Pigeon Forge has a rich history. In fact, did you know that it began as part of North Carolina? Then it grew into a forging village and a tourist city when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created. Today, there are so many attractions, restaurants, and fun things to do, you’ll want to return again and again.
Here are our Top 6 Pigeon Forge attractions:
Dolly Parton’s famous amusement and entertainment park is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Spanning 150 acres, Dollywood offers more than 40 world-class rides, high-energy entertainment, award-winning dining and the “friendliest park atmosphere in the world.” Dollywood wins awards for its friendliness – In September 2018, the park won Friendliest Park at Amusement Today’s annual Golden Ticket Awards for the seventh year in a row.
Dollywood, which ranks in the Top 50 most attended theme parks worldwide, is filled with so much to do for everyone! With nearly 50 rides and attractions at this amusement park and water park, it usually takes at least a weekend to experience each one just once. There are roller coasters, thrill rides, and interactive playground experiences galore on the amusement park side. The Splash Country water park has lazy rivers, raging rapids, wave pools, and so much more.
Festivals and Play
The Flower & Food Festival Presented by Covenant Health brings “larger-than-life plant sculptures adorned in half-a-million colorful flower blooms” to Dollywood. Visitors can “dance under a picturesque Umbrella Sky and indulge in garden-fresh flavors from Dollywood chefs.”
Have you heard of Free Pre-k play? That’s where children ages 4-5, can take advantage of the free Pre-K Imagination Season Pass. “This free pass allows imaginations to roam as kids explore the fun and wonder of Dollywood, including the park’s celebrated new area, Wildwood Grove.”
2.Dollywood’s Splash Country
Located adjacent to Dollywood theme park, Dollywood’s Splash Country features a variety of water attractions meant to cool you off and make you smile. There are slides that are high and straight and slides that have twists and turns. There are calm and cooling float trips and an adventure structure with water falling from everywhere.
In summer, there are nightly firework displays cleverly named “Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors.”
Synchronized to music, each evening June 18 – Aug. 7, the fireworks feature Paint Your Dreams across the Sky, an inspiring musical crescendo written specifically for the occasion by Dolly, along with other songs that underscore this colorful summertime celebration.
Take The Trolley
At the parks, a standard vehicle costs $15 to park, and oversized vehicles cost $18.
You can easily save that money by parking your car for free at Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge and catching a ride on the Pigeon Forge trolley. The trolley for the Dollywood route costs $2.50 per person — you’ll get the experience of riding the trolley, which is unique and a treat, plus the trolley will drop you off right at the main gate. When you park in the parking lot, you can either walk to the main entrance or wait for the tram to pick you up at one of the designated tram stops.
Thrills, fun and excitement await visitors at Lumberjack Feud in the Smoky Mountains – all year long.
There’s the show – with feats of speed, agility and strength – and there’s personal adventure – participants can repeat some of what they see at the show in the lumberjack-themed adventure park. All this in Pigeon Forge.
The hour and a half show is comprised of competitive lumberjack events and champion lumberjacks – called Jacks. Watch in awe as strong, authentic lumberjacks speed to the top of huge trees, chop through wood at record speeds, stand and roll on logs in the water and much more.
Lumberjack competitions are the real deal – with tree climbing, log rolling, tree cutting, sawing, axe throwing and more. During intermission, special kids events take place and the Lumberjacks also bring up children to be part of the show.
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud happens rain, snow or shine – all year long. The outdoor grandstand is climate controlled. The Jacks are tough enough to handle any weather, but visitors get to watch in comfort.
Lumberjack-Themed Adventure Park
After the show, kids of all ages can play in the Lumberjack-themed Adventure Park – channeling their inner flannel!
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud & Adventure Park can be found at 2530 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, 865-366-3330.
4. The Island
The Island in Pigeon Forge is filled with fun adventures as well as great shopping.
For play, there’s The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel – towering at 200-feet. The wheel stands as one of the tallest attractions in the Southeast. The wheel gives riders an “an unparalleled view of the world-famous Smoky Mountains in comfortable, all-glass gondolas that seat up to 8 guests.”
More fun comes in the form of the Island Rope Course called Sky Trail Explorer Ropes Course – a three-story adventure experience with thirty different elements, two zip lines, and one simulated free fall. There’s also the Spinning Parrots Coaster and a carousel.
Mining For Gems
For those who want to stay on the ground, you can pan for gold at Island Miner’s Gems. Then, get lost and a little woozy in the Island Mirror Maze. Compete in bumper cars, dress up for old-time photos and a lot more.
While you’re there, sit in a sweet rocking chair and watch the dancing fountain – coordinated to music all day and night.
Ready to shop?
Peruse more than 60 unique shops for clothes, gifts of all kinds, hot sauces, honey, and so much more.
Stop & Shop
Savannah Bee Company – honey tasting, honey accessories, honey lip balm – I bought a unique Mint Julep balm last time I was there.
Old Smoky Moonshine – pick up some white lightning and accessories to take home and share with friends.
The Paula Deen Store – celebrity chef Paula Deen has a retail store and a restaurant at The Island. Butter anyone?
If you’re at The Island all day, you’re going to get hungry, and thirsty. Among the offerings are Paula Deen’s, Yee-Haw Brewing Company, Margaritaville, Mellow Mushroom, Timberwood Grill.
Be sure to see our blog post on how to plan the perfect day at The Island!
The Island rides are open 10 a.m. to midnight daily at 131 The Island Drive, Pigeon Forge
5. The Old Mill
The Old Mill is a nationally recognized Historical Site located on the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River in the heart of Pigeon Forge. A gristmill, which grinds grain into flour using water as its power source, the Old Mill has been in continuous daily operation since its completion in 1830.
Today, the Old Mill is not only a beautiful spot for photographs, it also provides flour and the idea behind “mill made” – handcrafted nature of everything created at the Old Mill – from authentic Appalachian flavors to make your own food at home, take-out and sit-down meals to time-honored artisan dinnerware.
Find the Old Mill at 175 Old Mill Avenue in the heart of Pigeon Forge; (877) 653-6455.
6. Pigeon Forge Snow
For more fun and a way to keep cool this summer, check out Pigeon Forge Snow, the first indoor snow facility of its kind in the U.S. It offers real snow and indoor snow tubing year round.
The attraction makes genuine fresh powder from 100 percent water inside its 35,000 square-foot facility. This makes 15 lanes of snow tubing and play areas to build a snowman and have snowball fights. The indoor climate between 60 and 70 degrees 365 days a year.
Check out Pigeon Forge Snow at 2533 Teaster Lane, Pigeon Forge, (865) 366-1334.
Pigeon Forge History
Many, many years before Tennessee was a state, Pigeon Forge was a Cherokee Indian hunting ground located in what had come to be known as the “Lost State of Franklin.” It was after the Revolutionary War that the State of Franklin and the Cherokee Indians agreed to peace with the signing of the Treaty at Dumplin’ Creek.
Settlers first reached the area in 1788, when the area was governed by North Carolina. Pigeon Forge was the site of an iron forge built in 1820 by Isaac Love. His son built the Historic Old Mill in 1830.
The other half of Pigeon Forge’s namesake is the now-extinct passenger pigeon. By 1907, the town’s population had grown to just 154 residents. But, by the 1930s, the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains had begun to lure visitors to the area. In 1934, when Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established, the first guest cottages were built along the river.
Pigeon Forge’s reputation as a friendly resort town steadily grew from there. Today, more than 11 million guests visit this flourishing Smoky Mountain city each year. Voted one of the South’s favorite shopping spots by Southern Living readers, Pigeon Forge is equally famous for its more than 200 factory outlets and specialty stores.
Ready to book a stay in Pigeon Forge?
Booking a stay in a private cabin is even better than choosing a hotel! Browse all of our cabins over on our web site or give our friendly Reservations Team a call at (800) 204-5169 and let them help you create the vacation of a lifetime.
Check out our Smoky Mountain Travel Guide for more adventures. Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.