Breathe in fresh mountain air and surround yourself with the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains with a weekend or week-long vacation in Pigeon Forge. This Tennessee resort town has something for everyone, from hiking and fishing to shopping and dining in upscale restaurants. Choose a Pigeon Forge vacation rental in the downtown area to conveniently step out your door and into the action, or opt for a cabin beside a peaceful forest stream to escape the crowds. With so much to see and do, you need to have a plan, so start with this list of the top 10 things to do in Pigeon Forge.

1. Ride the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel

Source: Pixabay/2712410

Watch the town of Pigeon Forge appear below your feet as you slowly rise almost 200 feet into the air on the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. This ride offers pods made from glass to offer an unobstructed view of the mountains and climate-controlled air to enjoy your ride on the hottest summer day. Located in the downtown area, the ride features stunning LED lights, making it easily spotted after dark as it lights up the night.

2. Enjoy Thrills at Dollywood

roller coaster dollywood
Source: Flickr/Jeremy Thompson

Dollywood, an Appalachian-themed amusement park and the brain-child of Dolly Parton, has a ride for every member of your family. Thrill-seekers flock to the Lightning Rod and the Thunderhead to get their roller coaster fix. Smaller family members enjoy the kiddie area with low-key, low-speed rides. When you need to rest your feet, take in one of the shows featuring country music, dancing, and live actors. Stop by one of the many shops to pick up a souvenir made by a master craftsman.

3. Shop at the Island in Pigeon Forge

Source: Pixabay/StockSnap

The Island in Pigeon Forge is a mecca with upscale shops and fine dining to meet your needs for a little retail therapy. In addition to all your favorite names, find some unique one-of-a-kind shops to find something you didn’t even know you needed. When you need a little energy, stop at one of the restaurants, such as Paula Dean’s Family Kitchen or Margaritaville, for a sit-down meal or grab a cup of Joe from one of the cafes.

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4. Beat the Heat at Dollywood’s Splash Country

Source: Pixabay/Capri23auto

Dollywood’s Splash Country is a waterpark near the amusement park, where your group can beat the heat as you careen wildly down towering slides. Ride together as a family on a raft on the Big Bear Plunge or let the water push you along on the lazy river. Little ones enjoy pint-size attractions at Little Creek Falls that offers water cannons to shoot their older siblings and shallow water for your peace of mind.

5. Visit the Titanic Museum

titanic museum
Source: Flickr/Madison Berndt

When the unsinkable ship sank in April 1912, the Titanic sealed its place in history and still garners a lot of interest. At the Titanic Museum in a building shaped like a ship hitting an iceberg, see actual items brought up from the ocean floor, including personal items, coins, household items, and other items. You can see the replica of first class rooms and learn more about what naval travel was like during its heyday.

6. Learn a Little Science at WonderWorks

wonderworks
Source: Flickr/Madison Berndt

Kids of all ages and the young at heart love learning about science at WonderWorks. Located inside the upside-down building, this museum offers hundreds of hands-on exhibits and experiments that teach about science and the physical world. When you need a break from learning, check out the outdoor ropes course to test your courage, or challenge others to a game of laser tag to the death.

7. See Some of Your Favorite Celebrities at the Hollywood Wax Museum

wax museum
Source: Flickr/Mike D

On a rainy afternoon, visit the Hollywood Wax Museum to see some of your favorite celebrities immortalized in wax. This museum has a blend of Golden Age Hollywood favorites and new stars along with musicians and politicians. Take your photo with Charlie Chaplin or Marilyn Monroe. If you want someone more recent for your selfies, pose with Natalie Portman and Bradley Cooper. Before leaving, stop by the Studio Store and purchase some celebrity-themed souvenirs.

8. Eat While Watching a Show at Dixie Stampede

dixie stampede
Source: Flickr/Jared

After a meal at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, you’ll never have another dinner out quite like it. Enjoy a four-course meal served by a waiter in Civil War dress, featuring chicken and pork along with all the fixings as the show unfolds around you. Watch as riders fly by your table on horseback and fireworks explode inside the building. There’s singing and dancing to keep your toes tapping. Order your tickets online as soon as you know your dates because seats fill up quickly.

9. Learn More About Crime and Punishment at Alcatraz East Museum

Source: Pixabay/2allmankind

Learn more about Bonnie and Clyde and other notorious criminals at the Alcatraz East Museum. This museum takes a look at the history of crime and punishment in the United States from its earliest days as a colony to the present day. See Ted Bundy’s car and the Bronco that O.J. Simpson drove on the famous car chase. Everyone loves posing for a picture while they’re in the stocks. Check the schedule for any special events and temporary exhibits.

10. Go Wild at RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo

black-capped squirrel monkey
Source: Flickr/Vicki Burton

RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo has more than 100 animals unique to the rainforest to see during your visit. Watch a bird show at the aviary and watch colorful birds take flight. There are porcupines, monkeys, and many more cuddly critters.

 
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