Pigeon Forge, located in eastern Tennessee at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, is one of the top family vacation destinations in the American South. With its natural beauty, world-class attractions like Dollywood, and small-town charm, it’s easy to see why over 11 million people visit annually.
However, it is best to come prepared to make the most of your Pigeon Forge getaway. Follow these ten tips to ensure your trip goes off without a hitch.
- 1 1. Research Accommodations
- 2 2. Purchase Discount Attraction Tickets
- 3 3. Attend A Dinner Show
- 4 4. Pack for Any Type of Weather
- 5 5. Leave Time for Shopping and Dining
- 6 6. Get an Early Start to Beat Crowds
- 7 7. Use the Trolley to Get Around
- 8 8. Stay Hydrated on Hot Summer Days
- 9 9. Take Advantage of Free Attractions
- 10 10. Experience the Spectacular Great Outdoors
- 11 Conclusion
1. Research Accommodations
With so many rental cabins available, you’ll have no trouble finding good accommodations in Pigeon Forge. Just look for a place that fits your needs and budget.
Look at reviews on sites like Trip Advisor to get candid insight from other travelers on the pros and cons of specific hotels and cabins. For cabins, verify that amenities like hot tubs, fireplaces, and mountain views are available, as these features may make a pricier rental worthwhile.
Proximity to downtown Pigeon Forge is more convenient but comes at a cost, with lodging closer to town generally being more expensive.
2. Purchase Discount Attraction Tickets
The many attractions, from Dollywood to mini golf courses to go-kart tracks, are major reasons people visit Pigeon Forge. Buying multi-attraction passes or combo tickets can save you money. Check attraction websites regularly for seasonal discounts, specials, and exclusive online offers.
Make a plan of must-see attractions, but stay flexible if you change your mind after arriving. An open itinerary allows you to take advantage of deals and maximize your time.
3. Attend A Dinner Show
Don’t miss out on the various Pigeon Forge dinner shows during your trip. Dolly Parton’s Stampede, for instance, offers an entertaining blend of horse-riding stunts, music, and a delicious four-course feast that can be a memorable experience for the whole family.
This is, undoubtedly, the Smokies’ most fun place to eat!
4. Pack for Any Type of Weather
You need to pack for Pigeon Forge according to the season. Summers are hot and humid, spring and fall see milder temperatures, and winters are cold and wet. And it is cloudy year round!
Packing layers is key for comfort in the changing temperatures throughout the day. Bring rain jackets and light layers for the pleasant but unpredictable weather of spring and fall. Swimsuits, shorts, and flip-flops are must-haves for the heat of summer. Similarly, long pants, sweaters, and coats are necessary to enjoy long winter days.
5. Leave Time for Shopping and Dining
Beyond its wealth of attractions, Pigeon Forge’s many unique shops, restaurants, and eateries add to its charm.
You can hunt for bargains at the massive Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall or sample some Tennessee moonshine at Ole Smoky Distillery. Also, enjoy the delicious food at one of the many pancake houses and diners along the Parkway before heading into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The shopping and dining opportunities are an integral part of the Pigeon Forge experience.
6. Get an Early Start to Beat Crowds
As a popular family vacation destination, Pigeon Forge gets very crowded, especially in the peak season. Getting an early start is key to beating crowds and lines for the attractions.
Choose a breakfast restaurant opening at 7 or 8 a.m. to start your day early. Arrive right when Dollywood opens at 10 a.m. to maximize your time.
For other attractions, arrive an hour before posted opening times. Avoid traffic jams by returning to your accommodation for a mid-day break when crowds peak. Then, head out again when the lines die down. Adjusting your schedule around crowd levels will help you enjoy more with less wait.
7. Use the Trolley to Get Around
Driving along the often congested Parkway in Pigeon Forge can be frustrating. Instead, park your car and use Pigeon Forge’s convenient trolley system to explore downtown and key attractions. The trolley runs daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with stops at major attractions, restaurants, and hotels for less than $3 per ride.
An all-day pass is a great deal at $3 for adults and free for kids. Riding the trolley eliminates the need to find parking at each stop, allowing you to relax and enjoy the sights.
8. Stay Hydrated on Hot Summer Days
The combination of temperatures in the 90s and high Tennessee humidity can take a toll on you during Pigeon Forge summers. Drinking plenty of water is crucial when spending long summer days at Dollywood, hiking in the mountains, or exploring downtown.
Proper hydration prevents headaches, nausea, and heat-related fatigue. Drinking enough water will help ensure the hot summer weather doesn’t spoil your fun.
9. Take Advantage of Free Attractions
While Pigeon Forge offers no shortage of paid attractions, you can also find affordable fun at free venues. Be sure to check out Patriot Park’s live entertainment and festival, the fountain show on the Island, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Pigeon Forge wineries also offer free wine tastings to discover new favorites. You can also take advantage of the happy hour at restaurants for discounted drinks and appetizers. These freebies make it easier to stretch your Pigeon Forge vacation budget further.
10. Experience the Spectacular Great Outdoors
Don’t spend all your time within Pigeon Forge city limits. The beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park lies just beyond town. Drive the scenic Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or hike to waterfalls like Laurel Falls and Abrams Falls.
If you want to spend some quality time with your loved ones, stop and have a picnic beside a rushing mountain stream or wake up early and watch a stunning sunset. Access to these gorgeous outdoor spaces is a major perk of visiting Pigeon Forge.
With spectacular mountain scenery, exciting attractions, and Southern hospitality, Pigeon Forge promises an unforgettable family vacation. Following these handy tips will help you make the most of your time in this Smoky Mountain paradise. Relax, soak up the natural beauty, and create memories to cherish for years to come.