When planning your Pigeon Forge vacation, the intent has to factor into the equation. Not every destination is equally equipped to fulfill certain vacation goals.
For instance, if I plan on spending the majority of my vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, I’m probably not going to pick one of the Pigeon Forge hotels.
That doesn’t mean you can’t take in the majesty of the Great Smoky Mountains if you base camp in Pigeon Forge, just that other places may suit your purpose better.
So if I want to base camp my stay in or around The Island Pigeon Forge, a certain type of vacation comes to mind.
Something Pigeon Forge heavy with a lot of shopping and food. A place where I may want to get a little loose and relax with some alcoholic beverages without having to worry about getting in my car and driving afterward.
I don’t think of The Island as my go-to destination to get into the mountains. However, you can get a good view of them from the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel. I would, however, keep The Island on my list if I was considering spending a day or two at the Dollywood theme park.
What is The Island in Pigeon Forge?
It’s a vacation destination within a vacation destination.
Located on the shores of the Little Pigeon River in the heart of Pigeon Forge, The Island is a collective of shops, restaurants, games and hotel rooms, many of which are based on the lifestyle of the singer and author Jimmy Buffett.
Wait? That blew out my flip-flop, stepped on a pop-top guy? Isn’t his thing the Gulf or the Caribbean?
Yes. That guy. His brand is bigger than any ocean. On The Island, there are not one but two Jimmy Buffet-themed hotels.
There’s also a restaurant, a bar and a Daiquiris Place that seemingly isn’t Buffet affiliated but it’s a little bit like the 90s movie “Single White Female” where the roommate moves in and then tries to become the roommate.
In fact, Dude’s Daiquiris is wearing all of Margaritaville’s clothes and hanging out with Margaritaville’s friends and family members. One day, we’re gonna show up at The Island and Margaritaville is going to be missing but Dude’s Daiquiris gonna be a little too ready to step into the void.
Is there anything on The Island that isn’t Buffet related?
Sure. There are quite a few shops as well as several restaurants where you won’t have to listen to “Pencil Thin Mustache” or “Son of a Sailor” on repeat.
Places like Mellow Mushroom, Dick’s Last Resort, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, The Timberwood Grill and more.
How do we get there? What road is The Island on?
It’s right in the middle of Pigeon Forge. The Island Drive has access from Teaster Lane and U.S. 441.
The good news is you’ve come to a great place for hotel options. From budget hotels to more expensive getaways, you have a lot of choices near The Island to stay. And many of them are within walking distance.
Here are some of the best hotels if I want to stay near The Island.
What hotels are at The Island at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee?
Well, you have some options. The first is Jimmy Buffet themed and the other is … who are we kidding? The Island has two Jimmy Buffett-themed hotels.
Margaritaville Island Hotel is billed as a perfect blend of mountain latitude and island attitude. I have no idea what that means.
However, according to the website, Margaritaville Island Hotel brings a new perspective to the Smoky Mountains experience with its contemporary, mountain-luxe surroundings, dedication to hospitality and full-service amenities.
Evidently, the 100s of other hotels in the region didn’t think to provide full-service amenities like a frozen concoction maker in a room with private balconies.
The Margaritaville Island Inn, however, is simply paradise. I feel like this is running dangerously close to the Jimmy Buffet-Gene Wilder mashup nobody was demanding. Apparently, paradise is check-in and chill out in the laidback, tropically inspired guest rooms.
Special amenities include two pools, complimentary breakfast, free bikes and many special touches that have been thoughtfully included for comfort and enjoyment.
8. Mountain Vista Inn & Suites
This moderately reviewed hotel offers “down-to-earth” rooms at a modest price. Some rooms come with hot tubs and the hotel has a heated indoor swimming pool.
7. Timbers Lodge
This hotel – which has mostly good reviews – offers free parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, free breakfast and free wifi.
More expensive than some other options but certainly a better lodging experience.
Check current rates here.
6. Baymont by Wyndham
This one is technically within walking distance of The Island, but it’s across U.S. 441 and a decent ways up the road. I cringe every time I see people crossing the millions of lanes of traffic to get from one side of the highway to the other.
In fact, do not go drinking at one of Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville Restaurants on The Island and get tanked up on cheeseburgers and tequila and try to walk back to your hotel on the other side of the highway. It’s not a good call.
Otherwise, this hotel is well-reviewed. And it’s a great option for a Pigeon Forge vacation in general. However, if the goal is to stay near The Island, you can get closer.
Check for special rates on Booking.com.
5. Quality Inn
Well reviewed for a 2-star hotel, I wanted to quibble with this being “near” The Island. I went back and reviewed the maps. And as a result, I will allow it.
It’s across the highway though. And it’s going to be a bummer walking past Margaritaville Island Inn every night and then crossing all that traffic to come back to a hotel with rooms that are called “unfussy.”
It does offer two pools, a hot tub and a free breakfast. Is it a free hot breakfast? It’s unclear.
4. Holiday Inn and Suites Pigeon Forge
We’re getting a little too far afield here. But it’s on the same side of the highway and we’re assuming a certain level of willingness to walk. Therefore, we’re including the Holiday Inn and Suites.
The hotel features include a fitness room which you will not need if you walk to The Island and back every day.
It is also well reviewed. I assume you know what you’re getting with this brand. It fits well within those expectations. Also, it has a restaurant and bar.
3. Tru by Hilton Pigeon Forge
Located across Teaster Lane from The Island, I don’t know that I would say that this or the sister hotel next door, Home2 Suites by Hilton Pigeon Forge are within walking distance. Although it’s not THAT far and probably closer as the crow flies than the Holiday Inn and Suites.
Tru is listed as a two star hotel, but it reviews quite well. Certainly, it doesn’t look like a two-star hotel. Nor does it charge like a two-star hotel.
Tru boasts colorful rooms – which, thank God – in a trendy hotel with an indoor pool and a rooftop terrace. In addition, if you’re traveling with your fur babies, Tru by Hilton is one of the pet friendly hotels in the region. Check for current offers here.
2. Riverstone Resort & Spa
This hotel is nowhere near The Island – well, it’s in the same city.
Actually, it’s probably a 5 to 10 minute drive depending on traffic. But if you want something a little more upscale, this four-star hotel may be your best bet.
Riverstone offers luxury cabins and condos and a legitimately cool lazy river surrounded by faux stone mountain waterfalls. Specifically, this resort on the edge of the Gatlinburg Golf Course is pretty much the opposite of everything going on at The Island.
Check for special rates with Booking.com.
1. SpringHill Suites by Marriott Pigeon Forge
SpringHill Suites is a surprising option not within walking distance. However, it is on Teaster Lane, which means you can get to and from The Island without encountering all of the traffic on the main strip. And it is a well-reviewed three star hotel.
Billed as kid-friendly, this is a surprisingly good option off the main strip. Check for current offers here.
Do you have a favorite place to lodge near The Island? Let us know in the comments!