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A Weekend in Bryson City, North Carolina Travel Guide

A Weekend in Bryson City, North Carolina Travel Guide

Bryson City North Carolina - Great Smoky Mountains National Park Travel Guide - Adriana Lately Travel Blogger

Bryson City, North Carolina, is a beautiful mountain town between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee. There are plenty of things to do, see and experience while you’re there. We’ve put together this guide to help you plan your trip!



Bryson City, North Carolina, is a charming small town in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Just under a 3-hour drive north of Atlanta, Georgia, this picturesque town is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, as it offers easy access to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the country. Here are some key things to know about Bryson City.

Bryson City is surrounded by natural beauty, making it the perfect destination for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, kayaking, and mountain biking. In addition, the town is located just a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers endless opportunities for exploring the great outdoors.

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is a popular attraction in Bryson City, offering scenic train rides through the beautiful mountain landscape. Guests can choose from various train rides, including a round-trip ride to the historic town of Dillsboro, a scenic excursion through the Nantahala Gorge, and a special holiday-themed Polar Express train ride.

Bryson City is home to various local shops and restaurants, many of which are housed in historic buildings. Visitors can stroll along the charming downtown area, browsing unique stores and dining at locally owned restaurants that taste the region’s cuisine.


There are plenty of options if you’re looking for a place to stay in Bryson City. Hotels, cabins, and vacation rentals are available on Airbnb or VBRO. I stayed in one of Land’s Creek Log Cabins.

Lands Creek Coyote Cabin Bryson City North Carolina - Adriana Lately

Lands Creek Log Cabins in Bryson City, NC, offers a variety of cabins in creekside, ridgetop, and wooded mountain settings, including their Lodge, which is perfect for family reunions or corporate retreats. All of their cabins come with free WiFi and firewood. The cabins are 3 miles from historic Bryson City and the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

The cabins are in a tranquil natural setting, surrounded by lush forests and the sounds of a nearby creek. Despite their secluded location, the cabins are easily accessible year-round, as they are fully paved with easy access to the main road. This location offers guests the best of both worlds – a peaceful nature retreat while still being close enough to town to enjoy all its amenities.


From outdoor adventures to cultural attractions, this charming town offers visitors various things to see and do.

Visit The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A beautiful and popular attraction located near Bryson City. You can hike the many trails, go fishing, or enjoy the scenic views.

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

One of the most popular excursions offered by the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is the Nantahala Gorge excursion, which takes passengers on a 44-mile round trip through the scenic Nantahala Gorge. During the journey, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views of the Appalachian Mountains, cross over the Fontana Lake Trestle, and experience the thrill of riding through the historic Nantahala River Gorge.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Bryson City North Carolina - Polar Express North Carolina - Adriana Lately Travel Blogger

In addition to the Nantahala Gorge excursion, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad also offers a variety of other train rides, including the Tuckasegee River excursion, the Polar Express train ride (during the holiday season), and a variety of special event trains throughout the year.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Bryson City, North Carolina. It offers a unique way to experience the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and is sure to be a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Visitors can also explore the Smoky Mountains Railroad museum in a historic downtown Bryson City depot. The museum features a collection of railroad memorabilia, model trains, and exhibits about the history of the railroad and its impact on the region.

Ziplining at Nantahala Gorge

Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours offers a zipline canopy tour in the Nantahala Gorge area of Western North Carolina through the mountainous property of Falling Waters Nantahala. The KidZip Nantahala, the only zipline for young zippers, is a fantastic aerial zipline playground for kids aged 4 to 12. It offers ziplines and adventure park elements for kids in a scenic wooded adventure setting. With a continuous cable and roller system, there is no clipping and unclipping for participants, making it safe for any age to use. Participants can zip, climb, and play in the trees on three courses. They can repeat the activities as many times as they like for two hours.


There are many fun and exciting things to do in Bryson City, North Carolina. Here are some other ideas to consider:

  • Explore the charming downtown area of Bryson City, which features shops, restaurants, and bars.
  • Check out the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum, which boasts a collection of 7,000 objects. You will have free access to the museum when you purchase your train ticket!
  • Go hiking on the Deep Creek Trail, which offers beautiful scenery and waterfalls.
  • Visit the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to learn about the history and culture of the area.
  • Enjoy water sports on the rivers and lakes in the area, such as rafting, kayaking, and fishing.
  • Go shopping for unique gifts and souvenirs at the local shops and markets.


The dining options in Bryson City are plentiful, and the food is delicious. You can find many options for a casual meal with friends or family.

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Nantahala Outdoor Center Bryson City North Carolina

Rivers End at NOC
River’s End at NOC (Nantahala Outdoor Center) is a popular restaurant in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains in Bryson City, North Carolina. The restaurant is situated on the banks of the Nantahala River and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and river. This is, hands down, my favorite restaurant. The views are amazing, and the food- is delicious!

Nantahala Brewing Burger and Bar
Nantahala Brewing Burger and Bar is a casual and rustic restaurant in Bryson City, North Carolina. The restaurant offers farm-to-table dining with fresh, local ingredients, and many of their dishes include one of Nantahala Brewing’s signature beers as an ingredient.

La Dolce Vita
La Dolce Vita is a popular bakery and cafe in downtown Bryson City, North Carolina. According to their website, they offer house-roasted coffee, high tea, brunch, and house-made desserts.

Other recommended places are Pasqualinos Italian Restaurant and Guayabitos’s Mexican Restaurant.


With its stunning natural beauty, small-town charm, and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, Bryson City offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience. Whether seeking a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, Bryson City has something to offer.

From the majestic Great Smoky Mountains to the quaint downtown area and the variety of local restaurants and shops, it’s no wonder this town has become a popular destination for travelers near and far. I hope this weekend’s travel guide has inspired you to plan your adventure to Bryson City and experience the magic for yourself. 

Watch my Bryson City recap video on TikTok and on Instagram. For more travel ideas, view my travel section HERE.

Bryson City NC Travel Guide

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