Tag Archives: first time in the Smokies

New to the Smokies? Here’s What You Should Know

Is it your first time visiting the Smokies? Ready to dip your toe in the streams of the Great Smoky Mountains, gallivant around Gatlinburg, or play in Pigeon Forge all day? If you’ve never been to Pigeon Forge before, we have some helpful tips and tricks for navigating the area – from shopping, dining, and cabin rentals to events, shows, and attractions! Our insider tips will have you making your way around the area in no time – and making the most of your hard-earned money and vacation time. And who knows? It may end up being your go-to vacation destination and tradition for years to come. 

Tips + Tricks for Navigating Pigeon Forge
We’ve been in the Smokies for a long time, and we spend our days – and nights – focused on all things related to Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg. We LOVE Pigeon Forge, and we have plenty of inside tips and tricks to help you during your first time in the Smokies. 

Avoid the crowds
Don’t love fighting the busy streets and shops? Instead of planning your trip during a holiday or busy season, try going in the off season. Times when kids are in school are not as busy, and mid-week stays save you money too! 

Hop aboard the trolleys
A great way to get around Pigeon Forge is by riding the trolleys, which keep you from having to drive through traffic and find parking spaces. The Pigeon Forge trolleys stop at dozens of places throughout the area, and fares start at just $0.50 – perfect for any budget. 

Plan for weather | Packing + Driving
The weather in the mountains can change a lot – and quickly. Packing in light layers is the best way to go when heading to Pigeon Forge. You can easily add or take off when you’re hiking, spending the day going in and out of attractions, or just strolling along the Parkway. If you’re coming in winter, be sure you check the weather ahead of time to be prepared for road closures, tricky mountain roads, and more. Many of our cabins are located on winding, steep mountain roads, so you should plan your transportation accordingly. 

Book well in advance
From cabins to attractions, booking in advance will help ensure you get the vacation YOU want. Book your cabin ahead of time to get the perfect fit for your getaway – cozy 1-bedroom for a honeymoon or romantic retreat, a fun family-size cabin, a pet-friendly cabin, a budget-friendly property, a luxury lodge, or even a large group lodge for retreats or reunions. Book tickets for shows and attractions in advance so you save time when you arrive and know you won’t miss out on the must-do things. 

Know your events
The Pigeon Forge community calendar is always packed with things to do. That can affect your vacation in more than one way. 1) You can plan your vacation around an event, meaning you’ll be planning to come for that specific event. Check out our blog or browse our site to find events that may interest you! 2) You can plan your trip to avoid an event, if you want to make sure you’re not going to be fighting traffic for an event you won’t be going to. 

Be bear safe
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park – and sometimes the trees around a cabin, a picnic spot, or even downtown – is home to many black bears. It’s important to understand how to stay safe around black bears. A few quick tips include:

  • NEVER approach a black bear (or any wild animal)
  • Stay 50 yards (150 feet) away from bears in the park; getting closer is illegal
  • If a bear changes behavior around you, back away slowly
  • Never feed a bear or wild animal and keep food secure while out
  • Don’t leave food or trash lying around – this will attract bears

Pigeon Forge – Things to Do
There are SO MANY things to do in Pigeon Forge, and being a first-time visitor is an exciting thing! You get to experience all the things so many people love about the area with a fresh pair of eyes! Here are just a few top Pigeon Forge attractions you can check out.

  • Dollywood Theme Park + Dollywood’s Splash Country
  • The Escape Game – breakout game at The Island 
  • The Island – Pigeon Forge shops, Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, restaurants, and more 
  • Cades Cove – 11-mile loop road with historic buildings and scenery
  • Dolly Parton’s Stampede – dinner show 
  • Titanic Museum Attraction
  • WonderWorks Pigeon Forge – hands-on education exhibits 
  • Hollywood Wax Museum
  • Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster 
  • Goats on the Roof 
  • Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show 
  • Zorbing at Outdoor Gravity Park Pigeon Forge 
  • Flyaway Indoor Skydiving 
  • The Track – go karts 
  • Arcades, laser tag, go karts, mini golf, old-time photos, and more! 

Pigeon Forge Food + Shopping
Pigeon Forge has the full lineup: outlet stores, local art galleries, unique shops, As Seen On TV stores, and stores devoted to everything from cast iron cooking and dolls to Western wear and gadgets. Some area favorites include:

  • The Old Mill Square
  • Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall
  • The Island – Pigeon Forge
  • Three Bears General Store 
  • Tanger Outlets Sevierville 

As far as food goes, you’ll have your pick as well. Southern staples. Italian favorites. Asian cuisine. Mexican meals. German specialties. And desserts on desserts on desserts. Some favorite Pigeon Forge restaurants include:

  • Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin
  • Local Goat 
  • The Old Mill
  • Poynor’s Pomme Frites
  • J.T. Hannah’s Kitchen
  • Bennett’s Pit Bar-b-que
  • Bullfish Grill 
  • Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

Pigeon Forge, TN Cabins
Maybe the first thing you’ll do when you start planning your trip is find a place to stay. Instead of booking a hotel, we have a suggestion: book a Pigeon Forge, TN cabin. Why? For one, hotels are bland and often uncomfortable, and they’re almost never a great pick for a group. Our cabins in Pigeon Forge offer a personal touch, some awesome amenities, and space for a group! We have talented vacation specialists that know the area and can help you find the perfect cabin and plan your trip. So why a cabin instead of a hotel? 

Cabin Amenities

  • Private Indoor Pools
  • Outdoor Hot Tubs
  • Home Theaters
  • Game Tables + Arcade Units
  • Big Screen TVs
  • Fireplaces – wood-burning, gas, and electric
  • Fully Equipped Kitchens
  • Gas/Charcoal Grills
  • King + Queen + Bunk Beds
  • Wi-Fi