Nestled in the rolling foothills of the magnificent Great Smoky Mountains lies the charming mountain town of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This lively tourist destination in the eastern part of the state offers first-time visitors plenty to see and do, from thrilling amusement parks to quaint museums. It’s easy to see why Pigeon Forge is one of the most popular spots in the South with its breathtaking natural scenery and wealth of attractions like Dollywood, outlet malls, and live theaters.
If you’re planning your first-ever trip to this mountain wonderland, use this guide to help make the most of your time in Pigeon Forge. We’ll provide tips and recommendations for booking accommodations, planning activities, dining, and getting around town. Follow our advice for an unforgettable Pigeon Forge getaway.
Where to Stay
One great way to fully immerse in Pigeon Forge’s natural beauty on your first visit is to stay in a cabin rental. Nestled in forests and hills, these cabins provide cozy and serene dwellings.
By booking a comfortable, convenient cabin, you secure the ideal home base for your adventures. Your cabin lets you wake up engulfed by the area’s stunning scenery. It also gives you a peaceful place to relax between activities.
This means that by staying in a cabin, you can enjoy Pigeon Forge’s thrills during the day. Then you can return to your scenic mountain retreat to unwind at night. So, secure one of the best Pigeon Forge TN cabins as your top priority when heading to Pigeon Forge for the first time.
Here are some tips for booking a Tennessee cabin for your Pigeon Forge getaway:
- Book early
Pigeon Forge cabins are popular year-round, so reserve yours as far in advance as possible. The earlier you book, the more rental options you’ll have available.
Consider what you want to be close to. Cabins near the Pigeon Forge Parkway are best for attraction access. For more seclusion, check areas like Wears Valley. Be sure to check driving times to points of interest you want to visit.
Determine what features and amenities matter most, like hot tubs, fire pits, mountain views, wifi, etc. Pigeon Forge cabins run the gamut from rustic to luxurious.
Cabin rates vary greatly based on size, location, features, and season. Determine your nightly and total trip budget to narrow down options. Don’t forget to factor in taxes and fees too.
- Read reviews
Tenant reviews on listing sites can provide helpful insight into the pros/cons of specific cabins. This can reveal potential issues not obvious from listings.
- Consider groups
If booking for a large group or family, search for cabins that can sleep 10+ people comfortably. Multi-bedroom cabins are ideal for groups.
Things to Do
Once you’ve settled into your Pigeon Forge cabin rental, it’s time to start exploring this lively mountain town. Here are top recommendations for first-time visitors:
Dolly Parton’s famous theme park has rides, shows, restaurants, shops, and so much more. Plan to spend an entire day or two enjoying Dollywood and everything it offers.
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Drive just a few miles, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the beauty of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hike trails, visit historic Cades Cove, see wild black bears, and more.
- The Island
This lively entertainment complex located on the Pigeon Forge Parkway contains shops, restaurants, performing theaters, arcades, rides, and fountains synchronized with music.
- Titanic Museum
Pay tribute to the doomed ocean liner at this massive half-scale replica of the Titanic. See galleries of artifacts and read survivor stories.
- Dinner shows
Take in a musical production while eating a delicious meal. Some popular shows include the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, and Dolly Parton’s Stampede.
Places to Eat
With its abundance of entertainment attractions and scenic beauty, you’re sure to work up an appetite during your time in Pigeon Forge! Here are some must-try restaurants for first-time visitors:
- The Old Mill
Enjoy Southern cuisine in a historic gristmill with tranquil gardens and mill ponds. Famous for made-from-scratch biscuits.
- Pottery House Cafe & Grille
Quaint Appalachian-style eatery known for comfort foods like chicken & dumplings, meatloaf, and baked spaghetti.
- Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que
Those seeking traditional Eastern Tennessee barbecue won’t want to miss out on Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que, which serves slowly smoked pulled pork and brisket by the pound.
- Auntie Belham’s Bakery
Delightful bakery and bistro offering freshly baked bread, cinnamon rolls, sandwiches, salads, and more.
As a first-time traveler to Pigeon Forge, having reliable transportation is key to experiencing everything the area has to offer. Convenient transportation means you can focus on creating special memories rather than logistics during your trip.
Consider these options for transport:
- Drive your own vehicle
This allows maximum flexibility to control your own schedule. Consider booking parking passes at major attractions in advance.
For $1-$3 per ride, you can hop on and off the Pigeon Forge Trolley as it goes to key destinations. The trolleys run every day of the week except Christmas Day. With frequent stops, the trolleys provide a convenient way to get around Pigeon Forge without having to worry about parking or traffic.
When you don’t want to deal with parking, taxi and rideshares like Uber can provide quick transportation. Availability may be limited during peak times.
Rent a bike and cruise along the paved bike trails around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Just watch out for steep hills!
No matter how you choose to get around, give yourself plenty of time when heading to attractions – traffic can get heavy during peak tourist season. Patience and planning will prevent frustration.
Pigeon Forge offers the perfect destination for first-time travelers to immerse themselves in the charm of eastern Tennessee. Book a cozy cabin, see top sites like Dollywood and the Great Smokies, enjoy the restaurants, and use a car or the trolley system to get around for an unforgettable Pigeon Forge visit. From scenic natural beauty to musical theater shows, Pigeon Forge has something to delight travelers of all ages and interests. Follow this guide, and you’re sure to have a fabulous trip to this town that will leave you eager to return.