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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

Gallery Zella

  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 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
  • 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.

  • Carolina Bound Adventures Family Attractions

    Carolina Bound Adventures offers multiple family friendly adventures like guided hiking, beginner mountain biking, and guided kayaking or paddleboarding with all the gear you need included.  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 - book whitewater rafting, zip lining, fly fishing, jeep tours plus kayak and paddleboard rentals!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Appalachian Rivers Aquarium

    Hours are currently Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 am - 4 pm. 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. dog paw print symbol
  • 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 Toy Museum

    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.
  • Family Photo Shoots

    Foggy Moon Photography is full service location and travel 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.
  • 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, Tuesday - 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
  • 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.
  • 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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