Balance is something I like to try and keep in mind while traveling with my family – which includes two young children. They like to spend our travel time playing at parks, riding rides, and going full energy. Mom and dad, on the other hand, look to experience beautiful sights, calming scenery and maybe spend a little time browsing the eclectic downtown shops. Can a balance between these two opposites be found? Our experience is yes, especially in Pigeon Forge Tennessee – a fun filled exuberant city surrounded by the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Family Fun in Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Overlooking the city from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is an excellent travel choice for families looking to experience it all – fun filled adventures and beautiful natural scenery. The booming city, which includes the Dollywood theme park, go-cart venues, nightly entertainment and shows, museum attractions and other high energy fun, is situated within a picturesque setting surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains. The view of the mountains is not only visible from the area attractions, but is easy to discover up close by wandering through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park either by car or foot. Because this area has been said to offer “the best of both worlds”, we simply couldn’t wait to make a stop to explore it during our recent road trip to Florida.

High Energy Fun

My family loves a good adventure and we love having good old fashioned fun. This made Pigeon Forge TN a must-experience stop on our list! When we arrived to “the strip,” which essentially is a divided street with businesses lined up along both sides, the kids squealed with excitement from the back seat. They immediately made a list of what they wanted to do first.

Wonderworks Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Exploring Wonderworks in Pigeon Forge, TN. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom


The first stop we agreed upon was Wonderworks – an inside attraction which included hands-on entertainment such as a rock wall, small rides, obstacle courses and mind defying puzzles. My kids, even though being younger at ages 5 and 8, found no trouble taking part in the fun adventures that the attraction had to offer. They even made their way up to the ceiling of the structure on the attractions vertical obstacle course. Parental supervision was required, of course.

Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge, TN. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

After leaving Wonderworks, we made our way over to the Titanic Museum, which is shaped like the actual vessel and houses artifacts from the ship as well as stories about its passengers. While I worried that the kids wouldn’t enjoy the time I wanted to take exploring this attraction, I found that the museum does a wonderful job engaging kids with hands-on sections of the museum and a story of a lost dog which they can listen to by headphones.

Family Fun in Pigeon Forge Tennessee

Playing at The Track in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

When we exited back out into the beautiful warm sunshine, we decided that an outdoor activity was just what we needed next. Luckily, there was no lack of things to do outside and we decided to grab some tickets to take a few rides around at The Track. The Track is an outdoor go cart track which includes different courses for different age groups. There is also staff on hand to keep things moving properly and to help kids learn to drive the carts on their own. There was also a two story track which my husband took to, grinning just as big as the kids did as he made his laps around.

If we would have had more time I would have loved to explore the nightly entertainment and comedy shows, the wax museum and taken a ride down a hill in a giant inflatable ball – all things available in the area of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Natural Picturesque Beauty and Relaxation

After tiring out the kids with some high energy fun, the parents were excited to enjoy some of the abundant natural beauty that surrounds the city in the Great Smoky Mountains Natural Park. We were happy to find several look out points with parking along the road, plus babbling rivers and waterfalls often within sight.

Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

While camping is something many families enjoy doing in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, we opted to stay within the city of Pigeon Forge but still with a beautiful view. Our hotel during our stay was the Inn on the Riverwhich is actually situated overlooking a beautiful tree lined river. The view of the river was both enjoyable from our private room balcony or it could be enjoyed outside from the riverside pool, picnic tables or outside covered seating.

The Inn on the River Review Pigeon Forge Tennessee

The Inn on the River. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

Just before heading in for the night we decided to head over to The Island, an outdoor shopping area which also includes a musical fountain show and several notable restaurants. There was also a Ferris wheel, a few other small rides and a toy shop here too, that the kids persuaded us to enjoy with them.

Family fun in Pigeon Forge TN

The Island – shopping and restaurants in Pigeon Forge, TN. Photo by Mary Moore / Retro TravelingMom

When was the last time you explored Pigeon Forge, Tennessee? What ended up being your favorite attraction or sight?

Family Travel Pigeon Forge, TN