If you're looking for a fun family vacation that is a close driving distance from Atlanta than you'll find many options of great places to visit. I recently got the chance to visit Pigeon Forge Tennessee to see all the fun that we could have as a family. Pigeon Forge is about 3.1 hours from Atlanta unless you drive like me on a mission to be out of the car then you might shave off a few…um…minutes. The first thing you should do when you roll into town is stop at the Welcome Center at the first stop light to get Pigeon Forge Travel Planner. This was by my side at every moment. Not only did it have a very handy map in it, but there is also a Value Card in the back of it that can be used at tons of places in the area. Major money saver and you can even stick it on your keys
Inn at Christmas Place
One of the must stay places that I was intrigued to stay in was the Inn at Christmas Place. This Bavarian style hotel breathes life year round to one of my favorite holidays. Every day is Christmas and every night is Christmas Eve. Upon arrival, I was in aw by the massive Christmas tree accompanied by the Christmas music. In a spacious room with an amazing view of the Great Smoky Mountains, you also find no lack of the Christmas cheer with festive decorations. After settling into our room, I found a fun schedule of the night events that included roasting marshmallows by the fire pit outside and Cookies with Santa. How fun! You can imagine a child's eyes seeing Santa in June on a family vacation!
The Inn at Christmas Place offers a full breakfast that included a true southern style breakfast which my Husband was over the moon about. Craving an omelet? Have one of the staff make you exactly what you want, with what you want in it. Along with the coffee, it was the talk of the morning. That is until Santa arrived in front of the Christmas tree in the Lobby. Children and adults alike were flocking to the Jolly Red fellow to sit on his lap for a picture and a touch of his beard.
You know now that I think about it, that bellhop looks awfully familiar! I felt like a kid again telling my husband I just saw Santa in the lobby!
Places to eat and play in Pigeon Forge
After our short drive, we unloaded into to hotel and headed out to find some food. I was starving so we went to the one place I knew could hit the spot, a steakhouse. My sights were set on Alamo Steakhouse. One of the top family-owned restaurants in Pigeon Forge, I had heard nothing but good things about it. Everyone was friendly, and the food was to die for. I had the Filet Mignon; you could tell at the first bite that it was cooked over a true wood fire pit. You can’t replicate that flavor. That was the best meal we had the whole weekend. Make sure you print out their coupons and grab a few around town to help ease the bill. Because like most award-winning steakhouses they are on the pricey side. But trust me your mouth will thank you!
After filling ourselves to the rim, we decided we should walk it off a little. In the same parking lot there happened to be a great Miniature golf course called Professor Hackers Lost Treasure Golf. Now my husband has been trying to regain his manhood after I beat him in his first round mini golf a year or so ago, so he was all about it. I loved this course; it had a great train that brought you to the top of the mountain. Waterfalls, planes, and volcanoes. We were able to take our time and really enjoy each others company while I kicked my husbands butt another time. I think this is a start to a competitive weekend.
After a proper mini golf beating, we still had plenty of time to kill so we drove up and down the strip looking for our next adventure. We popped into Tony Roma’s for a quick drink and some conversation before heading to my favorite attraction in the city, the Titanic Museum.
Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge
Most people wouldn’t think that a museum was their favorite aspect of a trip, but for someone that loves interesting history and science, this is an amazing museum. When you first arrive, you are greeted with a card with the name and story of a passenger. It’s a way for you to really interact with the tour because, in the end, you may not have survived. From the moment you walk into the museum you are met with interactive exhibits like small-scale models of the Titanic showing were different class passengers were located on the ship. With the optional audio tour, I learned so much more about the Titanic, things I had no idea about. For example, the Father Browne Gallery. He was the only person on the ship that’s film survived. Without those pictures, there would be none of the Titanic's voyage. Amazing photos, something you truly need to see to believe. Along with photos, there is a slew of original artifacts from the shipwreck. With ever artifact a story of who it belonged to. It might even be your passenger card!
There are lots to see for the kids too. They can see life-size replicas of rooms, the Grand Staircase and even the Iceberg. You walk onto the cold chilly deck where you can touch the giant real frozen iceberg. Touch the icy waters, so you know just how cold it is. Steer the boat away from the iceberg and view the only life vest that can be traced back to its original wearer. It’s all amazing to see. The audio tour also offers a children's version so that it’s easier to understand in kids terms.
It was a magical end to our first day in Pigeon Forge. Exceeding my expectations of the fun I was soon to be having. We returned to our hotel snagging a Christmas cooking in the lobby dreaming about smores and Santa we had an amazing first night. Woke up to watch the sunrise over the mountains before we headed out for day two of our adventure.