Top 7 Free Attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Stunning view of Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.

One of our favorite things about vacationing in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge is that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a good time. In fact, there are a number of great things to do in the Smokies that don’t cost a cent! To help you make the most of your next getaway, Hearthside Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to seven free attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

1. Great Smoky Mountains National ParkHorses grazing in a field in Cades Cove.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a can’t-miss destination for any trip to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Unlike many other national parks, the Smokies do not charge an entrance fee! With over 800 miles of natural beauty to explore, you could easily spend your whole vacation in the mountains. Here are a few of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

  • Taking scenic drives such as Newfound Gap Road, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and the Cades Cove Loop Road.
  • Touring historical sites.
  • Hiking gorgeous trails, such as the Laurel Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Appalachian Trail, Trillium Gap Trail, and Abrams Falls Trail.

2. Wineries

If you enjoy a nice glass of wine now and then, you’ll love the Rocky Top Wine Trail! Comprised of five wineries in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area, the wine trail offers free tastings and tours for vacationers. Visitors can simply stop by any of the wineries on the trail to begin their adventure.

Be sure to pick up a Rocky Top Wine Trail Passport and get it stamped at each location because participants receive free gifts as they complete the trail. Please note that you don’t have to visit all of the wineries in one day; you can space out your tastings over the course of your vacation (or multiple vacations). Here are all of the wineries on the trial:

  • Sugarland Cellars Winery
  • Mill Bridge Winery
  • Mountain Valley Vineyards
  • Hillside Winery
  • Apple Barn Winery

All Sauced Up in Gatlinburg.3. Shops with Free Samples

Shops with complimentary samples are some of the best free attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! Whether you’re looking for jams, jellies, salsas, candy, nuts, or popcorn, you’re sure to find a treat you love at one of these stores:

  • Smoky Mountain Farms Jelly House
  • Pepper Palace
  • All Sauced Up
  • Santa’s Claus-et
  • Yukon Heath’s Popcorn Emporium
  • Smoky Mountain Nut House
  • Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
  • Big Rock Candy Kitchen
  • The Fudgery

4. Free Live Music at Moonshine Distilleries

Country and bluegrass fans will definitely want to stop by some of the awesome moonshine distilleries in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! These distilleries frequently host concerts from both local and touring bands. Listening to the music is totally free; you don’t have to make a purchase to come in and enjoy the show. Of course, if you’re over 21, you are welcome to sample some of the area’s signature moonshine for a $5 fee (participants receive a $5 coupon in return). Distilleries known for their live music include the Ole Smoky locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge and Sugarlands Distilling Co. in Gatlinburg.

5. The Old Mill SquareThe historic Old Mill in the Smoky Mountains.

The Old Mill Square is one of the most popular destinations in Pigeon Forge. Visitors to this iconic landmark will have the chance to admire the city’s historic gristmill, which has been in operation since 1830. We also recommend stopping by the Iron Mountain Metal Craft Shop, where you can watch live blacksmith demonstrations for free. Feeding the ducks who live in the Little Pigeon River is another fun activity around The Old Mill. While technically not free, it is very affordable; duck food costs about a quarter.

6. The Island in Pigeon Forge

While there are certainly numerous opportunities to spend money at The Island in Pigeon Forge, this amazing shopping and entertainment complex also offers some great free activities. Many families enjoy relaxing in The Island’s complimentary rocking chairs and watching the complex’s beautiful Show Fountain, which features geysers of water that “dance” to popular songs. Guests can also enjoy the free music at The Ole Smoky Barn and see The Island’s beautiful 200-foot tall Ferris wheel.

The outside of Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies.7. Free Attraction Tickets from Hearthside

When you stay with Hearthside Cabin Rentals, you’ll receive free tickets to some of the best attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge! For each night you spend at our cabins, our Freedom Fun Pass is good for one free adult admission to the following attractions:

  • Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
  • WonderWorks
  • Comedy Barn Theater
  • Smoky Mountain Opry
  • Darren Romeo: Magic Beyond Belief
  • Smith Morning Variety Show
  • Country Tonite Music Show
  • Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

Where to Stay in Gatlinburg and Pigeon ForgeA beautiful cabin with mountain views in Pigeon Forge.

Guests at Hearthside Cabin Rentals will be just a short drive from all of the best free attractions in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 18 bedroom cabins, we are sure to have the perfect accommodations for your escape. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge!