TRAVEL GUIDE TO BRYSON CITY AND THE GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS
VACATION IN THE SMOKIES
Swain County – a Great Place To Visit, And You Would Want To Live Here
Swain County, North Carolina has an agreeable climate, excellent schools, close-knit communities that emphasize family life, abundant recreational opportunities and beautiful surroundings.
The location is unique because it allows residents quick access to some of the largest expanses of wilderness in the eastern United States, with urban areas such as Asheville, Knoxville, and Atlanta within easy driving distance.
For More Information
Would you like to learn more about Bryson City, Swain County and North Carolina? The following web sites and guides may be of interest to you.
If you have a question that isn't answered below, please give us a call.
Swain County, North Carolina has an agreeable climate, excellent schools, close-knit communities that emphasize family life, abundant recreational opportunities and beautiful surroundings. The location is unique because it allows residents quick access to some of the largest expanses of wilderness in the eastern United States, with urban areas such as Asheville, Knoxville, and Atlanta within easy driving distance.
If you're considering a move to Swain County, the following information may be helpful:
Automobile Tags — Within 30 days of establishing North Carolina residency, you must obtain a NC automobile tag. The tag office is in the Swain County Administration Building, 101 Mitchell Street, Bryson City. 828-488-8247.
Beverages — In Bryson City, liquors are sold at the ABC Store on Veterans Boulevard (9am to 9pm, Monday through Saturday). Beer and wine is sold only at grocery, convenience and package stores within the city limits. Hours vary from store to store, but may be from 6 am to midnight, except on Sunday, when sales are only permitted from noon to 6pm. Some Bryson City and Swain County restaurants offer alcoholic beverages.
Burning Permits — Inside the town limits, permits to burn yard waste are issued at Town Hall, 45 Everett Street. Outside the town limits, permits are issued at “Old” Clampitt Hardware, 129 Main Street, and Kings Grocery in Lauada on Highway 74 West.
Business License — A Privilege License to do business in the Town of Bryson City may be obtained at the Town Hall, 45 Everett Street, 828-488-3335. No license is required if your business is outside city limits.
Bus Services — Commercial bus service is available in Maggie Valley, approximately 40 miles from Bryson City. The Cherokee Boys Club offers a charter bus service for the area. Transportation services are also offered by Swain Transit, 828-488-3213; and Cherokee Transit, 866-388-6071 or 828-497-5296.
Childcare — There are seventeen licensed childcare facilities in Swain County with a total attendance of 792 children.
Civic Organizations — Local civic groups play active and critical role in a variety of public service activities. Here's a complete list of Bryson City civic organizations.
Climate — Swain County has four distinct seasons. January has an average high temperature of 51° and a low of 28°. July’s average high is 84° and the low is 61°. Snowfall can be seen as early as October and as late as April with an annual accumulation of 11 inches. Annual precipitation averages approximately 44 inches. The average relative humidity is around 70% in the summer and 66% during winter. More about Swain County's climate.
Commercial Airports — The closest airport is in Asheville, NC, which is approximately one hour away. Other options are Knoxville, TN, Greenville/Spartanburg, SC and Atlanta, GA.
Cost of Living Index (2012): 82.7 (US average is 100).
County Map — A detailed map of Swain County and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is available at a cost of $5 and may be picked up at the Swain County Chamber of commerce. For mail orders make check or money order payable to Swain County Chamber of Commerce, and mail to PO Box 509, Bryson City, NC 28713.
Atlanta, GA - 165
Asheville, NC - 70
Charlotte, NC - 185
Greenville, SC - 113
Knoxville, TN - 80
Raleigh, NC - 309
Education — The county takes great pride in the academic and athletic achievements of its students. Swain County Schools are administered by a five-member board of education elected by county voters and employ a superintendent who carries out policies adopted by the board. Swain County Board of Eductioin: 828-488-3129.
The public school system consists of a Head Start program, Bright Adventures Pre-K, two K-5 elementary schools, a 6-8 grade middle school and a 9-12 high school.
Mountain Discovery Charter School is a public, tuition-free school for grades K-8. Admission is based on space availablility. It employs a teaching approach that addresses individual learning styles while adhering to the North Carolina standard course of study.
Grace Christian Academy offers a Pre-K program and K-8 instruction. The school uses the A Beka Curriculum which provides a Christ-centered education. Before and after-school programs are also offered..
Southwestern Community College is based on neighboring Jackxon County and operates a learning center in the Almond area of Swain County.
Western Carolina University, part of the University of North Carolina system, is located in the Cullowhee area of Jackson County, approximately 45 minutes from Bryson City.
Electric Service — Duke Energy provides electric service to the area, 1-800-369-4500. You may pay your bill at Radio Shack in the Valley Village Shopping located on Old US 19.
Emergency, Fire and Law Enforcement Services — The Swain Emergency Medical Service (EMS), Bryson City Police, Swain County Sheriff, Swain County Rescue Squad and four volunteer fire departments are reached for emergencies by calling 911. The Swain EMS provides ambulance services. The Swain County Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization that provides wilderness search and rescue operations, river rescue and traffic control at accident sites; the squad has eight certified emergency medical technicians.
2012 Annual Employment:
Total Government: 4,888 Total Private Industry: 3,037
Swain County Schools: Education & Health Services: 250-499
Consolidated Metco Inc: Manufacturing: 250-499
Swain County: Public Administration: 100-249
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad: 100-249
Nantahala Outdoor Center: 100-249
Shaw Industries Group Inc: 100-249
Garbage Collection — Garbage collection is provided by the Town of Bryson City (828-488-3335) provides garbage pickup. For county residents, a garbage and recycling center is located on Old US 19 and accepts paper, colored and clear glass, #1 and #2 plastic, tin and cardboard.
Government, County — Swain County has a Board of Commissioners and a County Manager. The board meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 pm in the County Administration Building. 828-488-9273. website
Government, Town — Bryson City has a Mayor, Board of Aldermen and Town Manager. The board
meets on the first Monday of each month at 6pm in the Town Office. 828-488-3335.
Health Care — Swain County Hospital, which is part of the WestCare Health System, is a fully accredited acute care facility. Staffing the hospital full time are family practice physicians, an internist, an obstetrician, pediatricians and a physician’s assistant. Other specialties offered on a weekly basis include orthopedics, cardiology, radiology, pulmonary, pathology, general surgery, pain management, and podiatry. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day. 828-488-2155.
There is also an urgent care facility, Smoky Mountain Urgent Care and Family Medicine Center, which offers onsite x-rays labs, and wellness coaching. The urgent care center is open seven days a week and the family care practice is open Monday through Thursday. 828-538-4546.
Additional medical facilities include eye care, dentists, an assisted living community, skilled nursing facilities, public health provider, home care providers, and mental health center.
Highways Serving the Area — US Highways, 441, 74 and 19. North Carolina Highway 28.
2000 Census Median Family Income: $34,048
2000 Census Median Household Income: $28,665
2017 Projected Median Household Income: $39,365
2017 Projected Per Capita Income: $21,126
Industrial Park — Swain County offers an industrial park just west of Bryson City on Old US 19. Utilities include city water and sewer, electric, natural gas, and fiber optics for broadband needs. For more information call 828-488-9273.
Labor Force Training — Southwestern Community College assists companies in training the local workforce for special applications.
Swain County Technology and Training Center: The technology center is designed as a regional facility capable of onsite or remote classroom or conference center for up to 25 people. The center also features large format digital touch screens as well as full robotic training. 828-488-9273.
Western Carolina University: The Center for Integrated Technologies offers precision metrology, rapid prototyping systems, a telecommunication laboratory, and an
OptoElectronics laboratory. The school also offers the WNC Technical Assistance Program to provide WCU
expertise to the business community. 828-227-7368.
The Marianna Black Library is la member of the Fontana Regional Library System. Corner of Rector and Academy Streets, just up the hill from the Police Station. In addition to library services and programs for adults and children, among the services offered are the use of computers and the Internet, faxing and copying services. For more information: Fontanalib.org or call 828-488-3030.
Marriage License & Wedding Information
Marriage licenses are issued by the Register of Deeds at the Swain County Administration Building, 101 Mitchell Street, Bryson City. 828-488-9273. Monday - Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. For more information on requirements as well as ministers and florists, click here for a downloadable pdf Weddings - Bryson City.
Newspapers serving Swain County include the daily Asheville Citizen-Times and weeklies The Smoky Mountain Times, Cherokee One Feather and Smoky Mountain News. The local radio station is WBHN (1590 am).
Places of Worship — Denominations represented in Swain County include Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Church of Christ, Church of God, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Church of the Nazarene, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist and United Methodist. Two Jewish Synagogues are located in Asheville and Jewish services are held regularly in Franklin, 40 minutes south of Bryson City. Listing of Places of Worship
2010 Census: Swain County – 13,981
Bryson City – 1,353
2000 Census: Median Age: 39
2017 Projected Median Age: 43
Note: seasonal residents do not qualify for population studies. Seasonal residents may total up to 25% of Swain County residents.
Post Office — The main post office is located on Slope Street in Bryson City. 828-488-3481. Almond, Cherokee and Whittier also have post offices.
Quality of Life – Swain County has something to offer every age and family dynamic. Excellent schools, quality healthcare, pleasant climate, numerous recreational activities, and close-knit communities that encourage and emphasize family life. And for those who still “hanker” for a more urban environment, Swain County is conveniently located within easy driving distance of several major cities.
Recreation – In addition to the many outdoor opportunities offered in Swain County, there is also an organized Recreation Department which offers a variety of classes and events. It also offers a public swimming pool, tennis courts, several public ball-fields, and playgrounds. You may reach the Swain County Recreation Department at 828-488-6159.
Right-to-Work State – North Carolina is a right-to-work state. The percentage of unionization is one of the lowest in the nation.
Shipping – Motor freight carriers serving Swain County include Old Dominion, Roadway, J.D. Hunt, John B. Lenoir, Virginia-Carolina, and C-W Transport. United Parcel Service, Federal Express, Airborne, Emory, Roadway Parcel and DHL are also available. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, while primarily a tourist-based operation, has the ability to ship for commercial customers.
Taxes – North Carolina has an income tax on both personal and business income. It does not levy a property tax. Sales tax is collected at the rate of 6.75% on all goods with some exceptions. Swain County levies an ad-valorem tax on 100% assessment at the rate of $0.3300 per $100 property value. The Town of Bryson City has an ad-valorem tax within its corporate limits, using the county assessment. The current rate for Bryson City is $0.3100 per $100. County tax office: 828-488-9273, Town tax office: 828-488-3335.
Frontier provides telephone service. The number for new residents is 800-921-8101 and new businesses — 800--921-8102. For customers with disabilities - Voice & TTY: Mon-Fri, 8 am - 6pm. — 877-462-6606.
In be eligible to vote in Swain County, you must be a citizen of the US, at least 18 years of age and a legal resident of Swain County. You must be registered at least 21 working days prior to any election to be able to vote in that election. Registered voters always vote in the precinct where they live. The Board of Elections is located on Old US 19. 828-488-6177.