Pigeon Forge proves to be one of the most heavily visited tourist areas in Tennessee. This thriving city boasts an incredible number of family-friendly attractions perfect for you and your loved ones. Best of all? Many of them come at little—or no—cost to you. Our guide below walks you through what you need to know before booking your trip to Pigeon Forge and outlines the top twenty best free (or nearly free) things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Planning Your Trip to Pigeon Forge: What You Need to Know
Making an itinerary doesn’t have to be difficult—no matter your budget. If you’re looking for free things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN, we have you covered! We’ll walk you through some of the hottest Pigeon Forge attractions that you and your family don’t want to miss out on! Not familiar with Pigeon Forge TN? Consider the following key information!
Where is Pigeon Forge, Tennesse
Pigeon Forge is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee. Just a short drive away from Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge is one of the region’s great centers of tourism. It is in Sevier county and the time zone is Eastern Standard Time (EST). So, if you are wondering what time it is in Pigeon Forge, it is the same time in NYC, or Washington D.C.
Its convenient location makes it great for those who are looking to take in a bit of the area’s historic past. It is about ten minute’s drive from Sevierville if you’re wondering – “how far is Sevierville from Pigeon Forge”. Pigeon Forge is also about a 45 minutes’ drive from Knoxville, TN.
In addition to the many free or cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN, you and your family can also plan for a day on the town and add some free things to do in Gatlinburg to your itinerary. So if you’re wondering – “how far is Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge” – it’s driveable and within just 15 minutes. And for many travelers to Tennessee who might wonder – “how far is Pigeon Forge from Nashville” – it’s about a 3.5 hour drive so it take much longer to get from Nashville to Pigeon Forge than to get from Gatlinburg to Pigeon Forge.
Another popular place people visit in Tennessee is Chattanooga and often people wonder – “how far is Chattanooga from Pigeon Forge” – and that is about 2.5 hour drive. So, you can get to Pigeon Forge from Gatlinburg, Sevierville, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, and other nearby cities within a short amount of time. And depending on where you are coming from, you might want to know “how far it is from here (where you are) to Pigeon Forge”- we can say that there are so many easy ways to get to Pigeon Forge regardless of where you are. You can fly into the McGhee Tyson Airport, also known as Knoxville airport and it’s about 50 miles from Pigeon Forge, or if you are coming from Memphis Tennessee, you’d have about a 6-hour drive to Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge has three zip codes: 37862, 37863, 37868.
Best Time to Visit Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
One of the most difficult aspects of planning your trip isn’t finding cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN, it’s deciding what time of year to go. Open year-round, Pigeon Forge offers a different atmosphere depending on when you go. For example, those who want to make the most out of the majestic, snowy scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains may want to go in January or February—while those who prefer warmer weather should plan for July or August.
Weather in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
In Pigeon Forge, you’ll find all kinds of weather, from rain and snow to sleet and hail. Those who go during colder months (January is the coldest) are likely to see snow, while those who go in the spring may find heavy rain. That being said, Pigeon Forge is just ahead of the national average with 206 sunny days a year—with the rest of the US seeing only 205. When it rains in Pigeon Forge, however, it pours, so be sure to check the weather before your trip!
Top 20 Free Things to do in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Looking for great free things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN? Check out the following Pigeon Forge attractions! These cheap and free options are sure to be great for your whole family—and your budget!
1. Apple Barn
One of, if not the, most famous restaurants in Pigeon Forge, Apple Barn should be on your family’s bucket list. Seriously—don’t forget to take a trip to try some of their famed recipes. An instant classic, Apple Barn is a must for tourists vising Pigeon Forge—no matter how many times they’ve been there before. With great breakfast, lunch, and supper menus featuring classic Southern recipes, this acclaimed restaurant is sure to please your palette. So if you are looking for where to eat in Pigeon Forge, or even Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Apple Barn should be on your list.
2. Old Mill
A trip to the Old Mill plants you firmly into the history of the Great Smoky Mountains. This would be a great place to visit if you are looking for top places to visit in Pigeon Forge or best things to see in Pigeon Forge.
Pigeon Forge’s historic Old Mill is the only building in the city that is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places—making it a must-visit for you and your family. So if you’re asking what is there to do in Pigeon Forge, a visit to the Old Mill is one of the best things to do in Tennessee!
3. Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede
A Southern Icon, Dolly Parton hails from the mountains in Eastern Tennessee. Her cultural homeland, the Smoky Mountains, have become a place for country music and Dolly fans to travel to throughout the year. And while Dollywood may be the most famous attraction related to the country music superstar, Pigeon Forge boasts its own share of free attractions related to the “I Will Always Love You” singer. In fact, each night, you and your family can meet and pet the horses from Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede free of charge! So, what to do in Pigeon Forge at night? This is your answer for things to do in Pigeon Forge at night. And the best things is that Dollywood is just few minutes from Pigeon Forge so if you’re wondering – how far is Pigeon Forge from Dollywood – it’s less than 10 minutes away.
4. Hollywood Wax Museum
The Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN offers an attraction quite unlike any other. Just think—in how many other places are you going to meet Lucille Ball. (Okay, Lucille Ball’s wax replica!). This is a great place to see if you need something to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. It’s also on our top list of things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids.
Featuring life-like wax replicas of some of the most famous Hollywood names, this famed museum is sure to amuse children, parents, and grandparents alike! See your favorite stars come to life in full-body, colorful wax replicas that look just like the real deal!
Billed as four attractions in one, MagiQuest is perfect for the adventurer in your life—and in you. With reasonable prices, this family-friendly haven includes a Pigeon Forge Castle, MagiQuest Adventure, and a Pirate Golf Course. This is certainly one of the best things to do with kids in Pigeon Forge, TN. Filled with magical and medieval-themed decorations, MagiQuest is sure to catch the imagination of your entire family!
6. Comedy Barn
In need of a laugh? Look no further than the Comedy Barn! The funniest place in all of Pigeon Forge, provides comedy theater like you’ve never seen it before! If you need some fun things to do in Pigeon Forge TN, then a visit to the Comedy Barn should fix that. If you are visiting Pigeon Forge, then this is our best things to do in Pigeon Forge this weekend.
Best of all? It’s clean, good, old-fashioned humor that everyone in your family can enjoy—no matter how young or how old. And did we mention that with its reasonable prices, it’s not going to break your wallet? That makes it top of our list of cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge!
7. The Island
The Island in Pigeon Forge offers some of the area’s best attractions. With plenty great and free family photo opportunities (by the giant Ferris wheel, for instance) and cheap attractions for you and your loved ones, this incredible area boasts incredible dining opportunities for everyone, as well. It’s certainly one of the top things to do in Pigeon Forge and even nearby Gatlinburg.
8. Wonder Works
Nothing ruins a trip to an amusement park like a rainy day. That’s why Wonder Works in Pigeon Forge offers over 35,000 square feet of fun—and all of it is indoors.
That’s right—this amazing indoor amusement park will keep your whole family entertained! With incredible educational galleries including space discovery and its imagination lab, Wonder Works provides an immersive way to get your kids learning—all while keeping them (and you) entertained. Make a visit to this place a part of the cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge, or even top 10 things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids as it’s so worth it.
9. Smoky Mountain Knife Works
An incredible store great for the Boy Scout in your family, Smoky Mountain Knife Works sells all kinds of knives and is the largest knife store! With reasonable prices and a great atmosphere, this is one attraction you’re not going to want to miss! So, if you want to see the largest knife store in the world, it’s in the Great Smoky Mountains, close to Sevierville, TN, and is a great addition for things to do in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg with family.
10. Pirate Voyage
Pirate Voyage in Pigeon Forge, TN offers more than just a great meal—it puts on one unforgettable show. So if you are looking for a top place to eat in Pigeon Forge, you might want to add Pirate Voyage on your list. Nothing like a live show and a good meal, all at one price.
Witness a breathtaking show featuring infamous pirate Blackbeard, his sidekicks, and a host of mermaids all while enjoying some of the best food that the Smoky Mountains has to offer!
11. Cades Cove
A special eleven-mile section of Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. Great for family picnics and walks, Cades Cove features jaw-dropping scenery and gives you a chance to get a close look at some of the area’s unique wildlife. Free all year, this is the perfect spot for you and your family to enjoy on a budget! So when you’re back to traveling and wondering about things to do in Pigeon Forge this weekend, this should make your list of top things to do with kids.
12. Patriot Park
The perfect place for any American family, Patriot Park pays homage to the USA with some of the most breathtaking displays in the whole region. From a recreation of the Liberty Bell, to a collection of state flags—and more—Patriot Park does its part to showcase the true honor and beauty of being American.
Take a stroll through Patriot Park with your family—it’s free! —and take the time to be grateful for the small things. Best of all, if you go during the holidays, you may even get a chance to witness some of the park’s famed holiday light decorations. So add this to your list of free things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids.
13. Attend a Parade or Festival
The Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce holds a number of free special events throughout the year. From Fourth of July parades to local festivals, a number of free options are available for those who are able to plan their trips accordingly! A schedule of these family-friendly events can be found on the Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce website. Something else to add on your list of free things to do in Pigeon Forge with kids.
14. Smoky Mountains National Park
Need to break in your new pair of hiking boots (or have a reliable pair already)? Smoky Mountains National Park has some of the most famous hiking trails in the world.
With over 800 acres of wildlife, this amazing national park has enough to keep you and your family entertained for days. With free access, it also helps make sure that you don’t overburden your wallet. From short walks to all-day hikes, this free national park has what you and your family need to stay entertained. We think this should make your list of top romantic things to do in Pigeon Forge with a loved one, or if traveling with kids, top things to do and places to see in Pigeon Forge with the family.
15. Riverwalk Greenway
Sometimes it’s best to slow down and enjoy the small things in life—and that’s exactly what you can do at Riverwalk Greenway. This short, two-mile walking trail is flanked by beautiful greenery on both sides. Perfect during the warmer weather, Riverwalk Greenway immerses you in the beautiful natural scenery of Pigeon Forge, TN. Great for romantic strolls or walks with the family, this incredible trail is located near many other Pigeon Forge attractions, including Patriot Park and Little Pigeon River. This is actually one of top romantic things to do in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg.
16. The Incredible Christmas Place
We’ve all heard of Christmas in July. But how about Christmas in August? Or January? Or any other month of the year? There’s only one place in Pigeon Forge you can find this and that’s the Incredible Christmas Place.
The eternal home of Saint Nick – the Incredible Christmas Place – stays in full holiday decorations throughout the year. They also sell great holiday-themed items—but remember, you don’t actually need to pay to enjoy their beautiful decorations. So this is one of our top free things to do in Pigeon Forge in January, February, March, April, May, June… you get the idea but if you’re looking for the best things to do in Pigeon Forge in any including July, August, September, October, November, December – in fact any month of the year, this is the place to visit!
17. Little Pigeon River
One of the best cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge, TN is to take a trip down the Little Pigeon River. Great for the whole family, this attraction is a summer favorite. With tube rentals costing less than $15, you and your loved ones are sure to have a blast floating down this famed Smoky Mountain River. Beat the heat with this great cheap option that kids and family of all ages are sure to love!
18. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Whether you’re looking for a great drive or hike, this completely free nature trail has something in store for you! Its beautiful scenery is some that your family is sure to never forget—and one that you’ll want to take lots of pictures of (trust us: your friends will be jealous!).
Located near the Rainbow Falls area, this amazing nature trail offers a breathtaking view of some of the most beautiful scenery in all of Pigeon Forge. We think this is one of the free best things to do in Pigeon Forge if you’re looking or what to do in Pigeon Forge this weekend or today.
19. Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster
Want something free or cheap to do in Gatlinburg? Take a trip to the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster! This family-friendly amusement ride puts you and your family in control. Designed to take you through some of the most beautiful scenery in the area, this thrill ride comes equipped with brakes—allowing you to see the scenery at your own pace. Enjoy this activity as one of top 10 things to do in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.
20. Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area
Not afraid of the cold? The Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park & Ski Area offers a number of family-friendly attractions at little cost to you. So looking for what to do in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg? Look no further and head to this amusement park, which is one of the best play areas in the USA.
From indoor ice skating to skiing areas, this great location will keep you and your family entertained. Only a short drive from Pigeon Forge, TN, this amazing ski park features an impressive 600-foot vertical drop.
Don’t Forget to Book Accommodation in Advance—Pigeon Forge is a busy tourist area, so make sure that you’ve reserved your room before you arrive. This will be especially helpful if you need any special accommodations for disabilities, larger parties, or children and seniors. You might need some time to figure out where to stay while you’re here and believe us, there are plenty of options.
Bring Appropriate Gear—Even if the Forecast Doesn’t Predict It—The weather in Pigeon Forge can be unpredictable at times; make sure that you come more than prepared. So search “what is the weather in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg” before you head out on your trip so you’re well-prepared.
Be Prepared When Traveling Up Mountains—Traveling up mountains can be difficult for some due to changes in air pressure because of rising altitudes. If you have any doubts about anyone in your party, check with a health professional to make sure they’re capable of making the journey. And traveling up the mountains ranks our top things to do here, so make sure you can do it safely before heading out to this adventure!