Pigeon Forge

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The 21 best things to do in Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge lives up to its quirky name; it’s a destination like no other. Part Branson, part Las Vegas, part Orlando, it is a strip of manufactured tourist attractions in a location surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty. The town, which has a population of less than 6,000, welcomes nearly 10 million people annually, due to its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The focus is on family-friendly fun; think amusement parks, theme hotels, corny dinner theater restaurants, arcades and the like. For the most part, if you're looking for subtle, this ain't your vacation destination. Pigeon Forge is about neon, airbrush and shrieks and screams. Of course, you're just a few minutes to the entrance to the National Park, where solitude, beautiful scenery and bears await.

The 13 best restaurants in Pigeon Forge

Family-friendly Pigeon Forge is known for quantity when it comes to dining, offering lots of all-you-can-eat buffets and family-style meals. But that doesn’t mean quality can’t be found. Eateries dot both sides of the Parkway (US 441), the main road that leads to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, nestled between neon-signed attractions and quirky things to do. Pigeon Forge is right outside the entrance to the national park; nearby Gatlinburg and Sevierville are essentially all connected to Pigeon Forge and close enough that a few of their restaurants are included in this best list, too. Few, if any, restaurants in the area have a dress code, so plan to mosey up straight from your hotel (or nearby water park) and feast away in delicious, casual, vacation style.

The 10 best hotels in Pigeon Forge

Nestled next to the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is a family-friendly getaway that is as unusual as its name. This tiny town (with a population of just over 5,000) welcomes more than 10 million visitors each year and offers plenty of visitor-friendly things to do, so you know it accommodates out-of-towners well. Many of the visitors opt to camp in the nearby national park or to stay in a private cabin, and it used to be that those kinds of mountain accommodations usurped the traditional hotel. But in recent years the hoteliers (and local restaurants) have upped their game, and now there are more than a handful of decent places to stay, whether you’re coming to town with a passel of kids ready to scream their way through Pigeon Forge’s amusement parks or looking for a more serene wilderness experience. None of the properties are true luxury hotels; Pigeon Forge’s charm is in its everyman appeal, and that includes the hotels. Here we’ve ranked our 10 best to have you resting your head in the mountains in no time. Search for more Pigeon Forge hotels