By Rachel Hoeing

Pigeon Forge can be a great family trip at any time of year. We traveled to the area in July 2016 and had a blast! I previously wrote a blog specifically about Dollywood, which you can read here. Today I hope to share additional tips with you about the Pigeon Forge area that will help you plan a fun weekend for you and your children. It is only 3.5 to 5 hours from the Triad!

Where to Stay

I was able to get some great feedback from friends on hotels in the area, and many suggested the Marriott Springhill Suites. As you will see from the website, it is beautiful. Great location as well. I also had friends recommend The Inn at Christmas Place. This hotel looked absolutely amazing and what a joy it would be to visit in November and December!

If you really want to live large, Dollywood’s Dream Hotel is the way to go. From the reviews on the website it looks like you would never even need to leave the resort!

0717160907Although those recommendations were great, for this trip, we were looking to save a little bit of money on our hotel, so we ended up choosing The Best Western Plaza Inn. I had braced myself for the worst since it was a lot cheaper than the other hotels, but not only did we save quite a chunk of money, but we were pleasantly surprised by the spacious rooms and three options of pools on the grounds! Staff was courteous and very friendly. Our stay also included continental breakfast each morning, which was extremely crowded, but again, helped save some money by not going out to eat.

What to Do

If you have never been to Pigeon Forge, you may be surprised to discover that it is almost like a “mini-Vegas!” I was shocked at the excitement and hustle and bustle of the main street through town. I honestly thought we would be out in the middle of nowhere, but not even close. The main street, Parkway Drive, hosts a wide assortment of restaurants, hotels and attractions. This website has a virtual map of the different venues along the main drive.

signYou may have read my Dollywood blog a couple weeks ago. This was the highlight of our trip. You can easily spend two days in the park and even a third day at the water park if time allots. The park was very clean, included options of rides for all ages of children, and has a wide variety of shows and other entertainment. For more details on Dollywood as well as plenty of tips for your family, click here.

One of my children’s favorite spots to visit was TopJump. At first, I thought it was going to be a trampoline park just like the other ones in our area and wasn’t excited about going there when we had the same options at home. BUT, we quickly discovered that topjumpthere is nothing like TopJump in the Triad. Not only does this venue include the traditional trampoline park attractions, but it has a section of sky-high climbing adventures, called Clip ’n Climb. This is the section my children chose to explore. They had so much fun and talked about it the entire next day. Even their friends who were a little hesitant to “climb” at the beginning of the visit, were racing to the top of climbing walls by the time their session was over. TopJump also includes an arcade area and Sugar Rush Candy Store, which is an attraction all in itself. The best part of all is that you can climb the stairs to the second floor of the building and a find tables and chairs to relax and view your children in any area of the facility. Super cool!

olesmokeyThe Island in Pigeon Forge is another must-see. It reminds me somewhat of Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, for those of you familiar with that area. You can enjoy plenty of restaurants and food trucks. There is plenty of shopping including a Build-A-Bear workshop, sports stores, clothing, Paula Deen’s store, boutiques and specialty shops. You can also enjoy time at the St. Somewhere Spa, and Ol Smokey Moonshine Barn which hosts a tasting bar and live music. There are also tons of games, rides, and attractions that your children will be sure to love, like bumper cars, ropes course, gem mines, train rides, and an arcade.

If your family enjoys the outdoors, check out the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We did not have time to visit this area on our trip, but it has been suggested by many for the next time we go. You can check out everything it has to offer on the website above.

There was so much more to do in the area, but sadly we had only planned for a three-day trip. If you have been to Pigeon Forge and have visited any one of the hundred other attractions in the area, comment below and let us know which were your favorites!

Get other vacation and weekend trip ideas HERE!

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