Pigeon Forge, TN is a great destination for families and amazingly is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population east of the Mississippi.

With Great Smoky Mountains National Park so close to many cities and an opportunity to get into Mother Nature, it’s proven to be a hot spot throughout the pandemic and surely beyond.

There’s absolutely no way to be bored in Pigeon Forge, as there are tons of attractions in addition to the beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Here are our favorite things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Check out information about our favorite Pigeon Forge accommodations in the post below…

[Our Favorite Pigeon Forge Cabin Rentals and Hotels]

Want to learn the EASY way to fly for free by collecting and redeeming travel rewards? Join us in Families Fly Free, the premier online travel club where you can learn our SIMPLE, step-by-step system and save thousands of dollars in the process, while enjoying 1-on-1 support, a vibrant community and timely travel webinars and alerts. It's helped hundreds of families and thousands of people be able to travel MORE while spending less -- all while making priceless memories with their families.


See what members have to say...



17 Super Fun Things to Do in Pigeon Forge, TN

Whether you love the mountains, shopping, theater or amusement parks, you’ll be set in Pigeon Forge!



1.  Visit The Island, Pigeon Forge

The Island, Pigeon Forge TN
Credit The Island, Pigeon Forge

One of the highlights of Pigeon Forge is the fantastic entertainment district, The Island.

Centrally located in Pigeon Forge, The Island is literally an island, as a small river runs all the way around it.

At The Island, Pigeon Forge, you’ll find all sorts of fun things to do, including dining, unique shops, live music and the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel (Ferris wheel).

There is also fantastic shopping like a magic shop, a 2000-square-foot candy store and Emery’s Five & Dime (the oldest five and dime store in the south).

There’s a large family-friendly and very clean arcade, mirror maze (that, too, was a laugh and a half for my family!), bumper cars and more.

To maximize savings and to earn points for future travel, I recommend using the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card to pay for expenses on your Pigeon Forge trip.

My Favorite Travel Credit Card: Chase Sapphire Preferred



If you want to earn EVEN MORE Southwest points, the card_name, my FAVORITE travel credit card, offers bonus_miles after meeting a $4,000 minimum spend in the first three months and a low annual_fees annual fee.

Thanks for using our affiliate link to apply below...


  • Flexible points transfer to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio instantly and are worth DOUBLE if you have a Southwest Companion Pass
  • 3X points on dining 
  • 2X points on travel
  • 10% points bonus annually on spending
  • Primary car rental insurance
  • Trip interruption and cancellation insurance

Please note, this card’s points DO NOT qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass but CAN be used to book FREE flights on Southwest.

To review or apply for any of the cards in this post, please use the links within this post or the CREDIT CARDS links in the main menu above (shown in the image below). This allows us to earn a commission—at no cost to you—to support our small business. Thanks so much for taking that step!


2.  Ride the Ferris Wheel

Great Smoky Mountain Ferris Wheel
Credit The Island, Pigeon Forge, TN

For a great view of the entire area from Sevierville (north of Pigeon Forge) to Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains (south of Pigeon Forge), take a spin on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island.

I’m not a fan of heights, or Ferris wheels, but I had no problem on this one with enclosed gondolas.


3.  Explore Alcatraz East Crime Museum

Alcatraz East Crime Museum OJ Ford Bronco
See the Ford Bronco that was used in OJ’s famous police chase

Don’t miss the Alcatraz East Crime Museum at The Island (can you tell there’s a lot to do at The Island?!), which has some absolutely jaw-dropping artifacts related to crimes like:

  • the white Ford Bronco which OJ rode in the back of during the famous televised car chase
  • drawings from many famous criminals
  • letters from Bernie Madoff
  • John Wayne Gacy’s clown costumes

There’s also the opportunity to try the workout required of police officers, as well as a chance to have your photo taken in a line-up and sit in the witness chair.

What little kid wouldn’t like that? 😉

4.  Watch Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Dixie Stampede, Pigeon Forge
See buffalo, longhorns and lots of horses!

This is an absolute must-do when visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

This Dolly Parton-produced show has been around for 30 years and has continued to evolve over time with new additions.

Sit down in the arena and enjoy a country-style dinner (no silverware provided, so get ready to use your hands!) while watching:

  • trick cowboys and cowgirls
  • longhorns
  • more than 30 horses (including Quarter horses)
  • even buffalo!

Before heading into the show, you can visit the horses in their stables (great activity for kids) or even arrive at 8 a.m. in the morning when they literally roll out the red carpet for the animals to head into the dressing rooms for the show.

Afterward, this is one gift shop that is worth walking through.

Similar to Build a Bear, kids can create their own stick horse from a variety of components.


5.  Go to Dollywood

Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Credit Dollywood

A big reason many people visit Pigeon Forge is to go to Dollywood, which is the most-ticketed attraction in Tennessee with more than 2 million visitors every year.

Open since 1986, the 150-acre park features top-quality shows and more than 40 rides and attractions, including:

  • Barnstormer, a giant pendulum swing
  • Lightning Rod, the world’s first wood launch coaster and the fastest wooden coaster in the world
  • Mystery Mine, a steel coaster

During the warmer months, head to Dollywood’s Splash Country, a 35-acre water park with water coasters, mat-style racer slides and an 8,000-square-foot leisure pool.

Pigeon Forge Cabin Rentals, Dollywood
Credit Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins


6.  See the Titanic Museum

Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge
There are amazing artifacts in this museum!

While the outside of this museum might strike you as a bit cheesy on first glance, don’t let this stop you from going in!

This is truly a fascinating look at all things Titanic.

As you’re admitted to the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, staff hand you a ticket with the name of someone who was on the Titanic.

You don’t find out until the end if your person lived or died. Talk about impactful!

This museum has some amazing artifacts recovered from the ship like:

  • luggage cases
  • deck chairs
  • china
  • original tickets
  • photos taken on board and more

You can:

  • experience the angle of the ship as it sank
  • feel the frigid water temperatures
  • get inside a replica lifeboat
  • learn intimate details about its many passengers

Definitely worth a stop!


7.  Get Interactive at WonderWorks

WonderWorks Pigeon Forge

WonderWorks Pigeon Forge is a great place to entertain — and wear out — the kids, but even the adults in your group will get a kick out of this interactive science museum.

Experience zero gravity, see what it’s like to stand inside a hurricane, lay on a bed of nails and use your mind to move a ball to the end of a field faster than the person you’re playing against!

There’s also a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, laser tag and a 4D simulator.

Loads of fun!


8. Go Christmas Shopping

Incredible Christmas Place Pigeon Forge

Love Christmas?

You’ll be in heaven at this Christmas superstore in Pigeon Forge. The Incredible Christmas Place says it is the “largest permanent Christmas retailer in the south,” and we believe it, as it feels like you can walk for miles in this store.

I’m not much of a shopper, but I am totally a sucker for Christmas items, so I had a ball in there.

I could have bought everything in the store!

This video gives you an idea of what you’ll see:


9. Play the Escape Game

Escape Game Pigeon Forge

The Escape Game is located at The Island, Pigeon Forge, and my family had an absolute blast with our first time doing an escape-type game.

Imagine three generations working together to solve puzzles to get out of the room.

It was a hoot!

While we didn’t make it out, the game was very well done and we came darn close…


10. Race Go-Karts

Pigeon Forge Go Kart tracks
Credit: My Pigeon Forge

Love to go fast?

Pigeon Forge has 10 different tracks where you can race Go-Karts.

My dad and younger son had fun racing together one afternoon while the ladies went and did a different activity.

Many have arcades and mini-golf as well.


11. See a “Dancing” Fountain

A central focus of The Island is a “dancing” fountain coordinated to 14 different songs and created by the same folks who did the fountain at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.

At night, they add light features for a fantastic show!

Watch the video for a sample:


Outdoor Activities

12.  Hike the Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains hiking
Hiking with my dad and youngest son in Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a beautiful February day

You can’t visit Pigeon Forge without heading into the Smoky Mountains for some outdoor time.

There are numerous hikes you can choose, many of which end in waterfalls.

Visit in the spring to see the wildflowers or fall for the brightly-colored foliage.

Mom Explores the Smokies offers some of her favorite hikes for families in the Smoky Mountains.

We also recommend getting a Great Smoky Mountains National Park itinerary from a former National Park ranger at DirtinmyShoes.com.


13. Zip-Line at Foxfire Mountain

Ziplining Foxfire Mountain Adventures

Just next door to Pigeon Forge is Sevierville, home of Dolly Parton, where you can get adventurous at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park.

We enjoyed a day of ziplining with my 9-year-old, the most daring of the group, willing to flip upside down as he soared over large canyons!

Foxfire has the highest zipline in the Smoky Mountains called The Goliath.

In addition to ziplining, the park is home to:

  • the longest swinging bridge in the United States
  • a cidery
  • barbecue restaurant
  • climbing wall and more


14. Go White-Water Rafting

We love to go white-water rafting and you can definitely give it a go in the Pigeon Forge area.

Rafting in the Smokies offers trips down the Big Pigeon River and also has its own Family Adventure Island with dual racing ziplines, ropes course, kids play area and a beach. Fun!


Pigeon Forge Restaurants and Drinks

15.  Eat at Paula Deen’s Family Restaurant

Paula Deen's Family Kitchen Restaurant Pigeon Forge
Garlic cheddar biscuits with Paula’s famous sweet potato butter come with every meal!

Hands-down one of the best Pigeon Forge restaurants, or the best restaurant ANYWHERE, is Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen!

Set within The Island and Deen’s first restaurant outside of Savannah, home cooking is the theme, and the menu is served “family style,” featuring many of her famous recipes.

Come to this restaurant hungry, as the food is mouth-wateringly delicious, and there is an ABUNDANCE of it.

The garlic cheddar biscuits are some of the best I’ve ever had (I could have eaten them for days), and I highly recommend the roast beef and the super yummy Ooey Gooey Butter Cake dessert.


16.  Sample Moonshine

Ole Smoky Moonshine Pigeon Forge
How about apple pie or blueberry moonshine?

At Ole Smoky Moonshine, also at The Island, you can “taste” moonshine, much like a wine tasting!

They line up 12 “shots” of the different flavors of moonshine that you can sample or “skip” (I’d advise skipping a few, as who can drink 12 shots of moonshine and still be standing?! ;-)).

Did you know there is coffee-flavored moonshine, as well as butterscotch, salted caramel, blueberry and apple pie (anyone remember Mags’ famous “apple pie moonshine” on the show “Justified”?).

My favorite was blueberry, and I’ve got a mason jar full in my cabinet that we’ll have to polish off over time.

They suggest mixing it with lemonade — sounds delicious!


17. Eat Fries at Poynor’s

You’ll want to be sure to grab some one-of-a-kind fries at Poynor’s Pommes Frites (that means “fried potatoes” in French) located at The Island.

At Poyner’s, you can choose from 60 different dipping sauces for your fries.

The restaurant also serves a variety of German food like Belgian waffles and bratwurst.

Pigeon Forge Weather

We happened to visit during a very mild February weekend where temperatures got close to 70.

While that is not the average in February (more like highs in the low 50s), the area does start to warm up in March with a high in the low 60s and then upper 60s by April.

The warmest months are July and August with highs in the upper 80s, while the coldest months are December through February with highs ranging between 45 and 51.

I highly recommend visiting any time of year, as you can enjoy outdoor activities in spring and summer, the gorgeous fall foliage in autumn and the amazing Christmas decor in the colder months.

Note: Some of the above activities and accommodations were provided at no cost in exchange for a fair and honest review.

For more fun area activities, check out these 50 things to do in Gatlinburg, TN, which is just a few minutes down the road!

This map was created with Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android

Read More:


  • Lyn Mettler

    Lyn Mettler is a longtime travel writer for US News & World Report, USA Today 10Best and The TODAY Show who created Families Fly Free, a program which teaches families her simple system to use travel rewards to fly for free.