The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited U.S. National Park. Being from Kentucky (near Cincinnati), it’s only a 4.5 hour drive, so I’ve traveled here on many different occasions over the years. This was the first time I visited with my young son though! We stayed at Yourcation Awaits cabin in Pigeon Forge, and had such a fun family vacation!
With a toddler in our crew, our goal was to seek out new activities from what we’ve typically done on previous trips. We usually stay in Gatlinburg, so the town of Pigeon Forge was somewhat new to us. We found so much to do in the area though, and wish we’d had more time to check items off the list!
Where we Stayed: We had the chance to stay at the beautiful Yourcation Awaits cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It is very close to Dollywood, and the hundreds of attractions in the city (which I will detail below!). It is also only a 25 minute drive from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance. You are right by all the places you’d want to visit, but being on a hilltop still gives it an isolated and private feel– plus great views!
This cozy mountain abode is incredibly spacious, very clean, and has a roomy and open setup. It sleeps up to 13 guests, so it is perfect for big groups! With just the three of us (my husband, son, and myself) there on our vacation, we had more than enough space! The interior of the cabin is covered in pine wood, and has rustic forest-themed decor. I loved seeing all the small personal touches like the cute black bear coasters, or lamps with pine cones carved in. While it is common to find wooden interior cabins in the Smoky Mountains, this one was easily the best quality cabin I’ve stayed at in the area!
Features: The cabin has four bedrooms; one of which is a master bedroom with en-suite bathroom, walk-in closet, Jacuzzi tub, and futon. Two of the rooms have King-sized beds, and one has Queen-sized bunk beds. The cabin comes equipped with toiletry products, very comfortable beds (I slept so well!), and a convenient keypad entry system to enter. The common areas and bedroom have smart TV’s (including Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+), and the kitchen is fully stocked. There is also a charcoal grill, and grilling tools.
Given that we visited in the heat of summer, we also deeply appreciated the free access to the community pool. It was only a five minute walk away, and was perfect for my toddler as there is a large shallow area.
The Yourcation Awaits cabin in Pigeon Forge has many features that are perfect for large group getaways. There is a pool table, a retro arcade game (don’t ask me how many times I played PacMan and Frogger), and on the small third floor there is a cozy poker table lounge overlooking the mountains.
My favorite part of the cabin is the hot tub on the first floor balcony though! With great views and rocking chairs set up all around, it is so ideal for relaxing and socializing. I definitely took advantage of the hot tub and had some local drinks I bought in town during my son’s nap time!
Things to do in Pigeon Forge:
♦The Island in Pigeon Forge– This large entertainment and shopping complex really impressed me! It has a Ferris wheel and fountain at its center, and is filled with restaurants, breweries, arcade games, laser tag, escape rooms, and rides. You can park on site, and take their trolley into the pedestrian complex. I mentioned to my husband that it reminded me of the giant resorts in Disney World! Highlights for me at “The Island” were the Ole Smoky Moonshine tasting, and eating classic southern comfort food at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen.
♦WonderWorks– You can’t miss it when you drive by- the facility is located inside what looks like a totally upside down building! I’d driven by it several times but never knew what it was, so it was nice to finally check it out! Inside it is an interactive science museum, filled with hands-on displays and activities. There are several amusement park style rides, arcade games, and a ropes course too. My 2-year-old loved the giant piano, the huge bubble rings, the big Lite Brite board, and the hologram sand table. My personal favorite was the extreme weather area, and the multiplayer Pacman game!
♦Indoor Snow Tubing– We decided to beat the heat and try something new at Pigeon Forge Snow! Here anyone 3 and older can snow tube, and dang you go fast down those hills!! The building is climate controlled too, so you can show up in your shorts and sandals. For the little ones like my son, they have a “snow play” area where they can play in the artificial snow. There’s also a viewing area if you’re too scared to tube!
♦Apple Barn Village– As a huge fan of apple cider, this complex was perfect for me! This “village” area has an apple orchard behind it, and multiple buildings selling things like apple cider, hard cider (of course I did a sample tasting!), apple fritters, caramel apples, apple butter, and the list goes on! There is also a multi-story gift shop and on-site restaurant.
♦Dollywood (Dolly Parton’s theme park!) is actually right behind the property (you can’t see it through the trees though), and about a 5 minute drive away. We didn’t go as our son was a bit too young, but I hear amazing things about it. Also Dolly Parton herself is a music legend and national treasure (in my opinion!), so I’d love to support anything she’s involved in!
♦The Christmas Place– Even in the summer, this place is magic. I wanted to go just to “look around” and check out the variety of themed Christmas rooms. I ended up buying 5 custom ornaments for my family, so I’d say it was a success! They have artists do the calligraphy on the pieces right in front of you, which was really neat to see. Honestly this place is beautiful and the displays are stunning. Even if you don’t want to shop, just look around!
♦Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud– Sometimes these big shows and dinner theaters can come across as cheesy or a little hoaky, but this one is truly fun and entertaining. I was amazed by the talent of the performers! It is such a unique and fun experience, I definitely recommend it!
The Yourcation Awaits cabin in Pigeon Forge is also about a twenty minute drive from the unique mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. There is so much to do and see there, that I have a separate blog post dedicated to it: Read all about Gatlinburg here! Let’s just say it involves lots of eating, moonshine sippin’, wine tasting, fudge, banjo tunes and mini golf!
Finally, it is about a twenty five minute drive from the cabin to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Sugarland Visitor Center). If you’d like to read about my favorite hikes in the park, get the details here! On this trip, we headed in for some scenic drives and stopped at a few overlooks, but didn’t do any actual hiking in the park due to the summer temps!
Overall, we had a very memorable and extremely fun time on our family vacation in Tennessee. Staying at the Yourcation Awaits cabin in Pigeon Forge was the perfect home base and place to come back to relax in, and I am already plotting out getting a big group together to head back soon!
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As always, all reviews and opinions are my own. I was hosted for 3 nights by Yourcation Awaits cabin in Pigeon Forge in exchange for this review. I also received a VIP attractions pass (valued at around $1,500 total) for free admission to several sites in town by the Pigeon Forge Tourism Board.