The town of Franklin is known as the “gem capital of the world.” This small town has plenty of fun things to do, including various activities for kids.
With a population of around 4,000, Franklin offers a unique blend of local culture and nightlife.
Franklin is a unique community surrounded by beautiful mountains in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
It was recently named one of the 25 Best Cities To Live In North Carolina by the US Chamber of Commerce.
The location of Franklin provides visitors and residents with an extraordinary outdoor experience. It’s also close to over 600 miles of hiking trails and multiple fishing and camping sites.
The article covers several fun things to do in Franklin (NC).
Where Is Franklin, North Carolina?
The town of Franklin is located in North Carolina’s Macon County. According to the census results released in 2020, the population of this community increased to 4,175. This figure is an increase from the previous census in 2010, which was 3,845.
The town of Franklin was founded around a platform mound dating back around 1,000 years.
It’s located in the Nantahala Forest, which is one of the most extensive national forests in North Carolina. “Nantahala” is derived from the Cherokee word “land of the noonday sun.”
Franklin is a popular location for people passionate about hiking and exploring the Great Smoky Mountains and the Appalachian Trail. The area around Franklin is also rich in minerals and gems.
Things To Do In Franklin (NC)
Most people who visit the area around Franklin are interested in purchasing their gemstones.
Several mining operations in the region allow visitors to have fun and get their hands on a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Other fun activities include visiting multiple museums and watching a concert. These are some of the exciting things to do in Franklin, North Carolina;
1. The Scottish Tartans Museum
The Scottish Tartans Museum is a unique museum that showcases the history of Scottish Highland dress.
The Scottish Society established it to educate people about the traditions and heritage of Scotland. This museum is fascinating and can be visited by anyone curious about Scotland.
The museum features over 600 different samples of Scottish Highland dress, as well as kilts that date back to the 1800s.
It also has an extensive database that holds over 11,000 samples. In addition, the museum frequently attends various events such as the Highland Games and Scottish Festival to provide educational materials about the culture of Scotland.
Address: The Scottish Tartans Museum is located at 86 E. Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
2. Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine
Since 1950, Mason’s Ruby and Sapphire Mine has allowed visitors to explore the process of gemstone mining. During this time, they can learn about the various steps of mining gemstones.
In addition to being taught about the mining process, the visitors will also be able to explore a designated area to find their gemstones.
Address: This attraction is located at 6961 Upper Burningtown Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
3. Wayah Bald Outlook Tower
The Wayah Bald Outlook Tower is a fantastic place for nature lovers to visit. It’s located in Nantahala National Forest and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.
The lookout point for this tower can be reached by taking a short hike from the parking area. The Civilian Conservation Corps constructed this structure in 1937.
Address: This attraction is located at Nantahala National Forest, Franklin, NC 278734, USA.
4. Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine
The Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine are in a fantastic area filled with mineral deposits left by the ancient rivers and glaciers.
During their visit, the visitors can explore the mine and taste what the gemstones are made of.
The mine’s staff members will show the visitors samples of the raw materials used in the production of gemstones.
Upon reaching the mine, the participants will be given the necessary tools and taught how to clean the mined ore properly.
This activity is fun and strenuous for the whole family to get involved in the mining industry.
Address: This attraction is located at 41 Cherokee Mine Road, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
5. The Smokey Mountain Center for the Performing Arts
Since it was opened in 2009, the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing arts has been providing entertaining and educational experiences to the people of Franklin.
The facility features various genres of music, comedy, and live performance. It can accommodate up to 1,500 people over two tiers.
Its sound and lighting facilities are designed to provide a perfect and memorable experience for each performance.
The facility also hosts various events designed to entertain and educate the public. One of these is the Christmas with Family and Friends dinner show.
This is arguably one of the best things to do in Franklin, North Carolina.
Address: This attraction is located at 1028 Georgia Road, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
6. Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum
The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum can be found inside the former Macon County jail. This facility is a good place for the public to learn more about gemstones and minerals before going to one of the area’s mining operations.
In addition, it has an extensive collection of artifacts, such as historical pieces and fossils. This process is carried out through the cutting and polishing of the gemstones.
Address: This attraction is located at Old Macon County Jail, 25 Phillips Street, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
7. Old Cardinal Gem Mine
One of the area’s mining operations is the Old Cardinal Gem Mine, producing various gemstones such as amethyst, ruby, and moonstone for 40 years.
It’s a popular family-friendly activity that allows the kids to enjoy exploring the mine.
Address: This attraction is located at 71 Rockhaven Drive, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
8. The Lazy Hiker Brewing Company
This establishment is known for its unique and hand-crafted beers. It is designed to provide a relaxing environment for the community.
Aside from an indoor taproom, the facility also features an outdoor patio area and a disc golf course.
Address: This attraction is located at 188 W. Main Street, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
9. Sheffield Mine
The Sheffield Mine, which used to be owned by Tiffany’s, is one of the oldest mining operations in the area.
It’s still operated by experienced miners who carefully remove the old clay from the gemstones.
During their time at the mine, the visitors are taught how to identify various gemstones by carefully removing the layers of clay from the surface.
The prospectors are given a bucket of clay extracted from the mine. They are then tasked with sorting and cleaning the gemstones inside the bucket. Everything inside the bucket is theirs to keep.
Address: This attraction is located at 385 Sheffield Farms Road, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
10. Currahee Brewing Company
The location of this local brewery, which is known as the Currahee Brewing Company, is along the Tennessee River. This facility features a brew room and a beer garden.
It has an outdoor music stage, canoe, and kayaking launch area. The company’s name, derived from the Cherokee word for “stand-alone,” is a fitting one for its unique beers.
Address: This attraction is located at 100 Lakeside Drive, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
11. Macon County Historical Society and Museum
The history of Macon County dates back to 1828 when it was formed following the Treaty of 1819 between the Cherokee Nation and the state of North Carolina.
The museum in this area was established in the former location of a dry goods store.
This building, which was constructed in 1904, is known as the Pendergrass Building. Visiting this museum is one of the best things to do in Franklin, North Carolina.
Address: This attraction is located at 36 W. Main Street, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
12. Artisan Jewelers
Besides being known for its gemstones, this area also has several artisan jewelers who can transform the pieces of jewelry that are made from mined gemstones.
This business has been in operation for over 30 years and is owned by a family. They also offer a wide selection of gemstones for sale.
Address: This attraction is located at 3348 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
13. The Little Tennessee River Greenway
One of the most beautiful recreational areas in the area is the Little Tennessee River Greenway.
This 4.5-mile long walkway is made up of a wide section of land that’s been carefully utilized to provide a variety of natural features. Some of these include wetlands, upland woods, and pastures.
Address: This attraction is located at 573 E Main Street, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
14. Bartram Trail
The Bartram Trail is named after William Bartram, an 18th-century naturalist who embarked on an epic journey to explore the Appalachian Mountains.
The most famous part of the trail is located in North Carolina. If you’re planning on hiking the entire length of the trail, you can choose to go through various parts of Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Address: This attraction is located at 1719 Ray Cove Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
15. Lucio’s Restaurant
Family-owned and operated, the restaurant known as Lucio’s has been a popular establishment in Franklin since 1984.
Its food is known for its authentic Italian cuisine, and the recipes passed down from generation to generation.
They also use local ingredients whenever possible to ensure their food is fresh and prepared to order daily.
Address: This attraction is located at 313 Highlands Road, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
16. Pappa’s Pizza to Go
In 1986, a group of individuals decided to establish a pizza shop known as Pappa’s Pizza to Go in McCaysville.
Their goal was to develop a reputation for providing high-quality food and reasonably priced pizza in small towns across the South. Today, there are multiple branches of this business in various states.
Address: This attraction is located at 263 Holly Springs Plaza, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
17. Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub
One of the most popular local businesses known for its unique interior design and delicious coffee is the Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Pub.
This establishment features an eclectic and arty atmosphere that provides its customers with a welcoming and warm environment. The coffee house is also known to serve some of the best coffee in the area.
If you’re craving a snack, this restaurant can provide you with various light snacks. This is also one of the most exciting things to do in Franklin, North Carolina.
Address: This attraction is located at 58 Stewart Street, Franklin, NC, 28734, USA.
18. The Factory
The Factory has various games and attractions that provide multiple fun and interactive customer experiences.
One of the most popular attractions is the go-cart track, which features two stories of go-carts.
If you’re looking for something a bit more challenging, the indoor trampoline park known as the Jump Factory is also located in the facility.
Address: This attraction is located at 1024 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
19. Franklin Golf Course
One of the most popular things to do in Franklin, North Carolina, is visiting the Franklin golf course, which is designed to provide various challenging and fun activities for its customers.
The 9-hole course features a total of 2,933 yards of land. It also features a driving range, a swimming pool, and a full-service pro shop.
Address: This attraction is located at 1st Fairway Dr, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
20. Nikwasi Mound
The historic site, the Nikwasi Mound, is located between the southbound and northbound lanes of US Highway 441.
It dates back to around 1,000 years. In addition to being the oldest historical structure in the area, the site also connects to the Cherokee history of Franklin, North Carolina.
It’s believed that the mound was the site of treaty talks between South Carolina and the Cherokee in 1727.
Address: This attraction is located at 524 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
21. Motor Company Grill
The entrance of this establishment is marked by its iconic blue car, which is flanked by red bar stools and a jukebox.
The menu features a variety of mouth-watering food items such as burgers, cheese steaks, and sweet potato fries.
If you’re craving a hand-dipped shake, try their selection of different flavors, such as strawberry, chocolate, peanut butter, and maple.
Address: This attraction is located at 86 W Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, USA.
Best Time To Visit Franklin, North Carolina
The best time to visit the state is from early April to mid-June and early September to early November.
During the spring season, the temperatures can reach up to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cost Of Visiting Franklin, North Carolina
The average cost of a seven-day trip to Cherokee is around $1,623, ranging from $2,915 for a couple to $5,465 for a family of four.
In addition, there are various types of accommodations in the area, such as hotels and vacation rentals, that cost anywhere from $59 to $500 for a night.