Area Attractions

Below are Just Some of the Activities in the Surrounding Areas

Bryson City / Swain County Visitors Center

210 Main Street                             
Bryson City, NC 28713
800-867-9246 toll-free
828-488-3681 local
828-488-6858 fax

A visit to Bryson City will take you back to a simpler, less-complicated time. Yet you’ll have lots to do in the Swain County area of Western North Carolina. We’re home to much of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including its highest peak, Clingmans Dome. We have the Nantahala River, one of the nation’s most popular whitewater venues, and beautiful Fontana Lake with the highest dam east of the Rockies.

Bryson City

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad  
PO Box 1490
Bryson City, NC 28713
800-872-4681 or 828-586-8811

The Nantahala Gorge Excursion from Bryson City is a 4 1/2 hours, 44 miles round trip ride. The train travels to the Nantahala Gorge and returns. This magnificent trip offers highlights like the Horseshoe Curve, Fontana Lake Trestle, Tennessee River and the Nantahala River. Passengers ride in comfortable, reconditioned coaches, crown coaches, club cars, dining cars, cabooses, and open cars which are ideal for viewing and picture taking. Special excursions and group rates are available.

Smoky Mountain Trains                
100 Greenlee Street,
Bryson City, NC 28713

Mission: To share the spirit of model railroading with individuals of all ages. Smoky Mountain Trains is more than an ordinary museum. With its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout, children’s activity center, and gift/toy shop, Smoky Mountain Trains has something for everyone. Open Monday-Saturday 8:30am-5:30pm. (Closed Sundays) January & February: Open Fridays & Saturdays only.  Children under 3-Free.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Half of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in North Carolina, and most of that is in Swain County. Popular areas include Deep Creek, Lakeview Drive (“The Road to Nowhere”), Mountain Farm Museum, Mingus Mill, Smokemont, Clingmans Dome, Cataloochee Valley and the north shore of Fontana Lake.

Headquarters & Tennessee Main Entrance
Sugarlands Visitor Center
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN

North Carolina main Entrance
Oconaluftee Visitor Center
US 441 North
Cherokee, NCdquarters Road

With sixteen peaks over 6,000 feet and more than a half-million acres of pristine primitive wilderness, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the nation’s most-visited national park. Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Smokies and Cade’s Cove are the most popular landmarks.

Deep Creek entrance
Bryson City, NC

The Deep Creek area is celebrated for its streams and waterfalls. Hikers can choose from several loop hikes leading to the waterfalls. Mountain bikers can take advantage of one of the few park trails where bicycles are permitted.  Tubing is popular and fun experience.

Whitewater Rafting

The Nantahala, Oconaluftee, and Little Tennessee Rivers provide whitwater fun for all ages. The most challenging is the the Nantahala River which is dam controlled and features Class III rapids. For a list of Whitewater outfitters and other information, click here.

Smoky Moutain Golf Country Club

1112 Conleys Creek Road              
Whittier, NC  28789
Nestled in one of the area’s most dramatic mountain valleys, surrounded by 5,000 foot peaks, is Smoky Mountain Country Club, a golf destination convenient to the recreation and sights of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park region. From valley floors to mountaintops, Smoky Mountain Country Club provides a unique golfing experience – one we’re pretty sure anyone in the “flatlands” has never experienced.  The first three holes follow the valley floor before your mountain experience commences.  Beginning with the 4th hole, all the way to your final put on 18, you will not play two consecutive holes at the same elevation, as the golf couse rises and falls spectacularly through the Great Smoky Mountains.

Cherokee Indian Reservation

Cherokee Visitor Center               
PO Box 460, Cherokee, NC 28719
828-497-9195 or 1-800-438-1601

“Unto These Hills” Outdoor Drama
Mountainside Theater, U.S. 441
North, Cherokee
PO Box 398, Cherokee, NC 28719

Recognized as one of the top outdoor dramas in the United States with over 5,000,000 visitors since its opening in July 1950. The Drama tells the history of the Cherokee people from about 1540 through their forced removal from this area in the late 1830’s. 8:30 p.m daily except Sundays (pre-show entertainment begins at 7:45 p.m.) June 13 thru August 24, 2002. General Admission adn Reserved Seating.

Cherokee Heritage Museum and Gallery
Saunooke Village, Cherokee 28719

The Museum highlights Cherokee’s past through displays of art and cultural items such as masks, crystals, the uketena and more. Includes a gallery of Native American crafts and art. Open daily April through November.  Under 6 free.

Museum of the Cherokee Indian  
PO Box 1599, Cherokee, NC 28719

Totally renovated in 1998. By combining high-tech wizardry and an extensive artifact collection, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian is fun for the entire family and an exciting, educational event. Open daily at 9 am except on Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s Day.  Free for children under 6.

Oconaluftee Indian Village         
Drama Road
PO Box 398, Cherokee, NC 28719
828-497-2111 or 828-497-2315

Recreated Cherokee Village of the 1750s. Regular tours by Cherokee guides present history, crafts, early homes and mountain forest demonstrations of beadwork, pottery, blowguns, and much more in a beautiful forest setting. Open from 9:00 a.m.until 5:30 p.m. daily, May 15th thru October 25th.  Free for children under 6.

Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual
Hwy 441 & Drama Road, Cherokee NC 28719

Established in 1946, it serves mainly as a cooperative mutual for 300 Cherokee craftspeople, the facility has a large display area for those interested in historical baskets, masks, pottery, fingerweaving, wood carving and more. Hours June through August 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; September through October 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; November through May 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No admission fee.

Fontana Dam

Hwy 28 west of Bryson City
828-498-2234 (May thru September) or
828-498-2251 (off season)

480 feet high, Fontana is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States. Constructed by the Tennessee Valley Authority during the early 1940s to supply electricity to fuel the war effort during World War II. Open for visitors May thru September. Free.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway Association     
PO Box 453, Asheville, NC 28802

The Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Swain County and provides spectacular views of the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. An ideal place for picnics and bicycling. A vacation map and guide is available at the address above, or by contacting the Swain County Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-867-9246.

Harrahs Cherokee Casino

Highway 19, Cherokee, NC 28719      800-427-7247 or 828-497-7777

24-hour casino fun, featuring 2,700 video gaming machines, three great restaurants, live entertainment, a gift shop, a culturally-themed educational child care facility and all the friendly, first-class service that has made Harrah’s famous. 24 hours a day-7 days a week. New Hotel: A new 15 story, 252 room hotel opened in 2002.

Nantahala Gorge Ruby Mine, Inc.

11900 U.S. 19/74 West, Bryson City, NC 28713

Professional Gem Stone evaluation and cutting is available onsite through our gemologist, Gene Elliott. Gene has received local and national recognition for his honesty, fairness, and expert craftsmanship. Season: Mid-May through Mid-October.

Santa’s Land Fun Park and Zoo

Rt. 1 Box 134-A, Cherokee NC 28719

Located 3 miles east of Cherokee on US 19. See Santa and his elves, browse through gift shops and exhibits, and visit the domestic and exotic animals in the zoo. Santa’s Land also features rides, picnic facilities, and eating establishments. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm from March 31st through October 31st.; Weekends only through November 25th.  Children under 2 free.

Whittier Historical Center

29 Main Street, P.O. Box 1237,
Whittier, NC 28789

Located in the original Old Whittier Grocery Store, this exhibit includes a replica of the original town of Whittier c.1890’s-1910, as well as memorabilia, old photos, and a Who’s Who of over 300 family names. The mini-museum is free to the public, operating by donations and through the sale of post cards, maps, an Historical newspaper, The New Whittier Record, and other souvenir items. Open year-around, Monday thru Saturday from noon to 5 pm.