What to Do, Where to Stay in Pigeon Forge TN

pigeon forge great smoky park
Pigeon Forge Tennessee’s Top Attractions for Families

By Alyssa Pirrello

Swinging at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.
Swinging at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.


Since its opening in 1961 as Rebel Railroad, Dollywood has been a famous amusement park in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.

In 1986 it was bought by country legend Dolly Parton and transformed the region in many ways for the better.

The amusement park pays homage to the Appalachian country lifestyle and the history of Tennessee with various areas such as The Country Fair, Owen’s Farm, and Rivertown Junction.

Swinging at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.
Swinging at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge Tennessee.

Dollywood is the perfect place to bring a family since there are attractions for guests of all ages. In March of 2014, the park will be opening FireChaser Express, a roller coaster with a height requirement of only 3’3”, which will allow families with younger children to enjoy a roller coaster all together.

Trish McGee, the Public Relations Manager at Dollywood, said “our guests love that Dollywood provides a setting that they can enjoy together, as a family, versus everyone tackling the park in a different direction.

From shows to rides to attractions, families enjoy being together… we offer so much variety. Whether you’re two or 82, there’s something to enjoy.”


WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge TN.

Upon seeing Wonderworks, travelers immediately know it is not the average adventure attraction from its appearance and its backstory. Wonderworks was designed as a top-secret research laboratory originally built in the Bermuda Triangle that ended up upside-down in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee due to a giant tornado.

When visitors enter through the doors of WonderWorks, it feels as if they are walking on the ceiling, for when they look up they will see the floor, stairs, furniture, and more items from the laboratory.

Wonderworks’ backstory explains why it has many interactive scientific exhibits, from hurricane and earthquake simulators to space exploration activities. Additionally, Wonderworks has a fifty-foot tall indoor ropes challenge course, laser tag, and the number one magic show in the Smoky Mountains.

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The Island.

In the heart of the Smokies sits The Island, a new entertainment complex full of shopping, restaurants, shows, and even a few rides. The Island has food options the whole family can enjoy like the Timberwood Grill and Island Yogurt, and they will also be opening a Margaritaville in the near future.

The Island is famous for its two hundred-foot-tall Ferris Wheel, The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. The island also has a carousel for ride lovers who are afraid of heights, and a huge, state-of-the-art arcade for those who don’t enjoy rides at all.

Wcades-cove national-park-service
Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cades Cove

A trip to Pigeon Forge wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With its beautiful scenery, abundant wildlife, and rich history, it’s no surprise that Cades Cove is the most popular destination within the National Park. Visitors may spot white-tailed deer, raccoons, turkeys, or even a black bear while visiting Cades Cove.

More than nine million visitors a year drive through this beautiful national park, which makes it one of the most attended parks along with Yellowstone National Park out west.

There is also a part of the park where you can visit an old-fashioned water-powered mill that grinds corn into cornmeal. And there are preserved houses that show how people lived back in the olden days.

One thing that makes Cades Cove a great place to visit in the Smokies is that it doesn’t only have nature to offer, it also has a history. While visiting, families can explore buildings in Cades Cove and learn what Appalachian pioneer life was like in the 1800s. From cabins and barns to churches and mills, numerous buildings have been preserved in Cades Cove to allow travelers to get a glimpse of the past.

Top Places to Stay in Pigeon Forge Tennessee

The Inn at Christmas Place.

The Inn at Christmas Place

The Inn at Christmas Place is all you could want in a hotel and more. Simple conveniences like free high-speed Wi-Fi make it easy for families to update their itinerary during the trip, and the option for two and three-bedroom suites may be perfect for larger families that need more room.

The hotel has two pools: one indoor and one outdoor. The indoor pool is open 24 hours a day, so guests can swim whenever they want to. The outdoor pool is only open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. from May to September, but it has a 95-foot waterslide that the kids are sure to love. The Inn at Christmas Place.

Photo Courtesy of the Music Road Inn
Photo Courtesy of the Music Road Inn

Music Road Inn

If your family is looking to spend time at the Titanic Museum, WonderWorks, or Dollywood during one of its annual events, you should consider staying at the Music Road Inn. This Inn offers numerous special packages with these three locations such as free tickets or 10% off of your stay at the hotel.

Even if you are not interested in purchasing a special package, the hotel is still great for any family that loves the water. During the summer, the Music Road Inn has an outdoor water park including a 60-foot waterslide, a lazy river, and a kiddy pool with fountains and sprinklers. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy themselves at a poolside cabana or at the 24-hour spa. Click here for prices and more information about Music Road Inn.

Oak Tree Lodge in Sevierville

The Oak Tree Lodge in Sevierville.

For a more affordable hotel option, look no further than the Oak Tree Lodge in Sevierville. With each room reservation, guests can choose one free ticket to an area attraction.

Additionally, certain attractions offer to buy one get one free ticket deals to guests at the Oak Tree Lodge. To find out which attractions will be offering to buy one get one free deal during your vacation, contact the Oak Tree Lodge.

Sevierville is near Pigeon Forge and is famous at Dolly Parton’s hometown.

The Oak Tree Lodge features both an indoor and outdoor pool for guests to enjoy. The outdoor pool has a waterslide and mini waterpark next to it with sprinklers and fountains for children who are not able to swim yet. Oak Tree Lodge in Sevierville.

Alyssa Pirrello


Alyssa Pirrello is a former intern and Travel Writer for GoNOMAD.com who now lives in Tennessee.

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