area attractions

Things To Do in Western North Carolina

The Great Smoky Mountains, thought to be the oldest mountains in the world offer the best of nature, from the mountain trails, to where the three rivers meet and everything in between. Bryson City offers a uniquely charming downtown setting with quaint restaurants, with lots of healthy options, too, as well as one of a kind galleries and shops, and let us not forget the Polar Express Train Ride every winter.


Lots to see and do in the Great Smoky Mountains


Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The park is divided between Tennessee and North Carolina. With roughly forty percent of the Park in Swain County, Bryson City is the ideal spot for a relaxing Smoky Mountain vacation.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
The Nantahala Gorge Excursion from Bryson City is a 4 1/2 hours, 44 miles round trip ride.

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino
24-hour casino fun

Tsali Recreation Area Mountain Biking Trail
Click to download a Tsali Map/brochure

Whitewater Rafting
The Nantahala, Oconaluftee, and Little Tennessee Rivers provide whitewater fun for all ages.

Polar Express Train Ride
Over 70,000 passengers rode THE POLAR EXPRESS with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2015 and we hope to see you in 2016! The 1¼ hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story.

Deep Creek
Less than two miles from downtown Bryson City, the Deep Creek recreational area offers activities for the entire family to include whitewater tubing and three waterfalls

Fontana Lake Boating and Fishing
The 29-mile long, 11,700-acre Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) lake has more than 240 miles of shoreline.

Clingmans Dome At 6642 feet
Clingmans Dome is the highest peak in the Smokies

Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Swain County and provides spectacular views of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Fontana Dam
480 feet high, Fontana is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States.


Biltmore House and Gardens
George Vanderbilt’s 250-room mansion is virtually the same as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

Cataloochee Ski Area
On a mountain overlooking Maggie Valley, Cataloochee was the first ski area in the Southeast.

Deals Gap
(The Tail of the Dragon) world-famous among motorcyclists and sports car drivers, for its eleven-mile section with 318 continuous curves.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
This magnificent 3800-acre forest is a remnant of an old growth cove hardwood forest.

Nantahala River Gorge
One of the first, and now one of the most popular whitewater rafting and kayaking venues in the nation.

For more details on local and area attractions, please visit the Smokey Mountain Vacation Guide to Bryson City


I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir