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 and two breweries. 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
Mountain Layers Brewing Company (90 Everett St) is new 7-barrel microbrewery for 2017 with two bars including a rooftop outdoor deck.
Nantahala Brewing Company (61 Depot Street) has been around since 2009 and features many of their brews in their fun Tap Room, open every day. Brewery tours on Friday afternoons include tastings of eight beers.
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 at "Tunes on the Tuck" in downtown Bryson City at Riverfront Park (101 Mitchell Street) 7-9 PM with a variety of local and regional favorites. Bring a picnic and blanket for the grassy lawn or bring a lawn chair to enjoy the show. Free parking. Read more and see the schedule.
For much more information, ;go to the Bryson City Great Smokies website.