With school out for summer, we wanted to get out of the house for a few days for a little road trip. I asked the kids where they wanted to go and they both agreed that Pigeon Forge would be a lot of fun. We’ve been there several times before, yet there are still so many attractions that we haven’t done yet. Here’s how we kicked off our summer of adventure in Pigeon Forge, TN.
We want to say thank you to our friends at My Pigeon Forge for providing a VIP Pass so that we could experience so many awesome attractions during our visit. They’re a fabulous resource to help you plan your trip so you can maximize your time, save money, and learn about the latest attractions.
Where is Pigeon Forge located?
Pigeon Forge, TN, is located about 3 hours east of Nashville, close to the state border with North Carolina. It is just a couple of miles away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which makes it the perfect spot to have fun in the city, then explore the natural beauty of our National Parks.
If you’re traveling to Pigeon Forge, you can fly to Nashville and take the scenic drive, or book your ticket to Knoxville to be much closer. McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville (TYS) is only 34 miles away from Pigeon Forge.
Summertime fun in Pigeon Forge
Lil Black Bear Cafe
Before we started our first day in Pigeon Forge, we needed some morning fuel. We stopped by Lil Black Bear Cafe for some of the biggest pancakes that you’ll ever see.
Timmy ordered the Reese’s Pancakes that were covered in gooey chocolate syrup, while I shared a double-stack of original pancakes with Scarlett. The pancakes were so big that we couldn’t eat them all.
Rocky Top Mountain Coaster
One of our favorite things to do in Pigeon Forge is to ride the mountain coasters. We love the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster because it is the longest mountain coaster in East Tennessee and it offers several drops. And it’s so fun when the speaker announces, “hurry, the bears are coming!”
Tickets to ride are $18 for adults, $14 for youths (ages 7 to 12), and $5 for children 3 to 6 years. Plus, you can get your second ride for $9 or less if you want to go again. You can buy your tickets online, but if you want to use a coupon, you should buy them in person. Look for local coupon books at the Visitor Center, select restaurants, and grocery stores. I found some that offered $3 off your tickets.
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Crave Golf Club
We visited Crave last summer and golfed on the roof at night. During this visit, it was too hot to be outside, so we were glad that they have an indoor putt-putt golf course too!
Each hole is decorated with a candy theme, so the kids love it. Plus, there are spinning wheels at the beginning of each hole so you can do something fun. Depending on where the spinner lands, you may have to put backward, stand on one leg, or even putt with your eyes closed. The kids thought it was so funny when I had to spin around 3 times until I got dizzy.
After you’re done, stop by the candy shop. There’s almost every type of candy that you can imagine. Load it all up in your bag and then bring it to the cashier for them to weigh it.
Each round of mini-golf is $15 for adults and $10 for children (ages 3 to 11) and only $3 more if you want to golf all 36 holes! You can buy your tickets online or in person.
Ok, this was one of the most intense rides I’ve ever been on. And, I’m probably a bad parent for taking my 6 and 10-year-old kids on this ride. But, we all had a blast from the major adrenaline rush!
Mountain Monster is off the main road, so it doesn’t get the love it deserves. I think many tourists don’t even know that it exists. Although you can see its tower from the main road and other attractions, you don’t really know what it is until you stop by.
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This attraction is actually three rides in one. Monster Launch slingshots you 170 feet straight up in the air like a rubber band. Then, Monster Dive is a huge swing that drops you from the top of the 200-foot tower and swings you out over the parking lot at up to 65 miles per hour! Last, as you’re coming down from the 200-foot tower, you’ll drop like a rock thrown into the ocean at up to 52 miles per hour with Monster Fall.
Each one of these rides is awesome just by itself. The fact that you can do all three at once is totally intense! You can buy tickets for each attraction individually or get all three at a discount. Monster Fall is $15, Monster Launch is $25, and Monster Dive is $40, or you can “conquer the mountain” and do all three for $60! Tickets are available online or in person. You can even buy a video of your ride for $7 to $13 to show your friends how brave you are.
Country Tonite Theatre Show
I’m not much of a Country music fan, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this show. When we got inside and the show started, even I was tapping my feet along with the music. I can definitely see why it is rated one of the best live performances in Pigeon Forge.
The show features a variety of singers and dancers who jam through tons of songs (some of which I even recognized) over the course of 90 minutes. Each song that they sang was just a snippet of the entire song so that they could keep the show moving and the audience entertained. I was most impressed with the two children singers who were close to my kids’ ages. They were uber-talented and possibly even better than some of the adults.
Tickets are $34.50 for adults, $29.50 for teens (ages 13 to 17), and children 12 & under are free with a paying adult. Plus, there’s a $5 discount when buying tickets online. Some days have afternoon and evening shows, so there should be showtime options that fit your schedule.
Margaritaville at The Island at Pigeon Forge
We were tired from a long day of action, so we slept in and missed breakfast. We drove over to Margaritaville for lunch and drinks.
I enjoyed a couple of margaritas and a burger, while Timothy ordered a club sandwich and Scarlett had her usual chicken fingers. Six-year-olds will literally eat the same thing at every meal if you let them.
The Island at Pigeon Forge
The Island is actually an entertainment zone with numerous rides, indoor attractions, restaurants, and shops. It has been rated the #1 attraction in Pigeon Forge and you could literally spend all day exploring everything it has to offer. Admission to The Island is free and parking is free as well. You only pay for the attractions that you want to experience.
The first thing that we did at the Island was to visit the Alcatraz East Crime Museum. I love the outside of the building because it looks so realistic. And it’s pretty funny to see the guy trying to escape on the side of the building.
Inside, you’ll travel through time to learn about some of the biggest criminals in American history and the officers who brought them to justice. There are more than 100 interactive exhibits talking about Alcatraz and many other prisons from history.
Adults are $27, seniors are $20, and children ages 8 to 12 are $15. There are even discounts for military, law enforcement, and locals.
The Island Ropes Course
Last time we visited Pigeon Forge, Scarlett wasn’t tall enough to go on the big ropes course at The Island Ropes Course. You need to be 42″ tall to go on the ropes course with a chaperone and 48″ to go by yourself. Scarlett has grown so much over the last year that she was able to go this time, so I was able to join in on the fun too.
This ropes course offers four levels of fun and adventure as you make your way through a variety of 30 obstacles. Some of them are easy, while others are quite challenging. Definitely bring your tennis shoes and your courage when you come. Simple obstacles on the ground are quite a bit more challenging when you know that you’re 20, 30, or even 40 feet in the air.
There are two short zip lines available, so you can experience the fun of flying through the air. Scarlett was a bit scared but negotiated a new stuffed animal if she made it through to the other side. Once you’ve completed all of the obstacles, you can walk down the stairs or take the Quick Jump plunge with a controlled descent from 40 feet in the air.
Tickets are $15 per person or just $5 if you only want to do the Quick Jump.
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Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud & Adventure Park
On our final day in Pigeon Forge, we started out at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud & Adventure Park. We didn’t have enough time on this visit to catch the Lumberjack Feud show, but it was so much fun last summer. I highly recommend it if you can go.
This time, we focused on the obstacle course and “zip coaster.” The High Woodsman Challenge obstacle course was similar to the one at The Island, but it was much more open. Kids 5 and older can go on the ropes course, but it is really designed for bigger kids. Scarlett was able to do some of the obstacles but struggled with others. Timothy ran through each obstacle with ease and had a blast conquering them all.
The Flying Ox “zip coaster” is a blend of zipline and roller coaster. It is so much fun as you zipline from the top of the tower but twist and turn like you do on a roller coaster. The whole ride takes about a minute, so it’s quite an adrenaline rush.
Tickets for the Adventure Park are $40 for adults and $35 for kids.
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Pigeon Forge Snow
One of our favorite ways to cool down from the summertime heat is the visit Pigeon Forge Snow. It’s an indoor attraction that offers snow tubing and a snow playroom. With your admission, you can race down the man-made slope as many times as you want on snow tubes.
For an extra thrill, hold on just a little longer to the steel handrails at the top when you start… that will cause you to spin around as you go down the hill. It’s so much fun!!!
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When you’re done on the tubes, head over to the snow playroom. You can build snowmen and slide around on the fresh snow. Just don’t throw snowballs at anyone. That’s a no-no, according to the signs on the wall.
It is $22 for an hour of tubing for all ages. The snow play is $8 for 30 minutes, and you’ll save 10% when you buy both for just $27.
Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show
I grew up attending dinner shows with my parents and loved watching the action while eating yummy food. It is so cool to continue that tradition with my kids at the Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show.
The audience was split into two pirate crews as we cheered on our “team” as they “battled” in incredible acrobatic competitions. Sometimes the “combat” would be dancing, swords, and other pirate acts, while others it was death-defying dives into the water below the ship. The way they move and the balance they have are absolutely incredible. We had so much fun watching the show, that we almost forgot to eat.
The servers were dressed in pirate costumes as well and brought out healthy portions of food. We enjoyed vegetable soup, sugar-cured ham, pan-fried chicken, corn on the cob, herb-basted potato, and more. Plus, a tasty peach turnover was delivered for dessert. I didn’t grab any pictures because I was too busy chowing down. Even though the kids can be picky sometimes, they enjoyed the meal as well.
When the show is over, there’s a gift shop where you can buy pirate gear like swords, eye patches, hats, and more. Book your pirate voyage for the price of $60 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $30 for kids (ages 3 to 9). Kids under 3 are free unless you want them to have their own meal. On most days, there are 4 shows a day ranging from 12:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
The Bald Thoughts
Our family loves coming to Pigeon Forge because there’s always something new to experience and because it’s such a quick drive from Nashville. You could spend an entire week here and not do it all, or you can visit for a long weekend (like we did) and have a ton of fun eating and exploring. As you can tell, we gravitate towards adrenaline-inducing rides. It’s awesome that Pigeon Forge offers attractions for all ages, and I can’t wait until our next visit.
Be sure to contact our friends at My Pigeon Forge to have them help you plan your visit. They’ll share ways to save money and maximize how much fun you can fit into your vacation.