children playing an arcade game at Fannie Farkle's

Every moment we spend with family is an opportunity to enshrine our loved ones into our memories. Years may go by; kids may grow up and move out of the house; parents may grow worthy of a few silver whiskers. No matter how far apart you may become, you will always be able to look back on that last family vacation you took together and rekindle that priceless sense of belonging.

Laughing with your parents and creating new inside jokes with your siblings is the easy part. But planning the perfect trip can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to look first. That’s why we have put together a list of places to stay and things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg that would make for an unforgettable weekend with the whole family.

Professor Hacker's miniature golf course

A Mini Golfer’s Paradise

Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf

A world-class anthropologist, paleontologist, and archeologist (and side-hustle taxidermist), Professor Hacker embarked on a wild adventure to explore South America’s Fogclift Islands in the 1920s. He braved rough terrain and danger around every corner on his quest to find the island’s decadent trove of diamonds and gold. Nothing could deter the audacious Professor Hacker!

At Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf, you will get to pick up where he left off in searching for the lost ancient treasure. A mining train from World War I takes you up to the highest cliffs of the Fogclift Islands to start at the first hole. Explore two eighteen-hole courses running through obstacles like torrential waterfalls, looming caves and a villainous pirate ship. Make sure to take your shot before the volcano flames get you!

Circus Golf

Circus Golf is not your typical mini golf excursion. Imagine playing alongside a technicolor backdrop of exotic circus animals posing and showing off their best tricks for your entertainment. Glowing blacklights illuminate zany 3-dimensional characters and animatronic figures around every turn, while original sound effects bring the course to life.

This neon mini golf arena featuring eighteen holes is ideal for a group of all ages. Pair a game of Circus Golf with a stint at the Amazing Mirror Maze or Shoot ‘Em Up Cinema right around the corner to round out an afternoon of family fun.

Adventure Raceway go kart racing

Ready, Set, Go! Kart Racing

Adventure Raceway

Adventure Raceway has been one of the most favorite family activities on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge for over 30 years. Their elevated wooden track leads you up a towering 3-story spiral to reach “The Hump” before shooting you back out into a downward spiral to attain maximum speed.

Do you know how to make go-karts even more awesome? Just add water! The Bumper Boats at Adventure Raceway are a fun way to cool off on a hot day. Each boat is furnished with a water sprayer so that you can squirt your family members before they get you first!

Xtreme Racing Center

Xtreme Racing Center boasts the fastest go-karts in Pigeon Forge, offering state-of-the-art Sodi kart models such as the GT-5 and the RT-8. While the single kart option is perfect for the lone wolf, double karts are also available to up the ante in any team-based competition. Each kart is equipped with all essential safety features, such as seat belts, front lights and brake lights, sliding side guards, and helmets. Choose between three different tracks for endless thrills: the twisting and winding Xtreme Track, the backward Reverse Track, or the pro-worthy Elevated Track.

MagiQuest - child opening treasure chest with magic wand

MagiQuest

MagiQuest is chock-full of family fun with four exciting attractions in one location. The title attraction, MagiQuest, takes you on an adventure through a fairytale land, complete with a dragon dungeon, fairies, a princess, magical creatures, and a goblin chamber where you’ll come face to face with the evil Goblin King. Equipped only with a magic wand and clue book, you must learn to survive while you hunt for treasure.

After becoming a Master Magi, catch a game of mini-golf at Pirate Golf, an 18-hole blacklight course located in the middle of a Caribbean pirate village. Don’t get distracted lining up your game-winning shot if Blackbeard makes an appearance!

The Odyssey at MagiQuest is the coolest, most colorful, and discombobulating mirror maze around town. The maze was completely rebuilt and modernized over the summer of 2020, adding new lights, crazy carpet designs, and catchy music to get the dance party started.

Last but not least, the Adventure Arcade is a state-of-the-art arcade facility with today’s most popular games, like Halo, Jurassic Park, Mario Kart, and NBA Gametime, as well as a few classics like World’s Largest Pac-Man and Skee-Ball. Good luck trying to beat your kids at these games when there are prizes to be redeemed!

Family-Friendly Eats

Mel’s Classic Diner

Conveniently located just a block away from the action on the Parkway, Mel’s Classic Diner is an affordable mealtime option serving delectable American classics. In the mood for a burger that will fill you up? They have nine different mouthwatering kinds to try. Or would you rather go for a decadent dessert? Their banana splits are to die for. Ever wanted pancakes for dinner? With Mel’s full menu available all day long, you absolutely can. When you’re on a family vacation, it’s okay to treat yourself!

Fannie Farkle’s Food & Fun Parlor

Want to grab a midday bite without putting a damper on the high energy and good humor? At Fannie Farkle’s Food & Fun Parlor, you can eat and play arcade games simultaneously. Beat those hunger pangs with a gigantic corn dog–their famous Footlong Ogle Dog–cooked to steaming perfection in front of you. Add to your order a round of cheesesteaks or sausage subs to share with the family, and wash it all down with a refreshing home-brewed sweet tea. After lunch, show the kids how it’s done with some classic games like PacMan and SkeeBall. But beware, lest they own you at the newer games like Ticket Time or Robot Storm!

Cabin for Rent in Gatlinburg

Places to Stay in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg

Old Mill Lodging

When you stay overnight in Pigeon Forge, you double the amount of time you have to spend on family activities during the day. Make sure your overnight experience is just as special and unique by staying with Old Mill Lodging. Their rustic cabins, private mountain homes, and cute cottages make for a unique atmosphere when it’s time to rest. Be sure to check out their value packages for discounted rates at nearby adventures.

Diamond Mountain Rentals

Diamond Mountain Rentals’ cabins and condos contain up to four bedrooms to fit the whole family. They even provide pet-friendly options so that you don’t have to worry about missing your fur baby while you’re away. For smaller families, the two-bedroom waterfront cabins allow you to gather for breakfast at the outdoor dining table, within splash distance of a river.

Fairfield Inn & Suites Gatlinburg Downtown

Prefer a hotel to a cabin? Fairfield Inn & Suites is a superb choice. Their contemporary design, elegant rooms, spacious outdoor pool, and bubbling hot tub will feel like a luxurious break from ordinary life. Plus, their central location in downtown Gatlinburg is within walking distance of key attractions like the Gatlinburg Convention Center and Ripley’s Aquarium. Don’t forget to take advantage of their group booking option when planning your next extended family reunion.


Whether you’re looking for kid-friendly family activities or you’re planning a large family gathering, there are always a variety of exceptional offerings for everyone in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Most importantly, a vacation full of family fun should serve to enrich our relationships and, consequently, our lives too.

Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller is a native Tennessean who currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. She loves spending time in the great outdoors, such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. She also enjoys exploring all that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

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