On the hunt for the perfect destination for your next family adventure? Choosing a location can prove surprisingly tricky. Not only do you need to consider your budget and timeline, but you’ll also need to select a place with accommodations and attractions that appeal to both kids and adults.
All this is a tall order, but Pigeon Forge manages to exceed all expectations for the following reasons:
Restaurants for Both Picky and Adventurous Eaters
Fine dining is possible with kids, but not always enjoyable. If you limit yourself to kid-friendly restaurants, however, you’ll miss out on a lot of enticing flavors. Hence, the appeal of Pigeon Forge, where you’ll find a variety of restaurants that appeal to culinary enthusiasts of all ages. The right restaurant will accommodate your entire family while still offering unique dishes you’ll be excited to try.
The best options in Pigeon Forge include:
- The Old Mill. This iconic destination boasts toy and candy stores — and these alone will make most kids happy. When you sit down for a meal, however, you’ll also appreciate the children’s menu, which includes not only such essentials as grilled cheese and chicken tenders, but also pot roast, dumplings, and other southern favorites.
- Sawyer’s Farmhouse Restaurant. Kitschy in the best possible way, this restaurant offers a wide array of options on its kid-oriented breakfast menu, including biscuits and gravy, chocolate chip pancakes, and even Fruit Loops for pickiest eaters.
- Mel’s Diner. Budget is often a chief concern for families visiting Pigeon Forge. At Mel’s, it’s possible to feed a lot of people on a budget without compromising on meal quality. The kid’s menu is stocked with mac & cheese, hot dogs, and more.
- Frizzle Chicken Farmhouse Cafe. A must-visit for anyone with kids, this restaurant is known for its huge collection of animatronic chickens. Stop by for breakfast, when the restaurant serves special cakes that look like cute bears.
- Wood Grill Buffet. Not all buffets offer options specifically targeted to kids, but Wood Grill has selections to please visitors of all ages. Adventurous eaters will enjoy the wide variety of options but everybody will adore the deluxe dessert bar.
Dollywood Adventures for Young And Old
From thrill seekers to bluegrass music lovers, Pigeon Forge’s famous theme park offers something for everyone. Parents, in particular, love the wide range of activities available at Dollywood, which possesses a magical feeling that can only be experienced in person. Whether you plan on visiting with toddlers or teenagers, you’ll be amazed by how quickly your kids become entranced with this picture-perfect setting.
On a hot day, Dollywood’s Splash Country is also worth visiting, as it evokes the excitement Dolly Parton experienced when she splashed around the rivers of the Smokies as a child.
The appeal of Dollywood is obvious, but it’s by no means the only Pigeon Forge location that attracts adventure lovers. Pigeon Forge is also home to the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, which holds the distinction of being the longest mountain coaster in the nation.
If your kids can handle heights, they’ll also enjoy soaring through the air with Smoky Mountain Ziplines. Others may prefer ATV and UTV rentals, which are available through Bluff Mountain Adventures. The rides at The Island are less exciting but still worth checking out — especially the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.
Walking Paths That Kids — And Strollers — Can Handle
Theme parks and alpine coasters may be a child’s dream come true, but some of Pigeon Forge’s greatest thrills are also the most serene: hiking on the best trails in the Smoky Mountains.
Many parents avoid hiking with kids because they assume it’s more work than it’s worth. That’s not necessarily the case in Pigeon Forge, however, as several noteworthy trails combine easy access with gorgeous views. Some of them can be traversed with strollers, while other are preferable for hiking with older children and teens.
Top options include:
- Patriot Park. Located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, Patriot Park includes a small walking trail. Combine with a picnic at the pavilion for an enjoyably casual outing.
- Wear Farm City Park. Another local destination with a short walking trail, Wear Farm City Park also has play equipment to help kids use up their excess energy.
- Riverwalk Trail. Situated on the Pigeon River’s east bank, this leisurely path includes plenty of benches, as well as lighting to allow for pleasant evening strolls.
- Twin Creeks Trail. You’ll need to venture outside of Pigeon Forge into neighboring Gatlinburg to access this trail, but it’s worth the brief drive. Kids will love crossing creeks and checking out the ruins near the path.
Entertaining Dinner Shows
After a long day of hiking, you’ll have worked up an appetite — and earned a few hours of relaxation and entertainment. Why not make family memories at one of Pigeon Forge’s many dinner theaters?
These unique attractions serve hearty meals with plenty of kid-friendly entrees and sides. The shows are even better than the food, with just enough corny humor to keep kids happy and plenty to also get adults chuckling. Families with kids tend to gravitate towards the famed Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show, but Dolly Parton’s Stampede and the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show are also worth checking out.
While a car or SUV will quickly get you from point A to point B, the local trolley makes getting around a lot more fun. As the country’s second-largest rural transit system, this is a top option for escaping traffic while taking in the sights and sounds of Pigeon Forge.
The trolley’s six main routes allow you and your family to access a variety of the area’s kid-friendly destinations on your itinerary. Parents with young children will be relieved to learn that strollers are perfectly acceptable on the trolley. Why fuss with getting your baby or toddler in and out of the car when you can rely on these convenient options?
From dining to rides and even transportation, every aspect of the Pigeon Forge experience can be a delight when you visit with kids. You’ll be surprised to discover that traveling with youngsters can be both exhilarating and rejuvenating.