Bryson City is a small mountain town in Western North Carolina that borders the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The area is primarily known for all the outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, boating, rafting, ziplining, horseback riding and biking; so it's a very casual and relaxed place. There are plenty of options for week-long family vacations or couples looking for a nice weekend getaway. The town is easy to walk around to explore the shops, galleries, craft brewery and restaurants. From June through October the town has free live music on Saturday nights at the train depot. Some of the many things to do in Bryson City include:

Deep Creek hiking, waterfalls and tubing

The hiking trails at Deep Creek  - which is in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park - are wonderful. You can take an easy stroll to see 2 of the 3 waterfalls (have to work a little harder to walk up the path to the 3rd waterfall). You can take a moderate walk of 3-4 miles. Or you can take a long hike of 9+ miles. Bicycles are allowed on some of the trails. You will also enjoy the two great inner tube runs down the creek. There’s a splashy whitewater section for older kids and adults, and a calmer section for young kids. You rent a tube for something like $5 for a whole day. You do carry the tube yourself up to the top of the run

Fishing four rivers, a lake and miles of trout streams

Whether you are fly fishing for native brook trout in a  mountain stream, smallmouth or largemouth bass in Fontana Lake or rainbow or brown trout in one of the many stocked streams or rivers, Swain County has one of the most diverse fishing habitats in the states.The rivers are the Oconaluftee, the Little Tennessee, the Nantahala (including the upper cascades near White Oak Creek), and the Tuckasegee.

Whitewater rafting, kayaking and paddle boarding

The Nantahala River is one of the most popular whitewater sports rivers in the country. The rafting trip takes about 4 hours and is a lot of fun.  The water is pretty cold, so bring a change of clothes; and their is a minimum weight limit for children. You can raft on the Tuckasegee nearby without a weight minimum. You can also kayak on the Nantahala and even try your skills at an internationally known kayak wave. Fontana Lake is another popular spot for kayaking and standup paddle boarding. You can take a jet boat ride on the lake.

Zip through the trees

There are 2 zip lines that run through the trees and along the ridge tops of the Nantahala Gorge with great views, and an adventure ropes course that’s great for kids. Plan on several hours for these, and the vendors have some suggestions for the right kind of clothing.

Family attractions

he Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has regular rides to the Nantahala Gorge and theme events during the year like Polar Express, Dinosaur Train and BBQ & Brews dinner train. Gem mining and horse or wagon rides are popular and not expensive.. Also in the summer there’s the Indian Village and the outdoor drama Unto These Hills - these are in Cherokee which is about 20 minutes from Bryson City.