Pigeon Forge, TN

Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide: Family-Friendly Smoky Mountains Getaway

JC Phelps

Looking for a family-friendly trip? Look no further than Pigeon Forge, Tennessee! Pigeon Forge has a plethora of things to do, pleasing all types of travelers: those that want to relax, those that want adventure, and everything in between. The best part? Pigeon Forge is drivable, easy to navigate, boasts amazing food, and has unparalleled scenic beauty.

JCP Eats

Photo Credit: JCP Eats

Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide: Family-Friendly Smoky Mountains Getaway

Where To Dine

Local Goat: 2167 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Known for their craft food and drinks, Local Goat prides itself on sourcing their food locally and sustainably as much as possible. Above all else, I recommend the N’awlins Style BBQ Shrimp. Get the full pound and thank me later.


Photo Credit: JCP Eats

Old Mill Restaurant: 164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Old Mill of Pigeon Forge was built in 1830 and is a Pigeon Forge classic. Visitors can dine on classic family favorites such as country-fried steak, pot roast, country ham, and chicken pot pie. True mountain cooking!

Blue Moose: 2430 Teaster Ln # 108, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Pigeon Forge’s only family sports grill has been a best-kept secret by locals for years. Blue Moose serves a variety of casual American food including: angus beef burgers, award-winning jumbo chicken wings in 16 different flavors, hotdogs, salads, and ice cold beer.

Huck Finn’s Catfish Cabin: 3330 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

 Family-owned and operated, Huck Finn’s is known for their award-winning all-you-can-eat catfish, fried chicken, and vittles. Vittles include scratch-made hushpuppies, fresh-made-daily coleslaw, white beans with turkey ham, pickle spears, & sweet onion slices. Vittles come with every meal!

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen: 131 The Island Dr #8101, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen offers guests classic Deen Family recipes in a family-style, all-you-can-eat setting. Serving up lunch and dinner, the full-service, 300-seat dining area provides the perfect spot to enjoy a meal with family and friends while looking onto The Island Show Fountains. 


Photo Credit: JCP Eats

Mel’s Diner: 119 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Mel’s Diner is located in the heart of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Since 1993, this family-owned and operated Diner has offered guests a classic 50’s diner experience. Mel’s has all of the food that you can expect from 50’s style diner: hearty breakfast platters, juicy burgers, banana splits, and so much more.

Alamo Steakhouse: 3050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Alamo Steakhouse offers aged steak that they hand-cut and season in-house. They then grill it over an oak fire to sear in all the juices and natural flavors. If you’re looking for steak in Pigeon Forge, look no further!

Pottery House Cafe: 3341 Old Mill St, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Pottery House Cafe serves freshly made sandwiches, salads, and hearty entrees on dishes created by our potters right next door. You’ll love the original stone fireplace in the dining room!

Calhoun’s: 2532 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Known for their ribs, BBQ, and sides, Calhoun’s has been a family go-to for over 25 years. The Pigeon Forge location is conveniently located on the Parkway, steps away from many hotels, family activities, and entertainment venues.


Photo Credit: JCP Eats

What To Do

Dollywood: 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Considered one of the world’s premier theme parks, Dolly Parton’s Dollywood features rip-roaring rides, world-class food, and stellar entertainment — all surrounded by breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains.

The Island: 131 The Island Dr, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Island in Pigeon Forge boasts 23-acres of entertainment. With over 80 shops, restaurants and attractions, the Island combines all of their offerings in a safe environment for families and friends of all ages where you can eat, shop, play, and stay.

The Island is showcased by a 200-foot Observation Wheel and the Island Show Fountains, which are programmed to perform to light and music year-round. The Island is open 365 days a year with free parking and free admission, making it accessible for anyone visiting Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.


Photo Credit: JCP Eats

Titanic Museum: 2134 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

If you are a Titanic fan, look no further – the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is the world’s largest Titanic museum attraction! A two-story museum, the building itself is shaped like the RMS Titanic.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster: 867 Wears Valley Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Located just 1.4 miles off of the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster is the longest Alpine Coaster in the United States. The track is more than a mile long and you get to control how fast your ride is!

Pink Jeep Tours: 2611 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Since 1960, Pink Jeep Tours has guided millions of guests through America’s greatest destinations like the Grand Canyon, the red rocks of Sedona, Las Vegas, and Pigeon Forge. In intimate and personal Jeeps that seat only 7 people, Pink Jeep Tours offers expert local guides, 4×4 thrills, fun Smoky Mountains tours and more!

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show: 119 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show is an iconic fixture of Pigeon Forge. In the show, guests become part of the longest running feud in history and help the Hatfields and McCoys try to settle their differences mountain-style. Food includes fried chicken, pulled pork barbecue, smashed potatoes, creamy cole slaw, buttery corn on the cob, homemade rolls, creamy vegetable soup, and Granny’s special dessert!

WonderWorks: 100 Music Rd, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

WonderWorks, a science-focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71 mph hurricane-force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life-sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death-defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. Oh, and did I mention that the exterior appears to be upside down?

Accommodations/Where To Stay

Margaritaville Island Hotel: 131 The Island Dr Suite 5118, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

The Margaritaville Island Hotel brings the vacation state of mind to Tennessee, with high-end accommodations, inviting amenities, and island-inspired bars and restaurants. The hotel combines the laid-back, welcoming attitude of the islands with warm, genuine Southern Appalachian hospitality.


Photo Credit: JCP Eats

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort: 2525 DreamMore Way, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863

Nestled in the Smoky Mountains next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country water park, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa provides guests with a full-service, comfortable home-away-from-home experience that only Dolly Parton could create.

This beautiful resort has several unique experiences for families to spend quality time together. Families can enjoy a glass of sweet tea in a rocking chair on one of the many porches or swap stories on one of the beautiful garden benches. The resort’s lavish 20-acre property includes premiere amenities to help guests create their own special moments and memories, including a full-service spa, restaurant and indoor and outdoor pools.

Resort guests can take advantage of exclusive park privileges throughout their stay. Resort trolleys provide complimentary transportation to and from Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country. Guests with Dollywood tickets receive complimentary Dollywood TimeSaver Passes to shorten their ride wait times. Guests with Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country tickets also are granted early entry on Saturday mornings to a select ride or experience at the parks.

Cabin Rentals

Not looking to stay in a traditional hotel? A classic Pigeon Forge experience is renting a cabin! You can check out a wide array of cabin rentals here.

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JC Phelps is a Kentucky-based food + southern lifestyle writer.

Louisville, KY

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