Pigeon Forge makes a great destination for an all-girls trip.  Whether your group wants to shop, spend time outdoors or simply unwind, this Smoky Mountain town offers it all, with a Southern flair.

Sometimes girls just need to get away – whether it’s from work, a crazy year-end schedule or just the winter doldrums.  Pigeon Forge, an Appalachian community set on the eastern edge of Tennessee, gives groups the chance to unwind, catch up and take a break from their daily grind.

While winter isn’t peak tourist season for much of the Smoky Mountains, it’s still a good time to visit. For travelers from the northeast and Midwest, Pigeon Forge’s mild winter weather will be a pleasant change; generally, temps stay between 40 and 50 throughout the winter, and the lows usually hover in the high 20s.  For outdoor enthusiasts, this cooler weather doesn’t necessarily rule out enjoying the area’s main tourist draw, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It may even be preferable to hot summer weather.

Smoky Mountains

Smoky Mountains

Located off I-40, Pigeon Forge is within a day’s drive from as far north as Michigan and as far south as Orlando, as well as from St. Louis to the west and New York to the east.  For groups from further away, flying into McGhee Tyson Airport in Alcoa, near Knoxville, is the way to go.  The airport, about an hour’s drive from Pigeon Forge, is served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, US Airways and United.

Where Should Groups Start their Pigeon Forge Experience?

Nestled in a flat spot among green mountains, the five-mile-long Pigeon Forge Parkway contains many of the area’s shops, restaurants and attractions.  You’ll even find some lodgings right on the Parkway.  And thanks to the city’s numbered traffic lights, finding your way around is less stressful than navigating unfamiliar territory often is.

For maximum convenience, guests can take the trolley ($2.50 for a day pass) for an unlimited number of stops along the Parkway.  It runs along multiple routes and allows access to over 100 local businesses.  (The trolley does close for a few months during the winter; double check the Fun Time Trolley website for details.)

What Kind of Shopping and Dining Does Pigeon Forge Offer?

Did I hear someone say retail therapy?  Whether your group is angling for home-style crafts or jonesing for a trip to an outlet mall, Pigeon Forge offers guests plentiful shopping experiences.  And we’re not exaggerating; Pigeon River Crossing has over 85 stores.  Add in the local boutiques and the shops at Old Mill Village and Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall, and the shopping opportunities are as monumental as the Smoky Mountain scenery.  Well, almost.

Old Mill Village

Old Mill Village

Despite its small permanent population – or perhaps because of it – the dining scene in Pigeon Forge has something for everyone.  The Old Mill Restaurant is something of a tourist destination in its own right; people stop by for the Southern-style comfort food and keep coming back for more.  Other favorites include the Thai- and Chinese-inspired dishes at the Fusion Café Asian Grill and the sweets served up by the bakeries, cupcake shops and candy stores that cater to guests and residents alike.

By the way, Pigeon Forge – formerly a dry city – recently passed a liquor by drink referendum, making it easier for guests to buy their favorite adult beverages.

No overview of Pigeon Forge’s shopping scene would be complete without a mention of the Old Mill.  The Old Mill itself is a local landmark, a National Register of Historic Places site, and a working mill.  Old Mill Village, located nearby, is where your group can enjoy a selection of stores and eateries, including some that provide things ground at the Mill itself.  It’s Pigeon Forge’s version of San Francisco’s Pier 39; visitors have to go at least once.

I’ve Heard a Lot About Live Entertainment in Pigeon Forge…

And there’s a lot of entertainment to be had.  There are live shows featuring music (Broadway, country, bluegrass, rock, Celtic, and other styles), dinner shows, equestrian theater, comedy and Christian-themed shows.  Both Dollywood, which contains an entire theme park’s worth of other attractions, and Smoky Mountain Opry get great reviews from visitors, but there are many venues to choose from.

The Gem Tones, Dollywood

The Gem Tones, Dollywood

Where Can I Send My Group for Some R&R?

Your group can relax and catch up in style and comfort at one of the area’s resorts, hotels and lodges.  Rooming options include chalets and condos.  RiverStone Resort and Spa is Pigeon Forge’s own relaxation destination.  It provides guests with traditional spa experiences like mani-pedis, massages, body wraps and skin treatments.

RiverStone Resort and Spa

RiverStone Resort and Spa

Finally, don’t forget about nature’s own relax-and-restore program: the scenery of the Smoky Mountains.  Just a few miles from the decidedly civilized pleasures of the city, the nation’s most-visited national park awaits.  And if skiing is your group’s thing, the only ski resort in the state of Tennessee, Ober Gatlinburg, is just a few miles down the road.

A great girls’ getaway really needs only two things to be fun:  a place to stay and good company.  But add in the things that Pigeon Forge offers year-round – shopping, spas, relaxation, tasty food and more entertainment choices than you can experience in an entire week – and you’ve got the makings of a great group travel experience.