When you are traveling with a large family, finding the perfect destination can be tricky. I recently was tasked with planning my family reunion and it was no easy feat! Finding a place that upwards of 40-50 people can enjoy and afford is a challenge. Ultimately, we decided on a Smoky Mountains vacation due to the endless group activities in Pigeon Forge.
Between the gigantic cabins and the endless activities for all ages, there was never a dull moment during our Pigeon Forge vacation. When visiting the Smokies with a large group or family, make sure these activities are part of your trip:
1. Dollywood and Dollywood’s Splash Country
On our family reunions, we typically divide up into different activities each day. But somehow during this past trip, our entire group decided to go to Dollywood on the same day!
- Thrill Rides
- Kiddie Rides
- Scheduled Shows
- Live Demonstrations
- Delicious Food
- Animal Exhibits
- Park Entertainment
My top recommendation would be to split up into smaller groups by interest or age. At Dollywood, our group divided into those who wanted to go on thrill rides and those with young children best suited for the smaller rides. There was also a group who went to watch the shows and live demonstrations situated around the theme park. Trying to stay together with 40+ people at a theme park is nearly impossible!
2. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
You can’t go on a family trip to Pigeon Forge without experiencing the wonder of the Smoky Mountains! One of my favorite group activities in Pigeon Forge is exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With an abundance of hiking trails and things to do, large groups flock to this iconic national park.
For groups who’d like to hike, check out our favorite trails:
- Alum Cave to Mt. LeConte – Difficult
- Laurel Falls – Easy
- Abrams Falls – Moderate
- Clingman’s Dome – Easy
It’s best to hike at your own pace and not as a mob of people. The rule of thumb is to always hike on the right side of the path and never block the trail. Move over for hikers going the opposite direction!
Another great activity for large groups at the national park is Cades Cove. This natural area is an 11-mile driving loop with incredible views, 19th-century barns, churches, structures, and more. Be on the lookout for wildlife too! This loop is known to be a popular spot for deer, turkey, wild birds, and even bears. Remember to be respectful of the wildlife at all times. After all, you’re in their house!
3. White Water Rafting
Of the group activities in Pigeon Forge, white water rafting is one of my personal favorites. You can’t beat the rush of plummeting into a rapid while getting soaked from the oncoming splash on all sides. When my family visits Pigeon Forge for our reunions, we always make our group reservations for white water rafting.
When it comes to choosing a rafting company, you have several options. Ultimately, it’ll come down to which rafting company has availability for a group of your size. Check out these places to raft when scheduling your family outing to the Pigeon River:
- Rafting with Big Creek Expeditions
- Rafting with Smoky Mountain Outdoors
- Pigeon River Rafting with NOC
- Rafting in the Smokies
- Rafting at Wildwater Adventure Center
To ensure that your entire group can raft together, make your reservations as far in advance as possible.
Keep in mind that rafts only hold 6-8 people, depending on the rafting company. This means groups of 8 or more people will be split up. I recommend dividing into groups based on age. If rafting with little children, make sure there are at least two adults per raft for the safety of all involved.
Okay, maybe I have a lot of favorite group activities in Pigeon Forge… because I also love ziplining! Combined with the backdrop of the Smoky Mountains surrounding you, the feeling of zooming through the mountains is unlike any other.
Similar to white water rafting, you’ll want to call ahead and reserve your group’s spot at the ziplining place of your choice. Depending on the nature of the attraction and the size of your group, you may be split into smaller groups for your excursion. Once again, it’s a good idea to make sure an adult or two is with the younger children.
These ziplining companies are the perfect addition to any family reunion or group trip in Pigeon Forge:
- Foxfire Mountain Adventures
- Adventure America Zipline Canopy Tours
- Adventure Park Ziplines
- Legacy Mountain Premier Ziplines
- Adventureworks Climb Zip Swing
- Zipping in the Smokies
On top of an exhilarating ziplining adventure, many of these companies also offer ropes courses, swinging bridges, horseback riding, and other group activities.
5. The Island
Did you know that Pigeon Forge has its own island? Well, sort of.
The Island features exceptional shopping, attractions, entertainment, and dining for the whole family. Those looking for leisurely group activities in Pigeon Forge will love all that the Island has to offer.
Featuring 35 retail stores and growing, the Island is quickly becoming one of the premier shopping spots in the Smoky Mountains. Plus, with attractions including the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a ropes course, carnival rides, an arcade, and more, the kids (and those young at heart) will be entertained the entire time!
While exploring the Island, you can’t miss the delicious array of restaurants and eateries onsite. From home cooking at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen to margaritas at Margaritaville, your entire family is sure to find a meal they’ll rave about.
6. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies
At Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, your entire group can dive into the ocean from the middle of the mountains! Ideal for large groups, this aquarium boasts a myriad of exhibits, marine creatures, and hands-on experiences for guests to discover. This popular Smoky Mountain attraction was voted the top aquarium in the country by TripAdvisor.
My personal favorite part of the aquarium is the touch tank. Have you ever felt a sting ray before?
Since you will be visiting with a large number of people, it may be advantageous to call ahead and receive a group discount. Once inside the aquarium, your group can choose to tour the exhibits together or split up and discover an underwater world at your own pace.
7. Pigeon Forge Shows
Among the most popular group activities in Pigeon Forge are the wide range of top-notch shows. From massive arena style seating to comedy shows so hilarious you’ll cry, there’s a show for every family. Many of these shows also offer special group discounts, seating, and experiences for a memorable family outing for those who reserve in advance.
Some of the most popular shows in Pigeon Forge include:
- Dolly Parton’s Smoky Mountain Adventures
- The Comedy Barn
- Dixie Stampede
- Smoky Mountain Opry
- The Country Tonite Show
- Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show
Find the show that suits your family’s interests and book your seats!
There’s No Shortage of Group Activities in Pigeon Forge
From outdoor adventures to world-class entertainment, your family will have a vacation of a lifetime with these group activities in Pigeon Forge. No matter how small or large your group may be, the Smoky Mountains are the perfect vacation destination for families of all sizes.