Every year, millions of travelers flock to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country’s most visited national park. Just outside of this hazy mountain range, what was once a mill town has now become a mecca of group fun and outdoor recreation. Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is perfect for those wanting to breathe in fresh mountain air while still having access to iconic attractions and top-notch entertainment.

In the heart of Pigeon Forge, The Island is a dining, retail, and entertainment experience like none other. Ride the iconic Great Smoky Mountain Wheel that provides breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, or settle in for a lively island-style show or event, like a colorful water show at the Fountain Display at The Island. Or, simply peruse the shops and boutiques to find the perfect souvenir to commemorate the trip.

The Titanic Museum Attraction is a must-visit for history buffs interested in a deep dive into the tragic sinking of the famous “unsinkable ship”—and for fans of the 1997 movie adaptation directed by James Cameron. On a guided tour, group members can travel through a re-creation of the once-mighty vessel and see exhibits that share the different experiences of first-, second-, and third-class passengers. The museum is both an immersive historical experience and an invitation to explore how the legacy of the survivors and legendary ship continues to influence popular culture today.

Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Adventure Park, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee;
Credit: Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism

No trip to Pigeon Forge is complete without spending time at its most famous attraction: Dollywood. The entire park is inspired by country music star Dolly Parton, who grew up in neighboring Sevierville, and the rustic charms of the Great Smoky Mountains. This magical theme park and entertainment district has plenty to see and do: Shop goods from local artisans, ride thrilling roller coasters, enjoy musical performances, and dine on the park’s famously delicious cinnamon bread.

Interested in treating your group to dinner and a show? Pigeon Forge has it covered. The city boasts many immersive entertainment and multicourse dining options that make for the perfect evening activity. Marvel at lumberjacks performing feats of strength and skill at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Supper Show, or the impressive horsemanship and acrobatics at Dolly Parton’s Stampede. Or, be immersed in the zany world of feuding families at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud. Shows like these are the perfect way to give groups a taste of the South—through both classic Southern cooking and down-home comedy and music.

By Katherine Lawless

Main Image: Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Credit: Dollywood