The best of Pigeon Forge for Family Travel

About a month ago we vacationed in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with the family and some friends, and I’m finally getting this travel post up… in time for all the holiday travels! 

Now though, I’m hearing of snowfalls, and wishing I were back there this moment, there is just something about reliving the memories through photos.

While there is SO much to do and see in Pigeon Forge, and you can see some of our previous adventures in the area here, it can be hard to decide what to do and where to go. Since the city already has such a draw for tourists and so many ways to spend your time, I’m going to share the highlights of our trip and some definite MUST DO’s when traveling to Pigeon Forge with kids!

Plus, it was just so much fun… I’m even putting together a short travel diary vlog of our time there! Coming soon 🙂

WHERE TO STAY IN PIGEON FORGE WITH KIDS

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For this trip, we happened to say at the RiverStone Resort & Spa, and let me tell you, it was amazing! We were in a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and a living room with a fireplace. It really couldn’t get more cozy and comfortable, and especially with the room to spread out. 

RiverStone is close enough to all of the entertainment, eating and shopping as well as hiking… so it was the perfect location for relaxing without being too far away from all the places we wanted to explore and enjoy.

After long days of adventure and hiking, it’s nice to come back to a place with a little breathing room. I could lay Aria down without worrying if the rest of the kids watching a movie would keep her up. We could make breakfast in the kitchen and saunter out into our day (and with four kids, that makes a huge difference!).

Plus, the resort has a lazy river (for the summer months), an indoor pool (which was under renovation while we were there, but we definitely wanted to take a swim) and an arcade that we totally took advantage of on a rainy afternoon! Okay, I’m SO ready to go back, and it was just one of those places we really didn’t want to leave!

WHERE TO DINE IN PIGEON FORGE WITH KIDS

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This was a great place to fill our hungry bellies. Delicious pizza, authentic Italian and super friendly owners and staff! We were able to spread out and even with the gaggle of kids, we were still welcomed and felt right at home. 

SO good!!!!!! I’m a BBQ lover and this place didn’t disappoint. After a long day of hiking, Bennett’s totally hit the spot. And the kids LOVED the salad bar… okay we all did. 🙂

Since it was pretty chilly, we skipped the ice cream (though it really looked amazing) and took an entire box of doughnuts with us. After choosing a wide range of flavors, I didn’t even know which one to eat… so we cut a few in half and totally indulged; it was so good!

Our first stop of the trip was for a wine tasting, and we ended up bringing some bottles home with us for the holidays. Besides just having a GREAT time with the super friendly staff, it was fun tasting their specialty wines, seeing how it’s all made… and then we had such a great time, we went back later in the week for the Apple Fritters from Applewoods (you CAN’T miss those!!).

WHAT TO DO IN PIGEON FORGE WITH KIDS

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I’ll just say it, my daughter is obsessed with horses. She is thinking about them pretty much all day, every day… or at least it seems like it. Jayell Ranch is a place that was at the top of my list to try, just for the horseback riding alone… and oh my goodness; this place! We fell in love with it even before the horseback riding began. The play area was great and my boys didn’t want to stop and my girls just kept holding and loving on the bunnies and baby chicks. 

More than just fun though, this was definitely a day of overcoming fears. Beginning with the ATV, Skylar was a bit weary of the trails. Instead of riding separately, we were grateful they had an ATV that could fit us all and he was able to sandwich between the arms of his big brother and sister. We all had a blast and even though he was still timid about the whole thing, he walked a little taller knowing that he accomplished something big. Really, we all did, together. 

Next up was the horseback riding and oh were my girls THRILLED!!! Skylar was still intimidated by this prospect as well, but he rode with me and after just a few minutes was so into every moment of it! By the end of our mountainside trail ride, he was talking about owning his own farm with horses! And little sis? Well, she just loved it all and was even rocked to sleep by the trot of the horses in Chris’ arms… the cutest!

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m such a fan of musicals and shows, that I went in without expectation, and just to enjoy dinner with my family. We all left that night though, laughing and even Skylar said, “This is a really great show mama!” And I have to say, I agree! The night was full of music, well done performances with all kinds of acrobatics and fun-to-watch choreography. Plus, the food was delicious too!

We had such a fun ride on the mountain coaster!!!! For a really invigorating experience, we waited until nightfall to take a ride with all the lights! With a fear of heights, I wasn’t even sure I was going to ride, but ended up taking Brayden for a whirl (deciding to be brave for him), and I’m SO glad I did. It was just a really fun experience and something I think should definitely be on your list!

The Apple Barn was such a highlight of our trip, we went back for seconds!! We started out at the winery and had such an amazing tour through the facilities. It was fun just being able to see what goes into everything they do and the variety of wines that this place puts out. Plus, us adults enjoyed a little wine tasting and shopping as well. The property has plenty to eat, plenty to see and plenty of opportunities for shopping… and we made sure to make our way back for some extra treats before we left.

The feeling of soaring above the treeline on a crisp fall morning trumped any hesitation of fear when we took the kids and jumped off the first of 6 platforms. Each platform and zipline had a unique opportunity for a brand new experience. Each new jump, from riding tandem to hanging upside down to flapping our arms like birds, boosted our courage to try new things. We were so proud of our young ones, ages 7 and 11, that took the adventure head-on without any real reservation. The instructors were really great with both adults AND the children… Encouraging and fun all while practicing safety first; they made each line enjoyable. We totally recommend checking out Wahoo Ziplines. 

On one of the days of our trip, the weather just did not cooporate for outdoor play; it was cold and rainy. TopJump because the PERFECT solution for burning off TONS of energy. The massive indoor trampoline park had plenty of space for everyone, and we all felt comfortable spreading out and jumping through obstacle courses, playing games, climbing towers and more. It was seriously a blast for the adults as well as the kids (we were all pleasantly surprised at the amount of laughter and energy we expended), and the kids totally wore themselves out. 

WHERE TO HIKE AROUND PIGEON FORGE WITH KIDS

There are SO many amazing hiking trails, especially throughout the Great Smokey Mountain National Park… and the best part? It’s all free! Our favorite places for hiking are the trails with a waterfall as our goal, and there is no shortage of waterfalls to find.

We’ve been to quite a few on our different trips through the mountains, and this time we opted for Laurel Falls, as it’s not a very far drive from Pigeon Forge at all… just a little drive, park and hike!

Since we were hiking with friends and all of our kiddos, we opted for this place because of the wider trail (that could even accommodate a stroller for a long portion of the trail), and it’s definitely one that I recommend for families!

Pigeon forge travel guide for families and Laurel Falls Pigeon forge travel guide for families and Laurel Falls Pigeon forge travel guide for families and Laurel Falls