The Best Things to Do in Pigeon Forge TN with Kids

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Things to do in Pigeon Forge - The Old Mill and forge on Little Pigeon River was where Pigeon Forge began
The Old Mill and forge on Little Pigeon River, where Pigeon Forge began. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

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Lots of destinations claim to have “something for everyone.” But a place that is home to a huge theme park and the gateway to America’s most popular National Park walks the walk. If you’re looking for a fun, family vacation spot that checks all the boxes, head to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. You won’t run out of things to do and your trip is sure to start the kids talking about “next time.” That’s a vacation win! Here are the top things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Read More: Best Places to Visit in Tennessee

Drool-worthy views indeed from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo credit: Terri Marshall-Holder.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Pigeon Forge, and the nearby cities of Sevierville and Gatlinburg, sit at the entrance to the Tennessee side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Whether you visit the park for sightseeing, hiking or other outdoor activities, you will have plenty of company. It’s the most-visited National Park in America.

Even if you choose not the visit — although I don’t recommend skipping it — it serves as a stunning backdrop to anything you do in Pigeon Forge.

There are tons of things to do inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Two of my favorite spots are Cades Cove and Klingman’s Dome. The latter is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail. It’s a steep hike, but the path is paved and there are plenty of spots to stop and rest.

A Pink Jeep tour is also a slam-dunk for tweens. More on that in a minute.

Read More: 18 Drool-Worthy National Parks You Have to See in Person

Children and parents on an amusement ride in Dollywood, one of the fun things to do in Pigeon Forge TN
There’s something for everyone at Dollywood, but as a mom to two tweens, I think it’s perfect. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country

Dollywood is a fantastic family amusement park and Dollywood Splash Country both are located just minutes from downtown Pigeon Forge. The two parks are co-located but separate admission is required.


TripAdvisor voted Dollywood the #1 theme park in the USA and the #8 theme park in the world in the 2022 Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards.

My tweens found plenty to love here. The rides strike a great balance between not being too mild and being terrifying. The thrill rides were enough to keep my family’s interest but not so extreme that we couldn’t enjoy most of them together. There’s also a selection of rides geared toward younger kids that can accommodate grownups as well.

There’s a measuring station near the front of the park that measures kids once and provides a wristband indicating which rides they can ride. it really streamlines the boarding process! My kids were tall enough on this visit not to worry about the wristband, but I remember when they were smaller and being stopped multiple times throughout the day (sometimes more than once per attraction) to have them measured, so this is a plus for parents of littles.

Standard amusement park fare is available: turkey legs, hot dogs, kettle corn. There’s also a sit-down restaurant that serves homestyle cooking family style, Aunt Granny’s.

And there’s music! Expect to hear music playing over speakers throughout the park and to stumble upon live performances around every corner in the park.

When SheBuysTravel Editor-in-Chief visited, she expected to hear and see Dolly Parton everywhere. That is not the case. However, you can take a fascinating peek into Dolly’s childhood home and marvel at the idea that 14 people lived in those two rooms. You also can watch a blacksmith pound a red hot iron bar into a tool, see a rescued eagle at Wings of America and explore an abandoned logging camp on Daredevil Falls.

SheBuysTravel Tip: I strongly recommend the Timesaver Passes. Unlimited Timesaver Passes are $80 per person and allow you to access a special Timesaver line for 13 popular rides, bypassing the regular line. We visited on a June Friday when the park was busy and walked right on to every single ride except one.

Dollywood Splash Country

This is Dollywood’s water park. This family-friendly water park is located near Dollywood them park but has a separate parking area and entrance. The park is beautifully landscaped and has a wave pool, a lazy river, a children’s splash pad, several water slides and more. Check out Dollywood discounts and special offers here.

Tween putting on the Crave Mini Golf Course, one of the fun things to do in Pigeon Forge TN
Crave has both an indoor and outdoor mini golf course. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Mini Golf

Even though we can play miniature golf at home, this is one of my kids’ favorite activities to do on vacation. Pigeon Forge has several spots you can play mini golf as a family. We tried both Toy Box Golf and Crave Golf Club and enjoyed them both. Crave has both indoor and outdoor courses.

Women's feet in sandals with a long view of a mountain coaster track, one of the fun things to do in Pigeon Forge TN
Guests aren’t supposed to take phones on the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster but I snuck this one. There are two cameras on the course and an opportunity to purchase your in-ride pictures. This would be a bad place to lose your phone. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

This was one of our family’s favorite activities in Pigeon Forge. The ride, start to finish, takes 9 minutes, so it’s pretty long for a roller coaster ride. The carts can hold one or two people. You can purchase single-ride tickets or all-day passes. You’ll get a discount on repeat rides.

Goats on a Roof and the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster are other mountain coasters to check out in the area.

Read More: What’s an Alpine Coaster and Why You Need to Ride One…Now!

Pigeon Forge Snow in Pigeon Forge Tennessee, one of the fun things to do
Pigeon Forge Snow is a novel activity to do on a hot summer day in Pigeon Forge. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Pigeon Forge Snow

Pigeon Forge Snow is an indoor snow park that’s kept a balmy 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, so there’s no need to shiver while you’re waiting your turn on the snow tube chute. There’s also a snow play area where you and the kids can build a snow man or a snow fort. Or you can head to the upstairs parent observant area and let the kids play by themselves.

Pigeon Forge Snow makes its own snow, so its open year round. On a hot summer day in Tennessee, it just might top your list of fun things to do in Pigeon Forge.

Pay by the hour to snow tube and play here.

Paula Deen's Lumberjack Feud Theater in Pigeon Forge TN
The Lumberjack Feud Theater. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Supper Show

It’s a “Supper Club” because that’s what Southerners call dinner. And it’s a hoot! Cheer for the Dawsons or the McGraws as the two teams go through a variety of impressive lumberjack contests. The show is heavy on audience interaction and is an all-around great time.

And the camp-style supper is great too. When Kathleen Walls visited during the holidays, it was during the Christmas season. She was served a turkey sandwich, dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and dessert. When it’s not Chrismtas, visitors get a BBQ sandwich, baked beans, coleslaw, a drink, and a cookie. There’s a concession stand that sells popcorn, snacks, and hot chocolate.

Things to do in Pigeon Forge - Some horsemen and women in Stampede show
Expert horseback riders in Dolly Parton’s Stampede dinner show. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Dolly Parton’s Stampede

Dinner shows are always a popular attraction. Dollywood owns several, including the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, or if you want just a show without a meal, The Comedy Barn Theater is fun.

Dolly Parton’s Stampede is the one we choose. It’s a fun show with expert horseback riders and Skeeter, a redneck barn hand who steals the show. There’s a four-course dinner starting with a bowl of creamy vegetable soup with a biscuit to dunk into the soup, a whole Cornish hen, some hickory smoked barbeque pork loin, herb-basted potato, corn on the cob, and a hot flaky apple turnover for dessert. You can choose iced tea, coke or coffee or buy an alcoholic drink.

Check out our full list of Pigeon Forge dinner shows.

Woman posing outside Sky Fly Soar America, one of the fun things to do in Pigeon Forge TN
Sky Fly Soar American is located on The Island, which is a popular tourist spot for dining and entertainment. Photo credit: Jill Robbins

Sky Fly Soar America

Sky Fly Soar America is located on Margaritaville Island. The Island is a popular tourist destination in Pigeon Forge with lots of options for shopping, entertainment and dining.

Sky Fly Soar America is a single-ride ticketed attraction similar to the Soarin’ ride at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Guests go on a simulated flight around the United States, seeing various spots that showcase nature and natural beauty before returning back to Pigeon Forge. The whole experience takes about 20 minutes.

Top Jump Trampoline Park

Top Jump Trampoline Park is a great place for kids with lots of energy with tired parents. There are lots of trampolines to bounce on, plus a climbing course, a gladiator style obstacle course and dodge ball. There’s also a dedicated area for younger kids and a deck for parent observation.

The jumpers start and end in blocks so you may have to wait a bit before your jump period starts. We waited about 40 minutes from the time we walked in the door until the kids were jumping. This included waiting in line, signing waivers, the payment station, the safety video and about a 25-minute wait so our group could start together.

Things to do in Pigeon Forge - Pink Jeep Tours
Our driver, Tim, with our Pink Jeep. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Pink Jeep Tours

SheBuysTravel contributor Kathleen Walls recommends this. Her Pink Jeep driver, Tim Church, took her group on a sightseeing trip into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From one of the scenic overlooks they could see Anakeesta Mountain Adventure Park and the Gatlinburg Space Needle. They drove the narrow, winding Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a 5.5-mile-long, one-way, loop road that follows the Roaring Fork mountain stream through old-growth forest.

9. Track Family Fun Park

Track Family Fun park has go-kart rides, interactive arcade games, mini golf, rides and more.

Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at night in Pigeon Forge TN
So beautiful at night, it’s the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. Photo credit: Audra Rogers

More Fun Things to Do in Pigeon Forge with Kids

Here are some things we wanted to do and didn’t get to. These are definitely on our list for next time!

Things to do in Pigeon Forge Titanic Museum
The Titanic Museum is a popular tourist spot in Pigeon Forge. Photo credit: Titanic Museum Attraction

Other Pigeon Forge Activities

You’ll find lots of other options for year-round fun in Pigeon Forge. If you don’t see what you like to do in Pigeon Forge, this list only highlights what our family did on our trip.

Are you a Christmas fanatic? You’ll find Christmas 365 days a year with the South’s largest Christmas village. Whether you’re looking for Christmas decorations or just want to soak in that holiday atmosphere, the Incredible Christmas Place is a fun place to put on your list of things to do in Pigeon Forge. If you really want to bask in the holiday spirit, there’s even a Christmas-themed inn.

If you love a good escape room/escape game, laser tag, or ziplines, there are lots of options to do that here. Into more adventurous pursuits such as skydiving, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, horseback riding or ATV riding? You’ll find them in Pigeon Forge.

If someone in your group is interested in golfing, this guide to Pigeon Forge golf courses will help you find the perfect place to tee off.

Places to Stay

We stayed at The Lodge and Camp Margaritaville. This is a newer property in Pigeon Forge and is part hotel and part RV park. We stayed in a King Deluxe Room which works great for families. The King Deluxe Room has a king bed, a pull-out couch and a separate kid’s “tent” area with two twin beds. There’s also lots of floor space, which is nice for larger families.

The Lodge at Camp Margaritaville has a pool with a hot tub and a water slide, and a lazy river is in the works. There are organized kids’ activities, live music on the weekends and other fun – check the front desk for a schedule. There’s an onsite restaurant and bar, Fins, and a camp store that sells sundries (including alcohol and some RV supplies) as well as some food items, coffee and smoothies.

There are a ton of other lodging options in Pigeon Forge, including Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort as well as hotels, cabins and vacation rentals at various price points. Use this interactive map to help you find a place to stay in the area.

Read more: Review: Tennessee Mountain Valley Resort

Places to Eat in Pigeon Forge

There’s no shortage of good food in Pigeon Forge. There’s a restaurant advertising country cooking or pancakes about every quarter of a mile. You’ll also find lots of places to grab ice cream and maybe even taste a little moonshine or check out a distillery if you’re feeling adventurous. There are also plenty of fast food and familiar franchise restaurants. Most of the attractions I’ve listed above have a combination gift shop/candy shop on site. There are lots of opportunities to grab sweet treats.

If you want something extra special, check out:

Looking for more Pigeon Forge travel guides? Check out My Pigeon Forge.

Jill Robbins is a freelance writer covering lifestyle, travel, health, and commerce. Her writing has appeared in SheKnows, HuffPost, Tripsavvy, Insider, AARP, and other publications. Jill lives in San Antonio with her husband and two youngest kids, although she’s usually somewhere else. You can find out what Jill is up to by reading her blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals.
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