More than 11 million people flocked to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last year, making it one of the most visited parks in America. Many visitors use the nearby Pigeon Forge, located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, just 9.5 miles from National Park entrance, as a base from which to launch their Great Smoky Mountains explorations. With a population just shy of 6,000, this Tennessee town may be small, but it packs in big family fun. Pigeon Forge offers an array of accommodations, from cabin rentals to hotels for all budgets, a diverse selection of restaurants, and first class entertainment.
Summer Family Fun in Pigeon Forge
- From historic steam locomotives to hair-raising roller coasters, Dollywood, voted one of the world’s best theme parks, offers fun for everyone. Owned by country music legend & philanthropist Dolly Parton, this 150-acre theme park successfully combines rides like the Barnstormer, Wild Eagle & Lightning Rod- the worlds’ fastest wooden roller coaster, with live Southern gospel & bluegrass mountain music, mouthwatering Appalachian cuisine, and a whole lot of Southern Appalachian hospitality to make it a visit to remember.
- Dollywood is located at 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd. Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Dollywood’s Splash Country
- Just in case that summer heat gets to you, you can cool off at Dollywood’s sister water park: Dollywood’s Splash Country, voted one of the top ten water parks in America. Tube a lazy river, whitewater raft with your family, catch the waves in the 25,000 square foot wave pool, ride the River Rush- Tennessee’s’ first and only water coaster, and race your friends down the newest attraction: the Tailspin Racer at this 35-acre water park.
- Dollywood’s Splash Country is located adjacent to the Dollywood theme park
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster
- With over a mile of gleaming steel track, this gravity-propelled roller coaster sends you spiraling down the mountainside at speeds up to 27 miles per hour for some incredible views and thrills. At the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster, you control your sled speed on this longest downhill ride in America.
- The Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is located at 867 Wears Valley Road, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863.
Outdoor Gravity Park
- You don’t have to be Sir Issac Newton to appreciate the power of gravity. Anyone can test the concept at the Outdoor Gravity Park. Hop inside a plastic ball and roll down one of their 3 different tracks- Speed Demon, Extreme Zig Zag or the FUNnel for some real summer fun. Worried about tumbling head over heels? The ball in a ball OGO technology allows a less bumpy ride and the addition of water helps you keep your bearings as well, following the pull of you guessed it- gravity! Bring a swimsuit and try out Zorbing for yourself.
- Outdoor Gravity Park is located at 203 Sugar Hollow Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The Island Ropes Course
- The Island is a huge entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge. You can spot it by the huge Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, an observation wheel- much like the London Eye, only with pristine mountain and valley views. But it’s the call of the exciting aerial obstacle courses at The Island Ropes Course that beckons adventurous families. The three-story Sky Trail Explorer Course offers 30 challenging elements, 2 zip lines, and a simulated free-fall. Younger kids (under 48 inches), can try their skills at the lower-to-their-level Sky Tykes Course.
- The Island Ropes Course is located on The Island at 131 The Island Drive, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
The Escape Game
- You and your family can pit your wits against the clock at The Island’s Escape Room attraction: The Escape Game. Choose your own adventure from a prison break to an art heist, stop international terrorists, find gold during the gold rush before the bad guys catch you, or try all of them!
- The Escape Game is located at 131 Island Drive, Suite 9139, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Adventure Raceway Go-Karts
- Sometimes oldies are goodies- like Adventure Raceway. Open since 1985, the wooden elevated go-kart track takes you up a 3 story spiral to a top “hump” before making a spiral descent. At $6 a ride (plus tax), it makes for an adventure that the whole family can enjoy.
- Adventure Raceway is located at 2945 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Dollywood Stampede Dinner Show
- The fun doesn’t have to stop during dinner. Dine on a 4-course dinner while watching horse riding stunts, live country music and a red, white, and blue spectacular finish. The Dollywood Stampede Dinner Show provides family-friendly entertainment that everyone can enjoy. But be forewarned- there is no silverware- you drink the soup from a cup and everything else you will eat with your fingers. So you may need to sneak in a plastic spoon and fork for anyone who may balk at the idea- but most kids & adults don’t mind at all! Plan to get there 50 minutes early to enjoy the pre-show live music entertainment in the Dixie Belle Saloon.
- The Dollywood Stampede Dinner Show is located at 3849 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
In case you need a good reason to explore the nature trails, waterfalls and streams of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park- we came up with 10 good ones. But while you are hiking, before you are tempted to take a cool drink from that mountain stream, you may want to read: Is this Water Safe to Drink?
Pigeon Forge Family Fun Contest News
The folks at Pigeon Forge tourism board wholeheartedly believe in family fun and to prove it, this summer they are giving away a Family Adventure Pack (it includes 4 Dollywood tickets- woohoo!). To learn more and enter to win their family adventure giveaway, head over to their My Pigeon Forge website. Their contest ends June 30th, 2017, so hurry!