeMuseums, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Beyond the Lens! is an attraction focused on pop culture, photography and tech fun. The human kaleidoscope is full of colorful lights and varying scenes; there's an activity where you can search for Bigfoot and if you've ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, you can walk the red carpet in front of a group of paparazzi. Additional popular exhibits include virtual reality video games, an escape room and a crimes of the century experience.
Recent travelers raved about how much fun Beyond the Lens! provides, citing engaging interactive stations and virtual reality games as highlights. Most noted that it is family-friendly and many called it a must-do in Pigeon Forge.
- #15View all Photos#15 in Pigeon ForgeWineries/BreweriesTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDWineries/BreweriesTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
The mountains and valleys that surround Pigeon Forge make for excellent scenery – and a great backdrop for enjoying a few glasses of local wine. The Rocky Top Wine Trail includes four wineries (and a cidery) offering 75 different wines to sample. While each winery has a variety of selections, keep in mind sweet wine is popular in this area and you'll find limited dry wine options at these venues. If you plan to visit a few of the wineries, pick up a "passport" at the first venue and make sure to get a stamp. Once you visit three wineries (and receive three stamps), you'll receive a complimentary souvenir wine glass. If you visit all four wineries and the cidery, you'll get an additional free gift. Read on to see what the Rocky Top Wine Trail wineries have to offer. All tastings at the wineries are complimentary.
Hillside Winery: The northernmost winery on the trail, Hillside Winery is set about 5 miles north of the center of town. The winery features Italian-style wines and some top offerings you can try include sangiovese, barbera and pinot grigio, plus a unique black and blue wine that includes blackberries and blueberries in its recipe (this one is a traveler favorite). The winery includes outdoor seating and also makes wine slushies, and recent visitors rave about the welcoming and knowledgeable staff members here. Hillside Winery is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more info, check out the website.
- #16View all Photos#16 in Pigeon ForgeWineries/BreweriesTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDWineries/BreweriesTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Whether you're a group of friends looking to explore the craft brewery scene in Pigeon Forge or parents ready to wind down after a long day spent at an amusement park, the local breweries are an excellent stop.
Yee-Haw Brewing Co.: Yee-Haw Brewing began in Johnson City, Tennessee, and it now offers a taproom in Pigeon Forge where visitors can sample a variety of beers. The brewery hosts live music acts on the weekends and offers a small selection of food as well. Yee-Haw's beers include a pale ale, an IPA and a kolsch, among others. Visitors say the craft beers are tasty and the staff is happy to offer recommendations. Travelers can also tour the brewery on Friday, Saturday or Sunday for an $8 fee (which includes a flight at the tour's conclusion). The taproom is located at The Island in Pigeon Forge and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more info, visit the website.
- #17View all Photos#17 in Pigeon ForgeGolfTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDGolfTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
A classic game for couples, families, friends, groups and even solo travelers, mini-golf is a popular activity in Pigeon Forge. The mountain town features a few mini-golf venues, so true aficionados might want to play a round at each course.
Crave Golf Club boasts two 19-hole courses: one indoors and one on a rooftop. In addition to mini-golf, there's a bowling alley and soft-serve ice cream shop on-site. The archaeology- and dinosaur-themed Professor Hacker's Lost Treasure Golf Course includes two 18-hole courses and a mining train that takes you to kick off your round at the first hole. Ripley's Believe It or Not houses two 18-hole mini-golf courses: the Old MacDonald farm course and Davy Crockett's course. Gatlin's, set a few miles south of Pigeon Forge in Gatlinburg, also has two 18-hole mini-golf courses: the Old Mountain Trail course and the Old Town Square course.
- #18View all PhotosfreePatriot Park#18 in Pigeon ForgeFree, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/AreaTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and Gardens, Neighborhood/AreaTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
Located across the street from Old Mill Square, Patriot Park is a nice bit of green space in the center of town. There's a walking trail that circles the park, perfect for those who want to go for a stroll and see Little Pigeon River. The park hosts several annual events as well, including the Patriot Festival (complete with a fireworks display), a crafts fair and an Easter egg hunt.
Recent travelers said Patriot Park is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch or dinner, and an excellent place to relax for a bit after a busy day exploring town. The park is set in the center of Pigeon Forge, within walking distance of several shops, restaurants and the Mill Bridge Winery, and free parking is available.
- #19View all Photos#19 in Pigeon ForgeEntertainment and Nightlife, Museums, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, SightseeingTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and Nightlife, Museums, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, SightseeingTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Situated just 10 miles south of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg is another charming small town in eastern Tennessee. Numerous people stay in Gatlinburg and use it as a jumping off point for exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's especially popular with outdoor enthusiasts thanks to the numerous biking, hiking and horseback riding trails, and beautiful scenery. Gatlinburg is also home to souvenir shops, art galleries and family-friendly attractions.
For more inspiration on things to do, places to eat, when to visit and where to stay, check out our full Gatlinburg travel guide.
- #20View all Photos#20 in Pigeon ForgeRecreation, ShoppingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRecreation, ShoppingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Visitors can get hands-on experience and learn about blacksmithing and blade-smithing at Iron Mountain Metal Craft. The shop says it aims to "preserve and pass on the knowledge, art and skills of working metal," and a stop here makes for a fun family activity. Education is a top goal and the venue hosts workshops and events, including beginner blacksmith classes and knife-making classes.
Patrons raved about the lessons here and the staff, saying they are extremely knowledgeable about blacksmithing. Many appreciated the safe, fun environment, and say it's a unique activity. Others recommend checking out the adjacent shop next door as well.
- #21View all Photos#21 in Pigeon ForgeHiking, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPENDHiking, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEMore than Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Not only does camping provide an affordable way to stay in Pigeon Forge but it also offers an excellent way to experience the Tennessee outdoors. Families can roast marshmallows and cook campfire meals over crackling flames, stargaze at the night sky, hike the surrounding mountains, go fishing and more. There are a mix of options available, including traditional campgrounds, well-equipped cabins and RV areas. Some of the most popular options include:
Clabough's Campground: This site features 300-plus campsites for RVs and tents, plus a few cabins for rent. Picnic tables are available throughout the property, plus the grounds include several bath houses, a game room, a playground, laundry machines, two pools, a lazy river and more. Head to the website for additional details.
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