Pigeon Forge Without Spending a Lot: 10 Free & Cheap Activities

Pigeon Forge is packed with fun things to do, but fun doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag!

Here are some top ways to spend time in Pigeon Forge without spending much.

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Free Things To Do In Pigeon Forge

#1 Old Mill

old mill in pigeon forge
Old Mill in Pigeon Forge

There are several different things to see around the popular Old Mill area. On busy days, parking is usually full, so get here early.

This is one of our favorite places to stop and take pictures.

the old mill sign in pigeon forge
The Old Mill Sign Pigeon Forge

Watch a working flour mill built in 1830 that is still used today. For an add-on, there are also guided mill tours ($8 for adults and $4 for kids) and some great breakfast at the Old Mill restaurant.

#2 Old Mill Candy Kitchen

The Candy Kitchen at Old Mill
The Candy Kitchen at Old Mill

While you’re at the Old Mill, stop by The Old Mill Candy Kitchen for a free candy sample (though you may buy some after).

#3 Old Forge Distillery

Old Forge Distillery at old mill pigeon forge
Old Forge Distillery at Old Mill

And a good final stop for the adults in the Old Mill area is Old Forge Distillery, which offers up to 10 free moonshine tastings!

#4 Mountain Mile Shops

 Mountain Mile Shops
Mountain Mile Shops

The Mountain Mile is a newer area of shops, restaurants, and entertainment in south Pigeon Forge.

There’s a huge lawn area with games to play like chess and corn hole. You can also watch the thrill rides like the Mountain Monster, a huge swing ride that swings down through the giant towers in the picture above.

#5 Explore The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We can’t not mention why this area is so popular: the amazing national park just south of Gatlinburg.

the sinks waterfall in the great smoky mountains national park
The Sinks Waterfall

With a short drive outside Pigeon Forge, you’ll find trailheads like the family-friendly Gatlinburg Trail or Laurel Falls Trail (a fairly easy trail but super crowded)- ideal for exploring the Smokies’ natural beauty.

Or just head south from Gatlinburg and find somewhere interesting to stop, like a picnic at Chimneys picnic area or Metcalf Bottoms.

Picnic Area at Metcalf Bottoms in the Great Smoky Mountains

#6 Explore The Island

The Island is a large entertainment center with plenty to do. This centrally located area in Pigeon Forge has shopping, rides, hotels, and restaurants.Ezoic

aerial view from The Island In Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge

But there’s enough to do where you can explore for a few hours without spending any money.Ezoic

evening view at The Island Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge

This dancing water fountain and light show starts every thirty minutes (on the hour and 30 minutes after the hour).

The display usually runs for 2 song lengths and is free to watch. There are even chairs around it to watch if you’re there early enough.

Just behind the fountains in the above picture is Ole Smoky Moonshine, which offers moonshine tasting (for adults) for a small fee.

There’s plenty more to see at The Island too, like Parrot Mountain’s store which has live parrots.

#7 Bike The Greenway

Pigeon Forge Greenway

There’s no better way to see Pigeon Forge’s beauty than this four-mile paved stretch by the river – BYOB (bring your own bike) or look for local rentals.

The greenway covers most of the town too, and is accessible from places like The Island.

#8 Visit The World’s Largest Buc-Ees

World’s Largest Buc-Ees

If you’ve never been to a Buc-ees, it’s worth a stop, especially if you’re already driving by. It’s just off the Sevierville exit to Pigeon Forge from I40.

But you’ll spend money here on must-haves like beef jerky, candied pecans, and miniature Buc-ee stuffed animals.

#9 Take A Scenic Drive

bridge at Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Our scenic drives page lists some of our favorite drives, such as Cades Cove and Roaring Fork.

Roaring Fork is especially convenient to Gatlinburg, just a few minutes south of town.

bridge at Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

#10 Attend A Pigeon Forge Festival

Depending on the season, festivals offer family activities, live music, and craft vendors– many times with free admission! Here are just some of the more popular shows and conferences in 2024.


  • Music in the Mountains Spring Parade (Apr 13)
    • Description: Features marching bands, character balloons, and local entertainment.
    • Location: Pigeon Forge Parkway
  • Pigeon Forge Spring Rod Run (Apr 18-20)
    • Description: A major car show featuring classic cars and trucks.
    • Location: LeConte Center Pigeon Forge
    • Phone: 865-687-3976


  • Grand National F-100 Show (May 16-18)
    • Location: LeConte Center
    • Website


  • Pontiacs in Pigeon Forge Classic Car Show (May 29 – Jun 1)
    • Location: LeConte Center
    • Website
  • Annual A Mountain Quiltfest (Jun 3-6)
    • Description: Offers over 60 quilting classes and vendors.
    • Location: LeConte Center At Pigeon Forge


  • 4th of July Patriot Festival and Fireworks (July 4th)
    • Description: Celebrate the 4th of July with a festival and fireworks display.
    • Location: Patriot Park


  • Smoky Mountain Fishing Expo
    • Location: LeConte Center
    • Website
  • Great Smoky Mountain Jeep Invasion (August 22-24)
    • Description: An expo for Jeep enthusiasts
    • Location: LeConte Center


  • Pigeon Forge Fall Rod Run (September 12-14)
    • Description: A large car show featuring classic cars and trucks.
    • Location: LeConte Center Pigeon Forge


What are your favorite ways to save in Pigeon Forge? Share your tips on our forum!

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