Located in North Carolina, Bryson City is the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fields of wildflowers and streams surround it and are also home to various hiking trails.
Bryson City is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a place to go on vacation and have fun. It has multiple bars and restaurants and hosts festivals throughout the summer.
It also has plenty of outdoor activities. Some of these include rafting, train rides, and breweries.
Bryson City is a popular choice for people looking for a romantic getaway or families looking for something different. The article covers 21 fun things to do in Bryson City (NC).
Where Is Bryson City?
Bryson City is a town in North Carolina’s Swain County with a population of 1,424 as of 2010. It’s the county seat of the county.
Originally called Charleston, Bryson City became the county seat of Swain County after it was formed from the surrounding counties. It’s located on what was once the Cherokee’s land.
Due to its location, it became an important rail hub. Today, it’s a popular tourist destination, and it’s near the entrance to the Smoky Mountains National Park.
It also has various outdoor activities and is home to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. This heritage railroad is a great way to explore the area around the Nantahala Valley.
Things To Do In Bryson City (NC)
It’s a charming mountain town known for its unique and beautiful architecture. It’s also an excellent place for people who are looking for something a bit different.
Here are 21 things to do in Bryson City to ensure you and your family have fun.
1. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
The Smoky Mountains Railroad is a freight and heritage railroad located in Western North Carolina near Bryson City.
One of its facilities is the Murphy Branch, which used to be a part of the Southern Railway and was owned by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
The railroad runs almost a thousand trips a year, and it also has a museum that features a collection of over 7,000 model airplanes and cars.
The museum is located next to the historic depot of the Smoky Mountains Railroad and has a kids’ activity center and a gift shop.
Address: This attraction is located at 45 Mitchell St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
2. Smoky Mountain Trains Museum
The Smoky Mountains Trains Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the history of the railroad.
It features a large model train layout and a variety of toys and accessories. The museum also allows kids to explore the Smoky Mountains Railroad’s heritage.
In addition, kids can enjoy watching trains run through a three-level layout. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Bryson City.
Address: This attraction is located at 100 Greenlee Street, Bryson City, NC, USA.
3. The Road to Nowhere
The Fontana Dam, constructed in 1941, is the tallest in the eastern United States.
Due to the dam’s construction, the water caused extensive damage to various areas, including the small towns and homesteads located in the area.
A road was constructed from Bryson City to Deal’s Gap to alleviate the effects of the flood. This road was designed to allow people to travel to their ancestral lands.
Unfortunately, the road was only constructed for seven miles. The locals refer to the road as the road to nowhere.
Address: This attraction is located at Lakeview Drive East, Bryson City, North Carolina, 28713, USA.
4. Hemlock Inn
Situated in a beautiful forest on top of a 2,500-foot hill, the Hemlock Inn is a short drive from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
This property features 19 rooms that are all equipped with country antiques.
The inn’s signature dinner and breakfast are served in a family-style setting with large, hand-made tables.
Address: This attraction is located at 911 Galbraith Creek Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
5. Fly Fishing Museum of The Southern Appalachians
One of the best things to do in Bryson City is to visit the Fly Fishing Museum. This museum is a non-profit organization located in Bryson City, North Carolina.
It’s a family-friendly facility that features multiple exhibits. It’s dedicated to preserving the history of fly fishing and showcasing the various skills and arts related to it.
The museum features exhibits celebrating the history of fly fishing in the area. It’s additionally equipped with an aquarium filled with different types of fish.
Address: This attraction is located at 210 Main St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
6. Elizabeth Ellison Gallery
The Elizabeth Ellison Gallery is located in the former Clampitt Hardware building in the town square of Bryson City. It’s owned and operated by Elizabeth Ellison, a papermaker and painter.
For the last 30 years, she has exhibited her work across the country. She also regularly teaches workshops at various locations, such as the North Carolina Arboretum.
Both Oriental and traditional techniques influence her work. She also uses American Indian motifs in her paintings.
In addition, she processes and gathers native Appalachian plants to create paper products she uses in her gallery.
Address: This attraction is located at 155 Main St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
7. Tuckasegee River
The Tuckasegee River runs through the entire state of North Carolina’s Swain County. It can be accessed by traveling US Highway 19 from Whittier to Bryson City.
The river’s crystal-clear waters and abundant fish make it one of the most popular areas in the county.
The river’s various deep pools, rocky sections, and runs are some areas where people can catch brown and rainbow trout.
During the summer, fishermen can enjoy catching white bass, smallmouth bass, and spotted bass.
Address: This attraction is in Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
8. Cooper Creek Trout Farm & Pond
The Cooper Creek Trout Farm is situated on 70 acres of land filled with natural beauty.
The cold water from the Smoky Mountains flows down the creek and through its branches and springs until it reaches the property.
Little Creek Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls accessed from the property. This waterfall, which measures 60 feet tall, can be found about 1.45 miles from the property.
Address: This attraction is located at 3365 Coopers Creek Rd, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
9. Mountain Layers Brewing Company
One of the best things to do in Bryson City is to visit the local microbrewery known as Mountain Layers Brewing Company.
It’s known for its seven-barrel system and serves up award-winning beers. The facility’s interior and exterior spaces are designed to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for its customers.
The facility uses the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s pure water. It uses this natural resource to brew its various beers, usually focused on cutting-edge and classic beer styles.
Aside from its flagship brews, the company also offers rotating one-offs and seasonals.
Address: This attraction is located at 90 Everett St, Bryson City, NC, USA.
10. Pincu Pottery
Located in Bryson City, North Carolina, is the Pincu Pottery gallery and studio, which Elise Willa PincuDelfield owns. Her work is made from various materials, such as red clay.
Each of her pieces is individually hand-made and painted using food-safe glazes and colors. Her creations are known for their magical designs.
Address: This attraction is located at 80 NC-28, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
11. Nantahala Brewing Company
The Nantahala Brewing Company was founded in 2009 in Bryson City’s downtown area. It’s easy to spot since it occupies a large building known as the Quonset Hut.
The facility’s original equipment was purchased from a brewery in South Carolina. The company has four fermenters, six conditioning tanks, and a brew house.
The facility’s first beer, Noon Day IPA, was released in May 2010. It has 32 taps today, and its selection changes daily.
The brewery also hosts live music events, and tours are available. The Noon Day IPA is the company’s flagship brew.
Address: This attraction is located at is 61 Depot St, Bryson City, NC, USA.
12. Goldmine Loop Trail
The Goldmine Loop Trail is a relatively short and challenging hike near the southern portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
It can be done in about three hours. This trail, approximately three miles long, features several steep sections.
The Goldmine Loop Trail starts from a shady section with mature sugar maples and other trees. It then passes through a tunnel that’s over a thousand feet long.
Although this trail doesn’t have spectacular views, it’s a relatively short hike that’s ideal for people looking for a unique experience.
Address: The Goldmine Loop Trail is in North Carolina 28713, USA.
13. Swain County Visitor Center and Heritage Museum
Right in the middle of Bryson City’s downtown area is the Swain County Heritage Museum, a historical site showcasing various artifacts related to Bryson City’s history.
This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about the town’s past. Inside the museum, you’ll find a one-room schoolhouse, a restored log cabin, and an 1887 church organ.
Address: This attraction is located at 2 Everett St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
14. Deep Creek Trail
A few miles away from Bryson City’s downtown area is the entrance to the Deep Creek Trail, a popular hiking destination.
This is one of the most fun things to do in Bryson City. The Deep Creek Trail follows a 2.4-mile loop that leads to various spectacular waterfalls.
This is an easy and fun way to spend time with family and friends. It also has plenty of picnic areas and fishing spots.
Address: This attraction is located in Deep Creek Trail, North Carolina 28713, USA.
15. Nantahala Outdoor Center
The Nantahala Outdoor Center is a 500-acre facility that offers various activities such as kayaking, hiking, and rafting. It’s located in the middle of the Nantahala River.
The facility features eight miles of Class II river and is an excellent place for people looking for an adrenaline-filled experience. It is one of the most fun things to do in Bryson City.
Address: This attraction is located at 13077 US 19 West, Bryson City, NC 28713,USA.
One of the most popular attractions in the area is the Nantahala Gorge, which is family-friendly and offers various activities. One is the Zipline, a fun activity for kids and adults.
Address: This attraction is located at 35 Slope St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
17. Oconaluftee Vistor Center
One of the most popular things in Bryson City is visiting the Oconaluftee Visitors Center, located near the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is a popular area for elks.
Address: This attraction is located at 1194 Newfound Gap Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719, USA.
18. Fontana Lake
On the way to The Road to nowhere, you’ll go past Fontana Lake. This lake features over 200 miles of shoreline, part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and the Nantahala National Forest.
Address: This attraction is located in Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
19. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
One of the highest peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains is the magnificent and famous mountain known as the Clingmans Dome. It’s located east of the Mississippi River.
Reaching the observation tower takes about a half-mile. The elevation can be very unpredictable, so it’s recommended to visit in the morning.
You can see more than a hundred miles on clear days, but the weather can also affect you.
Address: This attraction is located at Sevier County, Tennessee, U.S. Swain County, North Carolina, USA.
20. Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest is located in the Nantahala National Forest. It features a collection of old-growth trees native to the Appalachian Mountains.
The forest has several hundred tall and wide trees, such as oak, beech, and poplar. Some of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest trees are 400 years old.
If you’re interested in seeing these magnificent trees, you can take the two-mile nature loop to explore the area.
Address: This attraction is located at 5410 Joyce Kilmer Rd, Robbinsville, NC 28771, USA.
21. Fontana Dam and Visitors Center
One of the most popular attractions in the area is the dam, which is 480 feet tall and can be reached by driving or walking across it.
The location of the Fontana Dam is a crossing point right along the Appalachian Trail.
Address: This attraction is located Bryson City, NC 28713, USA.
Best Time To Visit Bryson City
Bryson City, North Carolina, is known for its beautiful weather. The best time to visit this region is from early April to mid-June and early September to November.
During this season, the temperatures can reach up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Is The Best Month To Visit North Carolina?
The best month to visit North Carolina is between early April to mid-June and early September to early November.
North Carolina records four distinct seasons, and its spring season runs from March to May. This season receives high humidity and temperatures that can reach 55F to 82CF.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Bryson City?
The average cost of a seven-day trip to Bryson City is around $1,700 for an individual.
Therefore, a couple can expect to spend approximately $2,917, while a family of four will be spending approximately $5,468.
In addition, there are various types of accommodations in the area, such as hotels and vacation rentals. They cost anywhere from $61 to $480 a night.