Though there are excellent destinations Tennessee, we think that East Tennessee has the most to offer by far.
Pigeon Forge was once a sleepy mountain town, but thanks to its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has become a top destination for families!
With fun attractions, beautiful scenery, historic sights, and activities for just about anyone, there's no wonder why over 10 million vacationers chose the Great Smoky Mountains last year. As an added perk, the Smokies are no further than a few hours drive from most of Southeastern US.
Here are 5 reasons that Pigeon Forge is a perfect place for your family's Tennessee getaway!
1. Fun Attractions For Kids
First and foremost, the Smoky Mountains area is a perfect getaway spot for families with children.
Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN is home to fun roller-coasters, rides for all ages, character experiences, and some of the nicest park staff you'll find anywhere. As the unique creation of country star Dolly Parton, this unique theme park celebrates the music, food, and unique culture of the Smoky Mountains. Kids love the old-school fair rides of the Country Fair and the Firehouse Funyard. If you love water rides, Dollywood Splash Country is perfect for beating the summer heat.
In nearby Gatlinburg, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies earns high marks from visiting families. Recognized as the highest rated Aquarium on trip advisor, this interactive aquarium delivers cute penguins, graceful jellyfish, and fierce sharks. Some highlights include the Shark Tunnel and the Stingray Bay.
Pigeon Forge is also home to a huge variety of activities like:
- Go Karts
- Mini Golf
- Horseback Riding
- Helicopter Tours
- ATV Tours
- Indoor Sky Diving
For a relaxing stroll, visit the Bavarian-styled ski village located just outside of the national park. In Pigeon Forge, you're family may love a trip to The Island, an entertainment complex complete with a 200 FT tall gondola ride and a million-dollar light and fountain show.
2. Fascinating Local History
Every family vacation ought to include some educational enrichment! Luckily, this part of Tennessee has no shortage of historic treasure.
Visiting old cabins, homesteads, and churches from Tennessee's frontier period are the perfect way to explore the past in a hands-on way.
The South's only national park is a time capsule that keeps our rapidly changing modern world from impacting this remote part of the mountains. The result? You can explore an area virtually untouched by time.
Here are some areas you'll find historic structures inside the national park:
- Cades Cove
- The Roaring Fork Motor Trail
On nearly every trail in the park, you can find evidence of old cabins, railroad beds, logging operations, and remnants of CCC work-camps that helped build the national park.
There are also historic treasures outside of the national park like the Historic Old Mill in Pigeon Forge and the Wheatlands Plantation in nearby Sevierville.
If you aren't interested in local history, there are several attractions dedicated to other fascinating topics. The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge serves as the largest permanent collection of artifacts from this massive shipwreck. The Tennessee aviation Museum is a must-see for anyone who is passionate about airplanes and air force history.
3. A Nature Lover's Paradise
With over 800 square miles of preserved land, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to one of the largest forests in the Eastern United States. There are more miles of hiking trails in the Smokies than in any other part of Tennessee.
If you're trying to instill a love of nature in your children, the Smokies are the perfect place to do it. Here's a video on Mt. LeConte that gives you a taste of what you can see in the Smokies:
From wildflowers to changing fall foliage to wildlife like deer, bear, turkey, and flying squirrels – there's good reason that the national park is recognized as an International Biosphere Reserve. You can also explore dozens of large waterfalls, scenic overlooks, and sections of old growth forest.
This national park is home to some of the most incredible hikes in the Southeast such as:
- Alum Cave Trail
- Andrews Bald
- Chimney Tops
The Appalachian Trail, America's most famous footpath, intersects the national park on its highest mountain ridge. Take a hike on this trail to see some of the most incredible views in the south.
4. Fantastic Local Events
There's always something happening in this action-packed part of Tennessee.
No matter what season you plan on visiting the Smoky Mountains, you can take part in big events and festivals.
- Dolly's Homecoming Parade
- Pigeon Forge Rod Runs and Car Shows
- The Smoky Mountain Trout Tournament
- Country Music Shows at Country Tonite Theater
During the holidays, the streets of Pigeon Forge are adorned with hundreds of beautiful Christmas light displays. Major holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years feature tons of unique activities to enjoy. This patriotic part of the country is also famous for its 4th of July celebrations, veterans day parades, and its Celebrate Freedom month.
5. Unique Accommodations
We all know it: where you stay can make or break a family vacation.
Fortunately, East Tennessee is home to some of the best vacation cabins in the entire country.
Luxury vacation cabins, chalets, and vacation homes are perfect for experiencing this incredible part of Tennessee. With scenic views, secluded forested locations, and premium amenities, it's no wonder that cabins are the most popular lodging option in the Smokies.
While there are also hotels and condos in Pigeon Forge, these accommodations don’t allow guests to experience the beauty of Tennessee's mountains. Better yet, cabins allow for your whole family to stay together and enjoy great amenities like hot tubs, game rooms, and theater rooms!
So book one of our spacious family cabin rentals in Pigeon Forge, TN and the Smokies to start planning an unforgettable getaway in Tennessee!
Written by Adam Shafer