July 4, 2022
One of our favorite small towns has one of the biggest July 4th festivals in the North Carolina mountains! The main street (Everett) in downtown Bryson City is closed for an old-fashioned, all-American celebration. From an early morning race to the best fireworks in the Great Smoky Mountains, you'll find plenty to do all day. Admission is free.
The street festival begins at 10 AM with vendors showcasing clothing, pottery, face painting, make-a-candle, wood carvings, jewelry, and more. In addition to handmade arts and crafts vendors, enjoy live music from 6 pm until 8 pm. There will be plenty of festival food with all your holiday favorites – funnel cakes, shaved ice, Philly cheese-steak sandwiches, BBQ, kettle corn, and more. Most of the downtown shops and restaurants will also be open.
For an entertainment schedule, go to the Bryson City Web site.
Find plenty of fun things for the kids at Riverfront Park - including bounce house, slide, monster truck combo, and 30-foot obstacle course. $5 wristband for all-day play.
For a unique way to enjoy the festival, get a paddle board or kayak rental from Bryson City Outdoors and ride down the Tuckasegee River.
Watch the fireworks from many great spots downtown, starting at 10 PM. If you stand on the bridge over the river, you can see the reflections too. For more Freedom Fest info, go to the Bryson City Web site.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will have two trains on the 3rd. It's a busy day, so buy tickets well in advance! The Moonshine Experience and Nantahala Gorge trains leave at 10:30 AM, returning at 3 PM. Read more about the scenic train trips.
Nearby July 3rd-4th Favorite Things to Do
- Tubing down Deep Creek in the Great Smokies.
- Whitewater rafting down the Nantahala River with top picks Wildwater Rafting & Nantahala Outdoor Center.
- Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (see Road to Nowhere and Deep Creek Waterfall Hike).
- Keep cool atop Clingmans Dome (highest peak in the Smokies) - usually 15 degrees cooler than the valley, via the scenic Newfound Gap Road.
- See our Bryson City Guide for more things to do.
Directions & Parking
Bryson City is about 65 miles from central Asheville - about a hour's drive via the Great Smoky Mountains Expressway. Take I-40 West to exit 27 and follow US 74. Their Visitor Center is at 12 Everett St, inside the grand, historic Courthouse. Find many lots with parking nearby.
Photos courtesy of the Bryson City / Swain County NC Chamber of Commerce.