Today’s blog post is sponsored by Pigeon Forge. As with all my stories I share, all opinions are not influenced and wholly my own.
When you are looking to plan a family vacation, what types of things do you look for?
| For some families it’s being in nature, relaxing, exploring and discovering all the beautiful things around us. Perhaps swimming in clear streams, floating, rafting or fishing are high on the list.
| Maybe your family loves fun destinations with shopping, amazing food and plenty of indoor places to explore.
| What if your family loves adventure? Maybe you search out destinations that offer all the thrills.
| Or maybe you are a theme park family and plan your vacation destinations around the non-stop merriment that theme parks offer.
What if I told you that there is a place, nestled in the Smoky Mountains that offers all of that plus some?!!! During our recent visit to Pigeon Forge we experienced everything on the list above, and then some! It truly had something for every single family. And clearly, it isn’t a secret because Pigeon Forge was hopping with families busy making memories just like we were. Over the next two weeks I’ll be sharing lots of more detailed posts about our adventures, but this post will highlight all the amazing things that made us LOVE Pigeon Forge and why we will be back many times in the future.
Since we love good road trips, it was just a natural fit to make the drive from Arkansas to Pigeon Forge. If you live in the South, North East or even mid-West, you might be shocked to learn that Pigeon Forge is actually closer than you might think. We made the drive in one long day and even had happy kids when I arrived. We quickly settled into a cute little place outside Pigeon Forge, close to the Smoky Mountain National Park.
Day One – Nature
Our first day we spent the entire day in the National Park. It was perfect. We had a barbecue right next the stream, chased fireflies, went swimming, played with crawfish, played games and just enjoyed being in beautiful place together. It was a perfect day to start our vacation with as the other days were all going to be packed full!
Day Two – Attractions
Day two started with us heading to Sawyer’s Farmhouse Breakfast for breakfast. After doing some research due to our food allergies, Sawyer’s was highly praised and it didn’t disappoint. We were able to get gluten-free, dairy-free pancakes, eggs and bacon and it was delicious! Only a few bites in, the kids were already asking if we could return before we left. I’ll cover our food allergies and more about the restaurants in a separate post, but needless to say, everyone left happy and completely full! If your family enjoys pancakes, Sawyer’s Farmhouse is a place to add to your list.
Now that everyone was feed and happy, the adventures were set to begin. We headed to the upside down house to see all the things Wonderworks had to offer. I will start off by saying it is on the louder side and my four year old struggled with the noise. The other children, could have spent days here. The rock wall was one of the first things the big kids attempted. It took Austin two tries but he was very determined to make it to the top to hit the red buzzer, and he did! Addie was content with just trying it, and since she is less on the adventurous side, I was proud of her for just trying it. The space room was a huge hit, as was laying on the bed of nails, the bubble room and the larger than life Wonder Brite. Our absolute favorites were the interactive sandbox, the roller coaster simulator and the giant piano. We should have planned a full day at Wonderworks, but it was enough to know that the kids absolutely want to come back.
Then we headed across the street to the Hollywood Wax Museum. It had been a few years since we visited the Hollywood Wax Museum in Branson so it was fun for the kids to pose with the life-like movie scenes. Even the movies they had not seen were fun because almost every single scene had fun props and places set up for photos.
After our fun-filled day we headed to Eagle’s Ridge to check-into our cabin. It was a large four bedroom, four bathroom cabin equipped with everything we needed to have a home away from home during our stay in Pigeon Forge. While hotels can be nice for vacations, with four children, it is always exciting to have the extra room to really sprawl out and relax at the end of the day. Each bedroom had a king size bed and bathroom attached. The full kitchen made the meals we ate at the cabin a breeze and the beautiful secluded decks were perfect for morning and evenings.
Day Three – Theme Park
Day three was a full day at Dollywood. As soon as Dollywood was mentioned as a possibility, my children were hooked. We could not visit Pigeon Forge and NOT visit Dollywood. Being close to their sister park, Silver Dollar City, the kids knew without a shadow of a doubt, they would love it. We spent from opening to almost closing at the park.
You could easily spend a couple of days at Dollywood. There are rides and shows for every single age group. The younger children loved driving the 50s cars, riding the Shooting Star, the Piggies, the Amazing Elephants and so many others. The bigger kids loved the bumper cars, the swings and our last ride of the night, Thunderhead, It started to rain so we headed out to the van thinking the Fireworks would be cancelled but it was a pleasant surprise to see them light up the sky as we were just about to leave.
Day Four – Food, Fun & Shopping
Day four was spent at the Island in Pigeon Forge. This is tucked away off the main strip and has everything from unique shopping at the Five and Dime and Build-A-Bear to plenty of amazing places to eat to thrill experiences. We first took a stroll around to see everything that was offered and decided to ride The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel first. It truly gives you an amazing view of the entire area. The gondolas seated our entire party, were air-conditioned and were perfect to experience the views. We decided to have lunch at Margaritaville. It was delicious and again, they were amazing with our food allergies. The atmosphere was fun and had lively music playing, which is always great because I don’t have to worry about the noise the children make.
Next up was the rope courses. One glance at the rope course and Austin was hooked, literally. The course was the perfect combination of bridges, ropes, ziplines and even a free-fall jump at the end to land. After his first trek, he couldn’t wait to go again. For the smaller kiddos in your party, they even have a mini rope course underneath the larger one so they don’t miss out. They were adding a small roller-coaster during our stay, which is now open and also have other rides, a jump area and an interactive 7-D adventure as well.
After our full day at the Island at Pigeon Forge we headed to check out the Titanic Museum. Just the exterior of the building is a fun site. We have visited the Titanic Museum in Branson, so we had an idea what to expect. The grand staircase is recreated, along with so many artifacts from the ship. It’s a great way to experience history and see part of the heartbreaking story come to life.
Day Five – Thrills
Day five we tackled the Outdoor Gravity park and the The Track at Pigeon Forge. Riding the giant OGO ball down the hill may not seem that adventurous, but it sure was thrilling. Be prepared to get wet, but the laughs and giggles were all worth it.
We dined for lunch at Harpoon Harry’s CrabHouse and it was delicious! Since we ate at a later time of day, it was quieter and we were thankful. My kids really get into their crab and can never get enough. They loved that our food was served in giant buckets with everything thrown inside. The crab was fresh and delicious and again, we had no problems with our food allergies. They even had a menu specific for those that are gluten-free.
The Track took me back to being a kid again myself. There are multiple go-cart tracks for various degrees of adventure, all the way down to the youngest in your group. Caleb didn’t ride any of the go-carts but loved the mini fair rides in between watching everyone race. Smiles were plastered across everyone’s faces as the sun started to set and we called it an evening.
At the end of the day, we were all tired but we had made enough memories to fill our hearts. We wished we could have stayed longer because there was so much more to do and see but leaving so much still left to do means we will get to return again in the future.
Truly no matter what type of vacation your family desires, it can all be found in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!
Stay tuned for more details about our adventures and check out what eating with food allergies was like in Pigeon Forge.