The Great Smoky Mountains are a year-round destination for all ages. Each of the towns that make it up have their own attractions, restaurants, and experiences. But perhaps the most well-known is Pigeon Forge.
Named for an iron forge established in the 1800s, the town is known for its ties to country music legend Dolly Parton, the arts and crafts community, and plentiful activities. If you’re looking for a place to celebrate the holidays, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere more suitable.
There’s nothing better for chilly temperatures than comfort food, which Pigeon Forge has in spades. Start your day at one of the many pancake restaurants like Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin that serves Southern hospitality with alongside breakfast.
Huck Finn’s Catfish is known for its namesake fish, served in all-you-can-eat quantities, along with steaks and fried chicken. Local Goat is another favorite for its freshly crafted burgers and extensive selection of craft beer.
The Great Smoky Mountains have unmatched vistas whether you’re admiring the changing leaves or freshly fallen snow. It’s easy to stop off at viewpoints within the national park if you have your own car. But you can also join a Pink Jeep Tour of the area including to Newfound Gap, the Foothills Parkway, Oconaluftee Farm, and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. All depart from Pigeon Forge.
Wildlife spotting is another experience that can’t be missed in Pigeon Forge. You might spot black bears, deer, and raccoons. Fall is elk rutting season and the majestic creatures roam the pastures of the national park freely.
Pigeon Forge lights up during this time of year: literally! Christmas lights cover the streets for Smoky Mountain Winterfest and visitors can go on a self-guided driving tour to see them. It runs from the end of November to mid-February.
The holidays are also the perfect time to catch a show at one of Pigeon Forge’s many theaters. Many perform a special holiday show like Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry, Christmas at Dolly Parton’s Stampede, and the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud Christmas Disaster Show. Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Christmas also has its own range of holiday-themed activities like carol singers, a parade, lights displays, and festive shows.
Even the attractions that don’t have holiday offerings are worth checking out, especially as temperatures drop. The Titanic Museum Attraction and Alcatraz East Crime Museum have fascinating exhibits and artifacts. The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel operates at night, providing views of the lights.
Shopping for Gifts
Pigeon Forge is a hub in the region for artisans and craftsmen. It’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs for yourself or Christmas gifts for friends and family. The Old Mill, in particular, is known for Pigeon River pottery, including plates, mugs, and bowls. The onsite restaurant even serves out of these dishes. There are also galleries selling folk crafts like jewelry, clothing, and decorative items.
Gather your friends and family together for a relaxing stay in Pigeon Forge. The types of accommodations range from hotels to cabins to campsites. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort has family rooms with bunks and outdoor fire pits to roast marshmallows. Cabins in the area boast indoor fireplaces and hot tubs overlooking the mountains.