There are so many fun things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids – you’ll never have a dull moment! The town is packed with rides, museums, tours, dinner shows, shopping, dining and more.
We spent a weekend in Pigeon Forge and couldn’t believe all of the attractions the city has to offer!
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Where is Pigeon Forge?
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a mountain town located in the foothills of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s an easy road trip for families, as two-thirds of the US population lives within driving distance of the park.
If you are driving, Pigeon Forge is about 3 hours east of Nashville, 4.5 hours north of Atlanta, 4.5 hours south of Cincinnati, and 7.5 hours southwest of Washington, DC.
Pigeon Forge has approximately 7,000 full-time residents, but there are an endless number of fun attractions for families.
Best Things to do in Pigeon Forge with Kids
When people think of Pigeon Forge attractions for kids, the famous Dollywood theme park comes to mind. But if a full day at a theme park isn’t your cup of tea, there are TONS of other fun, adventurous, and kid-friendly activities.
Here are some of our favorite fun things for kids in Pigeon Forge TN!
The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge should be your first stop. Parking is free at this entertainment center with shopping, dining, and family fun.
Take a ride on The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel for a stunning view of Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains beyond. Play games at Arcade City, ride The Flying Horse Carousel, or try some thrill rides.
When everyone has had their fill of attractions, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, like Dick’s Last Resort or Yee-Haw Brewing Company.
Alcatraz East Crime Museum
There are several attractions at The Island, including this crime museum which houses memorabilia from some of the world’s most notorious criminals.
The museum features crime through the ages, from torture instruments of the medieval times, to OJ Simpson’s white Ford Bronco.
Know that there is a lot of reading, so this activity might be better suited for older kids.. There are a few interactive experiences including The Heist, where kids attempt to make their way through a laser maze. My son enjoyed visiting the museum, but liked the hands-on activities the best.
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show and Adventure Park
One of the more unique activities in Pigeon Forge, your kids will love spending time at the Lumberjack Adventure Park!
After gearing up, families can try the ropes course, enjoy rolling logs over water, and even try axe throwing. The highlight of the park is The Flying Ox, a zip line roller coaster unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before!
Don’t miss the Lumberjack Feud Show, where professional lumberjacks compete in different events as the audience cheers them on. It’s the perfect day out in Pigeon Forge for families.
Ride an Alpine Coaster
If your family loves alpine coasters, you’re in luck, as there are three different ones in Pigeon Forge. There’s the Coaster at Goats on the Roof, Rocky Top Mountain Coaster, and Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster. Try them all and choose your favorite!
Crave Mini Golf
My kids always request a stop at the local mini golf course on vacation. Crave Mini Golf is right on the Parkway (the main street in downtown Pigeon Forge), and offers indoor and rooftop golf courses, all decked out in a Candyland theme.
Each hole has a spinner with different twists to the hole, such as standing on one foot while putting or closing your eyes when you swing. It takes the game to a new level of fun, and adults and kids alike will love it.
Pink Jeep Tour
For a unique tour of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, head out on a Pink Jeep. There are four different adventure tours to book, including the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and the Newfound Gap.
We took an amazing tour of Newfound Gap with Jeanie, who wowed us with her life stories and knowledge of the area.
Next, we headed into the park, where we kept an eye out for bears, hiked a couple of different trails looking for waterfalls, and eventually made our way to Newfound Gap.
Located on the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina, this spot sits around 5,000 feet in elevation and is definitely cooler than Pigeon Forge.
To wrap up our Great Smoky Mountains tour, Jeanie took us off-roading just outside the park. After shifting the car to 4 wheel drive, she maneuvered the Jeep like a champ on steep inclines while we flew around the back seat. This is one tour families will be talking about for years to come!
Want to explore the park on foot? Don’t miss these day hikes in the Smoky Mountains!
Beyond the Lens!
One of the biggest surprises in Pigeon Forge is Beyond the Lens! Family Fun. We didn’t know what to expect, but loved all of the exhibits.
The entrance is a life-size kaleidoscope followed by a Hollywood red carpet (complete with paparazzi)!
There’s a video game room with the evolution of gaming systems, including a giant Pac-Man and a VR game, Beat Saber, where you try to keep the beat to the song of your choice.
Other fun exhibits included the Big Foot experience, the Alien egg pit, and an escape room. There are photo opportunities everywhere, both with exhibits and VR animals.
If you’re looking for things to do in Pigeon Forge for kids, this is one spot you shouldn’t miss!
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show
A Pigeon Forge dinner show is a must-do, and there are an endless number to choose from. We highly recommend the Pirates Voyage Dinner and Adventure Show.
Inside is a giant pirate ship, and guests sit on either side, rooting for the Sapphire or Crimson pirate teams. Pirates Calico Jack and Blackbeard play major roles in this fun and mostly friendly competition amongst pirates.
Everyone will love the pirates, mermaids, live animals, and amazing acrobatics by the cast. During the show, wait staff will expertly serve a four course meal, so everyone leaves with full bellies.
Be sure to add this to your Pigeon Forge itinerary!
Places to Eat in Pigeon Forge with Kids
Old Mill Restaurant is actually built on the site of a former grist mill built in the 1830s. The entire area has restaurants, candy shops, and a general store. Come to the Old Mill with an empty stomach, because meals are ginormous.
We tried the fried chicken platter and the turkey dinner. Both were excellent and came with mashed potatoes, green beans, corn fritters, soup, and melt in your mouth biscuits. See, I told you it was a lot of food!
Local Goat features menu items that are sourced from local farms. It bills itself as a “New American restaurant with a scratch-made kitchen”, and it does not disappoint.
Try their fried green tomatoes or deep fried deviled eggs with bacon jam to start. We recommend ordering one of their gourmet burgers, Pimiento Cheese Cheeseburger or the TN Whiskey Glazed Burger. Both are mouth watering!
ROAD TRIPPING TO PIGEON FORGE? DON’T MISS OUR FAVORITE ROAD TRIP ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS!
Where to Stay in Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge lodging comes in all shapes and sizes, from mom and pop bed and breakfasts to vacation rental condos and mountain cabins. Whatever you are looking for in a family vacation to Pigeon Forge, you are sure to find it!
There are so many hotels, condos, and rentals in Pigeon Forge, it can be hard to choose the perfect one. We highly recommend RiverStone Resort and Spa. This condo property offers rentals of all sizes.
Our condo had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, with a view over the neighboring golf course. There was also a full-sized kitchen, dining table, living room, and balcony.
This condo in Pigeon Forge was the perfect place to come back to after a long day out. They had excellent WiFi, so my son could complete his virtual schooling at the end of the day.
RiverStone Resort sits away from the Pigeon Forge crowds, but it’s close to all the action. It never took us longer than 10 minutes to get anywhere we needed to go. It occupies an awesome position overlooking the Little Pigeon River.
Some of the resort amenities include a spa (which I really wanted to try, but couldn’t find the time), a lazy river, indoor pool, awesome playground, and a giant kids bounce pillow. We promise your kids will never be bored on this property.
Pigeon Forge combines the scenic beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains with an endless number of fun and unique family-friendly attractions. We can’t wait to return next year with the rest of our family.
Book Your Flights
You can find discounted fares using sites like Momondo or Skyscanner. If you want to keep an eye on discount fares, we suggest signing up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, a daily newsletter with flight sales around the world.
If you travel frequently, consider investing in a Priority Pass for airport lounge access. It’s nice to have a space where you can relax before your flight.
Book Your Accommodation
We regularly use Hotels.com and Expedia.com to find lodging when we travel. It’s a great way to compare vacation rentals, hotels, and resorts.
If your family knows they want to stay in a vacation rental, we recommend looking at VRBO and Plum Guide.
Book Your Transportation
For rental car agencies, try Rentalcars.com. We tend to use Hertz simply for the quality of service.
Book Your Tours and Travel Photos
We regularly used companies like Viator and GetYourGuide to book tours when we travel. Both have great communication and a large variety of activities that work for all ages.
If you’re visiting a city with multiple attractions, be sure to check out a discount pass, such as CityPASS or Go City. Tiqets is another place to purchase tickets for attractions.
Context Travel is another option and they offer more educational based activities. The former teacher in me loves their tours.
One of our favorite things to do annually is take photos with Flytographer. They have photographers around the world and we’ve used them on four separate occasions. This is our favorite travel souvenir.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
With the state of travel these days, it’s important to have some type of travel insurance to cover any unforeseen accidents, illnesses, threat or cancellations. We always travel with insurance and would recommend SquareMouth, Travelex, or Medjet as good options. And if you want to compare different insurance options, use Travel Insurance Master to find the best policy for your group.