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Bring the Whole Family to the Mountains for Plenty of Wholesome Fun

Pack the car, grab the kids and head for the mountains! Not only do we have lots of great outdoor activities, but we have several fun parks, the Heritage Museum, the Indian Village, the Outdoor Drama “Unto These Hills,” the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and train excursions on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Wholesome fun for all ages.

Rainy day? There’s still plenty to do in the Smokies. Check out 16 rainy day activities.

Want to bring the family dog? click here for dog-friendly activities


The Bryson City Farm That Keeps On Growing

Five Awesome Adventures You Can Only Have In Bryson City

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  • Carolina Bound Adventures Family Attractions

    Are you booking guided hiking, beginner mountain biking tours, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, ziplining, horseback riding, kayaking and paddle board rentals, or guided kayaking and paddle boarding tours while you're here on vacation? Then save your time and sanity by doing it all on one website!  Our adventure planning and reservation concierge service consolidates your vacation research and planning all in one place. Visit our website, choose your desired adventures and we’ll make the reservations plus set up your itinerary – it’s that easy!
  • Nantahala Outdoor Center

    Nantahala Outdoor Center’s main campus is located at the intersection of the Appalachian Trail and the Nantahala River, just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A mecca for outdoor enthusiasts since 1972, NOC’s 500-acre adventure campus boasts plenty of excitement to keep your entire group happy and active, whether you spend the day or a week! Whitewater raft, zipline, mountain bike and hike, and explore Lake Fontana in a rental kayak or SUP. In between adventures, check out NOC’s two riverfront restaurants, onsite shopping, and spend the night in a cozy trailside cabin!
  • Down Memory Lane Toys

    Jim and Sandy have closed the museum as of January 2023, and are now operating as an antique toy store for several months to sell off their inventory. If you would like to visit the store, please call to make sure they are there or can meet you. The collection consists of a large selection of Studebaker cars, trucks, and military equipment. Sandy's collection of construction equipment numbers about 200 or so pieces. There is a sizable collection of other toys, dolls, and doll accessories, pedal cars and ride on toys such the red horse.
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

    Roundtrip passenger excursions through a remote corner of North Carolina into scenic river gorges, across valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. General Excursions feature the Nantahala Gorge, with specialty trains such as, The POLAR EXRESS, BBQ & Brews & Uncorked - A Wine and Rails Pairing. Purchase of a train ticket also includes admission to Smoky Mountains Train Museum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children's activity center.
  • Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

    Located in Franklin, NC, this 1,500 seat state-of-the-art facility presents the finest in performing arts to the surrounding region. Performances include passion plays, musical productions, professional drama troupes, dance and choral festivals, recitals, and various genres including country, bluegrass, gospel, pop, contemporary Christian and more.
  • Darnell Farms

    A family-owned and operated farm for more than thirty years, that specializes in sustainably grown appalachian fruits and vegetables. Our farm is located on an oasis surrounded by the Tuckaseegee River, bring your family and let our farm be yours.
  • The Factory

    A 56,000-square-foot family entertainment center featuring a trampoline jump center, 100+ arcade games, indoor mini golf, the area’s largest go cart track, bumper cars, laser tag, pizza factory & grill, large indoor playground and more! Private rooms available for parties.

  • Smoky Mountain Community Theatre

    The Smoky Mountain Community Theatre has been the home of local, amateur, dramatic productions in Bryson City since 1989. Make plans now to enjoy one of our multiple productions throughout the year. Tickets are sold at the box office and online.
  • Elite Action Gaming LLC

    Looking for something fun for your next party or event? Our mobile service brings active games like tactical laser tag and Gellyball to customer locations around WNC for private parties, fairs, festivals, church and community events and more. We manage all the setup, take down, and staffing, so you can relax and have fun!
  • Family Photo Shoots

    Foggy Moon Photography is a full-service private studio and location photography team dedicated to bringing you your best photos ever! This husband and wife duo specializes in weddings, family, and lifestyle sessions. Every shoot is shot raw, and every image is meticulously edited, giving you photos worthy of the occasion. All image printing is done by Canon Professional printers for the best color and resolution available. Professional affiliations include: active members of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) since 2014 and Scott Kelby Photography KelbyOne.
  • Swain County Heritage Museum

    Located in the 1908 historic courthouse in downtown Bryson City, the museum tells the story of Swain County and its people. Through photos, exhibits and video you will learn about the life of early settlers; and how the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Fontana Dam rewrote the landscape and changed lives. You will enjoy seeing the restored log cabin porch, the 1887 church organ and one-room schoolhouse desks, and children's activity area among other items. The museum is open daily, except for Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  April thru December: Monday thru Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm. Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm. January thru March: Monday thru Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm. Sunday, 10 am - 4 pm. Free admission. Free parking behind the courthouse. Take a virtual tour
  • Appalachian Rivers Aquarium

    Free admission, free parking, restrooms, fishing pier and Tuckasegee River access. The aquarium features native fish and amphibian species found in our Appalachian region. Highlights include two hellbender salamanders and a mountain stream with various trout species. A variety of fish including small and large mouth bass, blue gill, catfish and more, along with a terrarium of amphibians make this experience both educational and fun for all ages. The aquarium is part of the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome.  The Aquarium is closed every day in January, 2023; and open Fridays & Saturdays in February. Remainder of the year schedule to come. Take a virtual tour and check for days open. dog paw print symbol
  • Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine

    Choose from a wide variety of bags and buckets; all equipment is furnished for free. All gem mining and gold panning troughs are covered and offer seating. Bring your gems to the assay office for identification and then utilize the lapidary and jeweler for polishing and setting. And don't forget to visit the gem, gift, and rock shop before you go. Open year round.
  • Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary

    The 18-hole course winds through a 20-acre parcel along Raven Fork in Cherokee, right next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The wooded property property is home to old-growth trees, with massive rock formations and rhododendron bunkers adding to the challenge. Wildlife often frequent the area. Travel north on Big Cove Road from the intersection with Acquoni Rd. The course is just past Cherokee Central Schools at the Big Cove Community sign.
  • Smoky Mountain Trains Museum

    The museum boasts a collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children's activity center. Admission is free with your train ticket; otherwise adults $9; 12 and under $5; under 2 free. Open daily (seasonal hours will change). Not open Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day or New Year's Eve. Take a virtual tour
  • Cherokee Historical Association

    CHA presents the Oconaluftee Indian Village & the outdoor drama Unto These Hills. Unto These Hills tells the history of the Cherokee people from about 1540 through their forced removal from this area in the late 1830s. Late May thru mid-August; check the website for exact dates. General admission seating. Visit the recreated 1750s-era Oconaluftee Indian Village, Monday - Saturday, spring through October. Regular tours by Cherokee guides present history, crafts, early homes and demonstrations of bead work, pottery, blowguns, and much more in a beautiful forest setting.
  • Santa’s Land Fun Park and Zoo

    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 multiple restaurants. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm from March 31st through October 31st.
  • Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

    Through exhibits and videos you’ll learn about fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, basic knots, fly-tying, types of gear, types of game fish, regional fishing waters, and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast. Admission is free. Donations welcome. Free parking around the museum. Open Tuesday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm; and Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm. Take a virtual tour
  • The Great Smoky Mountains have been named by Yahoo Travel as one of the Ten Best Spots for Fall Leaf Color in the USA. And how better to see the leaves than on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, chosen by CNN as a great fall foliage train ride.

    Other media mentions about Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Bryson City - Swain County
    Chamber of Commerce

    210 Main Street
    P.O. Box 509
    Bryson City, NC 28713

    Karen Proctor
    Executive Director


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