10 Best Things To Do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

If you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains of Gatlinburg for the first time, be sure to read this list featuring some of the best things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge during your stay.

Gatlinburg has become a popular tourist destination over the year, due to it being located close to Knoxville with tons of family activities and other things to do.

Without further ado, here are the 10 best things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennesse.

10. Wine and Shine Tasting Tour

Wine and Moonshine tasting tour in Gatlinburg

One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg is of course the local wine and moonshine tasting tour.

As you can expect, this wine and shine tour is intended for adults, though kids are welcome to tag along. Moonshine tastings have become one of Gatlinburg’s most popular pastimes. In the early twentieth century, the Appalachian habit of manufacturing moonshine in secret mountain stills became popular.

Immigrants from Scotland and Ireland who had settled in the mountains discovered that the plentiful maize and clean mountain streams were ideal for producing whiskey. In addition, the mountains provided ample cover for their illegal stills.

This moonshine sampling tour takes you around Gatlinburg’s distilleries. Learn how moonshine is traditionally made and maybe even get a behind-the-scenes look from a distiller.

You can take a bottle home with you if you wish to, thanks to a special price for tour participants.

9. Impossibilities Magic Show at the Iris Theater

Iris Theater family friendly magic show

A great family-friendly activity that the kids will love. If you enjoy magic shows or have never seen a magic show before, then the Impossibilities Magic Show at the Iris Theater is for you.

The show starts at 8 PM and you and the family will need around 1.5h of free time to enjoy the show.

As this is a popular show which takes place in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, tickets are likely to sell out so get ready for some Gatlinburg family fun and be sure to get tickets a few days in advance.

8. Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum in Pigeon Forge

When the Hollywood Wax Museum Entertainment Center opened in May 2012, Pigeon Forge gained a new top attraction that would be loved by many visitors.

The Hollywood wax museum is one of the best family activities in Pigeon Forge and has a few other branches across the country. It is also the largest wax museum dedicated solely to celebrities as the Hollywood Wax Museum was built as a tribute to the US film and television industry.

Get ready to take some unforgettable photos of celebrities you’ve dreamed of meeting. Guests can get up close and personal as the wax figures are not hidden behind glass.

The Hollywood Wax Museum is located at the crossroads of Parkway Boulevard and Showplace Boulevard. It’s about a 40-minute drive from Knoxville or a 25-minute trip from Gatlinburg.

If you wish to remain in Pigeon Forge overnight, there are a few motels within a mile of the museum. To avoid lineups, purchase tickets in advance online.

7. Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

best things to do for family fun in Pigeon Forge - Rocky Top Mountain Coaster

One of the best things to do in Pigeon Forge is the thrilling ride of the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster.

The Rocky Top Mountain Coaster is the longest alpine coaster in East Tennessee and the ride takes about 9 minutes to complete. It’s also the world’s first four-uplift alpine coaster, so hold on tight as you’re whisked up the mechanical track and whizzed down the slopes!

If you are looking for fun things to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge that fun for the entire family then look no further. Tickets are relatively cheap considering the length of the ride and you’ll be able to enjoy an incredibly unique experience.

This exciting alpine roller coaster will take you through the beautiful Smoky Mountains and you’ll be able to see the natural splendor of this well-known mountain range as you soar over the trees on a curving metal track.

As the wind rushes through your hair, keep an eye out for animals such as squirrels and deer. The rich woodland vistas will make your trip extremely special, especially when combined with the alpine ride’s exciting elements.

Although the ideal time to see the Smoky Mountain views is during the day, a night trip has its unique flavor of entertainment so why not take a ride both during the day and during the night?

6. Wild Bear Falls Water Park

Indoor waterpark in Gatlinburg - Wild Bear Falls Water Park

Visitors visiting Gatlinburg have a wide range of activities to choose from, but if you’re looking for indoor activities that the family can enjoy, the Wild Bear Falls Water Park in the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg is the perfect choice for you and your family!

A lazy river, hot tubs for soaking, and a pool built up for games like water basketball are also featured. There are also water attractions that are suitable for kids. One pool contains kid-sized slides, while the other is just a toddler-only water spray.

Outside food and beverages are not permitted inside the park, though there are food vendors and stalls inside. Floats are also prohibited though anyone who requests a life jacket will receive one for free. There are also rentable lockers to keep your belongings safe.

Wild Bear Falls Water Park is a terrific spot to enjoy warm water even during a Tennessee winter because it is fully indoors.

5. Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Area

Ober Gatlinburg Amusement Park and Ski Resort

Ober Gatlinburg is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Gatlinburg, especially with kids, and one of the best tourist attractions in the area.

It is not only home to an amusement park, but also to a ski resort. There’s also an indoor ice skating rink with snack bars and ice bumper cars, an alpine slide, as well as a ski mountain coaster, miniature golf courses, and child rides.

If you visit during the winter, do snow tubing, snowboarding, or skiing. You can also enjoy the park’s four-season attractions, which include a small zoo, a kiddie park, and a mountain coaster.

This action-packed amusement park is open every day of the year and for the best prices, be sure to go during the off-season.

4. Ghost and Haunt Tour of Gatlinburg

Ghost and haunt tour in Gatlinburg

One of the best things to do in Gatlinburg is the two-hour haunted walking tour Gatlinburg.

Gatlinburg has a mysterious past and become a hotspot for hauntings as one of Tennessee’s oldest communities, with more than its fair share of murders and inexplicable disappearances. Despite all the fun family activities in the area, maybe at night, you’ll want to keep an eye out just in case something spooky happens.

The ghost tour will take you on a tour of the city’s most haunted locales, including a 19th-century cemetery known for its strange nightly sounds. As the tour guide fills you in on local legends, you will be allowed to watch, listen, and observe.

Consider the Ghost Tour if you’re looking for something entertaining to do in Gatlinburg. It’ll give you the chills!

3. Dollywood

Dollywood by Dolly Parton

You have to see why Dollywood is one of the best theme parks in the country! Dollywood is a one-of-a-kind experience, from exhilarating rides to delectable food to unique stores.

Dolly Parton, the country music queen, is a co-owner of Dollywood.

This Pigeon Forge destination is fun for the whole family to visit. You’ll have a terrific time at the theme park with more than 40 rides and attractions.

Whether you go to see a show, ride a roller coaster, or eat Southern-style cuisine. If you’re looking for the best thing to do in Tennesse, don’t miss Dollywood’s Splash Country, where you can cool down on the water attractions or swim in the wave pool!

2. Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge

Titanic Museum - best thing to do in Pigeon Forge

If you want to know what it was like to be a passenger on the Titanic. Don’t be perplexed anymore. You can take a 2-hour self-guided tour of the Titanic Museum.

This two-story museum was built half-scale to give you the feeling of being an original passenger on the ship’s maiden voyage.

You’ll get a boarding ticket as soon as you walk in. Your ticket will have the name and travel class of one of the ship’s actual passengers, whose story you will hear about while you tour the museum.

During your tour to the museum, you can touch a real iceberg, climb the Grand Staircase, and try to stand on the sloping decks.

When you get to the Memorial Room, you’ll be able to find out what happened to the name on your boarding card. It is one of the most popular attractions and best things to do while you’re at Pigeon Forge. So, don’t miss it.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

It’s almost a crime to visit Gatlinburg and not visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which features picturesque mountains, valleys, hills, rivers, and flowers that bloom all year.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most beautiful destinations not only in Tenessee but in the United States. It has the highest number of tourists of any national park in the country.

Outdoor activities abound in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gatlinburg trail, biking, backpacking, camping, and fishing are all options.

You can also enjoy water tubing and even horseback riding. From every vantage point, you’ll be treated to stunning views of distant mountains and wildlife peering through the bush.

Another fantastic feature of the park is that it is completely free! Yes! It is one of the few national parks in the United States that is free to enter. Though you can use the button above to find a tour.

You won’t want to miss the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, whether you’re camping for the entire weekend, doing hiking trails or simply ascending a peak for the sunrise.

You’ll pass the Gatlinburg Scenic Overlook on your journey to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers stunning views of downtown Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

We’ve told you about some of the best things to do when you visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg but there are plenty of other things to try! Some of them that weren’t mentioned above are the Hollywood Star Cars Museum, Gatlinburg Space Needle, Mysterious Mansion, Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, and more!

If you’re unsure whether to stay in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, be sure to read out other article. While you won’t be able to pack all of the excitement into a single trip, you’ll have to return to the Smokies more than once to take in all of the action.

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Article by Kyle

Digital nomad since 2010. I spend my time traveling around the world learning about new cultures and languages. I've lived in 4 continents and still have a lot left to explore!