Railway on Great Smoky Mountains valley

Over the past 100 years or so, the town of Bryson City, NC, has steadily evolved into one of the Great Smoky Mountains’ most desirable getaway destinations. Not only does this picturesque village rest at the foothills of dense, towering mountains, but it’s entirely enclosed by a vast number of handcrafted Great Smokys Cabin Rentals. Many of these log cabins sit at high elevations, seemingly within an arm’s length of the clouds. While most travelers choose Western North Carolina for its abundant adventure, there’s also plenty to love about the town’s culture, architecture, history, and downtown pleasures. To ensure that your next escape into the heart of the Smoky Mountains is nothing short of flawless, we’ve compiled five of our favorite things to do in Bryson City, NC, ranging from mid-day adventure to award-winning craft beer.

The 5 Best Things to Do in Bryson City, NC

Compiling a short list of things to do in Bryson City, NC, isn’t as easy as one might think. Even though our breathtaking town only boasts 1,450 citizens, this community is bursting at the seams with classic American eats, craft breweries, enticing downtown shops, and an abundance of outdoor outfitters for those that enjoy fly fishing, whitewater rafting, and mountain biking. Keep reading to learn why this peaceful Smoky Mountain staple remains one of the most alluring destinations in the Carolinas.

Deep Creek Waterfalls

1. Deep Creek Waterfalls

As we so eloquently laid out last month, Western North Carolina boasts some of the prettiest waterfalls in the country. And the crème de la crème of waterfalls in this region rests just three miles north of downtown Bryson City, NC: the trio at Deep Creek. Deep Creek’s three unique waterfalls lie inside the sprawling Great Smoky Mountains National Park. An easygoing, 2.7-mile loop meanders past all three falls. It’s one of the most frequented trails in the state, so remember to arrive early (or near dusk) to avoid crowds.

2. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

A relaxing, awe-inspiring round trip aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad remains one of the two most popular things to do in Bryson City, NC, especially during autumn’s peak. Both distinct tours last approximately four hours in length as they chug through the mountainous backcountry through some of the most undisturbed landscapes in the region. Each trip steams past peaceful farmsteads, towering mountain ranges, picturesque bridges, and miles and miles of sheer wilderness. Don’t forget to bring a small appetite and some cash, as you’ll have a 90-minute layover in a nearby town.

3. Nantahala Outdoor Center

One of the most reputable outdoor outfitters in the region can be found near the southeastern rim of Fontana Lake, a few minutes away from several of our Great Smoky Mountain cabin rentals. This world-class adventure center specializes in whitewater rafting and ziplining, two of the most requested outdoor activities in Bryson City, NC. The full-day “River-to-Ridge” package includes rafting and a canopy tour, a must for first-time visitors.

4. Mountain Layers and Nantahala Brewing

Sipping on a crisp, delicious lager is perhaps the perfect way to commemorate a glorious day of rapids, waterfalls, and train whistles. Believe it or not, craft beer typically ranks among the top things to do in Bryson City, NC, regardless of the season. Both Nantahala and Mountain Layers are located in downtown, a perk that you simply won’t find in any neighboring towns. Mountain Layers’ rooftop patio is best combined with a pint of Munich-inspired The Helles You Say or the Czech-style Pettit Pilsner. Nantahala’s seasonal ales, such as the Rivers End Oktoberfest and Sticky Dog Stout, are well worth the visit.

Great Smokys Mountain view from deck.

5. Great Smokys Cabin Rentals

But, of course, one of the many fun things to do in Bryson City, NC, is to lord above the Smoky Mountains in a magnificently-crafted log cabin. We possess one of the largest collections of Bryson City cabin rentals, all of which are exquisitely rustic, modernized, and ideally situated in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Amenities include mountain-view decks, full kitchens, outdoor hot tubs, fire pits, and fireplaces—it won’t easy to pry your group from these majestic cabins. Please give our team a call today at 800-655-9771 (or check availability online) to get matched with a cabin that perfectly suits your group’s size, style, and budget!