Pigeon Forge is nestled in the Smoky Mountains and is a pristine vacation destination for millions of people every year. Pigeon Forge is a year-round family friendly vacation destination that is full of fun activities and amazing restaurants. From thrilling attractions to award-winning shows and countless dining options, Pigeon Forge can be an intimidating place to plan your next vacation when you don’t know what is available and don’t want to miss out on the best activities and attractions in the area. To help out your efforts to plan your amazing Pigeon Forge vacation, here is our ultimate Pigeon Forge travel guide to the top activities, dining, shopping, and accommodations in all of Pigeon Forge.
Local Attractions and Activities in Pigeon Forge
There are loads of local attractions and activities in Pigeon Forge, and the following options are our can’t-miss picks for a memorable getaway to the area.
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park
This amazing combination of theme park and adventure show is an amazing way to spend your vacation. Guests are able to transform into a lumberjack and compete in their own lumberjack competitions. At Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Adventure Park, there are plenty of rides and activities. There is the Flying Ox, the world’s first and only cable to rail zipline roller coaster which sails guests through the sky; The High Woodsman Challenge, a multi-level obstacle course; and many more logger sports challenges like log rolling, speed climbing, and the boom run. Lastly, the park includes the 80-foot Timber Towers, where you can try four controlled jump elements that are sure to make your stomach drop. Along with the amazing attractions, you should be sure to check out the amazing axe and lumberjack shows that display high-energy axe throwing, chopping, sawing, speed climbing, log rolling, and other competitive events. Audience members can participate in an exciting, interactive experience on stage, with a special intermission event just for kids.
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede combines both attraction and dining to make an amazing dinner show. You will watch over thirty different horses and a cast of skilled riders that will thrill you with feats of trick riding and friendly competition. The show crescendos into an emotional musical conclusion that is set to the patriotic salute to the Red, White, and Blue. This musical conclusion includes “Color Me America,” a song written and recorded by Dolly Parton herself. Along with the show you will be treated to a four-course meal that meets all of your Southern food must eats. The menu includes the Stampede’s original creamy vegetable soup and cheddar biscuit, mouth watering rotisserie chicken, hickory smoked barbeque pork loin, hot buttered corn on the cob, tasty herb basted potatoes, a specialty dessert, and all you can drink soft drinks and sodas. If you want to see the horses ahead of time, make sure you get there early to see the open-air stables. You can see the horses used in the show close up and talk to the amazing equine stars of the show.
Rocky Top Mountain Coaster
The Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is not your normal mountain gravity coaster, but an entire family friendly experience. The coaster grounds include over 20 acres of beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery and is the home of the longest coaster in eastern Tennessee. The coaster itself features plenty of turns, tunnels, curves and 360 degree turns, and reaches speeds of up to 30 MPH. You will want to make sure you check out this amazing attraction at night where the incredible lights will light your ride through the thrill-packed mountain excursion.
Dolly Parton’s Dollywood
Considered one of the world’s premier theme parks, Dolly Parton’s Dollywood combines the rides, food, and entertainment of a theme park with a distinct Southern charm that is surrounded by the beautiful Smoky Mountains.
Dollywood starts with its incredible lineup of live artists performing various musical acts including country, Southern gospel, classic rock ‘n’ roll, and Appalachian music. Along with the rich musical heritage, Dollywood also showcases some of the Smoky Mountains’ amazing crafts like glass blowing and blacksmithing. To capture the attention of the thrill-seekers out there, Dollywood is also the home to over 40 different rides and attractions that vary enough to entertain all ages.
These amazing attractions include the Lightning Rod, Wild Eagle, FireChaser Express, Mystery Mine, Blazing Fury, Barnstormer, Daredevil Falls, Thunderhead, and more. The Lightning Rod is the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, The Wild Eagle is the country’s first wing roller coaster, and the FireChaser Express is the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster.
In addition to the year-round entertainment options, Dollywood also hosts some of the South’s largest festivals. The Festival of Nations is a fascinating multi-cultural celebration featuring traditional music, dance, food, and art of nations from around the globe. Enjoy Dollywood’s Barbecue & Bluegrass Festival in the spring and the Harvest Festival with Great Pumpkin LumiNights in the fall, offering delightful concerts and tasty foods that highlight the changing of the seasons. The best seasonal offering is the Dollywood Splash Country. This is Dollywood’s take on the traditional waterpark. The park is full of amazing water attractions for the whole family. The water park is also open later for a nightly fireworks extravaganza. These are amazing options for great summer and fall attractions while in Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge Restaurant Guide
Pigeon Forge is well known for its attractions and natural beauty, but its restaurants are just as amazing. Here are some of the best restaurants in Pigeon Forge.
Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen
If you are planning a family vacation in Pigeon Forge, there is no better place to grab a meal than Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. This Southern restaurant is located in Pigeon Forge and in close proximity to the town’s amazing accommodations. The restaurant is split between two floors. The dining area upstairs is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with a view of the Island Show Fountain below. The ground level also has ample seating options and a distinctly Southern décor. Guests can grab a bit for breakfast, lunch, or dinner for a family style meal. The dinner menu includes things like Southern fried chicken, spare ribs, Southern style meatloaf, baked mac and cheese, squash casserole, and much more. Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is a must-visit family eatery in Pigeon Forge.
Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant
The Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant is located in Sevierville and is a popular spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Along with every meal ordered, you will get delicious scratch made apple fritter, apple butter, and apple julep. For breakfast, you have to try their famous Smoky Mountain Biscuit Benedict, which are fresh made biscuits topped with tender ham and two farm fresh eggs, smothered with country sausage gravy and served with home fried potatoes. Our favorite lunch option at this amazing restaurant is their Orchard Salad. This amazing fresh option includes crisp greens with grilled chicken, apple relish, dried cranberries, and more. For dinner, you can never go wrong with four pieces of the Applewood Famous Southern Fried Chicken, a garden salad, mashed potatoes, your choice of Farmhouse soup, a Farmhouse side, and dessert.
The Old Mill Restaurant
The Old Mill Restaurant is tucked away off the Parkway in Pigeon Forge and provides you with classic Southern cuisine. No matter if its breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you will quickly see why this amazing restaurant is constantly listed as a top restaurant in Pigeon Forge. As you walk in, the smell of freshly baked bread hits you like a ton of bricks and your mouth instantly begins to water. You’ll enjoy great Southern classics like country fried steak, sugar cured ham, pot roast, chicken and dumplings, and more. All dinners are served family style with fresh veggies. You will probably want to eat multiple meals at this amazing establishment.
Junction 35 Spirits and Kitchen
Junction 35 is a newer restaurant in Pigeon Forge, but it’s taking the scene by storm. Located at the Tower Shops in the Mountain Mile district, Junction 35 is a distillery, kitchen, bar, and gift shop all wrapped up into one. Junction 35 handcrafts each spirit in house and offers a fully stocked gift shop so you can take a bottle with you when you leave. The kitchen’s menu offers a full assortment of delicious barbecue, wings, and burgers so diverse that anyone can find something that fits their culinary desires. In addition to their vast menu, you can try their line of cocktails made in house with their distilled spirits. This is a must visit spot, especially if you are a fan of craft spirits.
Apple Valley Creamery
To top off your culinary excursion through Pigeon Forge, you will need to indulge in some amazing dessert options too. Apple Valley Creamery is located in the historic Apple Barn and Cider Mill and offers craft confections for your sweet tooth. Apple Valley Creamery makes all of their ice cream by hand from the best ingredients. They also utilize all local fruits and products to make their ice cream. Along with the traditional scoops, you will find amazing milkshakes, banana splits, and handmade bread at the creamery. One of our favorites is the deep dish apple pie with the award-winning Smoky Mountain fudge. Visit this awesome dessert shop and you will instantly see how this historic shop is constantly rated best in town.
Places to Stay in Pigeon Forge
Most people probably think of the popular tourist destination of Pigeon Forge and immediately jump to staying in a hotel or some kind of resort, but we are here to tell you that there are better ways of staying in this amazing town. If you are staying in a resort or hotel, you would be missing out on the best options for your vacation. A vacation rental is really the only way to properly stay in Pigeon Forge and get the most out of your vacation.
Vacation rentals allow guests to book an entire home rather than just a small hotel or resort room. Our cabins in Pigeon Forge offer guests a comparative price to the large resorts and hotels in the area, but with many more customizable options. These vacation rentals are available all over Pigeon Forge and provide you with amazing amenities and customizable experiences depending on your needs.
The biggest complaint we hear when people are planning their vacation is that they have to spend so much money on food. Your food budget is a sneaky cost that will probably eat up a bunch of your overall budget. With a vacation rental, you have a fully equipped kitchen at your disposal which saves you money. Having a full kitchen is an underrated feature of the vacation rental since it allows you to cook your own meals rather than being forced to eat out for every meal. Guests are free to bring their own food with them or visit one of the local grocery stores to stock up on their favorites. Pigeon Forge has a lot of great dining options which you should try, but just cooking the occasional meal at home will save you money to spend elsewhere; this includes eating at fancier restaurants or even extending your trip for an extra day!
Vacation rentals also include premium upgrades that you will never get with a resort or hotel option. You can check out all of these extra options on our website to see what amenities will work with your Pigeon Forge vacation. Our goal is to make sure you have the best Pigeon Forge vacation that we can possibly provide!