10 Reasons to Vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN

There’s a lot to love about Pigeon Forge, which lies adjacent to the country’s most-visited National Park. The park is amazing, of course, but Pigeon Forge is worth visiting in its own right. The following are just a few reasons why this charming town should be at the top of your vacation bucket list:

1. Natural Mountain Beauty

The natural beauty of Pigeon Forge cannot be denied. The mountains can easily be seen from most locations within the town, bringing a lovely and, at times, dramatic backdrop to the area. Additional views are available along the Little Pigeon River, which flows through the heart of Pigeon Forge.

Each season brings its own gorgeous scenery. Flowers adorn the town in the spring, while lush foliage takes over in the summer. Glorious fall colors make their mark before giving way to the snow and cold, which is beautiful in its own unique way. No matter when you visit, you will be enchanted by the views.

2. Dollywood

Attracting over three million visitors per year, Dollywood is arguably Pigeon Forge’s most beloved attraction. This unique theme park captures the best of the region, including the natural beauty, traditional crafts, and, of course, local musical talent. Best of all, Dollywood is home to some of the region’s most exciting rides, including the Mystery Mine, the Wild Eagle, and the Tennessee Tornado. Whether you adore rides or prefer to walk around and take in the whimsical decor, you’ll quickly embrace the park’s joyful vibes — and you’ll be eager to make a return trip.

3. Live Music

Live music can always be heard at Dollywood, but it’s also present throughout Pigeon Forge. Dinner shows, in particular, are a delight, with local theaters allowing guests to enjoy hearty meals as they take in the area’s impressive musical and theatrical talent. Favorite dinner shows include the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, the Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show, Dolly Parton’s Stampede, and the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.

4. Shopping

Whether you’re on the hunt for a bargain or a special gift for a loved one, you’ll be pleased by the vast selection available at the stores and boutiques of Pigeon Forge. A shopper’s dream come true, this town is home to a wide range of small stores and large malls. The Island in Pigeon Forge is a top destination, and for good reason; it’s home not only to a variety of chic stores, but also a Ferris wheel and several of the region’s most beloved restaurants. You’ll also find plenty of excellent shopping opportunities at the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall, where you can score name-brand items at significantly reduced prices.

5. Outdoor Adventures

As the ultimate thrill-seeker, you prefer to experience Pigeon Forge at a fast pace or a high altitude. Adrenaline-based activities abound throughout the region, so you’ll have no trouble getting your heart racing. Ziplines are always a top option, as they allow you to take in gorgeous Smoky Mountain scenery from a new perspective. Stop by Smoky Mountains Ziplines or The Dome Ziplines for a true adventure.

6. Hearty Meals with Appalachian Flair

Name the culinary style and you’ll probably find an accommodating restaurant in or around Pigeon Forge. Still, there’s something special about the Southern and Appalachian-style meals served at several of the town’s top dining establishments. The Old Mill Restaurant is not to be missed; this iconic eatery is housed within a grist mill from the 1800s. Fried chicken, fried catfish, corn fritters…everything served there tastes amazing. Other Pigeon Forge restaurants worth checking out include the Local Goat and Mama’s Farmhouse.

7. Cute Spots For Grabbing Dessert

After you’ve eaten your fill of Southern or Appalachian cuisine, set aside some time to grab an ice cream cone. You’ll find sweet treats at several charming locations in and around Pigeon Forge. Mad Dog’s Creamery has long been a local favorite, in part because the shop serves both ice cream and mouthwatering funnel cake. The Old Mill Creamery delivers a classic ice cream parlor experience. If you’re on the hunt for something a bit different, grab an ice cream roll at Curl de la Crème.

8. Traditional Crafts

Everybody loves the rides and the music at Dollywood, but that’s only the beginning. The theme park also brings the traditional craftsmanship of Appalachia to life in its small shops, where you’ll find handcrafted leather and hand-blown glass. Not only are the works of local artisans regularly on display at Dollywood, they can be viewed at special events scheduled throughout the year. The Pigeon Forge Rotary Club Crafts Festival, for example, brings a variety of impressive works to Patriot Park, with the optional admission supporting local charities.

9. Unique Museums

To the outsider, Pigeon Forge might not seem like a museum lover’s go-to destination. In reality, however, this charming town is home to several intriguing museums worth checking out. These attractions combine education with hands-on fun to ensure a good time for guests of all ages. The Titanic Museum Attraction is arguably the most visually impressive; the vast replica portrays the world’s most tragically famous ship. In keeping with the region’s musical heritage, Pigeon Forge is also home to the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. Don’t forget to hit the Alcatraz East Crime Museum for an intriguing expedition.

Exterior View of the Titanic Pigeon Forge Museum

Photo: @southernpostage

10. Getting Around Is Easy — And Fun

Transportation often poses one of the greatest challenges for tourists, who dread dealing with taxis or finding parking. Pigeon Forge minimizes the burden with a variety of transit options designed to make it easier to get around. The local trolley is arguably the most appealing — and worth a ride even if your main intention is not to get from point A to point B.

Trolley routes traverse Main Street, the Wears Valley, and the Dollywood area. It’s even possible to catch a ride to nearby Gatlinburg. As the weather grows cold, the trolley is even more delightful, as it passes several gorgeous lighting displays during the Winterfest Tour of Lights.

No matter your idea of a good time, you’ll quickly find it in Pigeon Forge, where everything from ziplines to museums can keep you entertained. Set aside plenty of time to explore the world-class attractions and hidden gems of this beautiful mountain town. You’ll emerge with gorgeous photos and even better memories.