Special thanks to the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism for sponsoring today’s post.
If you live anywhere east of the Mississippi, at some point you MUST plan a Pigeon Forge family vacation. Pigeon Forge is one of the few vacation destinations that truly has something for everyone and so many of the activities are geared towards families!
The older my kids get, the more I realize how important it is to invest in experiences over material things. None of us does very well at remembering which gifts we gave or received for any given holiday or celebration, but we remember so many details about things we’ve done and places we’ve been.
Your family time at home will form a lot of the memories your family will cherish for years to come, but family vacations will often stand out because you get to experience new places and new things together. The trick is planning family vacations that everyone in the family enjoys equally.
Trust me, with five very different kids and a spouse who is my polar opposite, I know how difficult it can be to plan a vacation that incorporates everyone’s likes. But I promise you, it IS possible. My family LOVES our family vacations and we look forward to each one.
Why Pigeon Forge is the Perfect Family Vacation Destination
When I’m planning a family vacation, there are several things I take into consideration when choosing a destination:
- Proximity: With 7 of us, booking flights or enduring long car rides is unappealing
- Lodging: Again, due to the size of our family, we need larger accommodations so preferably suites, cabins, or apartment/home rentals
- Activities: This is the most important criteria since I don’t want to bring my family far from home to do the same things we do at home
Pigeon Forge scores high for all three of the above criteria.
First, check out how close it is if you live almost anywhere in the eastern half of the U.S.:
Second, Pigeon Forge has amazing lodging options whether you want to stay in a luxury condo or prefer to observe the Smoky Mountain scenic beauty from a cabin. During our visit, we opted for this roomy cabin that was somehow both cozy and spacious:
Finally, when it comes to family fun, Pigeon Forge has choices for everyone. Best of all, almost every attraction and activity in Pigeon Forge is designed for families!
We visited Pigeon Forge last spring and had a great time exploring dozens of fun activities. You can see all the highlights of our vacation here –>> Fun Things to Do in Pigeon Forge
Here’s a brief list of the many entertainment options you’ll find in Pigeon Forge:
- Dollywood: An amusement park that caters to families instead of thrill seekers
- Extreme Adventures like whitewater rafting, indoor skydiving, and the Island ropes course for those who like a good adrenaline rush
- Family Attractions like mini-golf, go-karts and Wonderworks (one of our favorites)
- Outdoor Activities like hiking and fishing
- Shopping: For those who enjoy a little retail therapy, there are plenty of shops, outlet stores and malls to explore
- Shows: There are dozens of family-friendly shows every night from live music to lumberjack competitions
It’s impossible to bring your family to Pigeon Forge and not find at least one activity that each person in your family will love.
Tips for Planning a Pigeon Forge Family Vacation
Ready to start planning your own Pigeon Forge family vacation? Here are some tips to save you time and trouble so you can have the best trip ever!
1. Get the FREE Pigeon Forge Travel Guide
You can order a free copy of the printed travel guide and/or access the digital version. Simply go here to fill out the form to request the printed copy or press the red “View Digital Version Now” button to view it online.
The travel guide not only provides details about all the things to do and places to stay and eat, it also includes a calendar of events, a handy reference guide that makes it easy to identify activities based on things that might be important to you like:
- Handicap accessibility
- Location on trolley routes
- Wifi availability
I recommend ordering the print version and using the digital version to plan before the hardcopy arrives. You’ll want the print version because it includes coupons!
2. Make Use of the Trip Planning Resources at MyPigeonForge.com
MyPigeonForge.com has an entire section dedicated to helping you plan your visit. All of the information is helpful, but I recommend prioritizing these topics:
- Travel tips: This page covers helpful information about local laws you’ll want to be aware of
- Getting to Pigeon Forge: In addition to providing the most common routes and average driving times, this page has helpful information about how to monitor local road conditions
- Weather: Instead of detailed near-term forecasts, this page provides helpful information about monthly average temperatures and what to expect each season so you can plan to visit at an ideal time based on what weather and scenery you prefer
- Events: Pigeon Forge hosts a wide array of festivals, car shows, and concerts so check out this section to pinpoint the best time to visit
3. Involve the Family
Even if you’re the type of mom who likes to prepare a detailed daily itinerary, make sure to involve the rest of the family. This is the easiest way to ensure everyone enjoys the vacation.
A side bonus of letting the kids get involved is that they tend to be more social media savvy than us. Put them in charge of gathering ideas and intel from social media by following @MyPigeonForge and #MyPigeonForge.
I don’t recommend trying to get a unanimous vote for every decision since that will likely be hard to accomplish. Instead, let each family member make one decision (e.g. an activity, dinner location, or show).
Use these choices to create a general trip agenda. I strongly urge you to avoid setting a rigid timeline since vacation should be about fun, not keeping to a schedule. But do have a general list of the things that are a “must do” during the vacation.
Likewise, have a backup list of things you’d like to see and do during your vacation so that if you find yourselves with a big chunk of time to fill, you won’t waste time driving around or arguing about what to do.
4. Look for Packages, Deals and Coupons
Once you know WHEN you want to visit and have an idea of WHAT you want to do, it’s easy to rein in the cost of your vacation.
Start by checking out these Pigeon Forge deals. Then, check with your credit cards and memberships to see if they offer any discounts or special offers you can use during your vacation.
5. Set Aside a Splurge Amount
Before any family vacation, I like to build in a buffer to provide us with some “fun money” during the trip. You’re definitely going to want to do this when you go to Pigeon Forge.
There are so many adorable souvenir shops, fun family activities, and amazing places to eat that you’ll want to have some extra spending money so you can make a spontaneous “Yes!” decision during your trip.
Whether you simply begin collecting your loose change in a jar when you start planning your vacation or set aside just a few extra dollars each week, you’ll be really glad you have the cash when you have that moment on vacation that you want to give into temptation.
By saving for one splurge, you won’t risk running up the credit card in order to indulge. You’ll also limit your indulgences by committing to just one splurge.
I hope these tips help make your vacation planning a little easier. Have a wonderful time in Pigeon Forge!
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