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Top Things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Updated: Mar 4

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People from all over the world flock to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee every year to take in the wonders of the famed Great Smoky Mountains. The national park is the most visited in the United States with more than 12 million tourists each year. Although the park itself rests up the road in Gatlinburg, many people opt for staying in this city, or at least passing through. Luckily, there's plenty to do. And I would know, I grew up there!


Dollywood is known all around the world thanks to its association with country music legend Dolly Parton, and it tops many lists of the best thing to do in Pigeon Forge. The park features some amazing rollercoasters: the Wild Eagle, the Tennessee Tornado, and the wood-constructed Thunderhead. It also has a section dubbed the "Country Fair" for those who are not quite ready to tackle the extreme. Dollywood digs deep into southern culture by serving some of the most authentic regional food in the area. One of the most famous places is Aunt Granny’s Restaurant, which serves cornbread, biscuits, and a variety of other foods that taste better down south.

Just outside the theme park is a high-end hotel with a large pool and playground called Dollywood's DreamMore Resort. Besides being magnificently close to Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country, this hotel puts you right at the foot of other Pigeon Forge attractions.

Dollywood's Splash Country

Child and father in water

Just a hop, skip, and jump from Dollywood is Dollywood's Splash Country. This water park features a relaxing lazy river, an exhilarating wave pool, and many to do for the young ones. The thrill rides range from family style to twisting tube slides and slides with massive drops. One notable ride is the River Rush - a 1,175-foot-long water coaster with an abundance of turns and tunnels.

The Island

Despite the name, the only water The Island has is in the form of a dancing fountain. In a way, it portrays a small town with boutiques, restaurants, an arcade, and an escape game. The most famous part of The Island is the 20-story-high Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, which serves as a focal point to those driving by. Some of the restaurants include Timberwood Grill, Mellow Mushroom, Margaritaville, and Paula Deen's Family Kitchen. Entrance to The Island is free, though all the attractions have a cost.

Many choose to stay at the Margaritaville Island Hotel or the Margaritaville Island Inn. These vacation-themed accommodations are within walking distance of many Pigeon Forge attractions.

The Titanic Museum

The Titanic Museum contains recreations of the ship's cabins, notable rooms, and the awe-inspiring grand staircase, which is built to scale using actual blueprints. Each guest receives a boarding pass with the name of an actual passenger, and at the end, they'll discover the individual's fate. Visitors will get the chance to sit in a lifeboat and walk up steep ramps that are slanted as they were that fateful night. An authentic experience, the galleries within the museum have more than 400 artifacts from the ship itself.

Mini Golfing

Mini Golf Balls

Pigeon Forge is scattered with mini golf courses. So many that you can't leave without taking a “swing” at one of them. Below is a list of my favorites for you to choose from.

Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf has two 18-hole courses accented with a scenic waterfall and giant volcano. To top it off, a mining train gives you a ride to the first hole.

Crave Golf Club provides more than just mini golf. Along with indoor and outdoor courses, it has an escape room and miniature bowling alley. This candy-themed attraction features a large sweet shop and a milkshake bar.

Toy Box Mini Golf brings your favorite toys to life in an epic way. The course is outdoors, but the inside is popping with a candy shop and laser maze.

The Track

The Track in Pigeon Forge

The Track is superior when it comes to family fun, so it easily made our list of the top things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It has numerous kid rides, a mini-golf course, bumper boats, and an arcade. Its claim-to-fame is the Wild Woody - a go-kart ride spanning three-and-a-half stories with single car and double car options. If you're not quite brave enough, there are three other go-kart tracks to choose from.

Dinner Shows

Pigeon Forge is a mecca for fans of dinner shows. Among the most popular is Dolly Parton's Stampede - a competition-style performance where the crowd is divided between the north and the south. The food is wonderful, but there's a catch: it must be eaten by hand. Another well-known option is Hatfield & McCoy, which tells the story of two feuding families. Attendees can expect singing, dancing, and comedy for about an hour and a half. If you're looking for a challenge, Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud not only includes a show, but an opportunity to ride an outdoor zipline coaster when its all said and done.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster

An alpine coaster

This winding rollercoaster offers scenic views on a seven minute ride through the mountains. The sleds reach a maximum speed of 27 miles per hour, which feels pretty fast when going downhill. Two people can ride together at a time, and it operates in rain, snow, and sunshine.

Accommodation Recommendations

I recommended a few resort options earlier, but there are plenty of other choices for hotel-seekers. With a beautiful cabin theme, Timbers Lodge is located right across from The Track. If you're traveling with children, The Music Road Resort Hotel features an arcade, pool, and lazy river. For a picturesque option, check out The Inn on the River.

With so many things to see and do, this is nowhere near a comprehensive guide of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Still, I hope it provided you with a few ideas to kick-start the planning of your mountain vacation.

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