You work hard to save up for vacation, so you want to make the most of it. While Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has tons of things to do across the board, it’s also a great place if you’re looking for free things or budget-friendly options on your getaway. Theme parks, escape rooms, dinner shows, and big-ticket attractions are great options when you save up, but you’ll likely want some free or cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge to sprinkle in!
Whether you love outdoor fun, shopping for deals (check the Tanger Outlets in Sevierville), cheap eats, or unique fun for less, we’ve got you covered! Read on to find our top free and cheap things to do in Pigeon Forge, along the Pakway – and beyond!
Picnic in Patriot Park
This park honoring those who’ve served in the military features a ½-mile walking trail, flags of the 50 states, veteran memorials, and a gazebo and pavilion (available first-come, first-serve). It’s a peaceful place to spend an afternoon walking, picnicking, and honoring those who have given so much.
Drive the Loop in Cades Cove
This 11-mile loop is one of the best places to view wildlife and see historic buildings in the area. Take the scenic drive on a quiet day, and pack snacks so you can stop and enjoy some time among nature.
Go on a Hike!
Make your way to a waterfall, hike to a mountain vista, or stroll easy trails through wildflowers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Along with many miles of hiking trails, the park offers some nice gift shops for national park gear and gifts to take home as well!
Climb up Mt. LeConte
This steep hike (Alum Cave Trail) is worth the climb when you get to the views at the top. Along the way, you’ll see rock outcroppings, and huge diversity of flora, and more.
Go See a Show (free kids)
While they aren’t free for adults, kids get in free at several of the shows around town. At Country Tonite, you get even more bang for your buck. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Lap kids also get in free most shows, so call ahead to check.
Stroll Around The Old Mill Square
Check out the historic Old Mill and stroll the grounds before spending just a little dough on homemade ice cream or treating yourself to a meal at the Old Mill Restaurant.
Play Pool and Foosball in Your Cabin
If you’ve rented a cabin with game tables, you won’t even have to leave the cabin rental to have some fun. We have cabins with everything from pool, foosball, and air hockey tables to arcade games, dart boards, and video game consoles.
Soak in Your Hot Tub
What more can we say? End your busy days with a soothing soak in the hot waters of your hot tub on the deck, looking out over the mountains or surrounded by the peacefulness of the trees. It’s a perk almost all of our Pigeon Forge cabins offer!
Explore the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community
The largest group of independent artisans in the country, this community is situated on an 8-mile loop that’s home to dozens of unique shops with photographs, paintings, baskets, birdhouses, quilts, clothing, jewelry, toys, candles, foods, and so much more. And it doesn’t cost a thing to browse!
Window Shop at The Village Shops in Gatlinburg
Feel the old-world charm of The Village, home to 27 unique shops featuring everything from cheese and donuts to Thomas Kinkade artwork and hiking gear. As you browse, enjoy the lovely landscaping, fountain, and beautiful brick buildings. There is truly a shop for the whole family!
Get 2 Days at Dollywood – For the Price of One
While Dollywood isn’t free, they do offer a lesser-known deal that will stretch your money further. If you arrive after 3 p.m. and buy a 1-day ticket, you can get in the next day for FREE! And because they’re open past dark (check the website for seasonal hours), that gives you plenty of time to play.
Taste Moonshine at a Local Distillery
In recent years, several distilleries have popped up in the Smokies. Stop by Ole Smoky Distillery, Sugarlands Distilling Company, Doc Collier Moonshine, or Old Forge Distillery for a taste of the mountains in flavors like apple pie, strawberry, lemon drop, and blackberry. Those 21+ can enjoy free tastings or cheap tastings, making it one of the most affordable activities!
Watch the Show Fountains at The Island
FREE and fun, the show fountain at The Island is surrounded by dozens of rocking chairs where you can sit down and watch the water dance.
Listen to live music at the Ole Smoky Holler
Tap your toes to the sounds of talented local musicians while you sip on moonshine, get some Bootleggers Homemade Wine, enjoy a moonshine tasting, or just sit back in the rocking chairs and relax at Ole Smoky Moonshine.
Drive the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Right next to Cades Cove, this is easily the most popular scenic drive in the area on Pigeon Forge vacations. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is FREE and will take you past awesome scenery and to some of the most fabulous overlooks around.
Take the FREE Gatlinburg Trolley (in Summer)
Each summer, Gatlinburg offers free trolley rides around town. Check their website for details about which trolleys are free during your stay, and you’ll have a fun, easy, and cheap way to get around town.
Play at the Pigeon Forge Community Center
Offering daily and weekly passes for visitors, the Pigeon Forge Community Center is a great place to get out some energy. They offer many fun things, including basketball courts, a racquetball court, a bowling alley, a pool (and baby pool), a childcare center, and workout equipment if you want to sweat it out while away.
Swim in Your Private Indoor Pool
Book a cabin with its own pool for your Smoky Mountain vacation and you’ll have endless FREE entertainment at the cabin. Some cabins even offer access to community mini golf!
Have Movie Night – In the Cabin
Several of our cabins boast private home theaters with big screen TVs, Blu-ray players, surround sound, and even theater-style seating! Just pop some popcorn, bring your favorite candy and drinks, and forget the high-priced night out at the theater. But even if your cabin doesn’t have a dedicated movie room, you’ll likely have a nice TV and DVD player for fun movie nights.
Check out the Sugarlands Visitor Center
Offering more than just maps and park info, the Sugarlands Visitor Center offers ranger-led programs, a free 20-minute movie, and exhibits showing guests all about the area.