An ideal vacation destination for the budget traveler, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, offers a variety of FREE things to do in summer with the whole family! You can watch a spectacular fountain show, peruse loads of unique and interactive shops, watch master crafters at work, follow a greenway trail, swim at a splashy lake, and picnic by a refreshing river…for starters.
Plus, Pigeon Forge TN Cabins offers plenty of budget-friendly cabin rentals that feature relaxing and fun amenities, including hot tubs, big screen TVs, games, and mountain views. Start planning your memorable — and affordable — summer vacation in the Smoky Mountains without breaking your budget.
Hang Out at Shopping & Entertainment Complexes
You don’t have to spend wads of cash to keep family and friends entertained in Pigeon Forge. There are quite a few shopping and entertainment complexes that you can wander around for free, browsing shops, checking out local crafts, and taking in the mountain scenery.
- Shops with interactive elements, a state-of-the-art show fountain, free parking, and admission, plus pet-friendly perks make The Island a great place to spend the day. Got $5 to spare? Sample a little Ole Smoky Moonshine — the bartenders are a hoot and a half!
- Celebrate Christmas in July at The Incredible Christmas Place! Step inside to another world filled with Christmas cheer all year. Watch the train set above, explore a treasure trove of holiday goodies, ooh and ahh at magical displays, and get a few ideas for presents…it’s never too early!
- Peruse The Old Mill Square that features mountain shops and a working grist mill right on the Little Pigeon River. Walk down and dip your toes in the river, toss a wish into the fountain, watch a master blacksmith mold metal, and see homemade taffy being made.
- As the largest group of independent artisans in the country, The Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community is a must-visit in neighboring Gatlinburg. Pop into shops along the 8-mile loop to check out one-of-a-kind masterpieces and even see the crafters at work. Many will even pause for a chat and answer questions about their craft.
- New to the area, The Mountain Mile & Tower Shops is an up-and-coming complex that boasts many stores to window shop, tons of space to stretch your legs, and rides to keep you entertained. Best of all, they host free movie on the lawn events in summer!
Play at Patriot Park & Stroll Along the Little Pigeon River
Next to Pigeon Forge Trolley Station and The Old Mill, Patriot Park is a beautiful place to take a stroll or set up a picnic in the mountains. Set out sandwiches, chips, and fruit under the pavilion, or layout a blanket on the grass to sunbathe on nice summer days.
Walking around the park, check out flags from all 50 states plus the armed forces, the Patriot Missile (from the First Gulf War), veteran memorials, and a replica Liberty Bell. Continue onto the RiverWalk Greenway, a walking and cycling trail that winds along the Little Pigeon River, through The Island, and around the old City Park loop across 4 miles.
Swim, Paddle & Play at Douglas Lake
Bring your boats, fishing gear (valid TN fishing license required), floats, and swimsuits to splash at Douglas Lake, just a few miles northeast of downtown Pigeon Forge. Boasting nearly 513 of shoreline, there’s plenty of room for summertime vacationers to spread out and share the cool waters.
If you’re up for a lakeside vacation this summer, Pigeon Forge TN Cabins has properties right on Douglas Lake! With your own cabin on the water, you’ll save on gas and time. Simply wake up, change into your fishing or swimming gear and hit the lake with family, friends, and pets.
Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A top place to visit for vacationers on a budget in Pigeon Forge is the free-to-enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park. As the most-visited national park in the country, it’s a beautiful place to spend time in the great outdoors.
FREE Things to Do in the National Park
- Hike 800+ miles of trails, some to dazzling waterfalls
- Picnic by a stunning river at Greenbrier or in Cades Cove
- Fly fish for rainbow trout (valid TN fishing license required)
- Take scenic drives in Cades Cove, Roaring Fork, and Newfound Gap
- Spot black bears, white-tailed deer, and birds
- Ride bicycles on paved roads in Cades Cove, Greenbrier, and Tremont
- Visit Clingman’s Dome, the highest point in the national park
Budget-Friendly Cabins in Pigeon Forge
A great option for the budget-conscious is staying at a budget-friendly cabin rental in Pigeon Forge. By choosing a more affordable place to stay on vacation, you’ll keep more cash in your pocket and have greater peace of mind.
Not to mention, all our properties have fully equipped kitchens so you can save even more on dining out by cooking at your Pigeon Forge cabin. And you’ll get bonus amenities to enjoy while away! Soak tired muscles in a bubbly hot tub, enjoy serene mountain views, sip lemonade in a rocker, play pool and foosball, watch movies on a big screen TV, and make s’mores around a firepit.
- Mountain/wooded/river views
- Hot tub
- Pool/foosball table
- Big screen TV
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Gas/charcoal grill
- Outdoor/picnic table
- Porch swing
- Indoor jetted tubs
- King/queen/full/twin beds
- TV in every bedroom
- High speed Wi-Fi
- Washer and dryer
Summertime beckons budget travelers with loads of fun — and FREE — activities for all ages in Pigeon Forge. Start planning your vacation before school starts, temps drop, and summer ends.