Pigeon Forge could have chosen to be a sleepy little town tucked away in the Tennessee Appalachian mountains and enjoyed all its beauty as a best-kept secret.
Instead, the town, with a population of about six thousand, opted to become a Southern culture tourist hub. More than 10 million people visit Pigeon Forge each year.
21 Best Things to Do in Pigeon Forge in 2022
The Smoky Mountains region of the Appalachian mountains, and surrounding areas, are no stranger to tourists. Pigeon Forge sets itself apart by having a little something for everyone.
You can experience amusement parks with roller coasters, museums, mini-golf, entertainment venues, great restaurants, automobile shows, and more.
Whether you want to take a day trip or stay in one of Pigeon Forge’s numerous lodgings or campgrounds, there are plenty of options and even more things to do around Pigeon Forge. Read on, and let’s jump into our list.
1. Crave Golf Club
Crave Golf Club can not only claim to be a top-tier mini-golf experience in the United States, the company claims to be the best. With an 18,000 sq ft facility, Crave has something for everyone, including candy.
There are two mini-golf courses, one on the rooftop and one indoors. If you finish a round of golf and want a change, there are also escape rooms and mini-bowling.
Crave is one of the many places in Pigeon Forge, TN, with something for everyone in the family to enjoy and enough for a whole afternoon of fun.
2. Old Mill Square
No shortage of people who visit a place like Pigeon Forge do so to experience nature and turn back the clock. Old Mill Square is a great place to get a reset away from technology.
The Old Mill, which is on the historic register, is the centerpiece. The theme of the whole square dates back to a time long forgotten almost two centuries ago.
There are no electric signs, and everything is wooden. You can enjoy lounging in the beauty of the area, shop, or grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants.
3. Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud
After a day of walking, playing, and shopping, everybody needs to eat. Why not combine eating and entertainment? The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud exists to fill bellies with delicious Southern home cooking while lifting the mood with wholesome historical fun.
The best part is that the actors don’t simply repeat memorized lines while you eat. The evening consists of a well-rounded show complete with human and animal acrobatics.
There are feats of strength strewn into the entertainment, stunts, and laugh-out-loud comedy. Don’t come to Pigeon Forge and pass on the Hatfield and McCoy Dinner Feud.
4. The Island
The Island is a newer attraction for Pigeon Forge, but the addition fits well into the experience. The Island gets its name because of the scale and size of the place.
The experience feels like you step out of Pigeon Forge and into a town within a town. There is a 200-foot-tall observation wheel, more than sixty shops, and several restaurants plus other types of eateries spread throughout.
You can see dancing fountains lit up at night with beautiful colors. Live music is a common sight. To increase family fun, The Island has rides and games. Most families don’t manage to see everything.
5. The Spring and Fall Rod Runs
One of the best things about an auto show is that walking around looking at custom rods is free. A venue may have a small entry fee but nothing more.
Maybe not ideal for a family, these events cause Pigeon Forge’s numbers to swell massively. The only difference between the Spring and Fall Rod Runs is the seasons.
They are 3-day events where you can see a collection of some of the most creative custom cars in existence. The LeConte events center is the host. Car enthusiasts, buyers, and sellers don’t want to miss out.
6. Sawyer’s Farmhouse
Good food and holidays go so well together that another great restaurant deserves mention. Sawyer’s is an unforgettable dining experience full of Southern dietary mainstays like fried chicken, coleslaw, biscuits n’ gravy, and mashed potatoes.
Sawyer’s namesake comes from the Mark Twain character, and the restaurant greets your eyes with wooden tables and benches accented by wide farmhouse boards on all the walls.
Enjoy perks such as an all-day breakfast. You can go to many rustic Southern eateries in Pigeon Forge, but you’ll find Sawyer’s quality hard to beat.
Of course, there is no reputable list of things to do in Pigeon Forge that doesn’t include Dollywood. Most people don’t know that this theme park has a rating high enough to compete with some of the best theme parks in the nation.
There are rides, including several roller coasters, live shows, plenty to eat, festivals, splash pools, and more. The complete area covers about 300 acres. The festivals are some of the largest held in the Southern U.S.
Dollywood also has seasonal themes. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas consistently ranks high in holiday event award lists.
8. TopJump Trampoline & Extreme Arena
Some people need exercise and excitement to have fun. If you’re one of those people, TopJump is for you. The main feature is a complex full of trampolines divided into games and themes such as TopDunk and TopDodge.
Jumping isn’t the only way to have fun. When you need a break, relax in a massage chair, hit the arcade complete with VR games, try the climbing center, or satisfy a sweet tooth in the candy store.
TopJump has made enough of an impact on Pigeon Forge’s to-do list that TripAdvisor gave TopJump the 2020 Traveler’s Choice Award.
9. Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park
Paula Deen’s park used to be just a dinner show only a few years ago. The expanded site offers a lot more than just a lumberjack feud now. The lumberjacks and the old logging theme remain the central attraction and main draw.
The Adventure Park takes about two hours to get through and features logger competitions where patrons can compete.
The world’s first cable-to-rail zipline roller coaster named the Flying Ox is not one to miss. There is also a ropes course and a two-element 80-foot jump for thrill-seekers.
10. Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster just edges out the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster in a tight competition. The Alpine Coaster wins due to scenery.
Located in Pigeon Forge Wears Valley, the beautiful mountains and alpine forests surrounding you are tough to top. Compared to standard roller coasters, the alpine experience packs a lot of bang for your buck.
The track is over a mile long and usually takes about 8 minutes to complete. You can control your speed through sharp twists and turns. The ride is very kid-friendly, without terrifying drops or loops.
11. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Technically, the Smoky Mountains are a few miles outside of Pigeon Forge, but you don’t have to go far to experience the stunning beauty. If you’re staying in Pigeon Forge for more than a day, getting out and taking in some of the best raw nature available is practically a requirement.
You can take a hike up to Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the Smokies.
The Appalachian Trail runs through the area, and you have the option of having an unforgettable hike and pitching a tent. Don’t forget the right equipment and bring a good camera.
12. Little Pigeon River
In the theme of not forgetting about nature while in the mountains of Pigeon Forge, the Great Smoky Mountains might be a day trip you don’t have time for, so stay local.
The Little Pigeon River, part of the town’s namesake, is a beautiful place to relax, walk around, and enjoy the mountain scenery.
You can get your feet wet in the narrow waters, rent a float, fish for Rainbow Trout, find a hole to swim in, visit the historic mill, or stroll along the river walk.
13. Forbidden Caverns
Like the Smoky Mountains, the Forbidden Caverns aren’t inside Pigeon Forge, but they are also close. A little-known fact, thousands of caves riddle the Tennessee countryside, the most in the nation.
The Forbidden Caverns are one of the caves you don’t want to miss. The downside is that you have to go with a tour guide because of the size of the cave.
Once inside, you get treated to an alien world of stalactites and stalagmites with streams coursing through rocks. The temperature never waivers from 60°F, perfect for escaping balmy summer days.
What kind of vacation to a place like Pigeon Forge would be complete without a trip to a museum? There are several museums to choose from, but WonderWorks takes the cake. There are only six locations in the U.S. to visit this mind-bending place.
The experience starts with a ride through the inversion tunnel, where you have to get realigned with a 360° spin to deliver you to the right dimension so that everything isn’t upside down. Once inside, enjoy four stories of fun science to challenge the mind.
15. Incredible Christmas Place
When you were a kid, did you ever wish Christmas would never end? Wish granted, Incredible Christmas Place delivers a year-round Yule theme.
Whether the holidays are around the corner, or you wander in during July, the shopping for Christmas decorations is second to none.
You can stock up on ornaments, nativity scenes, snowmen, apparel, stockings, and much more. If you can’t get to Pigeon Forge, but you want to see what all the buzz is about, you can shop online.
16. Pigeon Forge Snow
Housed in a 35,000 sq ft facility, Pigeon Forge Snow is the first indoor snow facility of its kind in the U.S. Inside, state-of-the-art machines make real snow that tubes slide down on 15 different lanes.
Even though the fresh powder is everywhere, guests remain comfortable in about 70°F air temperatures. Snow is easily one of the most popular destinations after walking around in the summer heat.
There is another area with fresh snowfall on the floor where kids can build snowmen, make snow angels, or have a snowball fight.
17. Outdoor Gravity Park
Have you ever seen people go downhill inside one of those giant plastic balls? The name of that activity is Zorbing. There are only a handful of places in the world you can go outside of New Zealand, the birthplace of Zorbing.
Pigeon Forge is one of the few places. Bring a bathing suit and prepare to get wet.
The park also offers Running of the Balls, a play on the infamous Running of the Bulls from Pamplona, Spain. Since Zorbing involves a bunch of water inside the ball with you, the spring and fall options are dry.
18. Hollywood Wax Museum
Seeing rooms of wax figures modeled after old and new Hollywood stars might sound boring. Luckily, the Hollywood Wax Museum utilizes every bit of its spacious facility.
In addition to walking the red carpet with your favorite stars and reading interesting bios, you can also venture into the Castle of Chaos, Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors, and Outbreak Dread the Undead.
The Castle is an interactive laser shooter in 5D where the winner gets a prize. Outbreak sets you in the middle of a laboratory zombie outbreak with thrills and scares crawling out of the walls.
19. FlyAway Indoor Skydiving
Skydiving requires quite a bit of prep and comes with a hefty price. By comparison, Indoor Skydiving is about ten times cheaper and still a lot of fun. You can also use this activity to practice skydiving skills at a significant discount.
FlyAway uses a vertical wind tunnel, which allows you to get a similar feeling to skydiving. For families or groups, FlyAway is one of the best options in Pigeon Forge because the wind tunnel holds multiple people.
The experience kicks off with a 15-minute training session to teach you body control and safety precautions.
20. Dollywood’s Dreammore Resort & Spa
Dreammore isn’t the only spa option in Pigeon Forge, but take one look at the spread. You can immediately tell the operation is next-level. Perhaps you have had a great day but feel slightly beat up from roller coasters and walking.
The Spa at Dreammore might be the perfect fix. You can choose from an array of different massages and treatments. Dreammore Resort guests with a Dollywood package enjoy a free shuttle to and from the resort.
There is also an option for a Timesaver pass, which grants faster entry into rides to beat the lines to your favorite attractions.
21. Roaring Fork Nature Trail
Maybe you’re looking for a fun money saver, or nature appeals to you over indoor activities and entertainment. Whatever the reason, the Roaring Fork Nature Trail is an affordable day out in stunning nature.
The only cost is for parking. The main trail is five miles long, but there are numerous side adventures such as preserved old buildings and side trails to waterfalls.
You can drive the main path and make as many stops as you like to get to places like the picturesque Rainbow Falls. Do a bit of homework before going. Some trails take you deeper into the mountains than others.
Things to Consider
Before embarking on a vacation or holiday trip, you should do some research to avoid any nasty surprises, especially monetary shocks. There are so many things to do in and around Pigeon Forge.
Plan ahead. Most of the potential surprises are easy to find online. The most obvious bit of research is to find the cost of everything using all of the available information. Websites have prices and other considerations listed, such as the need for bathing suits.
Furthermore, you want to know if you need equipment or gear. Pigeon Forge sits in the mountains, so you should plan whether or not you will need hiking boots or a water-resistant jacket just in case.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions for travelers taking a trip to Pigeon Forge:
Does Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge have more to do?
If you look simply at the number of attractions, Pigeon Forge wins, no contest. Gatlinburg doesn’t even try to compete at the same level. Dollywood alone is a tough attraction to top.
What is Pigeon Forge best known for?
Because of the singer/songwriter Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the most famous attraction. The raw beauty of the Smokies ranks pretty high too.
What is there to do in Pigeon Forge today for free?
I have to recommend my number 12 pick, the Little Pigeon River. There is zero cost in enjoying the sites and taking a swim to break the summer heat.
Is Pigeon Forge worth visiting?
The best answer will always be that the value depends on what you want. If natural and man-made Southern attractions with the rural mountain theme sound good, the answer is yes.
Is Pigeon Forge walkable?
The layout of Pigeon Forge is walkable mainly because the town is small. However, there are attractions nearby that are much easier if you drive. For example, Dollywood is a bit outside of the main town.
So, What Are the Best Things to Do in Pigeon Forge?
Pigeon Forge has a lot to offer. There are more things to do in town than one visit can see. In addition, there are just as many attractions, such as the Smoky Mountains, outside of town. The only limits are how much time and money you have to spend.