If you love country music, visiting Pigeon Forge is essential. That's because this welcoming little town in Tennessee is the home of Dollywood, Dolly Parton's very own amusement park and concert venue.
Experience the thrills of roller coasters like the Lightning Rod or the Tennessee Tornado, cool off in Splash Country, take a steam locomotive ride through the Smoky Mountains woods, and dine at great on-site restaurants before taking your seat for a country music showcase.
Outside Dollywood, Pigeon Forge has plenty of high-quality accommodation, and there's no shortage of gourmet dining opportunities. If you love BBQ ribs, fried chicken, and meatloaf, family-run restaurants like the Old Mill will leave you completely satisfied.
One of America's finest family vacation destinations, Pigeon Forge is fun, friendly, and a great place to head for your next trip.
Pigeon Forge grew up around Dollywood - a massive amusement park conceived by country music legend Dolly Parton. Visitors to the park can splash in water parks, ride roller coasters, dine on southern cooking, and catch musical performances, all in the same day.
The area around Pigeon Forge is obsessed with motor racing, so feel free to test your driving skills at local Go Karting centers like the Bear Country Fun Park. Alternatively, head to the NASCAR Speedpark in Sevierville, which features eight tracks of varying difficulties.
When you visit Pigeon Forge, you can easily mix the attractions of Dollywood with excursions to sites of outstanding natural beauty. The Great Smoky Mountains have some gorgeous spots, including the spectacular views from Clingman's Dome and the rolling tree-topped hills of Sugarlands Valley.
If you love Southern cooking, you'll adore Pigeon Forge. Don't miss the country-fried pork or the meatloaf at Mama's Farmhouse or the BBQ country ribs at the Old Mill.
Pigeon Forge is as much about music as rides, water parks and Go Karts. You can catch a different musical style every night at Dollywood venues like the Wings of America Theater, or learn about the giants of gospel music at the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum. You may even have the chance to hear Dolly herself, as she regularly performs at Pigeon Forge venues.
Owned by country legend Dolly Parton, Dollywood, a theme park in the Smoky Mountains, is Tennessee's biggest tourist attraction. Built on 295 acres, the resort is divided into ten themes, which showcase the history and culture of Southern Appalachia. Attractions include the Showstreet Palace Theater, the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Smoky Mountain River Rampage whitewater rafting thrill ride. Visitors can also enjoy the Tennessee Tornado and Blazing Fury roller coasters, as well as the Daredevil Falls flume ride, among many others. The park features a variety of dining options that include regional delicacies, as well as four-course dinner shows with horse-riding stunts and musical performances.
Open 365 days a year, the two-story Hollywood Wax Museum showcases replicas of film, television, and music stars. The largest wax museum in the U.S. also includes a Hollywood Mount Rushmore and a six-story-high reproduction of the Empire State Building, complete with its own King Kong. Among the other attractions found in the museum, visitors can enjoy Hannah's Maze of Mirrors, Outbreak - Dread the Undead, and the Castle of Chaos. The gallery also features a gift shop, which sells celebrity memorabilia and souvenirs.
Established in 2010, the Titanic Museum, a two-story structure shaped like the RMS Titanic, is a half-scale model of the original ship. With over 400 artifacts in twenty galleries, the museum is the largest permanent Titanic exhibit in the world. Constructed in a pool to enhance the ocean-travel experience, the museum offers a two-hour tour that recreates the 1912 maiden voyage of the legendary ship. Upon arrival, passengers receive a boarding pass and are allocated a travel class. After a presentation, which relates the experiences of several of the original passengers, guests are escorted to the Titanic Memorial Room, where they will discover the identity of the original passenger assigned their ticket number.
The Elvis & Hollywood Legends Museum revisits the life of the King of Rock and Roll: Elvis Presley. The collection includes many of Elvis' personal belongings, including a 1954 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, jewelry, clothing, and firearms, among many others. An audio tour, guided by Elvis' close friends Donnie Sumner and Ed Hill, offers intimate insight into the King's life. The gallery also includes items owned by Hollywood legends, such as Burt Reynolds, Marilyn Monroe, and Hugh Hefner, as well as props from classic Hollywood films. The museum features a gift shop that sells Elvis memorabilia and music.
A 23-acre shopping and entertainment complex, The Island in Pigeon Forge provides family fun all day and night. With over sixty unique retail shops, numerous restaurants such as Margaritaville and Paula Deen's Family Kitchen, and attractions like The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, the Alcatraz East Crime Museum, and Thunderdome, the destination ensures fun for all ages. Guests are encouraged to stay at the Margaritaville Island Hotel, a four-star resort that offers amenities such private balconies, fireplaces, and "frozen concoction makers" in every room.
Pigeon Forge is open all year-round and there's hardly a bad time to visit. Winters may be chilly, but with festive concert seasons and a warm welcome, it's still a good time to visit. Spring and fall feature mild weather (and beautiful foliage in the Smoky Mountains). Although summer can be hot and humid, there's always the chance to splash around in water parks and cool off with a cocktail - so every month has its appeal.
If you are arriving in Pigeon Forge by air, the best place to touch down is McGhee-Tyson Airport in nearby Knoxville, which is around 35 miles to the west of the resort. To get from McGhee-Tyson to your hotel, either rent a car and drive along Routes 441, 321, 411, or book a taxi. Taxis take about 1 hour and should cost between $35 and $50.
The easiest way to get to Pigeon Forge from most eastern, southern or mid-western American cities is by driving. I-40 passes 20 miles to the north of the resort and links Pigeon Forge with the Eastern Seaboard and destinations as far west as California. If you are coming from Texas or Louisiana, take I-75 northwards as far as Farragut, change onto I-40 then Route 441.
There are no direct buses to Pigeon Forge, but visitors can take Greyhound services from cities like Nashville, Washington D.C., Chicago, and New York to nearby Knoxville. After that, it's just a short taxi ride to the town itself.
As you'd expect from a city dedicated completely to satisfying the needs of tourists, there are plenty of high-quality accommodation options in Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area. The Hotel Pigeon Forge is the best place in town, with beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains and home cooking. Kimble Cabin Rentals provides a private place for couples and families to stay while the Hampton Inn on the River is an attractive option next to the Little Pigeon River. Budget motels worth looking at include Days Inn and the Colonial House Motel.
Downtown Pigeon Forge – Pigeon Forge isn't really a conventional city with different neighborhoods. Instead, everything is concentrated around the center of town, which is where you'll find most of the attractions. Downtown is also the place to go to eat out, with excellent buffets like the Golden Corral and down home country cooking at the picturesque Old Mill. It's also convenient for Gatlinburg Golf Course.
Dollywood – Dollywood is the reason most people visit Pigeon Forge. This unique amusement park was created by country legend Dolly Parton and is a district in itself, stretching over 61 hectares of Tennessee countryside. It has its own hotels and plenty of attractions, like the Southern Gospel Hall of Fame, the Wings of America Theater and water parks like Splash World.
Sevierville – Located just a few miles up Route 441 from Pigeon Forge, Sevierville is the home of Tennessee's NASCAR Speed Park, where kids and grown-ups can test out Go Karts, play mini-golf or ride bumper cars. There are outdoor attractions as well, such as Foxfire Adventure Park, along with golf courses, plenty of restaurants and conveniences like a massive Walmart Supercenter. It's a practical place to base yourself when visiting Dollywood.
Pigeon Forge has its own special public transportation network. The Fun Time Trolley covers all of the major hotels and resorts and also runs between Sevierville and Dollywood. Single fares cost between $0.50 and $0.75 and buses run between 8:00 a.m. and midnight for most of the year.
Taxis are a good way to get to and from Dollywood if you don't feel like using the Fun Time Trolley. There's a flat rate of $12 for journeys anywhere in Pigeon Forge, or $20 between Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. However, given the good coverage of the buses and the short distance to Dollywood by foot, most people won't need to book taxis during their stay.
Renting a car at Knoxville Airport is a good option, and major names like Hertz and Avis are represented. Expect to pay between $20 and $30 a day for your vehicle. If you are driving to Dollywood from country hotels, it makes sense to park away from the amusement park itself. There are parking lots in central Pigeon Forge and Sevierville which offer much cheaper daily rates, and the Fun Time Trolley can get you to the attractions just as quickly as driving.
Pigeon Forge has its share of quaint antique and crafts stores, and the best of them is Flat Creek Village Antiques and Gifts, which showcases the craft artisans of the Smoky Mountains. If you want a beautifully painted birdhouse or a decorated wagon, it's the place to go. Others will prefer the cluster of discount malls on Route 321, including Ogle's Mall, Belz Factory Outlet Mall ,and Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall. You'll find a wide range of big brands, including kids' designers OshKosh, Dickies, and Nike.
If you need to buy groceries, Pigeon Forge has plenty of options. There's a Publix and a Kroger's branch in town, and a huge Walmart Supercenter in Sevierville, just to the north. Grocery prices at supermarkets shouldn't be high. You'll pay around $2.50 for 12 eggs and $13-14 for a good bottle of wine.
Pigeon Forge offers a huge selection of dining options for visitors. If you are visiting Dollywood, there are a number of highly-rated, on-site restaurants, including the unbeatable value of Aunt Granny's All-You-Care-To-Eat Buffet and traditional meat dishes at Hickory House BBQ. In town, the best places to eat include the Old Mill, which specializes in old-time Southern fare, and Poynor's Pommes Frites - a German eatery that serves up delicious hot dogs in home-made rolls. Expect to pay around $20 in Dollywood and $15 outside for a mid-range meal.