Travel

A Jam-Packed Weekend in Pigeon Forge, TN!

Taking time off work for a fun-filled getaway doesn’t mean that you have to spend boat-loads of money for a vacation abroad. Twice, my family has taken a weekend trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and we plan on going back in the future. Pigeon Forge is a mountain destination enjoyed by kids and adults alike.

The last weekend we spent in Tennessee was jam-packed with fun and adventure. The kids haven’t stopped talking about it since we got home and are already asking when we can go back!

Here is what we did during our busy weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

Friday:

We checked the girls out of school at 10:00 am and hit the road! From our home near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, we had a near 6 hour drive to Laurel Crest Resort in Pigeon Forge. After checking in, we unloaded our things and relaxed and stretched our legs until my brother and sister-in-law arrived with the cutest nephew ever 

The Island

After some hugging, talking, and general catching up, we headed to The Island for some fun! We rode the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, got lost in the Island Mirror Maze, and played super secret spies in the Vault Laser Maze Challenge. The kids loved every minute of it!

[Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures this trip to the Island. These pictures were taken during our last trip in December.]

A weekend in Pigeon Forge Tennessee: ride the Ferris Wheel at the Island
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel is one of the tallest attractions in the Southeast!
Family getting lost in the mirror maze at the Island in Pigeon Forge.
With over 3,000 square feet, this is one of the largest mirror mazes in the country!
man completing the laser maze at the Island at Pigeon Forge, TN.
My biggest kid (aka my husband) loved the laser maze too! (Please forgive my blurry cell phone pictures.)

After getting some pizza at the Mellow Mushroom, which is also located at the Island, we headed back to the resort to get some sleep.

Saturday:

We were up early on Saturday morning for a meeting with the Bluegreen sales team. After listening to their spiel and telling them ‘NO’ once again (they just can’t seem to grasp the concept of that word ), we went back to the room to get the kids dressed and head out for a day of fun!

Goats on the Roof

Our first stop was the Goats on the Roof mountain coaster. Before our trip, I found a Groupon deal for discounted coaster tickets. It was only $20 for a coaster ride (for up to 2 people) which is normally $30. For our family of 4, we only had to buy 2 tickets.

The kids LOVED it! They rode the thing twice, thanks to the fact, that once you purchase the tickets, you can ride again for $5 each using that same ticket for the rest of the day!

Goats on the Roof mountain roller coaster
Ready for our ride! My little one was very nervous, but each car comes with hand brakes, so your ride can be as fast or as slow as you want!
View on a mountain roller coaster in Pigeon Forge, TN.
This coaster can go up to 30 mph and takes about 7 minutes from start to finish.

In between coaster rides, we took some time to feed the goats. After all, they are the main attraction at Goats on the Roof.  A family that was leaving was nice enough to give us their feed cup. This meant that we only had to pay for refills of feed. Each refill is $1, so the kids fed the goats several times.

little boy looking at goat through the fence in Pigeon Forge Tennessee

To wash off our slobbery hands, we decided to mine some gems! (You could also use the provided hand sanitizer, but where’s the fun in that ) For $20, we bought 2 buckets of dirt. Each bucket is filled with different types of gems. They even provide you with pictures of the various types of gems to help you identify your new souvenirs. The kids loved being ‘real miners’ and playing in the water!

Girl and her dad mining for gems during a weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
I think my husband liked mining as much as my kids did!
little girl stops to smile for a picture while gem mining during a weekend in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The mining flumes are under a covered porch, so you can enjoy gem mining rain or shine!

Hiking

After leaving Goats on the Roof, we decided to go on a hike to Grotto Falls. Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Smoky Mountains that you can walk behind. As such, it is one of THE most popular hiking spots in the area. The trail was super crowded. Not only was the parking area completely full, but cars were parked on both sides of the narrow one-lane road for half a mile past the trail head.

We met people in the parking lot that were finishing up their hike told us that the falls were so packed that they couldn’t even get a decent picture. They us that they waited in line for over an hour to walk behind the waterfall. We decided not to take the kids on this hike and instead just enjoyed our drive through the park. We stopped at a few different spots along the way to get out and look around. It definitely wasn’t the hike that I intended, but we still had a fun time.

creek in the mountains in Pigeon Forge

girls posing at overlook in the Smoky Mountain National Park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is absolutely beautiful. These pictures really don’t do it justice.

The Old Mill

By the time we finished our ‘hike’ and drove back to Pigeon Forge, we were starving! We stopped at the Old Mill for a late lunch/early dinner (linner….is that a thing?). Thankfully, there was no wait! That in itself is incredible. Every time we have been there in the past, there was at least a 30 minute wait to get a table.  The food was absolutely delicious and the servings were gigantic. Our group took home 3 boxes of leftovers!

the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge
This picture was taken during our December trip, but the Old Mill is beautiful during any time of year!

After filling our bellies, we headed back to the resort.  The baby took a nap, while the rest of us went down to the pool and hot tub. It was much needed break after our busy day.

Then, after a shower and some dry clothes, we ate a dinner of leftovers and were out the door again.

Go-Karts & Arcade

On the back of our roller coaster tickets were coupons for BOGO go-kart tickets. We went to Fun Stop on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge. We paid only $26 for the kids to ride the go-karts….twice! Then we went to their arcade and played games for more than an hour with just $20 each. (When you purchased a $20 arcade card, they give you $5 free!) The kids made out like bandits at the prize counter after winning more than 1000 tickets!

kids playing a racing game at Fun Stop arcade in Pigeon Forge
They thought they were just like the big kids racing each other on this game!

Finally, we headed back to the resort to change into our pajamas and go to bed. We were exhausted, but we had the best day!

Sunday:

We checked out of our room by 10 am and headed out for a breakfast of pancakes. I mean…did you even really visit the mountains if you didn’t eat at least one flapjack?  [Sidenote: I despise taking pictures of food, so I don’t do it. Just know that the pancakes were fabulous!]

Smoky Mountain Knife Works

After breakfast, we stopped by Smoky Mountain Knife Works. This is one of the largest and oldest knife stores in the world. We first visited this store back in December and my husband has looked forward to going back ever since. I have to admit that I didn’t mind, as it really is a cool store.

The store sells more than just knives and they also have several awesome displays throughout the store. We spent way too much time and money here before hitting I-40 and heading home!

girl beside the waterfall at the Smoky Mountain Works store in Sevierville, TN
Checking out the waterfall!

Whew….we might have needed a vacation to recover from our vacation! We set out to make the most of our weekend in Pigeon Forge and I must say, “Mission accomplished!” We were also able to mark this item off of our Fort Bragg Bucket List! It was a fun-filled weekend that we will remember forever!

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