Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is the ultimate family vacation spot! Located minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, our charming city is home to the world-famous Dollywood theme park and a variety of dinner theaters, go-kart tracks, arcades, and zipline courses. In addition to these well-known attractions, the Pigeon Forge area also boasts a number of destinations that are a little off the beaten path, but well worth a visit. To help you make the most of your next getaway, Hearthside Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to seven hidden gems in Pigeon Forge TN and the Smoky Mountains.
1. Walker Sisters Place
History buffs will definitely want to pay a visit to the Walker Sisters Place. Secluded in the Little Greenbrier section of the national park, this 19th-century cabin was home to the Walker family. When patriarch John Walker passed away in 1921, his six unmarried daughters continued a traditional agrarian lifestyle, even after the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While people in the rest of the country were using vacuum cleaners and washing machines, the Walker sisters did everything the old-fashioned way into the 1960s. The Walker Sisters Place is accessible via the Little Brier Gap Trail, a 2.6-mile round trip hike that begins in Metcalf Bottoms.
Tucked away in a strip mall on the Pigeon Forge Parkway, Smokies Cuban Cafe is one of our favorite places for lunch in town. Owned and operated by a local family, this hole-in-the-wall serves authentic Cuban cuisine. Some of the most popular dishes at Smokies Cuban Cafe include the empanadas, Cuban sandwich, roast pork sandwich, ropa vieja, yuca, and palomilla steak. Be sure to save room for one the cafe’s legendary mango shakes!
3. Friendly Falls
Friendly Falls is one of the few waterfalls in the region that folks can enjoy without any hiking! Situated right along Wears Valley Road, this beautiful waterfall is simply breathtaking. When you stop by Friendly Falls you can grab a bite to eat at their cafe, pick up some local crafts at their unique gift shop, look for jewels in their kid-friendly gem mine, or watch a dazzling light show at night. Admiring the waterfall is completely free, but guests who make a purchase can enter a special area that is even closer to the falls.
Sandman’s Workshop is another one of the best hidden gems in Pigeon Forge TN. This one-of-a-kind shop specializes in personalized engraved stones. Perfect for your garden, these carved rocks can welcome visitors to your home, share a family motto, or honor a pet who has passed away. Sandman’s Workshop also offers slate plaques that can be customized with any digital photo that a customer provides.
5. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
No trip to the Smoky Mountains is complete without a visit to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum! Visitors to this quirky attraction will find more than 20,000 pairs of whimsically designed salt and pepper shakers on display, with everything from Egyptian pharaohs to U.S. Presidents in the mix. Admission to the museum is only $3.00, and this money can be applied to any set of salt and pepper shakers purchased in the gift shop.
Anyone with a sweet tooth will love Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop! This fantastic bakery has built a loyal following for its design-your-own cupcakes, which include your choice of cake, icing, and special toppings. Other mouthwatering treats made by the Bakin’ Bishop include cinnamon rolls, cookies, brownies, and whoopie pies.
7. Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo
The Smoky Mountain Deer Farm & Exotic Petting Zoo is a wonderful destination for families with children. Your little ones will have a blast hand-feeding deer, donkeys, miniature horses, zebra, kangaroos, reindeer, elk, camels, and other friendly critters. The Deer Farm is also home to an excellent horseback riding stable that offers scenic trail rides in the foothills of the Smokies.
When you stay with Hearthside Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of these hidden gems in Pigeon Forge TN and the Smoky Mountains. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 18 bedroom lodges, we are guaranteed to have the perfect accommodations for your vacation. To start planning your escape, browse our selection of cabins in Pigeon Forge!