Family Friendly, Fun & Free

Here's a Top Ten list of activities the whole family can enjoy. Most things are free; however you may wish to make a donation to the National Park; the Tsali Recreation area requests a $2 day-use fee; and tube rentals are about $6 per day.

Printable idea sheet

1 Explore the Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a leisurely waterfall stroll, tubing, swimming holes, fishing and picnic area. Just 5 minutes from Bryson City.

2 Visit the Swain County Heritage Museum. Then, take a historic stroll through Bryson City. Guides available online or at the museum.

3 Experience history at the Mountain Farm Museum, Mingus Mill and the Oconaluftee Visitors Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Cherokee entrance). Watch for elk in the late afternoons.

4 Take a scenic drive
We’ve got one for every day of your visit!

Road to Nowhere: short, scenic drive beginning in Bryson City and ending in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Explore the “spooky tunnel” and the back-country trails beyond.

The Blue Ridge Parkway: America’s most visited scenic road begins in Cherokee.

US 441 North to Gatlinburg from Cherokee winds its way through the National Park.

The Dragon (Hwy 129): 318 curves in 11 miles. Enough said!

The Cherohala Skyway: scenic tour from North Carolina to Tennessee.

5 Enjoy live, local music every Saturday evening, June - October at Tunes on the Tuck, a concert series at Riverfront Park, 7-9 pm.

6 Watch family movies on a outdoor screen every Friday night at dusk, June - August behind the red caboose on Everett Street in Bryson City.

7. Hear Cherokee storytelling at the bonfire Friday & Saturday nights at 7pm in summer. Island Park in downtown Cherokee.

8 Splash your cares away in the pristine waters of Fontana Lake and enjoy a view of the tallest dam east of the Rockies.

9 Bring the dog, the kids and a picnic to Island Park, located in the center of downtown Bryson City on the Tuckasegee River. The fishing is great there too.

10 Bike or hike the world-renowned trails at Tsali Recreation Area on the shores of Fontana Lake.