Monthly Archives: June 2017

Top 4 Waterfalls in the Smokies

best waterfalls in the smoky mountains

Abundant rainfall and mountain terrain are the perfect ingredients for creating waterfalls. Even the smallest of creeks and rivers produce small cascades. Below are 4 of the more popular trails in the Smokies. These three, although rated moderate in difficulty, are lower mileage. Be sure to stop in one of the park’s visitors centers to pick up a park map before heading out on the trails.

Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is by far one of the most most popular waterfalls in the national park. The waterfall is 80 feet high and surrounded by Mountain Laurel. The trail leading up to Laurel Falls is a moderate 2.6 miles round trip. As it is a tourist destination, it can get relatively busy and parking at the trailhead is limited, so plan accordingly.

Abrams Falls

At 20 feet high, Abrams Falls might not be as high as Laurel, but the sheer volume of water cascading over the falls is breathtaking. The falls empty into a large, deep pool that is perfect to cool off your feet in after the 5 mile round trip moderate hike. During the summertime, Abrams Falls also makes a great swimming hole.

Grotto Falls

This old beauty stands 25 feet tall and is situated in an old-growth hemlock forest. The hike up Trillium Gap Trail is 1.5 miles to the falls and is also rated moderate in difficulty. The trailhead is in the heart of Gatlinburg off The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. One of the most distinctive features of this waterfall is that it’s the only one in the Smokies that you can walk behind.

Ramsey Cascades

The tallest waterfall in the national park, Ramsey Cascades is one of the most spectacular sites in the Smokies. The hiking trail to reach the falls is about 8 miles round trip and not for the faint of heart, but the extraordinary views are definitely worth it.

As with any hike:

  • Be Bear Aware
  • Bring Plenty of Water
  • Do not Climb on the Falls – Slippery and dangerous!
  • Wear Sturdy Footwear

July 4th, 2017 Events In Pigeon Forge

pigeon forge july 4th

Don’t miss these incredible events happening in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg on the July 4, 2017!

First Independence Day Parade in the Nation

Gatlinburg is known for having the very first July 4th Parade in the nation. Come celebrate the 42nd annual parade right here in Downtown Gatlinburg. The show kicks off a minute past midnight on Tuesday, July 4th, 2017. There are nearly 80,000 people that come out watch year to see the show. For more than 40 years, the parade has honored our nation’s Military Veterans and other U.S. Military Heroes with this classic, small town American parade.

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27th Annual Patriot Festival

The annual Patriot Festival is an experience you will want to take the whole family to! The event kicks off at noon with a free Kids’ Carnival along with food vendors start the festivities off. From 1:30pm – 9:30pm starts the free entertainment including games along with performances by Departure (Journey Tribute Band) & headliner Thompson Square. Then, at 9:45pm the Fireworks showcase begins!

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Gatlinburg River Raft Regatta

Registration begins at 10 am and the race will start at 12:00 pm. The race will start at the Christ in the Smokies bridge on the River Road and will end at Ripley’s Aquarium in the Smokies. There are two categories: Trash (not hand-made) and Treasure (hand-made) – awards will go to the top 3 in each category. Additionally, the “Judges Choice” award will go to the most creative “raft.” Awards will be given to the oldest and the youngest participant. Trophies will be supplied by the Gatlinburg Recreation Department.

gatlinburg river raft regatta
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Gatlinburg’s 4th of July Finale

Don’t miss Gatlinburg’s famous 4th of July Fireworks Finale show at 10 PM in the heart of Downtown Gatlinburg! This 20-minute fireworks show earns rave reviews and it’s a great way to finish a perfect 4th of July in the Smokies. Be sure to arrive early to find parking and get a great spot for viewing this popular nighttime celebration.

gatlinburg july 4

A Pigeon Forge Tradition: Lid’l Dolly’s Factory Store

lidl dollys pigeon forge

Lid’l Dolly’s Tradition

Lid’l Dolly’s Factory Store is located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. The store has grown into an enormous factory filled with southern handcrafted dresses, hundreds of beautiful quilts, throws, blankets, accessories, and so much more. The store has been a part of the Pigeon Forge community for over twenty five years, and acknowledged by many locals because of it’s southern charm and traditional presence.

lidl dollys pigeon forge

If you aren’t close to town or just feel like checking out Lid’l Dolly’s products, you can head on over to their online store at your convenience. Their online site will give you an glimpse into just how remarkable this southern east Tennessee factory store really is!

Lid’l Dolly’s Dresses

The long-established Factory Store is well-known for its handcrafted heirloom dresses that are carefully made right in the store. They offer a wide variety of dresses from southern belle look, western, inspirational, seasonal, and even a look for almost every holiday! Lid’l Dolly’s has matching dress sets for your little girl and for her favorite doll along with a variety of bloomers, bonnets, and bows to choose from. There are hundreds of dresses, so there is sure to be a match for everyone! If not, you can watch it be custom to made and fit your child or doll right there in the store!

lidl dollys pigeon forge

Quilts and Throws

Lid’l Dolly’s Factory Store offers the largest selection of quilts in the Southeastern United States. They have over three hundred designs to choose from! A variety of the select designs have matching quilts, throws, and shams to decorate your entire room. Lid’l Dolly’s focuses on two types of quilts: printed and patchwork, which are made out of high-quality, pre-washed cotton.

lidl dollys pigeon forge

Order Online

The quilts they offer come at a wide variety of prices, so if you are looking for an affordable quilt, or a more expensive and luxurious quilt, Lid’l Dolly’s is sure to have it! These quilts also carry long-established recognition around Tennessee, especially the Great Smoky Mountains. If you have stayed in a cabin in Smokies, you have most likely seen one of Lid’l Dolly’s quilts. This is no surprise when it comes to the amount of attention that goes into making these quilts. So, head on over to their website and add a little Tennessee southern charm to your home!

lidl dollys pigeon forge

Part 1: Kid-Friendly Things To Do – Activities by Age Group

kid friendly pigeon forge

Although you’ll truly find something for everyone here in the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge truly is a perfect vacation destination for children of all ages to enjoy. A Pigeon Forge vacation itinerary includes fun, adventure and plenty of entertainment to keep things moving and everyone with a smile on their face – regardless of their age!

Vacationing With Kids

Planning a Pigeon Forge vacation with kids? You’re in luck: The mountains are the perfect playground to let the imagination run wild! Here you’ll find everything from world-class shows and entertainers to the natural beauty of the Smokies, with no shortage of activities for the little ones to enjoy. Regardless of whether you’re traveling with your kids, your grandkids or even with a group, you can take the guesswork out of your Pigeon Forge vacation plans by checking out a few of the kid-friendly activity suggestions below.

things to do with kids in pigeon forge

Ages 2-4

Your wide-eyed toddler is at a perfect age for learning to love nature, and you’ll find that opportunities for this abound in the Smokies. Consider checking out the following Pigeon Forge activities for toddlers.


Though this family-friendly attraction features something for everyone, your pre-school age child will love exploring the magic of science and wonder at this interactive museum. Learn about the world around us with great exhibits on science, space, imagination and more!


Ripley's Aquarium Of The Smokies

Marvel at every creature of the ocean without getting wet! From playful penguins to fierce-looking sharks, this amazing aquatic world is educational and fun - the highlight of downtown Gatlinburg. Be sure to check out their brand new Glass Bottom Boat!

Ripley's Aquarium

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Toddlers are fascinated by large vehicles and trains are no exception! From kid-friendly rides with familiar favorites like Thomas the Train and the Peanuts gang to breathtaking mountain views, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers family-friendly fun for everyone to enjoy.

GSM Railroad

Ages 5-7

When kids enter school, their curiosity about the world around them grows even bigger. Make the most of these precious early-learning years by turning family fun into an education opportunity at the following Pigeon Forge attractions.

Adventure Park at Five Oaks

The Adventure Park at Five Oaks offers fun for the entire family! Their experienced zipline guides will take you on a fun and thrilling ride through and above 70 acres of beautiful foliage. Adventure Park also has horseback riding and a tree tops course, great for young adventurers.

Adventure Park

Comedy Barn Theater

Looking for a family-friendly comedy show that will leave everyone in stitches? Consider the Comedy Barn! This Pigeon Forge show offers homespun hilarity, complete with amazing animal actors that are sure to impress any school-age child – or even a kid at heart!

Comedy Barn

Local Festivals & Parades

At this age, kids start to appreciate other cultures and will love exploring the heart of the mountains at the special events you’ll find around Pigeon Forge. Springfest’s bright blooms, Harvestfest’s autumn breeze and other annual events will bring a smile to the face of any growing child! Check out our event calendar for complete listings of local happenings and more.

things to do in pigeon forge

Ages 8-11

Tweens can be painfully picky, but they’ll find something to love in Pigeon Forge. From exploring special interests to racing down thrilling treetop ziplines, these older kids will embrace the Smoky Mountains with enthusiasm. Consider taking older kids and tweens to the following Pigeon Forge attractions.

Titanic Museum Attraction

Kids who have an interest in history will love exploring this world-class museum honoring the passengers and crew aboard the R.M.S. Titanic. Learn about the lives of people in the Edwardian era while exploring this elaborate, award-winning museum.

Titanic Museum
titanic museum pigeon forge

Lazerport Fun Center

From laser tag to go-karts to indoor miniature golf, your little one will have a blast at Lazerport Fun Center. This family-friendly destination can provide hours of fun on your Pigeon Forge vacation.

laser tag pigeon forge

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud

Make mealtime memorable by checking out this free-for-all, featuring hillbilly hijinks and old-fashioned family fun! Hoot, holler and raise a ruckus to this comical show, served up with lip-smackin’ Smoky Mountain cuisine.

Hatfield & Mccoy
hatfield mccoy dinner show

Ages 12-14

Teens love novelty, and there’s always something new to explore in Pigeon Forge! Let them make the most of your family vacation by letting them have some fun and push down boundaries by exploring these Smoky Mountain attractions and activities.

Rock Climbing Wall

Check out the brand new rock climbing wall at Rafting In The Smokies! The four-sided climbing wall is accessible for all ages and fun for individuals of all skill and athletic levels. Combine your rafting trip, zipline canopy tour, or high elements ropes challenge course adventure with this new addition.

Rock Climbing Wall

Magic Shows

Pigeon Forge is your home in the Smoky Mountains for world class family entertainment. Some of our favorite magic shows in the area are Magic Beyond Belief starring Darren Romeo, Impossibilities with Chris Collins & Erik Dobell, and The Wonders Of Magic with Terry Evanswood.

Shows & Theaters
magic shows in pigeon forge


Located just below the Gatlinburg Space Needle, Arcadia boasts over 100 of the hottest games in this 25,000 square foot amusement center. Delight yourself with their vast variety of amusement games, simulators, and activities, great for all ages.

gatlinburg arcade

Older Teens & Adults

Make the most of your time in the Smoky Mountains by connecting and bonding over unique activities and experiences you’ll only find here in Pigeon Forge. No matter whether you’re traveling with just your sweetie or with the entire gang, you’ll find something for everyone here in the Smokies. Consider checking out these unique Pigeon Forge attractions you’ll find off the beaten path.

Play An Escape Room

Newly popular and all over Pigeon Forge, escape rooms are physical adventure games where players solve puzzles using clues, hints and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Check out Headcase Escape Adventures, The Captured, and The Escape Game. Also be sure to read our blog on our experience!

Escape Rooms
escape games in pigeon forge

Rocky Top Wine Trail

The pristine lands around the Great Smoky Mountains have given way to some of the world’s most unique wines. From Italian-inspired classics to sweet finds made from locally-grown fruit, you’ll love learning about the region’s wines as you sip your way across the Rocky Top Wine Trail.

Rocky Top Wine Trail
rocky top wine trail

Flyaway Indoor Skydiving

The longest running wind tunnel in business today, Flyaway Indoor Skydiving gives you the chance to test your skills of human flight during a single flight session or as a participant in a personalized coaching program.

Flyaway Skydiving
indoor skydiving pigeon forge

Smith Creek Moonshine

Smith Creek Moonshine is a moonshine-tasting destination located in Tanger Outlets. Enjoy our moonshine tasting bar and retail store with bottled shines, apparel, jams, sauces, dry rubs, and more!

Smith Creek
smith creek moonshine pigeon forge

What are you waiting for? Start planning your family’s next Pigeon Forge vacation by browsing cabins, hotels and more at

Top 5 Swimming Holes In The Smokies

swimming holes in the smoky mountains

Within the naturally gorgeous Smoky Mountains there are several beautiful swimming holes, filled with cool, clean water perfect for plunging into on a hot day. There’s nothing quite like the pleasant shock of diving into cool and fresh water in the summertime. Here are some of the best places to cool down in the Smoky Mountains.

Greenbrier Swimming Hole

Located near Gatlinburg on the Little Pigeon River, the Greenbrier swimming hole is an easily accessible spot from route 321. This is a deep part of the river so it is great for swimming and it is not widely known by tourists, so it is peaceful and quiet. It is also a superb spot for sunbathing on the large stones. It is one of the cleanest mountain rivers in the entire park.

Little Pigeon River Banks

These swimming holes can be found near Dollywood, off the Little Pigeon River banks. This is one of the busier swimming holes, but it is surrounded by stunning natural scenery. There are seven swimming holes to choose from in the area, as well as many other options for tubing. Bring some snacks so that you can spend the entire afternoon just swimming and enjoying the summer weather.

Midnight Hole

This popular swimming hole is part of Big Creek and is characterised by large boulders and a small waterfall. It is deep enough to swim in throughout the year. It is also close to some nearby natural attractions including Mouse Branch Falls. Midnight Hole is known as one of the best swimming holes in the Great Smoky Mountains and the water is so deep that when the sun shines through the pool has a beautiful dark shimmering light.

Abrams Falls

Located within Cades Cove, this deep swimming hole is a popular spot between spring and early fall. There is a 2.5-mile hike to get there, but it’s definitely worth the effort! It is a very large swimming hole, around 100 feet wide in all directions, so there will be plenty of room to splash around even when it is busy. However, make sure that you don’t swim too close to the turbulent waterfall.

Metcalf Bottoms Swimming Area

This picnic area is located between Townsend and Gatlinburg and offers access to the Little Greenbrier River. There are several shallow swimming holes that are scattered around a picnic area and it is a perfect place to throw a tube into the water and just relax in the sunshine. There are also many tables around the water where you could have a picnic.

These are just a few of the best swimming holes in the Smoky Mountains where you can take the plunge and enjoy the water on hot and sunny summer day.