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.

In our blog: Five Awesome Adventures You Can Only Have In Bryson City

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

  • Santa’s Land Fun Park and Zoo

    Contact Name: Linda Torres
    Address: 571 Wolftown Rd
    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. $19.99, children under 2 free.
  • Nantahala Outdoor Center

    Address: 13077 Hwy 19 W
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

    Phone Two: TF: 800-232-7238
    Phone Three: Fax: 828-488-0301

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    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!
  • Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine

    Address: Hwy 441
    Cherokee
    NC
    28719

    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.
  • Cherokee Historical Association

    Address: 564 Tsali Blvd (HWY 441)
    Cherokee
    NC
    28719

    CHA presents the Oconaluftee Indian Village & the outdoor drama Unto These Hills. Visit the recreated 1750s-era Cherokee Village. Regular tours by Cherokee guides present history, crafts, early homes and demonstrations of beadwork, pottery, blowguns, and much more in a beautiful forest setting. Mid-May through October. Unto These Hills tells the history of the Cherokee people from about 1540 through their forced removal from this area in the late 1830s. June-August; check the website for exact dates. General admission seating.
  • Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

    Address: 226 Everett Street
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

    Other Address:

    Mailing: PO Box 1490, Bryson City, NC, 28713

    Scenic rail excursions through a remote corner of North Carolina into river gorges, across valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. Excursions include Nantahala Gorge, Dinosaur Train, Polar Express, Mystery Theatre Dinner Train and other themed events. Your excursion 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.
  • Appalachian Rivers Aquarium

    Address: 117 Island Street
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

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    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. The Aquarium is open Friday - Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm, November through April; and Thursday - Saturday, 10 am - 4 pm, May through October. It is not open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Free parking, restrooms, fishing pier and Tuckasegee River access.
  • Smoky Mountain Trains Museum

    Address: 100 Greenlee Street
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

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    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
  • Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

    Contact Name: Frankie Reynolds
    Address: 1028 Georgia Rd
    Franklin
    NC
    28734

    Located in Franklin, NC, this 1,500 seat state-of-the-art facility presents the finest in performing arts to the surrounding towns. Performances will 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.
  • Carolina Bound Adventures Family Attractions

    Contact Name: Mark Van Osdal
    Address: 35 Slope Street
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

    Carolina Bound Adventures offers multiple family friendly adventures like guided hiking, beginner mountain biking, guided backpacking and camping, (We’ve got all of the gear!) and Kids Adventures.  Save time making reservations and do it all at one website!  Our adventure planning and reservation concierge service consolidates your vacation research and planning in one place.  Visit our website, choose your desired adventures and we’ll make the reservations plus set up your itinerary!
  • Swain County Heritage Museum

    Address: 2 Everett Street
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

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    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, 9 am - 6 pm. Jan-Mar, 10 am - 5 pm. Free admission. Free parking behind the courthouse. Take a virtual tour
  • Down Memory Lane Toy Museum

    Contact Name: Jim Geary
    Address: 51 Cowee School Dr.
    Franklin
    NC
    28734

    Other Address:

    Mailing: 181 Allendale Hill Rd., Franklin, NC, 28734

    Jim and Sandy have been collecting toys for over years. 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.
  • 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

    828-488-3681

    877-472-1681

    Free 2019 Travel Guide to the Smokies — Includes the Official 2019 All Aboard for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

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