Located in the heart of eastern Tennessee, Pigeon Forge is surrounded by mountain peaks and sights to see. The town received its name from the Little Pigeon River, where many passenger pigeons once roosted on the river’s banks, and an iron forge built adjacent to the Old Mill by Isaac Love in 1817.
The city is famous for its multitude of attractions, tourist spots, and breathtaking scenery, which attracts more than nine million tourists to the town annually. Since Pigeon Forge has to offer so much, knowing which activities and attractions to experience on your first or next visit to Pigeon Forge can be difficult. Therefore, we have prepared a list of 6 things to do in Pigeon Forge that is bound to have something for everyone!
The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a 23-acre entertainment hub with thrilling and exciting attractions awaiting all those who visit. The hustling and bustling tourist destination offers a plethora of shopping, dining, and gaming spots where people of all ages can have a fun-filled relaxation day. Amongst the top attractions of the hub are the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, offering mesmerizing views of Pigeon Forge and the Smokies from 200 feet above, a dancing fountain with a light and sound show, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant and hotel, and SkyFly: Soar America, an engaging flight simulator.
Next on our list of exciting Pigeon Forge activities you need to indulge in is Dollywood. Considered one of the best theme parks in the world, Dollywood is the beloved amusement park owned by country singer and proud citizen of the Volunteer State, Dolly Parton. The park features a plethora of attractions, ranging from waterslides and rollercoasters to theater performances and everything in between.
The park spreads across 150 acres and is divided into 11 themed areas, namely Craftsman’s Valley, Showstreet, Rivertown Junction, The Village, Timber Canyon, Country Fair, Wilderness Pass, Owens Farm, Jukebox Junction, Wildwood Grove, and Adventures in Imagination. Each area celebrates the significant history and culture of Tennessee as well as Dolly Parton’s life and achievements.
The commencement of each season further brings attractions to explore. Spring inaugurates the Festival of Nations, while summer brings Barbeque & Bluegrass Festivals with delicious southern food, extended park hours, and celebrity concerts. Fall is marked by Dollywood’s Harvest Festival, where pumpkin carving is carried out, and the winter season illuminates the park with more than five million sparkling lights, underneath which holiday shows such as ‘Christmas in the Smokies’ take place. New attractions are introduced to the park every now and then, with the Big Bear Mountain rollercoaster being the most recent one.
Parrot Mountain and Gardens
It is no surprise that this destination is amongst the top-rated spots to visit in Pigeon Forge. Unlike any other garden, the Parrot Mountain and Gardens offer much more than trees and grass. They are home to hundreds of tropical birds ranging between various species and kinds. A 200-foot dry stacked stone fence and stairway are situated right at the entrance, ahead of which are meticulously landscaped pathways where unique parrot cottages are lined up. Each cottage has its own style and houses parrots of multiple kinds.
A yellow door leads to a secret landscaped garden where toucans, magpies, and silvery-cheeked hornbills fly around and about. Following the secret garden is a bird garden and lory aviary where birds and lories can be fed by hand and have pictures clicked with. A baby bird nursery is also present on the site, where baby birds can be petted and fed, as well as a mesmerizing waterfall with benches surrounding it to sit down and enjoy the calming waterfall sounds.
For those wishing to take something home, a gift shop selling souvenirs is available, and so is the facility to purchase birds of your choice. Despite the description, the site’s true beauty can only be taken in upon visiting and viewing it with your own unaided senses. So plan a visit and find out why this Pigeon Forge attraction is referred to as the ‘Garden of Eden’ by those who stumble across it!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Perhaps the most popular attraction near Pigeon Forge, and rightfully so, is The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Being the most visited National Park in the United States, the park covers an area of 520,000 acres and is home to some of the best tourist attractions and activities. Amongst these, the highest-rated and recommended ones include:
- Ascending Clingmans Dome, a round-top peak standing at a whopping 6,643 feet with an observation tower to absorb the view from
- Driving through Cades Cove Valley, the most popular spot in the park, which has hundreds of cars lined up during peak season wanting to take in the scenic view and get a glimpse of wild animals
- Having a picnic at Fontana Lake, which marks the Southern End of the National Park and has more than 240 miles of shoreline with clear blue water that is home to different species of fish, popularly Bass.
If you’re visiting in late May to early June and can get your hands on tickets to witness the Synchronous Firefly Festival in the Elkmont area of the National Park, it is highly advised that you do so for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
TITANIC Museum Attraction
Another activity to partake in when visiting Pigeon Forge is visiting The TITANIC Museum Attraction, housed within a half-scale model of the Titanic’s exterior with an artificial iceberg next to it to add to the effect. The boarding pass you receive upon entering shall be named after an actual passenger of the RMS Titanic, who you can learn about in the Memorial Room.
Inside the museum, you can visit the galleries, click photos on the Grand Staircase, or view over 400 historic artifacts and remnants recovered from the ship. The experience is not just for adults, as kids can take a special kid’s tour, which provides them with an educational and informative point of view of the ship and its wreck. All in all, the museum is a great addition to your list of things to do in the town.
Moonshine and Wine Tour
The Volunteer State is well known for its wineries and moonshine distilleries. Therefore, a visit to Pigeon Forge is incomplete without embarking on a guided tour to visit the area’s famous wineries and moonshine distilleries with ample tastings and zero hassle over transportation. The experienced guides shall add to the tour by sharing their knowledge and insight into the wine and moonshine industry while taking on the hard task of choosing amongst the variety of distillery spots present in Pigeon Forge.
When it comes to Pigeon Forge, you just can’t escape the fun no matter where you go. The numerous attractions, excursions, and activities make it impossible to fit them all into one list. However, the ones mentioned above are the highest rated, suitable for all age groups, and bound to turn you into a regular visitor to the region!