Spend a fabulous day or two in Bryson City, Swain County and the Great Smoky Mountains with waterfalls, hiking, rafting, food and shopping. In fact, since this little jewel of a town offers so much to visitors, we've named it the "Coolest Mountain Town" in western North Carolina. It's just a 90-minute (70 miles) drive southwest of Asheville. This is paradise for outdoor and nature lovers since much of the county is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's the whitewater rafting mecca, with the Nantahala River cascading through the Gorge and Nantahala National Forest. 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 U.S. In fact, the Smithsonian named Bryson City as one of the "20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2016."
At the Bryson City Depot, hop aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for scenic train rides by rivers and Fontana Lake. Special excursions throughout the year include the Wizard of Oz Train and Polar Express. Downtown Bryson City is small-town America with a variety of shops with friendly owners. Many shops showcase area artisans who create one-of-a-kind musical instruments, handcrafted jewelry, hand-turned wood objects and pottery. For a small town of only 1,500 residents, there is a surprising number of nice restaurants. Take a selfie in front of the caboose! We give only a sampling of things to do... for much more, go to the Bryson City Great Smokies website.
Stand Up Paddleboard with dog Lager the Tuckasegee River in the middle of town with Bryson City Outdoors (169 Main St).
Bryson City Things to Do
Top Events & Festivals
Explore shops, galleries and restaurants along the three block stretch of Everett Street from the Depot to the Visitor's Center
More Bryson City Events
From free live music on many nights each week to big festivals, see the complete Bryson City Events Calendar.
Music in the Mountains: Every Saturday night in June through October, enjoy a free concert in downtown Bryson City at the Depot from 6:30 to 8:00 PM with a variety of local and regional favorites. Sit in one of the old church pews on the covered depot deck or bring a lawn chair to enjoy the show. Read more and see the schedule.
For much more information, go to the Bryson City Great Smokies website.