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The Best & Worst Times to Visit Pigeon Forge in 2024

The Best & Worst Times to Visit Pigeon Forge in 2024

What's the best time to visit Pigeon Forge?

Summer is the ideal time to visit Pigeon Forge, as all attractions, including water parks and Dollywood, are fully open with extended hours. The weather supports various activities, from whitewater rafting to cooling off at splash parks, despite occasional rain and heat. Due to the influx of families during this season, early booking is advised to manage crowds and ensure availability at popular events and attractions.

Pigeon Forge in Tennessee is a great destination for some family fun in Appalachia. It’s home to Dollywood and tons of other fun activities. Its most famous attraction is of course Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood, but there are so many other things to do as well.

The town has other amusement parks such as the Splash Country water park, WonderWorks, and the Titanic Museum. Visitors can also take in dinner theater shows, try out other family-friendly activities such as mini-golf, or head into the Smoky Mountains to explore gorgeous nature.

There’s a lot to do in Pigeon Forge, but not all of the attractions are available all year round. We put together this guide to help you figure out the best time to visit.

Overall Best Time to Visit Pigeon Forge

Neat aerial view of the downtown area in Pigeon Forge pictured during the best time to visit with a fountain with purple water shooting up and a cloudy sky in the background

Scott Heaney/Shutterstock

The absolute best time to visit Pigeon Forge is during the summer, when all of the attractions are guaranteed to be open. The summer can get quite hot, with average temperatures in July, the hottest month, are around 87 degrees Fahrenheit.

It can also get quite rainy, although showers are usually short and offer a welcome respite from the heat. This is great weather for family-friendly activities in and around Pigeon Forge.

It may not be the best weather for strenuous hikes but heading into the mountains will provide a welcome respite from the heat (instead of a freezing expedition the way it is all year round).

Summer is also the only season when you can take advantage of certain outdoor activities, such as whitewater rafting. It is also perfect water park weather. During the summer, Pigeon Forge’s water parks, such as Dollywood’s Splash Country, are guaranteed to be open.

They are fun for kids and a great way to cool off. In fact, the best reason to visit in the summer is that all of the attractions will be open, since some theme parks shorten operating hours or close entirely during the off-season.

Dollywood has its longest operating hours in June, July, and early August, and is open every day for most of the summer. The Island in Pigeon Forge is open until 11:00 PM or midnight throughout the summer.

Visiting in the summer is particularly fun with kids since so many activities in town are family-friendly. Plus, you’re unlikely to go home disappointed since any attractions you want to visit are guaranteed to be open.

During the summer, Pigeon Forge organizes a lot of events and festivals for visiting families, such as:

Since so many of its attractions are geared towards families, Pigeon Forge receives the most visitors during the summer when kids are out of school.

Be sure to book hotel stays and popular attractions such as dinner theater shows well ahead of time to avoid disappointment and be prepared for long lines at popular rides.

Cheapest Time to Visit Pigeon Forge

Snow covering the ground by a waterfall in the forest of the smoky mountains during the cheapest time to visit Pigeon Forge Tennessee


The cheapest time to visit Pigeon Forge is from the middle of winter into early spring, which is the town’s low season, which sees a lot fewer visitors than other seasons.

The weather is chilly in the town since it is nestled in the Smoky Mountains (although not as bitingly cold as in other mountain towns). Plus, kids are in school, so there aren’t as many families traveling.

For the flexible traveler, winter is a good time to visit because hotel rates are lower than they are during the rest of the year. In January, you can find discounts at almost all hotels in the area, some as much as 40% less than the rest of the year.

Hotel rooms at the beginning of the week cost less than towards the end of the week and during the weekend. January and February are also the most affordable months for domestic flights within the United States, including to Pigeon Forge.

The closest airport is McGhee Tyson Airport, which is serviced by several major airlines even though it is a relatively small airport. Airlines such as American Airlines usually have sales in January, so monitor websites to see when flight rates go down.

Least Busy Time to Visit Pigeon Forge

Fog over the smoky mountains pictured during the least busy time to visit Pigeon Forge with a cloudy sky in the background and gorgeous trees in the valley

Danita Delimont/Shutterstock

The least busy time to visit Pigeon Forge is in the winter, but spring and fall also have far fewer visitors and decent weather to boot. Spring in Pigeon Forge is surprisingly free of crowds.

The weather is mild, with average temperatures in April about 71 degrees Fahrenheit, but still fairly rainy. The pleasant temperatures make this a nice time to go exploring the Smoky Mountains and see the wildflowers bloom.

This is a great time to try different outdoor adventures when there aren’t as many people around and tours don’t book up quickly. Jeep tours, ziplines, and the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster are just a few of the things you can do.

In spring, Pigeon Forge is slowly coming to life again after a quiet winter season. Parks such as Dollywood open back up to the public (Dolly’s theme park opens again in early March).

Around Easter, expect themed festivals such as an Easter Egg Hunt. Fall is a bit more crowded than the spring since a lot of people want to see the stunning fall foliage in the Smoky Mountains.

However, it’s still going to be a lot easier to find a hotel room than in the summer. Besides the foliage, fall brings a lot of other festivities, especially Halloween. October is particularly fun in Pigeon Forge thanks to haunted houses, themed events, and more.

At Dollywood, enjoy the Harvest Festival all season long, while history buffs should enjoy the Appalachian culture on display at Old Mill Heritage Day.

Worst Time to Visit Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge TN pictured during the summer with old cars and people walking across the street


The worst time to visit Pigeon Forge is during the winter because there aren’t as many things to do in the town. First-time visitors to Pigeon Forge will be in for a major disappointment when visiting in January or February.

That’s because Dollywood, the town’s biggest attraction, is completely closed to the public during the peak of winter. If you are visiting to see one of America’s most famous theme parks, you probably don’t want to do so when it is closed.

Even attractions that are open during the winter don’t feel the same as during the summer. Some rides may be closed, and operating hours are generally shorter. The weather can also get chilly.

Average high temperatures in January are about 49 degrees Fahrenheit, while it can get close to freezing at night. The weather may be milder than in other parts of Tennessee, but you’ll still need to bundle up to go exploring.

If you mostly want to enjoy indoor attractions, such as shopping and the many dinner theater shows, then winter is a good time to visit. Plus, with far fewer people around, you won’t have to deal with crowds or booked-up reservations.

Winter in the Smoky Mountains is also a beautiful time of year to visit. The mountains around Pigeon Forge are covered in snow, making the landscape really stand out. It may not be as enticing as in the summer, but it has its own charm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Neat view of the distilling company in Pigeon forge with a Ferris wheel in the background

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA – August 16, 2020: Exterior of the Ole Smoky Mountain Moonshine Distillery in Tennessee/ehflif/Shutterstock

Here are a few questions to help you prepare for a visit to Pigeon Forge:

How many days do you need at Pigeon Forge?

You should spend at least three days in Pigeon Forge to get a chance to explore the town. If you can, it’s better to spend at least five days in town, since you’ll need at least two days just for Dollywood.

When is the off-season in Pigeon Forge?

Winter is the off-season in Pigeon Forge. January and February see very few visitors, and some attractions even close down during this time.

What is the best month to visit the Smoky Mountains?

The best month to visit the Smoky Mountains surrounding Pigeon Forge is October. October brings mild weather and gorgeous fall foliage.

Is it better to be in Pigeon Forge or in Gatlinburg?

The answer depends on what you are looking for. Pigeon Forge is better for families and for typical tourist activities, but Gatlinburg is better for those that just want to get into nature.

Is Pigeon Forge worth it?

If you like amusement parks and somewhat kitschy tourist attractions, then Pigeon Forge is absolutely worth it. If you just wanted to head into nature, then it’s better to stay in a more affordable town.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Pigeon Forge?

The best time to visit Pigeon Forge is in the summer to experience all of the activities that make the town unique. To beat the crowds, visit in fall or spring, while winter has the lowest prices.

So, with so much to see and to and plenty of amazing times to visit, what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Pigeon Forge has to offer. Happy travels!