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9 Things to Do in Pigeon Forge


Ready to head to the mountains? Here is my shortlist of things to do, see, and eat in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Pigeon Forge Tourism and tell you about this awesome destination.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. #sponsored

Pigeon Forge is nestled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and is the perfect location for spending Spring Break with your family.  There are tons of fun things to do in the mountain resort city that hosts millions of visitors annually.  Here is my personal list of 9 Things To Do in Pigeon Forge during Spring Break:

1. Visit The Island

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a shopping and entertainment complex that offers something for everyone.  The Island is home to The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel – a 200 foot tall Ferris wheel that offers some of the best views of Pigeon Forge.

Kids will enjoy the various arcade games and rides at The Island and adults have fun things, too, like shopping at the 60+ retail and specialty shops and getting a massage at St. Somewhere Spa.  (My husband can personally testify that the massage is incredible!)

The Island is also home to over a dozen places to wet your whistle, get a little something sweet to eat, or to dig into something totally filling.

2. Learn About Famous Crimes

Near the entrance to The Island is Alcatraz East Crime Museum, a museum devoted to educating guests about all things crime-related.  The museum has five galleries spread across 2 floors and  25,000 square feet of space that delve into criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement, and the American justice system.  The museum’s collections are very tastefully arranged and pay respect to those who are/were victims.

Be sure to allow yourself at least 2 hours to explore the museum.  It has over 100 interactive displays which you will want to check out.  My family and I went thinking that we could do it all in an hour – we were so wrong.  It’s on our list of places to visit (again) when we go back.

Ted Bundy’s Car

3. Dig Into Authentic Southern Cuisine

Hoecakes and Biscuits at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

Pigeon Forge is truly a Southern town, and with that, there is plenty of good old fashioned Southern fare to be found.  From pancakes to the all-you-care-to-eat offerings at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen to classic comfort food at Dollywood, you’ll find it in Pigeon Forge.

Of course, you’ll also find classic steakhouses, casual fast food restaurants, sit down BBQ joints, ice cream parlors, Chinese restaurants, a saloon, dinner theaters and so much more.  There’s no reason anyone should be hungry in Pigeon Forge.

Country Fried Steak Dinner at Dollywood

4. Attend a Dinner Theater Show

What’s not to love about attending a dinner theater in Pigeon Forge?  Nothing.  It’s a fabulous way to enjoy a show and sit down to a filling dinner.  There are several dinner theaters in Pigeon Forge, including the Dolly Parton’s Stampede, the Hatfield and McCoy, the Grand Majestic Dinner Theater, and the Biblical Times Dinner Theater. 

Just when you think you might have seen them all – you haven’t!  Later this year there will be another new dinner theater featuring pirates added to the venue, thanks to Dolly, herself.

5. Bond with Your Kids

Pigeon Forge is a family-friendly destination.  There are over 70 attractions along the parkway PLUS award-winning Dollywood. Many of the attractions are located inside, making them weather-proof and a good back-up plan for rainy days. If the weather is nice, there are go-karts, outdoor coasters, mini golf, zorbing, and more!

After watching my son rock it through MagiQuest’s mirror maze, The Odyssey, I am ready to go back and try out another course in Pigeon Forge.  It was so great to see disconnected from his “devices” and interacting with us.

6. Shop Local

Artisans have been creating beautiful pottery works of art for over 50 years in Pigeon Forge.  You can find beautiful pieces for your home at The Old Mill Pigeon River Pottery.  You might even see some of the artisans at work on the pottery wheel.

At Dollywood, master craftsmen forge iron and steel into beautiful items such as knives and home and garden decor.  Other mementos that you will find in Pigeon Forge are a reminder of yesteryear, like the vintage firetruck replica pictured below.

7. Explore Dollywood’s Festival of Nations

If your Spring Break coincides with Dollywood’s Festival of Nations (March 16 – April 14), I highly recommend that you check it out.  There are special performances featuring acts from around the world that will amaze you.  This year the festival is full of rhythm with acts featuring Cuban music and dance as well as an interactive drum-theatre experience from South Africa.

If you are a foodie, then you will be happy to know that this year there will be food offerings from nine countries, plus a range of chef demonstrations including celebrity Chef Pepin from Cuba.  Some of the dishes at this year’s Festival of Nations include Poutine from Canada, Gluehwein from Germany, Bobotie from South Africa, Beef Bulgogi Nachos from Korea, and Paella from Spain.

8. Take a Hike

There are over 800 miles of trails in the Smoky Mountains and Pigeon Forge area.  There are trails for novice hikers as well as experienced.  Spring is a great time to watch as flowers and wildlife start to emerge.

Before heading out, be sure to check the forecast and dress accordingly.  Don’t forget to bring your camera, because there will be plenty of picture taking opportunities of the beautiful scenery.  

9. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains is THE most visited national park in the United States.  It comprises 500,000 acres of Southern Appalachian wilderness on one of the oldest uplands on earth.  Explore Cades Cove and visit historic homesteads and churches.

There is a one-way, 11-mile loop around Cades Cove with spots that you can pull-off so that you can explore the area.  Be on the lookout for wildlife.  There are deer, squirrels, foxes, beavers, raccoons, and even bears!

Those are just some of the things that you can do in Pigeon Forge.  Pigeon Forge is THE vacation destination that combines the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains with so many family-friendly attractions, you’ll want to return again and again.

To discover more fun things, go to and be sure to request your free travel guide.

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