Some of our favorite family vacations are often in unexpected places full of surprises. One area we have shared before and want to see more of is Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We had such a fantastic time there last fall. We had no idea that this exciting, family-friendly town located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains offered a ton of fun and scenic beauty that inspired unforgettable memories. The more that I research and plan our next trip there, the more excited I get. Today, I am sharing an epic planning guide for exploring Pigeon Forge with kids. I thought I’d share all the fun we had and everything we hope we get to do next time we go.
When we plan our trips, we try and pick a few “must do” items, and we try really hard to visit those spots. But traveling with toddlers is never predictable, so we also approach our vacations with very laidback attitudes. I’d hate to miss something really cool because we were too focused on our itinerary.
The Island in Pigeon Forge
We literally stumbled upon The Island, and we immediately fell in love. It is family-oriented and super affordable. The kids ran toward the huge Ferris wheel right away. I thought they’d be scared, but they had such a great time. You get to ride in an enclosed bucket, and they pipe in fun music. We had our own little dance party at the top. The views are amazing.
The dancing fountains were a big hit too. The kids had so much fun watching the “splashes”. And, let’s be honest, as moms, we love a photo op with our families. Seriously, pack a tripod when you visit The Island. There are so many cute spots to capture.
We practically begged my mom to watch the monitors later that night so we could sneak back out to enjoy The Island. We had a delicious dinner on the patio of the Timberwood Grill. It was so fun to sit and chat as we looked out over all the fun. The twinkling lights of the Ferris wheel were the perfect backdrop for our date night.
Overall, this is the perfect place to relax and spend a fun afternoon with your traveling tribe.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
When I think about what we want to do in Pigeon Forge, I go straight to exploring the Great Smoky Mountains. I’d love to see everything in bloom over Spring Break. I can’t believe we missed this last year. It is first on my “must see” list for our next trip. How can you go to Pigeon Forge and not visit America’s most visited national park? We’re planning to hit Sugarlands Trail for a 0.9 miles hike with all the little legs in tow. After a quick snack, we’ll load up the mom van for a scenic drive along Foothills Parkway. I can’t wait to see some of the most incredible views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Jurassic Jungle Boat Ride
OK, let me be clear, this is for your tiny, dinosaur-loving Littles only. This attraction has been around for a while, and it could use a little love, but our toddlers went nuts over it. You get to take a little boat through an indoor dinosaur wonderland with tons of roars. For our little ones, it was very real, and they couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to tell their Grammy they saw dinosaurs. We realized that our dinosaur adventure made everyone pretty hungry, so it was nice when we walked just next door to TGIFridays. There are tons of family-friendly restaurants along the main road.
We don’t often include theme parks when we plan family trips. They’re often tricky with three toddlers, but I love Dolly so much, and I have to add this to our to-do list. The Country Fair area of the park is the perfect stop for little visitors. There are tons of rides for your little ones to enjoy. Then, we’re going to hop on the Dollywood Express. Is your house full of train-loving minis? Mine is, and our trip wouldn’t be complete without a ride on this historic beauty.
Ok, I know, I know. I have a ridiculous obsession with all things Christmas. What can I say? I just love that time of year so much. I always seek out little Christmas shops in every town we visit. The Incredible Christmas Place is pretty much my year-round Christmas dream come true. The kids loved the trains going round-and-round in the courtyard. And, we had to take a few fun family photos, and of course, I had to take home an ornament for our collection.
Home Away from Home
Last year, we stayed in a fun hotel with a waterpark attached. The kids had a fantastic time splashing around in the water every day. Next time, I’d like to stay in one of the gorgeous cabins available throughout Pigeon Forge. I love having the option to really settle into the place where we stay and make it feel like a true home away from home.
Learn more about planning a Pigeon Forge, Tennessee family vacation here.
This post was sponsored by My Pigeon Forge. We had a wonderful family vacation, and we can’t wait to go back. As always, all opinions are my own.