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.
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!
Attractions For Entertainment Junkies
Pigeon Forge is packed with things to do for those who love unique and sensational entertainment attractions.
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.
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.
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!”
Isolation in the mountains isn’t all that bad. It leaves our people to their devices — which just so happens to be crafting mouthwatering meals from scratch. The Apple Barn takes sweet crispy apples from tree to your table. With a variety of apple smoked hams, fresh apple ciders, and of course their famous southern fried chicken at their Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, you will certainly never leave hungry. The Apple Barn makes and sells delicious jams, sauces, and spreads that are perfect for traveling home and sharing with others at your dining table. If you’re more about desserts, remember where you are and what not to leave without. We are of course talking about freshly baked Appalachian apple pie. Homemade crusts and fresh apples locally grown and harvested make for an unforgettable dessert. Don’t miss out on one of the best places to visit in Pigeon Forge, The Apple Barn!
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, Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, J.O.E. and Pop’s Sub Shoppe, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen and 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.
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.