If you’ve been to Pigeon Forge recently and have heard someone mumble (or maybe you’ve said it yourself) “I’ll never come back…” then I’d like to offer a way for you to make Pigeon Forge the fun, southern destination it once was. To get to the solution, we need to look at some of the problems.
First off…the traffic. Yes, the traffic can get nasty…and when I say nasty, I mean a snail will most likely blow by you as you inch your way to a dinner show. Fortunately, the city is working on solutions to the mess. The biggest relief is the parkway that will connect Dollywood (and the middle of Pigeon Forge) to Highway 66 in Sevierville to allow for quicker ways in and out of town. That road is partially open already and they are working on the last stretch. To make it even better, choose better times to visit. Try to avoid holidays or “major weekends”. Major weekends are next to holidays or car shows in Pigeon Forge…stay far away. Besides…Pigeon Forge isn’t exactly to blame for the frustrations…it’s the other gazillion tourists trying to do the same things that you and your family are waiting to do. Get reservations for shows and dinner…leave early as well…traffic gets thicker on the north end of Pigeon Forge around 6pm since all of the theaters are located on that end and everyone seems to be heading that way at the same time.
Next up is the employees. Have you had a waiter, salesperson, or other employee not exactly sound like “they’re from around here”? The sad fact is that a large portion of the people living and working here aren’t “locals”. Don’t hold that against Pigeon Forge…we don’t go looking for these people! If you come across someone at a restaurant, attraction, shop, etc that shows the southern hospitality that makes your visit enjoyable then share it with the manager or business owner. Spread the word about how you enjoy the southern, down-home personalities. Get the business owners hiring more locals! True locals are becoming an endangered species around Pigeon Forge. I make a point of it to mention locals in the reviews as it definitely impacts visitors’ experiences. Be on the lookout for a top-10 list of restaurants and attractions where you can find entertaining locals.
Get off the parkway! Yeah, there are a ton of attractions to visit, but Pigeon Forge has a lot more to offer. There are places to hike, fish, bike, walk, run, kayak, raft, golf, etc. Get away from the crowds and enjoy God’s country. There are few places on earth as amazing as the Great Smoky Mountains. Don’t limit yourself to the “tourist traps” on the parkway.
Relax. Don’t be in a hurry and try not to be on a schedule. Pigeon Forge is only 5 miles long, but there is a lot to see and do. Try to enjoy every minute…even when you’re in traffic. After all, you’re spending time with your family & friends…make the most of it. It’s not about getting from point A to point B when you’re here. It’s about the memories you leave with. Don’t let the massive amounts of other people take away the reasons you come to Pigeon Forge. Enjoy the getaway and leave the stress for all the other people “stuck” in traffic & lines!
If you have some tips to share or have had great experiences at restaurant, attractions etc then share them with others in the comment area!