Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

The Tennessee mountain towns of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville were made for family getaways. Whether you are headed to the area to check out Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most popular in the country, or to spend your days on roller coasters and bumper cars, you’re certain to have fun together. Most attractions in Pigeon Forge have family at the forefront, so you don’t have to worry about entertaining the under-age set. Having trouble narrowing it all down? Try one (or more) of our 10 favorite ways to spend time with the family in these mountains.

RELATED: Great family-friendly hotels in Pigeon Forge


Flickr CC: Todd Van Hoosear

This isn’t just an amusement park. Yes, there are roller coasters and log flume rides. There’s also a theme park-wide train appropriate for little kids and a freshly baked cinnamon roll loaf worth the lines folks stand in it to nab. But Dollywood, the creation of Sevier County native and country music icon Dolly Parton, is more than all that. It honors its roots with live music in the tradition of East Tennessee. There are head-turning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. And, in season, Splash Country water park offers more high adrenaline rides.

Pigeon Forge Snow

Snow tubing

Forget about climate change (at least for a few hours). No matter what the weather is and no matter whether or not there is actual snow on the ground, parents and kids can enjoy year-round snow tubing. at Pigeon Forge Snow. Jump on a tube and race each other down the modest indoor hill. Build snowmen, take photos from the second-level balcony, and then head back to race again.

The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

This Ferris wheel is one of the tallest in the southeast and allows groups of up to eight people to climb in its glass gondolas to rotate through the mountain sky. The Great Smoky Mountain wheel is located on Pigeon Forge’s Island development, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and other attractions. Standing 200 feet tall, its colored lights can be seen from vantage points around town.

Titanic Museum Attraction

Flickr CC: Joel Kramer

Ever since the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in 1912, fascination with its fate has never waned. The ship-shaped Titanic Museum on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge gives visitors an in-depth (no pun intended) lesson in all things related to the tragedy. Learn about those who worked on the boat, the myths that the movie and a century of stories have perpetuated (the owners never called the ship unsinkable), and peruse artifacts recovered from the bottom of the ocean. Other must-sees include information about the kosher kitchen on board, a tank that is the temperature of the water in which survivors floated, and stories of those who survived. Reserve your Titanic Museum tickets in advance here.

Crave Mini Golf

Putt your way through ice cream cones and larger-than-life candy canes at Crave‘s 19-hole indoor mini-golf course that is fully accessible and themed with everyone’s favorite sweet treats. The aptly named attraction also includes a rooftop mini-golf course, escape rooms, mini-bowling, and, of course, a sweet shop.

Ober Gatlinburg

Ski in Tennessee

As the only ski area in Tennessee, Ober is one of Gatlinburg’s winter highlights. With 10 trails and three chairlifts, it’s a great place to learn how to slalom ski. Other pastimes include ice skating and tubing. Not traveling in winter? Ober is a year-round destination with guided hikes in the summertime, and games, shops, and restaurants.

Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies

Touch a stingray swimming in a shallow pool. See how moon jellies glow and float through a tank. Watch nurse sharks and sand tiger sharks cut their way through the water. More than 10,000 different sea creatures live at Ripley’s, a multi-story aquarium which is just steps from the Parkway in Gatlinburg. If you have the time, reserve an opportunity to stay overnight in the aquarium in advance…It gives sleeping with the fishes a whole new meaning.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

As compelling as Pigeon Forge’s bright lights and morning-to-night attractions are, the original draw of this part of Tennessee is its well-known national park. And Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which is free to enter, provides many options for families who want to explore its natural beauty. Great options include the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which includes pull-offs on a loop drive for hikes, overlooks, and a historic mill. Clingman’s Dome is the highest elevation in the state. Take the steep, paved trail to the lookout.


There are plenty of places to take a chairlift to the top of a mountain, but Anakeesta is a particularly lovely option. Your Chondala seat lifts you over the Arrowmont Schools of Arts and Crafts. Once you arrive you can indulge in dueling ziplines speeding through the trees, the mountain coaster (a luge-like ride), mining for gemstones, and walking through the treetops on suspended bridges. Anakeesta also includes the Anavista Tower. Take the 84 stairs to the top and you’ll be treated to a 360-degree view of the mountains. Restaurants and shops round out the mountaintop experience.

Listening Room Café

Pigeon Forge’s singer-songwriter venue allows families to listen to Nashville’s best songwriters together. Concerts are “in the round,” meaning songwriters sit on stage and play acoustically, each taking a turn to tell the stories that led to their songs. The Listening Room‘s songwriters are asked not to cuss, the sound isn’t overly loud, and the material isn’t R-rated, so it’s a great way for families to experience local music. Note that this isn’t a standing-room-only venue: Everyone gets a seat at a table where they can order food and drink, so all around, this is a kid-friendly option. (Kids are not permitted to sit at the bar and a $15 food and drink minimum applies to everyone.)

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

Pin It on Pinterest