Free Things to Do On Spring Break In Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge
Gatlinburg TN has been a long-time favorite vacation destination for families looking to spend a few days unwinding from their everyday life. Not only is this city known for its delicious restaurants and quaint shops, but there are a ton of fun family-friendly things to do in Gatlinburg. The best part about these activities is that a lot of them are free or almost free.
Hike the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Experience the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most visited national parks in America. The park boasts more than 800 square miles of wilderness and is home to the largest flowing mountain streams, as well as a number of absolutely stunning waterfalls. Choose from several hiking trails throughout the National Park, designed for all levels of adventurers. Top hiking trails include Alum Cave to Mt. LeConte, Abrams Falls, and the Charlies Bunion Trail.
Clingman’s Dome is a short drive from Gatlinburg through the national park. There is a steep ½-mile hike to the top lookout, but anyone can enjoy the views from the level parking lot area. However, the views at the top of the dome are well worth the hike. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the paved path. In addition, the steep incline makes the path not wheelchair accessible.
Cade’s Cove is the most visited area of the Smoky Mountains. Roughly 31 miles away from the city of Pigeon Forge, Cade’s Cove is in the 6,800-acre valley known for its picturesque landscapes. It’s an 11-mile paved one-way road that winds through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering scenic views of the mountain tops, wildflower meadows and rolling greens. The entire loop takes anywhere between two and four hours to drive through, but you’ll wish it wouldn’t end. From May to September on Saturday and Wednesday mornings before 10 a.m., only bicyclists and hikers are allowed on the loop road to experience Cade’s Cove at their own pace.
Free Child Admission at Pigeon Forge Shows
Kids-Free-Admission Specific Pigeon Forge shows offer free admission for children (with a paying adult ticket). Country Tonite allows guests to bring two children free of charge with the purchase of an adult ticket. The show includes talented singers, musicians, and all of your family’s favorite songs. Be sure to get your tickets early, as most Pigeon Forge shows sell out far in advance.
Beautiful Douglas Lake extends its 33,000 lake acres and 513 miles of shoreline to the rolling hills of the Great Smoky Mountains, attracting nearly 2 million visitors each year. Favorite activities at Douglas Lake include fishing, boating, rafting, swimming, camping, and bird watching. For a lakeside vacation, rent a cabin near Douglas Lake.
Take a ride on the Fun Time Trolley
It’s not free! However, an all-day pass is only $2.50 per person. It’s a good way to sit back and explore the town the fun way. You can get off at the different stops and explore or just hang out for a long ride. From mid-June through mid-August, the Gatlinburg Trolley is offering free rides along the downtown Parkway from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Drive the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
This 5.5-mile one-way scenic road is just inside the border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From Gatlinburg, take the Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the national park. The winding trail allows visitors to slow down and take in the stunning views of the forest, rushing streams and historic buildings including, preserved log cabins, grist mills, and other remarkable structures.
Meet the Horses at Dolly Parton’s Stampede
One hour before showtime, Dolly Parton’s Stampede opens their horse walk to the public. You can visit the horses for free—no ticket required! Of course, as the hottest show in Pigeon Forge, you’ll want to get your hands-on Dolly Parton’s Stampede tickets anyway.
Walk along the Little Pigeon River
We have already told you how walking on the sidewalk along the Gatlinburg Parkway is one of our favorite free things to do in Gatlinburg. However, for guests looking to enjoy a more scenic view as they stroll around the city, we suggest walking along the city’s Riverwalk path that take you by the Little Pigeon River.
Not only is this a great way to catch a glimpse of some of the natural beauty of the area, but it also a great way to cool down on a warm day. There are also benches and gazebos along the path if you want to sit down and take in the sights for a moment or two.
Newfound Gap Road
The 33-mile drive from Gatlinburg to Cherokee North Carolina along Newfound Gap Road is the only route that completely traverses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The drive offers a unique opportunity to enjoy an abbreviated experience of everything the Park has to offer, without necessarily trekking far from your automobile. Don’t forget to charge your camera or phone for the endless photo opportunities along the way.
With so many things to see and do in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, you and your family are sure to experience the vacation of a lifetime. These free things to do in Pigeon Forge ensure your fun will stay budget-friendly, too.