The Great Smoky Mountains are a playground for the entire family with fun for grandparents, grandkids, and everyone in between! Natural beauty, adventure, and entertainment exist among great food and shopping, making Pigeon Forge in the Smokies a perfect destination for your next family getaway. Come see how many fun things to do in Pigeon Forge there are for your whole family.
Places to Visit for Adults
Along with the many fun family-friendly activities in Pigeon Forge, there are several great places for adults to go and relax, as well! Moonshine, nightlife and great memories are on the agenda.
A family tradition steeped in the history of the Smoky Mountains, Junction 35 Spirits is bringing the art of distillery to you! The Master Distiller at Junction 35 Spirits is committed to creating the best spirits you can find, in the Smokies and nationwide. They create their own vodka, gin, rum, moonshine and whiskey, and you can enjoy them straight or mixed up into cocktails. Their restaurant serves up scratch-made food that pairs perfectly with their spirits – order an array of dishes and cocktails, and discover your favorite pairings! With fun events like Burger & Beer Mondays, Trivia Tuesdays, and Whiskey and Wing Wednesdays, there’s never a shortage of excitement at Junction 35 Spirits.
Things To Do For Nature Lovers
We begin our survey of things to do in Pigeon Forge by rounding up a couple of fun-filled outdoor activities that are certain to catch the nature lover’s eye.
If you’re looking for free things to do in Pigeon Forge, an outdoor hike like Ramsey Cascades Trail is your best bet. Walk through some of the oldest and most whimsical parts of the lush forest that lead you to stunning views of the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is a tough hike, so make sure to pack plenty of water and a snack for your journey. The sooner you leave, the sooner you’ll get there! If you’re not into the intense hikes, there are plenty of additional outdoor spaces that allow you to bask in the beauty of the Smokies without breaking a sweat or the bank.
Cades Cove Loop is the perfect family-friendly adventure, without the intense inclines. The Loop is filled with historical homesteads and meadows packed with wildlife and beautiful scenery. Walk, bike, and hike with the Smoky Mountains as your backdrop. Leave plenty of time to explore the rich history that lives in these mountains.
Looking for more free things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN? Explore the Chimney Tops Trail. These views are some of the most sought after in the area, accompanied by fields of wildflowers and great chances to spot local wildlife. Start your journey on the trailhead just outside Gatlinburg. Winding creeks flow beneath storybook bridges, which are particularly beautiful in the spring and summer months. This is a difficult but short hike to the near summit of Mount LeConte. Due to the unfortunate wildfires that plagued this region recently, there is a new observation point just 1.8 miles up the Chimney Tops Trail that allows visitors to stay safe while taking in the beautiful mountain views. If you are willing to spend a few extra dollars, some of these great outdoor activities should definitely be on your list.
Enjoy three and a half miles of beautiful mountain scenery as you are saddled on one of Big Rock Dude Ranch’s horses. Enjoy a relaxing experience viewing the Smokies as you try and catch a fish from their stocked pond (bait, rod, and reel are provided for a nominal fee). Or, if you want something to pump your adrenaline, take a 4×4 ATV through some gorgeous mountain areas.
Take a guided trail ride on an ATV through the foothills of the Smoky Mountains. There are trails for families and experienced riders alike. Take advantage of access to 6,000 acres of terrain, providing numerous opportunities to take in majestic mountain views. Come prepared to snap photos of breathtaking picturesque scenery. The pacing is perfect for a scenic tour and less of an adrenaline rush.
Thrills For Adventurers
Those thrill seekers looking for a rush won’t be disappointed by the adventures found in Pigeon Forge!
Flying through the trees over 25 mph is one of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge for adventure seekers. At Smoky Mountain Ziplines, professionals are there to guide you as you glide through the Smoky Mountains. Channel your inner mockingbird (the state bird of beautiful Tennessee), as you and your family create unforgettable memories above the canopy, getting a once-in-a-lifetime view of our beautiful Smokies.
If you’d rather be a little closer to the ground, but still want to spread your wings and fly, test your skills in the art of body flight at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving. This is one of those bucket-list experiences that you do not want to miss. Can you imagine what it’s like to truly fly? Now is your chance! Experience one of the most fun things to do in Pigeon Forge and learn to fly like a pro.
If you’re looking for even more fun things to do in Pigeon Forge, then look no further than MagiQuest. This magnificent place is four attractions in one! Experience their interactive, live-action role-playing game, where you’ll embark on quests and adventures in a fantasy world. In addition, you can get lost in their 5,000 square foot mirror maze, play 18 holes of black light mini-golf set in a Caribbean pirate village, or navigate through a room full of lasers.
Barrel down a 1,000-foot hill in a giant OGO ball with ten gallons of water slushing around you. Do it solo or with up to two other friends. This activity is great for any season. They keep the water cool in the summer and warm in the fall. If you have younger thrill seekers in your party, the OGO can handle kids five and up.
It’s not just “a track.” The Track is a family recreation center that has big thrills and fun for everyone. With go-karts, mini-golf, and bumper car rides, there’s fun for the whole family. What about the little ones, you ask? They have an area just for your pint-sized adventurers that includes a train, carousel, ferris wheel, and kiddie carts. If you want to fall your way into adventure, take a 65-foot drop from the bungee tower. Plus, one of the best features of The Track is that when you buy their Bonus Packs, they never expire!
Perfect for the adventure-seekers and adrenaline junkies in your family, Adventure Raceway is an attraction you must visit! This Pigeon Forge landmark features a wooden elevated Go-Kart track all year round, as well as Bumper Boats in the summer months. The Go-Kart track takes you up over a steep three-story spiral to “The Hump” and back down again – fostering intense competition and lots of fun. On a hot day, the Bumper Boats offer a fun way to cool down – you can your family and friends in the boats, hoping for a big splash, or you can soak them with water guns from a distance!
Entertainment In Pigeon Forge
From historical dramas to side-splitting comedy, Pigeon Forge offers a wide range of entertainment to satisfy any taste! After a day of shopping in town or hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, an evening spent taking in a live show is the perfect way to experience a different side of Pigeon Forge.
Ready, set, go! To the Xtreme Racing Center in Pigeon Forge, where friendly competition and adventure awaits you and the whole family. Your go-kart skills will be tested on tight turns and you’ll receive the full race report at the end of your experience. There are three different tracks for all ages and experience levels. Prepare to satisfy your need for speed at one of the most exciting things to do in Pigeon Forge.
If your dream has always been to walk inside from a hot summer day and jump on a snow tube in Pigeon Forge…well, dreams really do come true! Pigeon Forge Snow is a 100% indoor, state-of-the-art amusement park for winter lovers open year-round. Featuring tubing and a play area for snow angels and hot chocolate, it’s the perfect place to cool down and frolic in real snow. Not to mention, it stays a comfortable 60-70 degrees all year long! There is no shortage of unique and fun Pigeon Forge attractions, and snow days really are the best kind of days.
If you’re looking for some more things to do in Pigeon Forge, why not grab a selfie with one of your favorite celebrities at the Hollywood Wax Museum and Entertainment Center? Four great attractions for one price make this Pigeon Forge museum affordable and highly entertaining. For the puzzle solvers, there is a creepy breakout room for you to master while saving the world from the zombie apocalypse. The Castle of Chaos will send your mind into a tailspin as you hold on for dear life on this wild 5D adventure ride. Lastly, you and your family and friends can save princess Hannah in the Maze of Mirrors as your final adventure of the day. Do not forget your camera. There are endless, priceless moments to capture at this exciting destination!
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a walkable entertainment destination packed with 23-acres of shops, restaurants, amusements, and entertainment to excite the entire family! The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is a 200-foot tall observation wheel featuring an unparalleled view of the Great Smoky Mountains day or night! Heated, all glass gondolas ensure your ultimate comfort. Rides begin at 10:00 AM daily. The Island Show Fountain is a state-of-the-art, multi-tiered show fountain featuring a jaw-dropping presentation of water and light choreographed to music for an experience to delight all the senses. Shows play every 30 minutes at the top of the hour, Monday-Sunday from 10:00 AM – 11:30 PM. The Island Mirror Maze is one of the country’s largest mazes at over 3,000 square feet. You’ll get lost in fun as you experience this mind-bending labyrinth of illusions! Also featuring an arcade, carousel and many more attractions, The Island has entertainment for everyone and is as close to a one-stop destination the Smokies have to offer.
May’s the starting point for tubing at Smoky Mountain River Rat. Enjoy a family-friendly float for ages 2 and up, or the upper section of the Pigeon River for ages 6 and up. You can get a season’s pass if you don’t want just one ride. At $29.99 (subject to change), it’s a steal! Reservations can be made directly through the website or you can call 865-448-8888.
Fun for all ages, WonderWorks is an upside-down adventure park featuring more than 100 exhibits and interactive displays showcasing the work of the world’s greatest scientist, Professor Wonder, and his attempt to create a man-made tornado and harness its power. This master experiment gone awry created a vortex that carried the laboratory from a remote island in the Bermuda Triangle and dropped it on its head in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! Explore the lab and the wonders of science and nature by experiencing a 5.3 magnitude earthquake, the force of hurricane winds, or put yourself inside of a bubble. Featuring a 4-story glow-in-the-dark ropes course, laser tag arena, and the #1 magic show in the Smokies, WonderWorks has something for everyone! Group discounts are offered, and they have several rental options for private groups, including wedding receptions.
Looking for a fun, exciting family activity during a night out in Pigeon Forge? The Murder Mystery Dinner show brings all of the laughter, intrigue and collaboration you can find! The comedy murder-mystery shows are executed by professional actors, and the stories revolve around local “legends” – like The KillBillies, Moonshine Murders, and Who Shot the Sheriff! Your entire group will be working together to figure out the mystery, while laughing hysterically at the engaging, interactive show. The live comedy shows are family-friendly, but they are just as much fun for adults, too. And, you’ll be treated to a delicious three-course meal throughout the show – win, win!
Pigeon Forge is home to the Buttonwillow Civil War Theater – the dramatic historical production in the South! Join the talented players at the Buttonwillow Civil War Theater and enjoy a show that is thought-provoking and educational, with an authentic portrayal of period characters, all presented within a light-hearted and enjoyable atmosphere. You will love the beautiful costumes, believable sets, and the story of two Southern siblings who support opposing sides during the Civil War. Throughout the production, you hear perspectives from the Union and Confederate sides and watch the siblings come to a deeper understanding of each others’ passionate beliefs.
If you’re visiting Pigeon Forge with your kids and you are looking for a family-friendly, inspiring, and hilarious experience, head on over to The Comedy Barn – the most successful (and most enthusiastically attended) clean comedy theater in the entire world! Hilarious antics, slapstick comedy, adorable puppets, and endlessly fun jokes fill up the two-hour show that will create an unforgettable memory for you and your family. The talented actors, performers, puppeteers, and musicians at the Comedy Barn will have you experiencing side-splitting laughter in new and creative ways – all while remaining clean and welcoming to theater lovers of all ages.
The Microtorium in Pigeon Forge is home to a truly unique and unforgettable experience: Micro Wrestling. Put on by The Micro Wrestling Federation, Micro Wrestling in Pigeon Forge is a full-scale, WWE type event supported by an entire cast – all of whom are under five feet tall. It is also the longest-running organization within the Little Person wrestling industry, founded in 2000, and has performed more events than any other group since its inception. The Micro Wrestlers provide a fun, exciting, and family-friendly show in Pigeon Forge, complete with high-flying, body-slamming, and gravity-defying top rope action!
Relive the memories of the Golden Age of Television and share them with new generations with Brian Hoffman’s Remembering Red – A Tribute to Red Skelton. Initially known as the longest-running Red Skelton show in Las Vegas, Brian has now brought his uproarious comedy tribute to Pigeon Forge. This clean and family-friendly show brings back all of Red Skelton’s best-loved characters and captures his signature style as America’s Clown Prince. For those who enjoyed Red Skelton’s appearances on television, sharing his talents on best-loved shows like Johnny Carson and Dick Van Dyke, this is the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids and grandkids to his unforgettable humor and creative genius.
Things To Do For Foodies
There is nothing quite like traditional Appalachian cooking. The crackling sounds of hot barbecue and the taste of perfectly braised, home-grown vegetables define our Smoky Mountain region, and we are quite proud of it! Restaurants in Pigeon Forge have been perfecting the art of Appalachian cooking for centuries. If you want to fill up on some hearty comfort food, check out these best places to eat in Pigeon Forge.
Locally owned and operated for over two decades, Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que serves award-winning ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken and brisket in two locations, one in Pigeon Forge and one in Gatlinburg. They make their own special sauce and smoke their meats over smoldering hickory wood for up to 14 hours. If you’re visiting for breakfast, Bennett’s serves up an all-you-can-eat breakfast bar that’s loaded with all of your favorites: Belgian waffles, eggs, sausage, biscuits, and their famous pulled pork. For dinner, check out their unique dishes like deep-fried deviled eggs, buffalo cauliflower and fried catfish.
With locations in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Mad Dog’s Creamery is the place to be for sweet treats of all varieties – ice cream, banana splits, milkshakes, donuts and funnel cakes! They offer a wide range of ice cream flavors, both hand-dipped and soft-serve, made with the finest natural ingredients. Mad Dog’s Creamery boasts an impressive array of donut flavors and concoctions as well, so it’s easy to enjoy your favorite: glazed, iced, fruity or cream-filled varieties. For your four-legged friends, Mad Dog’s Creamery is dog-friendly – they even offer two different types of special dog treats made in-house with human-grade ingredients.
With locations in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, Big Daddy’s Pizzeria is the best place around to enjoy real wood-fired pizza! The one-of-a-kind brick oven turns their handcrafted, homemade dough into crispy, chewy perfection. They are so committed to freshness that there isn’t even a freezer on the premises! Instead, they source the freshest ingredients, toppings and sauces to create the tastiest Neapolitan pizza possible. Big Daddy’s Pizzeria also offers wood-fired wings, handmade meatballs and wood-baked soft pretzels as a precursor to your meal. Don’t forget to try their traditional cannoli for dessert, a perfect ending to a satisfying meal.
If you’re looking for the best barbecue in town, there are multiple options that are sure to impress any bbq aficionado. One of the best places to eat in Pigeon Forge is Corky’s Ribs & BBQ. Smoked meats, juicy and full of flavor, will leave you coming back for more faster than you can say “baby back ribs!”
Why stop at just one BBQ joint? JT Hannah’s Kitchen is another great Pigeon Forge restaurant specializing in barbecue for those looking to experience a tasty Appalachian food tour. An all-American menu of fall off the bone ribs, tasty burgers, steaks and much more!
Enjoy family style food served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Mama’s Farmhouse. Bring your little ones, because kids five and under eat free! Part of the Johnson Family of Restaurants, which also includes our friends, Mad Dog’s Creamery, Alamo Steakhouse, Bid Daddy’s Pizzeria, J.O.E. and Pop’s Sub Shoppe, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen, Bennett’s Pit BBQ, you will find the same quality cooking and friendly atmosphere here. Be sure to go with an empty stomach, because it’s all-you-can-eat and nothing you can take home! If you do want to take a souvenir, they have a great gift shop with shirts, sauces, peach butter, mixes, honey, and collectibles.
Have you ever met a dessert you didn’t like? Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen serves up the best mouth-watering desserts and home-cooked meals. Come thirsty and hungry and enjoy a true Southern dining experience. After your meal, you can visit the 4,000 square foot Paula Deen Retail Store. You’ll find everything from cookbooks to cookware, and accessories and gifts in between.
After a busy day of hiking, sightseeing, and enjoying the many attractions in Pigeon Forge, there’s nothing better than gathering around a hot, delicious pizza. Family owned and operated since, Geno’s Pizza offers dough made fresh in-house daily and the very best quality ingredients available. Voted best pizza by locals, they allow you to create your own pie with a wide variety of toppings. Geno’s also allows you to choose thin, hand-tossed or pan pizza-style crust, so your pie is exactly to your liking. They have more than just pizza on the menu – they are also known for their calzones, subs, salads, and desserts!
A favorite of the locals – and one of the highest-rated budget-friendly restaurants in Pigeon Forge – Mel’s Diner will take you back in time to the “good ol’ days”. Located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, close to all of the major attractions, this 1950s homestyle diner offers something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Visit during breakfast and enjoy a plate of pancakes, bacon and eggs, just the way you like them – or stop in for lunch and dig into a juicy burger. When dinner time rolls around, they offer their signature plates featuring the old classics like liver and onions or chicken pot pie – just like your grandma used to make. And don’t forget about dessert – Mel’s Diner is famous for their legendary banana splits!
Attractions For Shoppers
To top off our list of fun things to do in Pigeon Forge, here’s just one of many shops where you can find original products that make perfect souvenirs. After all, what’s a vacation destination without shopping?
What better treat to take home with you than something sweet, like some home-made fudge or tasty taffy? In addition to the Candy Kitchen, there’s also a General Store, The Old Mill Restaurant, the Old Mill Creamery, and Pigeon River Pottery. There really is something for everyone at The Old Mill Square. Make sure you try one of their famous Bear Paws, made the old fashioned way—slow and sweet!
Three pairs are better than one! Experience one of the more unique shopping options in Pigeon Forge—the Boot Factory Outlet. This shop always rocks “buy one pair, get two pair free” deals that will knock your boots off! You can walk away with a pair for hiking the mountains, a pair for some traditional dancing, and a pair for a friend. We are just generous like that in the mountains!
A huge variety of souvenirs and real live bears? That sounds like a Pigeon Forge shopping dream! This is the perfect place to stop in Pigeon Forge for some genuine Southern shopping. Items in the shop range from cute clothes that will remind you of your time here in the Smokies to delicious, locally made fudge and treats to enjoy right there on the spot. Did we mention a chance to meet four live bears that were rescued and are being taken care of by talented staff right on the premises? There’s even a spa and an arcade onsite! You’ll have to see for yourself at one of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge.
One of the newest shops located on The Island in Pigeon Forge, Farmhouse 9110 is the perfect place to shop for high-quality, home decor and gifts. Bring home some unique pieces for your home or go on an entire redecorating spree! In addition to beautiful reclaimed wood signage, antique displays, and modern farmhouse style decor, Farmhouse 9110 has plenty of gifts to share with friends and loved ones. This new spot is one of the many unique and exciting places to shop in Pigeon Forge.
Celebrating 27 years, Lid’l Dolly’s has over 300 different quilt designs as well as locally handcrafted girls’ heirloom dresses for your little southern belle. They boast over 25,000-square-feet of shopping space. Come and find the wide selection of keepsakes on-site, including unique houseware items, lid’l dolls, and accessories.
Places To Stay In Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge has been a beloved travel destination for people from all over the country for decades, and with good reason; there’s just so much to do in this mountain town! Pigeon Forge offers lodging options that cater to all tastes. Here are some of our favorites!
A favorite of travelers who want to experience the peace and quiet of the mountains, while remaining close to the action of town, All Season Suites in Pigeon Forge, offers all you need for a relaxing getaway. Located near the Parkway, it’s an easy jaunt to the bustling area for shopping and dining, or to the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park for fun outdoor activities. Many of their rooms also offer fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, kitchenettes, and a delicious breakfast every morning! All Season Suites is committed to offering comfortable, beautiful and affordable rooms for everyone visiting the Pigeon Forge area.
Camp Riverslanding is the premier campground in the heart of Pigeon Forge, where you and your family can enjoy a relaxing vacation in the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Offering fantastic amenities like free WiFi, dog park, a pool and splash pad, Camp Riverslanding is the place to be for outdoor family fun. Their gorgeous riverside campground is complete with fire rings, a centrally located bathhouse, and a playground. They offer free cable TV throughout, as well. For those who want to enjoy a getaway that allows them to connect with nature without sacrificing the comfort of modern amenities, Camp Riverslanding is our top pick!