Surprisingly, before 2018, I had never visited the state of Tennessee. Memphis and Nashville were on my bucket lists for sure. However, I wasn’t familiar with the other destinations the state had to offer.
When my friend Greta invited me for a girl’s getaway in Pigeon Forge back in January, I immediately said yes — seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a flight that fast without hesitation! I will say that Pigeon Forge is definitely a destination known for family fun. However, there are some exciting things to do in town if you’re a millennial without kids as well. Here are five things to do in Pigeon Forge for a great girl’s getaway!
Things to do in Pigeon Forge: Treat Yourself at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort
First things first: how could you not love Dolly Parton? She’s an icon that we’ve all grown to love. When I found out we were staying at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort; I was super excited. The property looks like it’s something out of a fairytale — it was beautiful, massive, and incredibly luxe. Dollywood, the adjacent amusement park, was closed at the time. However, there were still plenty of things to do at the resort in winter.
As soon as we checked in, we headed to the spa. Greta and I had pedicures, while Lacey enjoyed a facial. Later on that evening, we headed to the Song & Hearth restaurant to feast on some incredible Southern food (seriously, still craving that fried chicken!) We ended our evening by roasting some s’mores outside on their patio and enjoying some live music near the lounge.
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge: Eat All The Southern Food
Listen: it might not be the most Instagrammable food in the world, but it sure is delicious — and something I can’t easily get in D.C. or Philly! I had a blast indulging in my southern food cravings (and having real sweet tea for once!) I loved the buffet at Song & Hearth right at the Dollywood DreamMore Resort, Applewood Farmhouse offered a great array of the classics, and I loved the baby back ribs at Timberwood Grill.
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge: Take Advantage of Amazing Outlet Shopping
Who could pass up a good deal? Pigeon Forge is home to a few different outlet malls, and it was great to scoop up some brand new pieces for less! We stopped by Tanger Outlets in Sevierville, and it did not disappoint. Lacey did some serious damage at Aerie, and we also enjoyed browsing by Ann Taylor, LOFT, Sunglass Hut and Adidas Outlet Stores, just to name a few!
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge: Try the Moonshine + Local Distilleries
Before I visited, I knew that I had to give Tennessee Moonshine a try — after all, it is Bourbon’s “hotter, wilder, younger sister” according to the locals! We did the full tasting at Ole Smoky Moonshine, and it was one of the highlights of the trip for us — I even brought a bottle back home! Some other distilleries to try in the area include Sugarlands Distilling, Doc Collier Moonshine, and Tenessee XXX Moonshine.
Things to Do in Pigeon Forge: The Outdoor Adventures
If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’re going to love Pigeon Forge. Laurel Falls is a stunning 2.6-mile hike in the Great Smoky Mountains that’s perfect for a beginner, and there are also other trails available for those who are a little more advanced. Anakeesta is a new attraction in nearby Gatlinburg that has a tree canopy walk, a scenic chondola you can ride, and a few shops and restaurants at the top of the mountain. For folks like myself who enjoy being outside but aren’t *that* adventurous, head to The Island where you can ride the giant ferris wheel and bounce between different shops and restaurants.
The Overall Verdict
To be completely candid, this experience was a little different than the ones you’re used to seeing in my travel guides. I felt that Pigeon Forge bills itself as a family-friendly destination, but there are a few fun thinks for millennials without kids to do as well. We didn’t get to experience a ton of nightlife, but if you’re into outdoor activities and don’t have a ton of dietary restrictions, Pigeon Forge would definitely be an option to consider for your next trip!