Sometimes, you just need to scratch that itch for a getaway, but instead of a romantic escape or family vacation, you simply need a group of your close friends to really relax, stress-free. Splitting the cost of a large Pigeon Forge cabin and the gas to get there makes the trip and stay much cheaper for everyone, providing extra cash to have fun hanging out with your tribe of people while shopping, fishing, ziplining, and enjoying activities like moonshine and wine tastings, amusement parks, and more!
Spend your time hanging out, playing games in the cabin, and sharing meals from your Pigeon Forge cabin’s fully loaded kitchen while reconnecting and making more lifelong memories as friends. While our amenity-packed cabins and the incredible beauty of the Smoky Mountains are great reasons to visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, it’s the people you surround yourself with that make all these awesome things to do in the Smokies even better! The Smokies is great year-round, but summertime is certainly a favorite for a reason!
So, what are you waiting for? Gather your usual suspects and try our Top 10 Things to Do On Your Summer Vacation in the Smoky Mountains!
1 – Enjoy roadtrip vibes along mountain roads.
Whether it’s your group’s iconic playlist or low music under conversations and laughter, the Smoky Mountains is a great place for a group of friends to sightsee, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and bond over the shared, awe-inspiring views. Take a scenic drive along incredibly gorgeous roads like Newfound Gap, Cades Cove Loop Road, and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. See majestic mountains looming over quiet historic cabin structures preserved by the National Park Service and hundreds of miles of streams babbling through the lush forestry of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Another great way to explore the Smokies is by UTV! Let your hair down and have a blast exploring the mountain roads and trails with ExoRent UTV rentals! Their street-legal rides are available for 2 hours or all day, and they can accommodate anywhere from 2 guests up to 6. They even have Bluetooth, cupholders, and more to make your ride the most comfortable and fun possible!
2 – Have fun at Foxfire Outdoor Adventure Park.
This is your one-stop shop for outdoor adventures with friends! From hiking to ziplining to ATV touring, Foxfire Mountain is 150 acres of incredible Smoky Mountain terrain owned and operated by a local family who has a passion for nature. Along the hiking trails, explorers will experience mildly rocky terrain along gorgeous rivers, sprawling pastures where llamas can be seen grazing, and lush mountain forestry surrounding picturesque waterfalls.
There are also suspension bridges through trees and over gorges, including the longest in the continental U.S., The Bridge to Prosperity, stretching longer than a football field in length and 70 feet above the Little Pigeon River.
3 – Have a night of growlers and games in the cabin,
The growth in the demand and popularity of craft beers has led to a boom in small local breweries testing their own hoppy and wheat concoctions, and the Smoky Mountains is no exception. Smoky Mountain Brewery is unique, however, in that guests can purchase growlers and mini-kegs to take home!
This makes for the perfect night in the cabin because no one has to be the designated driver and there’s plenty of space around the coffee table, the dining room, the deck, or the cabin’s lawn to play games like Cornhole, horseshoes, Catan, and Apples to Apples.
Be sure to tell everyone to pack their board, card, and outdoor games, and swing by Smoky Mountain Brewery in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg to sample their brews and take growlers or mini-kegs of the group’s favorites.
4 – Spend the day fishing and hunting.
Thousands of acres of forestry and 2,000 miles of streams provide prime environments for hunting and fishing. Hunting and fishing regulations along with license information and registration can be found on the Tennessee Wildlife Reserve Agency website. It’s the perfect hunting trip: ample wildlife, beautiful scenery, starry skies, concluded with bubbling hot tubs and rocking chairs at your own cozy Pigeon Forge cabin to get rejuvenated after a few days of hunting and fishing.
5 – Enjoy cultural experiences.
If you and your friends love the arts or appreciate authentic cultural finds, you won’t want to miss out on a hidden gem just 3 miles outside of downtown Gatlinburg: The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community. Established in 1937 as a way for the growing crowds to come buy directly from the artisans’ shops rather than lugging their work into town, this 8-mile loop is the country’s largest and oldest independent group of artisans. Watch the craftsmen and women work and peruse a wide array of handicrafts such as candles, stained glass, baskets, rocking chairs, leather goods, and more!
6 – Take in the nightlife in Gatlinburg.
Hit the town after all the families with younger children have made their way back home to enjoy a night out in Gatlinburg with friends singing karaoke at the Shamrock’s Lounge and dancing at Club 812 along the Parkway. Hang out at a more laid-back scene before 10 p.m. at Blaine’s Grill and Bar or hit up Hogg’s Upstairs Tavern to play some pool while sipping brews and overlooking the city on the rooftop patio. There is a ton of nightlife to enjoy while vacationing with friends, and more importantly, without the kids! There is also kid-friendly nightlife, including dinner shows (Dolly Parton’s Stampede and the Lumberjack Feud are favorites)!
7 – Go whitewater rafting on the Pigeon River.
This is a group activity favorite during the warmer months in East Tennessee. Thrilling and serenely beautiful all in one, a whitewater rafting trip down the class III and IV rapids of the Pigeon River is incredibly fun and a great way to explore the great outdoors with friends! Experience rapids like Powerhouse, Lost Guide, and Double Reactionary with one of the top-rated companies in the Smokies, Wildwater Rafting, before heading back for showers and a hearty meal in downtown Pigeon Forge.
8 – Enjoy shopping and playing at The Island.
The Island in Pigeon Forge is one of the newer attractions to the area, supplying the skyline with The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and unique stops like the musical fountains and The Escape Game. Shop cool brands like the Tervis store before hitting up The Fudgery to try some of the best fudge in the Smoky Mountain area! Enjoy treats from Cinnabon while enjoying the incredible light and water extravaganza from a rocking chair by The Island Show Fountain.
9 – Tour the Rocky Top Wine Trail.
The Rocky Top Wine Trail is a day of cheap fun with wine; can it get any better? This self-guided tour includes 6 of the area’s top, award-winning wineries in Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg. Each winery has its own specialty and personality, and a few, like Mountain Valley Winery, offer free tours from 12 p.m.- 5 p.m. daily. Spend a day touring Smoky Mountain wine country or spread them out over a couple of days, but be sure to get your “passport” stamped because 3 stamps earn you a complimentary gift! If wine isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of distilleries for moonshine and whiskey!
10 – Spend a day of family fun at Dollywood.
What’s more fun on a summer day than roller coasters and thrill rides, cooling off with ice cream and sweet treats, enjoying Southern foods, listening to live country music, and watching musicals at the classic Dollywood theme park?! There are so many fun things to do here, and there are plenty of family-friendly amenities, too. Mothers will find comfortable nursing stations, and Dollywood offers accommodations for all guests. And don’t forget about Dollywood’s Splash Country water park for more fun activities like waterslides, water features, and more for cooling off!
A few more ideas…
Need more summer activities to keep the whole family happy in Pigeon Forge? Step back in time at the Titanic Museum Attraction, ride the alpine coaster, drive go-karts at The Track, have laughs at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, play mini golf, ride a mountain coaster with mountain views, stop by The Old Mill, play at WonderWorks, putt around at Crave Golf, go horseback riding, cool off at Pigeon Forge Snow, visit the Ripley’s family of attractions, or try something unique with zorbing at the Outdoor Gravity Park! It will be a summer celebration to remember!