Don't Just Take Our Word For It...

Bryson City's attractions, activities and businesses are frequently featured in the media. Here are a few examples of what journalists are saying.

If you see something in the news that we don't have noted here, we'd love to hear from you at updates@greatsmokies.com.

Here's What Media Writes About Bryson City

SmithsonianMag.com: "In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the Smithsonian has named Bryson City as one of the "20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016." The top picks this year are all towns under 20,000 population that are close to National Parks. Highlights of the Bryson City feature include the "Road to Nowhere," the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours, the Nantahala National Forest, whitewater rafting, tubing, hiking, horseback riding, beautiful waterfalls, the Fryemont Inn, and the Heritage Museum. Read

Southern Living logoTrip Advisor has named Bryson City one of "24 Beautiful Little Mountain Towns Across America." When it comes to trendy trip ideas and buzzworthy vacation spots, America’s cities get a lot of love...That’s why we’re featuring 24 scenic communities — each home to less than 10,000 residents — with serious four-season appeal and tons of small-town charm." Read

Southern Living logoSouthern Living featured Bryson City as "One Of 10 Must Take Fall Trips." They write, "The Great Smoky Mountains turn vibrant colors as autumn falls across them, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than Bryson City, North Carolina. From there, you can hop on the Appalachian Trail, one of the country’s longest hiking trails, to take in the dusky mountains. Bring a tent, and enjoy the cool weather." Read

Backpacker Magazine - The September 2016 issue features a dozen "trail towns" in the country, including two from the Southeast - Bryson City and Davis & Thomas WV. When an article starts off "Call it the anti-Gatlinburg," you know the writer gets what we're about. Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan calls Bryson City a "sneak route entrance" to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with great spots for breakfast, brews, treats, gear and miles of trails. View

Orbitz logoOrbitz Travel Blog featured Bryson City as one of eight US small towns near stunning nature. Michele Herrmann writes, "Five minutes from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Bryson City provides many waterside activities, thanks to being linked to lakes, rivers, and trout streams." The article mentions The Filling Station Deli, Mountain Perks and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Read

USA Today: USA Today's article on 10 spots to explore in Great Smoky Mountains National Park mentions several spots on the NC side including "Go off the beaten path at Deep Creek." Writer Arthur Levine actually hiked to Indian Creek Falls, and calls it "a peaceful and pleasant place to visit." Read

Grand Strand magazine: Mountain Time: Refresh your fast-paced family life with a slow song in Bryson City, N.C. Writer Ashley Daniels says, "Smoky Mountain music has an all-natural melody that’s heard in the whistle of wind through the oak trees, the white water rushing over the bedrock in Deep Creek or slipping down a waterfall and the giggles from my children as they fly high on a simple tree rope swing." Print and online. Read

USA Today: Fourth of July: Small town celebrations that bring the bang. Writer Carri Wilbanks reports, "For a small town (pop. 1500), Bryson City (located just one-hour drive west of Asheville) likes to do things in a big way, and Independence Day is no exception." Read

WNC Magazine: "13 Best Small Towns in Western North Carolina. Writer Jon Elliston says, "Bryson City feels like a place in a pleasant state of perpetual motion." He goes on to praise the "eminently walkabledown, which is replete with options for day and nighttime fun on foot." And the "dozens of shops, bakeries, cafes and art galleries." Read

OnlyInYourState.com named Bryson City one of "17 Perfectly Picturesque Small Towns in North Carolina." Writer Emory Rakestraw says, "Located right on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Bryson City is one of those towns you stumble upon and never want to leave." Read

Southern Living magazine: "Explore 10 mountain towns and take in prime fall foliage." Southern Living included Bryson City in their "Best of the South" October 2015 Travel+Culture section. Including locations in eight southern states, for Bryson City writer Graham Averill highlighted Watershed Cabins, the Cork & Bean and Humanite Boutique; and mentioned the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and the National Park.

Charlotte Observer: Chosen as one of 7 "Mountain Gems" in an article by travel editor John Bordsen, October 2, 2015. He describes Bryson City... "This picture-perfect downtown, ringed by mountains and on the Tuckaseegee River, holds the main depot for the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and its various excursion trips." Read

SouthernLiving.com: In "Ten Must Take Fall Trips," SL says,"The Great Smoky Mountains turn vibrant colors as autumn falls across them, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than Bryson City, North Carolina. From there, you can hop on the Appalachian Trail, one of the country’s longest hiking trails, to take in the dusky mountains. Bring a tent, and enjoy the cool weather." Read (October 2015)

Fayetteville Observer: "Revel in colors of fall" article by weekender editor Brooke Carbo, October 10, 2015. She writes, "Regularly named one of the top mountain vacation destinations in the Southeast, Bryson City tempts tourists with shops displaying artisans goods, gourmet specialty foods and Native American crafts." Read

365AtlantaFamily.com: Travel blogger Lesli Peterson came to Bryson City in September, 2015 and featured us as "an ideal fall vacation destination" on her highly popular Atlanta-based blog. She reviewed Lands Creek Log Cabins, GSMR and Wildwater, saying, "It was our first visit but will not be our last ... we love this place!" Read

The Daily South blog (Southern Living): Bryson City was featured as one of "13 Destinations to See Fall Leaves in the South." (September 14, 2015) Writer Alexa Lampasona chose a Chamber provided photo of The Road to Nowhere for her story. Read

Capital at Play magazine: Fall in Love with Fall - Hit the road to find the color, by Jennifer Fitzgerald features a number of stops for fall color in the Bryson City area and includes 4 photos from our media images gallery. (August 2015). Read article

GardenAndGun.com: Secret Smokies: An Insider's Guide to Quiet, Back-Road Spots by Elizabeth Hutchison features Bryson City's own Road to Nowhere. "This sleepy eight-mile stretch winds its way through some beautiful country with views of Fontana Lake before it dead-ends at a tunnel inside the park." (July 2015). Read article

Trip Advisor has named Bryson City one of "29 super affordable vacation rental destinations you need to visit." In their vacation rental blog they write, "Out of over 150 regions considered, the below list reflects 29 amazing hotspots that offer the most bang for your buck when staying in a rental home." Bryson City is the only NC location selected for this national list! (June 2015) Read more

American Angler -July/August 2015 article by Beau Beasley entitled "North Carolina's Trout Trifecta." Beau writes of the Oconaluftee, Tuckasegee & the Nantahala, "Three rivers just outside America's most popular national park are teeming with trout, suited for both wading and floating anglers, and surrounded by some of the best scenery in Southern Appalachia... Native Tar Heelers know what treasures reside in their own backyard. If you haven't fished the quaint and productive rivers of Western North Carolina, you don't know what you're missing."

HGTV's Log Cabin Living show episodes follow families as they look for the escape of log cabin living. In the first season (Spring 2015) Bryson City was featured as the getaway chosen by two families to purchase their vacation dream home. Bryson City Realty Group showed 3 houses in episode 5, and Smoky Mountain Cabin Builders showed 3 homes in episode 6. (sign in with your TV provider)

Yahoo Travel feature: 7 Cool Small Towns Perfect for Escaping the Summer Heat. "If you’re looking for an active outdoor escape, Bryson City just might fit the bill. Located on the southern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the city serves as a launching point for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and canoeing adventures. Prefer to take it easy? Enjoy the scenery from the comfort of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad." May 2015. Read

Fathomaway.com travel writer Natalie Compagno approached author Ron Rash for trip-planning advice for a 3-day itinerary in Western North Carolina. Rash suggested Bryson City for one of her stops; and she spent a great day in the area, with recommendations for Deep Creek, Lands Creek Log Cabins, Nantahala Brewing Company and the Fryemont Inn. May 2015. Read the article

Examiner.com featured a Bryson City business in the article Nantahala Brewing Company proves small towns can still produce big successes. Writer Steven Ruygrok says, "A hefty 70 miles away from Asheville, NC, Nantahala Brewing Company has established a great name in craft beer, and is one that many folks will drive several hours to just to enjoy the delicious beer and wonderful atmosphere ...It can be easy to overlook a town just because it's a bit small, but you should always look for what may be unseen. The smallest towns often times have the biggest successes, it just takes some discovery to find them." Read more

Smithsonian.com featured The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad as one of "Six Historic Trains That Embody the Holiday Spirit" in an article by Natasha Geiling, December 15, 2014. The article traces the history of the railroad from the late 1800s, recalling "The 53-mile track runs through valleys and mountains, giving passengers a glimpse of North Carolina's wilderness. From November to January, however, the trains are transformed into a holiday railroad, shuttling festive passengers from the train's Bryson City depot to the North Pole (actually a small North Carolina town that has been decorated appropriately)." Read more

Blue Ridge Outdoors (BRO) magazine named Bryson City the Top Outdoor Town for 2014. The announcement and article are featured in the November 2014 issue of BRO; cover photo by our own super-talented Aaron Morgan. More than 85,000 votes from BRO readers and fans poured in over a four week period to determine the winner. According to Will Harlan, BRO editor-in-chief, "With Great Smoky Mountains National Park and world-class whitewater at its doorstep, Bryson City is the perfect base camp for big adventure. The Tuck flows right through town, and the Appalachian Trail, Nantahala River, Fontana Lake and Tsali singletrack are just a stone's throw away." Read more

Hazel Creek Featured on The Weather Channel – TWC came to Swain County for a travel segment on fishing in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They followed local fishing guide Steve Claxton up Hazel Creek on a rewarding quest for wild mountain trout. The two-minute segment aired on June 12. View the video   Longer 5 minute version

TravelPulse.com. "Top U.S. Spots To Finish Your Novel." The author Tom Bastek says, "Whether you are a writer or just need some time to yourself, there are destinations that are just set up for it." He puts us in company with Sedona AZ, Key West FL, Ogunguit ME and Lincoln City OR. Of Bryson City he says, "If you are there in the fall, the colors are magnificent. If you are there in the summer, the river and the surrounding vegetation is lush and beautiful ...The town is progressive, has a plethora of cabins for rent all year round and is within a short drive to Asheville." Read more

USA Today has named Bryson City one of the Top Ten Can't Miss Blue Ridge Parkway Towns, saying, "An obvious stop for outdoor adventurists traveling through mid-October, Bryson City is convenient to fishing, whitewater, tubing creeks and family-friendly 'float' rafting spots. If the weather's too chilly for swimming, book an excursion on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – roundtrip journeys are as short as one hour. When driving the Parkway south to north, this is the most popular starting point." (Sept 19, 2014). Read more

AAA Go named Bryson City's Annual Chili Cook-Off its Top Pick for 2014 Fall Events in the Carolinas.

USA Today readers have picked 3 WNC roads in the 10 best for a motorcycle trip. The Dragon at Deal's Gap was picked #4, The Blue Ridge Parkway #5, and the Cherohala Skyway was #6. July, 2014. Read more

Southern Trout - June/July 2014 issue article by Ed Mashburn. After a fishing trip here, Mashburn wrote great article about fishing in the area, with some super comments about Bryson City and some of the local businesses, as well as our new website GreatSmokiesFishing.com!

Garden & Gun May 2014 magazine article on "The South's Best Beaches, Lakes..." mentions Fontana Lake. "One of the region's best-kept secrets, this 11,700-acre lake forms the border between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest, meaning you won't find a bunch of big showy homes – just miles of undeveloped shoreline and unspoiled scenery."

CharlotteObserver.com. April 12, 2014. Fun in Bryson City: Paddling, riding, tubing, gliding. "The southeast quadrant of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hot spot for some of the top summer experiences in the N.C. mountains. A nationally-known rail ride and some of the East’s best whitewater rafting is just the start. But before you get too far outdoors, check out vibrant, little downtown Bryson City for dining spots and shops busy with small town commerce." Read more

Blogger Dana Miller of Housetweaking wrote about a great vacation in the Bryson City area. She says, "Here’s the thing about Bryson City. It’s a true getaway. You don’t have to worry about what to wear, how to fix your hair, putting on makeup, checking boxes on your touristy list or having concrete plans. You just go and do whatever and stare at the mountains and breathe easier." Read

Readers of Blue Ridge Country magazine (July/August 2013) have weighed in on "The Best of the Mountains" for 2013. Every five years, the magazine polls its 325,000 readers for their mountain favorites. Bryson City won a Platinum Award for "Friendliest Town", and a Gold Award for "Best Fourth of July Destination." Also the Nantahala River won a Platinum Award for "Best Whitewater River" and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center shared a Platinum Award with Sugarlands for "Best Visitor Center." Read more

According to EverydayLife.com (June 2013), our community "fills with visitors every summer, drawn in by the surrounding Smoky Mountains, the Cherokee Indian reservation and plenty of local waterways, including the Tuckasegee River. For kids, the small mountain town is a picturesque playground with plenty of places to have fun and burn off some energy." The article goes on to mention a number of our great activities including the train, NOC zip line, ghost tours, & Oconaluftee River Trail. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch. May 2013. Bryson City: Family fun within a day's drive. ""So I busted out a U.S. map and my grade-school compass and drew a circle, representing 600 miles, around St. Louis. I wanted natural beauty. I wanted adventure. And I wanted cheap. What I got was Bryson City, N.C. — in the Smoky Mountains ...Unlike the touristy Smoky Mountain towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg in Tennessee, Bryson City is free of kitsch, crowds and country-music themed amusement parks. But don’t call Bryson City sleepy. It is a top destination for daredevils who are drawn to the region’s outfitters." Read more

VisitSouth.com. December 2012. Smoky Mountain Spotlight: Bryson City — Everything you need for a great getaway can be found in this picturesque mountain town," writes journalist Elizabeth Genovise. She continues, "Vacationers seeking small-town atmosphere blended with the beauty of the wilderness will find refuge in Bryson City, NC, a gorgeous mountain town tucked away in the Smoky Mountains. Couples in search of a romantic getaway, families on an adventure, and hikers looking for a great base will all find what they need in this relatively unsung destination. The town features plenty of dining and shopping opportunities, lovely inns, and outdoor activities to choose from." Read more

Ballantyne Magazine (Charlotte) devoted 6 pages to Bryson City in their Summer 2012 issues as a "one tank trip." "Bryson City is the epicenter of all things "great outdoors" – from whitewater rafting and kayaking, to mountain biking, high country golf, zip-line canopy tours, freshwater fishing and communing with Mother Nature on backwoods hikes." Read more (click on Smoky Mountains High on the cover, page 86).

The Knoxville Sun has featured the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and our beautiful landscapes, saying "With 53 miles of track, two tunnels and 25 bridges, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will take you on a memorable journey through a remote and beautiful corner of North Carolina. Ride into river gorges, across valleys, and through tunnels carved out of majestic mountains." Read more

Charlotte magazine. June 2012 - Fontana Lake is one of "7 Great Lakes to Visit - all less than 4 hours away from Charlotte." The article covers all the great activities in and around the lake. And mentions Lakeview at Fontana, Folkestone Inn, Fontana Village, Cork & Bean, Pizza by the River, The Pourover Pub and Nantahala Brewing Company. Also NOC, Endless River Adventures and Wildwater for exhilarating white water rafting trips. Read more

Richmond Times-Dispatch. May 13, 2012 - Correspondent Jerry Uhlman enjoyed a Fall ride on The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Nantahala Gorge excursion, noting "Along the way, we watched the scenic mountains roll by and were treated to some of the most eye-catching fall foliage in the Appalachians." Read more

WNC magazine, May 2012 - "Go West. Explore Bryson City's fun mix of old and new. Without question, the natural playground of forests, rivers, and trails surrounding Bryson City, and even the Tuckasegee River that cuts through the center of town, maintain a strong pull, but the town holds its own charm—all two square miles of it."

Men's Journal magazine featured Bryson City as a "Top Ten Best Summer Mountain Town" in it's Annual Adventure 2012 issue (May 2012). Keeping company with Taos, NM; Crested Butte, CO; Ketchum, ID and Park City, UT – Bryson was the only Southeastern town on the list. Nice mentions of Soda Pops, Freight Hoppers, NOC, and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

Fodors.com says "On a hot summers day there's nothing like hitting the water. On the North Carolina side (of the Great Smoky Mtns. National Park) you can swim on go tubing on Deep Creek near Bryson City. Several of our member outfitters are mentioned. May, 2012. Read more

The American Motorcyclist Association named 3 roads in WNC among the top 15 best in America to ride. AMA members ranked The Blue Ridge Parkway # 2, US 129 The Dragon #3, and The Cherohala Skyway #7. Nearly 100 roads in the US were on the ballot. "When it comes to the best places in the country to ride motorcycles, no group of riders is more knowledgeable than AMA members," said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. Read more in AMA magazine - April 2011 issue.

Where to stay, eat and play in "America's Best Mountain Towns" featured Bryson City as one of ten great mountain towns. Stay: Watershed Cabins. Eat: Fryemont Inn. Play: Nantahala Outdoor Center. MensJournal.com, April 2012.

USA Today™ has named The Great Smoky Mountains National Park among their "Top Ten Great Places To See Spring Wildflowers" (spring 2012). Noting with more than 1,600 flowering species, some have called this Appalachian area Wildflower National Park. The list was based on a list of favorite spots offered by Bob Gibbons, author of "Wildflower Wonders: The 50 Best Wildflower Sites in the World."

Our State magazine. Oct 2011. Why is Keith Bruce known as Batman of Swain County? He works as a canopy ranger at the Nantahala Gorge Adventure Center, where zip liners can travel up to 25 miles per hour at heights up to 80 feet – getting a bird's eye view of the forest. Read more

LivePretty.com's feature: Pretty Awesome Weekends: Summer Travel Edition highlighted Bryson City with the accolade — "But, most of all, skip the nearby over-developed region that is Gatlinburg and visit Bryson City on the North Carolina side of the park.  It is a beautiful small American town with great road-side inns, shops and family entertainment that takes you back to the America of the past, something you can not get much of these days." (2011)

Our State magazine features Jimmy Mac's Restaurant, declaring, " A menu with 20 different burgers is reason enough to top by the popular Bryson City restaurant. Located in what was once the old post office, Jimmy Mac's continue a family tradition of serving award-winning burgers." A customer says, "Better be hungry if you think you can eat one by yourself!!" Read more, June 2011

NC Wine Press Magazine. September/October 2010. The magazine celebrates the relaxed, go-with-the-flow spirit that is a way of life in Bryson City; and recommends a stay at Lakeview at Fontana for a true mountaintop experience.

Charlotte Observer picked Bryson City as a Great Town to Walk. "Here's a picture-perfect place.. Main Street is impeccably groomed, a flat and easy walk - and the horizon holds breathtaking mountain views."

The book "101 Best Outdoor Towns" named Bryson City the nation's third best whitewater paddling town. "If you can't find something exciting to do in Bryson City, you're not breathing," it says.

Paddler Magazine named Bryson City one of the "best paddling towns" in the US. Along with the multiple spots for great paddling, they focus on Tsali mountain bike trails, area adventure races and canoe camping on Fontana Lake.

Southern Living picked The Great Smoky Mountains National Park as its Number One Weekend Getaway in the Mountains for 2010; and Bryson City as the place to stay and dine while you are visiting the Park.

September, 2009, Charlestonmag.com. Writer Stephanie Hunt journals about how a great Smoky Mountain family adventure redefined R&R. The family went rafting, mountain-biked the the Tsali trails and just had an all around good time. As she says, "Bryson City has a distinct, low-key charm ...The draw here is not shopping or art or fine dining, but good ol' alfresco activity, and for that the menu is bountiful ...back-to-back-nature adventure aplenty." Read more

GMAThe November 2009 "Weekend Adventure" segment on "Good Morning America" featured the Deals Gap "Dragon," a section of Western North Carolina highway that's popular with motorcycle riders. The section of U.S. Hwy. 129 has more than 30 turns per mile. Host Bill Weir drove a North Carolina-made Indian Motorcycle along the famed highway, and interviewed Dale Walksler, curator of the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum in Maggie Valley, about what makes the mountains such a great place to ride motorcycles. View the segment.

ABC-GMA

"The Nation's Best Place to Cool Off With a Splash" National Geographic Adventure and ABC's Good Morning America's "Vacationland" series named the Nantahala River the number one place to spend a wet and wild vacation in the US. (June 29, 2006 GMA)  Story  Video

USA Today™ has named The Great Smoky Mountains National Park one of 10 great places in North America to explore geologic wonders. According to the April 2010 article, "the Appalachians top out at less than 7,000 feet, but they once towered as high as the Himalayas. The East Coast range, formed when Africa collided with North America, has been steadily eroding, 'but the rocks there show this great geologic violence.'" — Larry Blelberg, USA Today™ interview with Garry Hayes, Geotripper blog.

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.