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Western North Carolina is an unbeatable vacation destination: rafting, kayaking, fishing and lake touring--we offer more activities than you will have time for. And the list is long for additional things to do/places to see!

Paradise in western North Carolina


What to do if it rainsFrom pizza by the river to outside dining with a view of the mountains, to delicious restaurants in town, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. The Swain County Chamber of Commerce Restaurant Guide gives you a head start in planning your dining selections.

What to do if it rainsAfter a vigorous day of kayaking, rafting, hiking, shopping or just enjoying - there is nothing better than a massage and a bit of pampering. And you do not have to go far! 

The Lakeview Lodge Spa where treatments include revitalizing facials incorporating natural ingredients such as pomegranate, wasabi, & red wine, various exfoliating & detoxifying body treatments,and a full menu of stress relieving massages as well as yoga classes. Located at the Lakeview Ressort & Spa. 800-742-6492.

The Day Spa at the Nantahala Village Relax, refresh, Revive! Facials, Body Wraps, Massage Therapy. The Day Spa is located at the Nantahala Village Resort in the Nantahala Gorge. 800-488-2826.

LIFT Massage Therapy Run by our own Braden.  828-506-1400.


in western North Carolina is very popular. For mountain bikers there are many great places to ride. They include Tsali Recreation Area (located about 12 miles out NC 28) and a number of trails in the Nantahala, Cherokee, & Pisgah National Forests. For road bikers, many of the lightly traveled paved roads that wind through the mountains offer scenic views, as well as a good work out. To rent bikes in the area check with Bryson City Bicycles.

Fontana Dam
What to do if it rainsis the highest concrete dam east of the Rockies, and has created a beautiful Mountain Lake. From April- November, the tram ride to a guided tour costs $2 per person; $1 ages 3-12. Tours are available free of charge 7 days a week, and the visitor center is open 9am-7pm. The Appalachian Trail crosses the dam and enters the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Fontana dam is located at the southwest corner of the GSMNP and NC @Lake Fontana. For more information call Fontana Dam Visitor Center at (828) 498-2234.

Cherokee Indian Reservation
What to do if it rainsin Cherokee, NC is a great place to spend a day. You can learn about the history, myths and legends of the Cherokee people at The Museum of the Cherokee Indian. There is also "Unto These Hills" -an outdoor drama which features tribal dancers, and Oconaluftee Visitor Center-a complete working farm from pioneer times. Be sure to save time to look through the area shops.

Smoky Mountain Jet Boats
For an alternative water ride, try a high speed, scenic jet boat ride on scenic Lake Fontana, as well as combination trips such as the hike and jet boat combo. 888.900.9091

Gem Mining
in western North Carolina can be a lot of fun. Years ago the streams in the Cowee Valley near Franklin were actively mined for rubies and other gemstones. The mines in Cowee Valley are located just off NC 28 about five miles north of Franklin. The mines located there are a combination of "native" (use dirt only from the stream) and "enriched" (bring in dirt from elsewhere). "Enriched" mines almost guarantee a find of a range of gems. Before heading to the mines stop by the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum to learn more about the gems you will find.

Blue Ridge Parkway
is a popular auto route through the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are facilities for camping, picnicking, fishing, and horseback riding, as well as numerous trails and quiet walkways. The parkway is also friendly to bicyclists on both trails and the road. For more information call The Blue Ridge Parkway Info-line, (828)298-0398.

Road to Nowhere
located right outside Bryson City (take Everett Street north out of town, at about 10 miles you will see a sign welcoming you to the "road to nowhere") The road was established in 1940s to provide access to home sites and graveyards that where made inaccessible by Lake Fontana. However, the road was never completed. There is a long tunnel which people are welcome to walk through, and on the other side hiking trails.

Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
What to do if it rainsis a 3,800 acre forest set aside in 1936 as a memorial to Joyce Kilmer, a poet best know for the poem "Trees". There is a very well maintained "main" loop and an additional 60+ miles of hiking trails in Joyce Kilmer and the adjoining 14,000-acre Slickrock Wilderness area. The forest contains trees over 300 years old, 100 feet high, and 15 feet in circumference. To get to Joyce Kilmer take US129 from Robinsville, Follow the signs to Joyce Kilmer.

One of the best ways to see the mountains is to head out on a hike. The area around the Nantahala River offers many great options. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway offers over 800 miles of maintained trails. The Pisgah, Nantahala, Cherokee, and Chattahoochee National Forests have thousands of trails to choose from. In addition access to the Appalachian Trail- the 2000+ mile trail that stretches from Maine to Georgia and goes through fourteen states- is available through out the area and makes for good day or over night hikes.

Great Smoky Mountain Railway
What to do if it rainsis one of the most popular attractions in the Smokies! Riding in the converted cars you'll pass over trestles, along whitewater rivers, and through tunnels. The season is daily June-October. Weekends and some weekdays in March, April, May, November, and December. Adult fares start at $22, and children 12 & under: $10. Don't forget your camera! For more information call (800)872-4681, or (828)586-8811

Sliding Rock
is a 150-ft natural water slide. This smooth rock incline in the middle of Looking Glass Creek has been around for a long time and on a normal day 11,000 gallons of water per minute pass over the rock landing into a six foot deep pool at the bottom. Visitors just have to wade out into the creek, sit down and slide down to the pool. Then walk up and do it again. Sliding rock is located on US 276 in the Pisgah National Forest and is marked by signs.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park
What to do if it rainshas an amazing diversity of plant and animal life. It contains one of the largest remaining virgin forests in Eastern America. It is the most popular park in the National Park Service system, and doesn't charge an entry fee. Camping, fishing, hiking trails, horseback riding, and bicycling are just a few ideas for a great day of adventure. There are also beautiful waterfalls to check out while visiting the park. For more information call Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Gatlinburg,TN (423)436-1200.

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge
What to do if it rainsis better known as the Tennessee Gateway to the Smokies. Here you can hike, picnic, swim, fish, bicycle, go for scenic drives, and golf. Live comedy and a variety of productions full of music and laughter are available. Shopping ranges from arts and crafts, galleries, specialty foods and shops, and even a Hard Rock Café. Pigeon Forge is full of go-carts, miniature golf, and fabulous designer name brand outlet malls. Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are within minutes of each other. For more information call (800)-568-4748.

What to do if it rainsAlmost any where you go you are bound to see a few. One of the best waterfall routes to take is US 64 from Franklin heading towards Highlands. Along the way you will come across Dry Falls, a 120-foot waterfall that has a paved trail that allows you to walk behind the cascading water and not get wet. There is also Cullasaja falls, Bridal Vail falls, and many more along the way. Whitewater Falls is located on NC 1149 nine miles south of Sapphire. This falls drops 411 feet in a series of cascades and is the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. When heading out to see these waterfalls save time to explore Highlands and Cashiers, these small towns offer many fine shops and restaurants.

Cherohala Skyway
is the Tennessee scenic "skyway" completed in late 1996. The entrance to the Skyway is just before Joyce Kilmer at Tellico Gap and travels though the Nantahala and Cherokee National to Tellico Plains. The road is 43 miles of panoramic views between Tellico Gap and Tellico Plains. Along the way there are several places to stop and hike or just enjoy the view.

Horseback Riding
is a great way to see the forests of the North Carolina Mountains. Guided horseback riding trips are available in the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park also offers guided trail rides. Some of the local outfitters are: Deep Creek Riding Stables 828-488-8504, Fontana Village Riding Stables 828-498-2211, Nantahala Village riding stables 828-488-9649, Pisgah Forest Riding Stables 828-883-8258, Appalachian Riding and Packing and Andrews Riding Stables.

Smoky Mountain Golf Club is one of the well-groomed courses nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina. 800-474-0070.

City Lights Bookstore
What to do if it rainsis the place to go to find a good book to read while you enjoy some relaxing down time during your visit.  City Lights Bookstore, located in the small town of Sylva,  offers literature of the Southern Appalachian region with the world, and the world of good books with our community.

The Fun Factory
What to do if it rainsFun for kids of all ages, the Fun Factory is the place for games, mini golf, bowling, go-carts, laser tag, big screen TVs, party rooms, great restaurants and more. Plus, there's even an area with fun just for the little kids. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. 828-349-5556.

The Phoenix Movie Theatre
What to do if it rainsAfter a great day on the river, nothing beats a rainy day like a movie. Located in Cherokee, this state-of-the-art theatre is the answer for your movie/popcorn craving. 828-497-7384.

What to do if it rainsWhether shopping for antiques, artisan work or cute clothing, satisfying your craving for an ice cream cone and delicious deli sandwich or enjoying a stroll through a picture-book country town, both Bryson City and Dillsboro are great way to spend a day.

The Tail of the Dragon at Deals Gap
with 318 curves in 11 miles, the Tail of the Dragon is America's number one motorcycle and sports car road.

What to do if it rains WHAT IF IT RAINS?
Don't let the rain slow you down when you come to visit us!  There are so many great things to do in western North Carolina, all a short drive from the Nantahala Gorge.  For starters: go rafting!  It does not matter if it is raining or not, you are planning on getting wet so the rain will not take away from your whitewater trip.  We provide splash jackets and complimentary wet suits for rainy days on the river.  In addition, any of the things-to-do that are marked with our rain cloud rain.gifindicate great rainy day activities.

 We hope these suggestions help you plan your trip to our area. Please give us a call if you need assistance planning your trip. 1-800-224-7238.

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