For more than 60 years, groups have flocked to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, to spend time together and make cherished memories. Located just six miles from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the country, and 35 miles from Knoxville, Pigeon Forge is a gateway city that welcomes more than 10 million guests each year. The popular vacation destination offers more than 80 different attractions—from mild and relaxing to outright adventurous—to keep folks entertained. Whether it’s a motorcoach group, student travelers, or a family reunion, Pigeon Forge rolls out the welcome mat year-round.
Set against the backdrop of the exquisite Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge provides a unique natural setting that travelers have long enjoyed. Popular excursions include a drive-through Cades Cove, where historical churches, schoolhouses, and homesteads offer an authentic glimpse into Appalachian history. A bonus is the diverse array of wildlife—think turkeys, deer, elk, and black bears—that make frequent appearances. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome has the highest altitude in GSMNP with spectacular vistas of the Land of Blue Smoke, the description the Cherokee used to describe the area, which often appears to have a mysterious, enveloping halo. Visitors also can explore more than 800 miles of hiking trails in the park.
Accessibility and accommodations are part of Pigeon Forge’s appeal. The destination boasts more than 14,500 overnight accommodations, including well-appointed resorts, multi-bedroom cabins, and hotels with great amenities. Lodging properties are conveniently located near Pigeon Forge’s many attractions that dot the city’s six-mile-long Parkway, making it easy to partake in the fun and excitement.
From sunup to sundown, group itineraries are filled with a variety of attractions. Pigeon Forge is home to Dolly Parton’s Dollywood, Tennessee’s No. 1 ticketed attraction, where extraordinary festivals, rides, and entertainment combine to create one of the country’s most unique and popular theme parks. In the summer months, Dollywood’s Splash Country water park is a sun-drenched oasis for water lovers. The Island in Pigeon Forge features great shopping, dining, and attractions, all in one location. Highlights include the 200-foot-tall Smoky Mountain Observation Wheel with incredible mountain views during the day and a dazzling light-filled cityscape at night. The Island’s free Fountain Show is a popular place for groups to gather before grabbing dinner or listening to a free concert from the Ole Smoky Moonshine outdoor stage.
Groups can spend hours at great museums, like Titanic Museum Attraction, Alcatraz East Crime Museum, and Hollywood Wax Museum. Titanic alone showcases more than 400 artifacts aboard its half-scale replica of the world’s most famous luxury liner.
Full-production stage shows are another popular Pigeon Forge ticket with several options, including “Soul of Motown,” “Country Tonite,” “Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud,” and “Comedy Barn.” Dinner shows make for a spectacular evening, and guests can choose from Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction, Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show, and the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud.
Mealtime is always memorable in Pigeon Forge. Whether groups want to linger over dinner or grab a quick bite, there’s a menu to make that possible. Several restaurants are equipped to accommodate large groups, especially with advance notice. The historic Old Mill keeps guests coming back for more with Southern favorites served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Junction 35, the state’s first restaurant with a distillery, offers a vast dining room and varied menu. The Local Goat’s farm-to-fork favorites range from burgers to seafood entrees. Steak lovers line up at The Alamo for grilled-to-perfection selections. Of course, pancakes are a Pigeon Forge staple, so there are plenty of pancake houses serving piping-hot stacks and other popular breakfast dishes.
Year-round shopping is its own attraction in Pigeon Forge. Groups enjoy perusing the Old Mill historic district, where Appalachian master craftspeople create handmade pottery, ironworks, candy, and more. They can take home a bag of cornmeal or flour from the Old Mill’s centuries-old grist mill, one of the country’s oldest working mills, or follow the 200-foot-tall Mountain Monster to the Tower Shops at the Mountain Mile, where a variety of boutique shops await.
For more information or assistance booking group travel, please contact Pigeon Forge Senior Group Sales Manager Mike Gwinn at 1.800.285.7557. For additional information about Pigeon Forge, visit MyPigeonForge.com.
Photos by Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism