After a visit to Asheville, North Carolina, make your way through Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the little mountain town of Bryson City. Here you’ll find good food, tasty drinks, souvenirs, and photo opportunities. Bryson City is just a 20-minute drive from the Deep Creek Lake area of the Great Smoky Mountains, and you can enter the national park for a hike and waterfall viewing for free! Bryson City is a great place to enjoy a tasty meal after a long day of hiking, but don’t wait too long because many restaurants close at 2:00 pm. If you’re lucky, you might even see the Smoky Mountain Scenic Railroad train drive by — be sure to wave to the passengers!
The Deep Creek section of the park, which is just north of Bryson City, is home to a large campground and multiple trailheads. The park’s main eastern entrance is located just a few miles east of Bryson City at Cherokee, South Carolina. Bryson City is located just west of the confluence of the Tuckasegee River, which flows westward from its source in the mountains to the east, and Deep Creek, which flows south from its source near Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Bryson City is centered around the junction of Everett Street and Main Street. We recommend parking along Everett Street or nearby and wandering the area.
After your outdoor activities, here are our top picks for things to do in Bryson City:
- Eat at the Diner on Everett Street (or one of the many other lovely restaurants on the main street). Nothing fills you up after a long day of hiking like some home-cooked food. My favorite was the Philly cheesesteak sub with sweet potato fries.
If you have room, try one of their homemade desserts. I loved the peanut butter pie so much that I came back another day to duplicate the same meal and dessert! The owner also posts a daily pun on their facebook page, so be sure to give them a like.
- Get some fudge from Heavenly Fudge or the Chocolate Shoppe. At $9 per slice it’s a reasonably priced and tasty souvenir. Both shops have many different flavors to choose from.
- Pick up a souvenir from Uncle Bunky’s on Everett Street. From postcards to magnets, t-shirts, and even pet items, you can find something fun to bring back for loved ones here without breaking the bank.
- Take a photo with the bear and the iconic Bryson City caboose, the city landmark. Nothing beats free fun! I thought the caboose was a good place to take a break, do some people watching, and enjoy some fudge! You can even walk down to the bridge and take a photo there.
- Have a drink and kick up your feet at the Nantahala Brewing Company. From beers to ciders and even mixed drinks and appetizers, you can get your fix here. Sit around the outside fire pit for some socially distanced socializing! So refreshing after an active day!
There’s nothing like a quaint mountain town full of warm people to bring back those nostalgic vibes. What’s your favorite thing to do in Bryson City? Let us know in our community!
Want to explore more than Bryson City? Check out the Waterfall Loop trail near Deep Creek Lake to hike through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park or rent an inner tube from Deep Creek Campground just $6 all day, then walk yourself down the trail and float the rest of the way back!
Additional Reading: Visitor Guide to Great Smoky Mountain National Park
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