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My family had a fantastic trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park last summer and are planning another visit this year. If you love the idea of escaping to nature but want plenty of options for family-friendly activities, I recommend Pigeon Forge TN as a base for a Smoky Mountains vacation.
With more than 70 attractions along the parkway, so you definitely won’t be lacking for things to do in Pigeon Forge! But if you are like me, you are visiting on a budget and want to find things to do that your family will enjoy AND that won’t break the bank.
In this post, I’m sharing my top 7 budget-friendly (and kid-friendly) things to do in Pigeon Forge TN.
Trout & Bass Fishing
Did you know there are 600 miles of streams that contain fish in Great Smoky Mountains National Park?
The park is home to some of the last wild trout habitats in the Eastern United States. The best park streams for trout fishing are easily accessible by driving halfway around the Cades Cove loop road to Abrams Creek.
There are also lots of opportunities for smallmouth bass fishing in the park.
All you need is a fishing pole and license. A three-day non-resident license is about $40 for any fish species and can be ordered online. Kids up to 13 fish for free on a parent’s license. Get more information on fishing in the Smokies here.
Eat Breakfast Out (Pancakes, Specifically)
If your family is like mine, you never go out for breakfast when you are at home. Breakfasts out are reserved for vacation, and Pigeon Forge might be the best place around to get your pancake on.
You heard me right – Pigeon Forge takes pancakes VERY seriously. There are over 50 varieties of pancakes on the menu at the many breakfast restaurants. Check out the best places to eat pancakes in Pigeon Forge.
Picnic & Playgrounds in Pigeon Forge City Park
It takes some effort (and driving) to get to the National Park, but you can enjoy a picnic or BBQ close by at Pigeon Forge City Park.
The City Park has two pavilions with large brick grills that are free to use (first come first served). There are also three trails, two playgrounds, tennis courts, and more.
Bring supplies for a cookout or pack a picnic and let the little ones play in this lovely (and free) setting.
Things To Do In Pigeon Forge: Miniature Golf
Miniature golf is quintessential American family fun. There are many options for mini golf in Pigeon Forge, some of which are highly themed with fun props and a storyline.
Dollywood’s Splash Country
You’ll likely be looking for a way to cool down if you are visiting Pigeon Forge in the warmer months of the year.
You can add a one-day visit to Dollywood Splash Country water park to your Dollywood ticket for only $10 per person. This is a fantastic value for the money and kids will love the water slides and pools.
There are many kid-friendly hikes in nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. For example, the 2.5-mile paved trail to Laurel Falls is perfect for little ones.
If you have older kids, they will enjoy the 2-mile hike (one way) to Chimney Tops. The first part is easy but expect to be huffing and puffing for the second part. You’ll be rewarded with a lovely view of the mountains to the east from one of the only bare rock summits in the Smokies.
Fun & Cheap Things To Do In Pigeon Forge Summary
I hope this post gave you lots of ideas for affordable things to do in Pigeon Forge TN. Vacation destinations that combine the great outdoors with lots of activities for kids are my favorite, and we’ll be heading back to the Smokies this summer again (and hopefully every summer after).
Any questions about affordable family fun in Pigeon Forge or elsewhere? Leave a comment below or feel free to send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page.
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