Our favorite things to do in Pigeon Forge


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Dollywood Theme Park​

Dollywood Wild Eagle
Dollywood Wild Eagle. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Dollywood is our top choice for people visiting the area for the first time.

From thrilling rides to award-winning shows, Dollywood is one of the best things for the entire family, and we renew our season passes each year.

Dollywood is an Appalachian-themed theme park with roller coasters, thrill rides, a steam train, live music, and much more.

Dollywood daredevil falls
Dollywood Daredevil Falls. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com

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There are also plenty of rides for younger kids, good Southern food, and a bald eagle habitat.

You could spend several days (or a very long day) doing all the rides at Dollywood.

To cool off, Dollywood also has a water park next door: Dollywood Splash Country

dollywood at spring
Dollywood in Spring. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Depending on what time of year you’re visiting, keep in mind that after Christmas break, Dollywood does close until reopening for spring break.

Smoky Mountain Alpine Coasters​

Alpine Coaster at Skyland Ranch. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Smoky Mountain Alpine Coasters are a unique experience, providing an adrenaline-filled ride through mountain views. And with more built each year, there’s plenty in the Pigeon Forge area to try!

The coasters are pulled up to the top of the hill like roller coasters, and then you coast back down, controlling the speed.

They’re equipped with an easy braking system that allows you to control the speed. Just let go, and they’ll slow down.

What is the negative of these coasters? At around $18 per person per ride, the price can add up for a pretty short ride.

One of ours favorite is Rocky Top Mountain Coaster, just outside Dollywood. It’s a longer ride with several hills compared to one hill at many of the others.

SkyLand Ranch​

SkyLand Ranch in Pigeon Forge. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Skyland Ranch is one of the best new attractions in Pigeon Forge in the last few years.

It combines several rides with a zoo featuring llamas, alpacas, and mini cows, among others. It’s not huge, so it’s perfect for a half-day visit.

Tubing (snow & non snow)​

tubing hill at rowdy bear
Tubing at Rowdy Bear. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Rowdy Bear Adventure Park has year-round tubing. During the winter, the slides turn into snow lanes.

But during the rest of the year, you slide down a plastic slide sprayed with water. A conveyor belt pulls you and your tube back to the top.

They’ve made some changes since we started going there, including covering the slides.

roller coaster with laser gun at rowdy bear ridge
Laser coaster at Rowdy Bear Ridge. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Rowdy Bear also has a laser coaster, a roller coaster with laser guns that you shoot at targets. The coaster isn’t super fast, so it’s suitable for younger kids.

Pigeon Forge Snow offers indoor snow tubing year-round for actual snow tubing. Ober Gatlinburg has outdoor snow tubing in the winter.

Catch a Dinner Theater Show​

Hatfields and McCoys dinner show. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Dinner shows are a great rainy or cold day activity.

There are three main shows, all very good.

stampede dinner show
Dolly’s Stampede show. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
For a delicious meal and unforgettable entertainment, Pigeon Forge offers a trio of fantastic dinner shows that are fun for the whole family:

  • Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show: Feast like a buccaneer during a thrilling show with acrobats, sword fights, and live animals.
  • Dolly Parton’s Stampede: This show has horse stunts, special effects, and a delicious four-course meal.
  • Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud: Join in the long-standing family rivalry as you cheer for your chosen clan – the Hatfields or the McCoys – as they compete in funny games.
Dolly Parton’s Stampede, Pirates Voyage, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

We recommend watching videos of each on YouTube and picking one based on your favorite theme.

Warning: We did find the prices higher than we expected the first time we went to buy tickets.


Nascar Speedpark. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
There’s no shortage of Go-Kart tracks in Pigeon Forge, and one of the best is the NASCAR speedpark.

Our favorite part about the NASCAR speedpark is you pay for a day and have unlimited drives.

It does get busy, though, especially on the highest-speed track, which has NASCAR-shaped go-karts.

Some tracks let younger kids have a drive:

nascar speedpark
Nascar Speedpark. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Book online to save money and skip the long line when you arrive.

Other options include the Track and Speedzone Fun Park, which includes other rides and bumper boats. However, most go-kart tracks are generally pay-as-you-go per ride, so it gets expensive quickly.

The Old Mill Square

old mill in pigeon forge
Old Mill in Pigeon Forge. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Old Mill Square’s main attraction is the historic Old Mill Restaurant (a great place for breakfast), where the working waterwheel provides a charming backdrop.

Afterward, browse the local shops like the Candy Kitchen or watch a blacksmith demonstration.

old mill
Old Mill shops. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com

Parrot Mountain​

entrance to parrot mountain
Entrance to Parrot Mountain. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
Parrot Mountain and Gardens is a unique Pigeon Forge attraction featuring hundreds of tropical, exotic birds, most not in cages.

We lived here long before visiting Parrot Mountain, mostly because we knew little about it.

Now that we’ve been, we highly recommend it!

colorful bird at parrot mountain
A colorful resident bird of Parrot Mountain. Photo by Ashley @ TheSmokyMountains.com
There are lots of birds here that you can feed and hold on your arm, even large birds like in the picture above.

If you don’t have time for a trip to Parrott Mountain, they also have a retail shop at The Island shopping center. Our kids have gotten pictures taken there, each holding 2-3 birds simultaneously.

Petting Zoos​

deer at smoky mountain deer farm

Smoky Mountain Deer Farm and Horseback Riding is about 15 minutes outside of town and has exotic animals, including camels, zebras, goats, and reindeer.

They also offer horseback riding, which our kids enjoy. It’s a mostly shaded ride through a wooded area, making it a good summer activity.

Titanic Museum​


The Titanic Museum attraction is a replica of the ill-fated ocean liner. Inside, explore the many exhibits and artifacts from the ship, such as the Grand Staircase, the Bridge, and the Captain’s Quarters.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum​


The Alcatraz East Crime Museum, located next to The Island shopping area, offers a unique look into the history of crime, justice, and punishment in America.

Explore five different galleries that feature different aspects of crime, from the history of law enforcement to the technology used in crime-solving.

The Mountain Monster​

One of the most thrilling rides around is The Mountain Monster. This ride is perfect for older kids (we haven’t braved it yet).

Ascend to the top of the 175-foot-tall, 65-mph swing ride before being dropped back down.

Shop at The Island​


The Island is a newer shopping and attraction area in central Pigeon Forge.

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is the main attraction, a 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel. There are plenty of other things to do, too.

One of our kids’ favorites is the 7D Dark Adventure, a stationary ride with 3D glasses where you shoot laser guns in several scenarios. Look for tickets on Groupon to save some money for this attraction.


You can also buy a pass to ride smaller rides, though we found the unlimited ride pass, at $30, expensive for what was offered.

Dollywood is a better option if you’re looking for rides.

Two on-site hotels, including the Margaritaville Resort, have rooms above some shops.