Bryson City is the perfect home base for fun things to do in the North Carolina Smoky Mountains - a quiet country town on the banks of a swift mountain river, surrounded by lush forests, rolling pastures and rugged mountain peaks
While Bryson City (pop. 1400) is quiet and relatively uncommercial, the North Carolina Smokies and the surrounding areas offer a wealth of activities, all just minutes from the Folkestone Inn. Combine several activities and make a day of it, or two days, or three, or more ...
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad - Choose from several scenic excursions that run Bryson City to the Nantahala River and back. There's even a Raft & Rail Combo that includes whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River.
Harrah's Cherokee Casino - just 15 minutes from Bryson City in neighboring Cherokee.
Biltmore House, Gardens and Winery - One of the nation's premier attractions is just a little more than an hour's drive from Bryson City. It's a great day trip.
Smoky Mountain Trains - Impressive collection of 7000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, large operating layout. Next to the depot in Bryson City.
Wheels Through Time Museum - Over 250 rare antique American motorcycles, automobiles, and memorabilia. Located on Highway 19 in Maggie Valley - about a 45 minute drive.
Unto These Hills outdoor drama (mid-June through Mid-August), the Okonaluftee Indian Village (mid-May through October) and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian (all year) - The Trail of Tears began in Swain County. Learn about Cherokee Indian culture and history at these three entertaining and educational attractions at the nearby Cherokee Indian Reservation. Information can also be found at the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce web site.
Bird Watching - The Smoky Mountains are a bird-watcher's paradise. One May weekend, a visiting naturalist identified 41 different birds...without ever leaving the Folkestone Inn's grounds.
Fishing - Swain County's creeks and rivers are famous for their trout fishing, particularly the Nantahala River and Deep Creek, less than a mile from the Folkestone Inn. And if you'd rather go for bass and crappie, head for nearby Fontana Lake.
A guide to fishing in the NC Smokies: Great Smokies Fishing includes a map and descriptions of 26 places to fish in the area as well as license information, local bait shops, public access ramps, current fishing reports and more. Stop by the Tuckasegee Fly Shop across from the Depot for gear and conversation.
The Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians in Bryson City: Through exhibits and videos you’ll learn about past fly fishing legends, the evolution of rods and reels, fly-tying, regional fishing waters, and the history of fly fishing in the Southeast.
Tsali Mountain Bike Trails - Biking enthusiasts from all over the world come to Swain County to ride the Tsali trails, just 25 minutes from the Inn. A brochure is available on-line from the US Forest Service. You can even rent bikes at the NOC store in Bryson City - for mountains or just biking our scenic byways.
The Nantahala River - One of the most popular whitewater rivers in the Nation. Several outfitters offer guided and unguided trips by raft, canoe and kayak, including Appalachian Rivers, Wildwater Rafting, Rolling Thunder River Company, Endless River Adventures, Carolina Outfitters Rafting and Nantahala Outdoor Center.
Horseback Riding - Several stables offer guided rides of one to four hours, including Nantahala Stables, and Smokemont Riding Stables.
Golf - A number of golf courses are within a 45 minute drive from the Inn, including the 18-hole Smoky Mountain Country Club (828-497-7622) just 15 minutes away in nearby Whittier; and Sequoyah National in Cherokee (828-497-3000). Popular courses include Maggie Valley Golf Club (866-659-4725), Waynesville Country Club (800-627-6250), and Franklin's MIll Creek Country Club (800-533-3916).
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Just a short walk from the Folkestone Inn, you can visit three sparkling waterfalls, go whitewater tubing on Deep Creek or hike some of the Park's 800 miles of mountain trails. Gatlinburg, Clingman's Dome and Cade's Cove are an easy drive from the Folkestone Inn. For more information, also visit the GORP - GSMNP web site.
Blue Ridge Parkway - the southern terminus of this beautiful highway is in neighboring Cherokee and many feel that the first few miles are the most spectacular. A great route for your day trip to Asheville!
Stretching from the Joyce Kilmer forest to Telleco Plains, Tennessee is the spectacular 50-mile Cherohala Skyway, a scenic drive across peaks of 5,300 feet. This new road, entirely through National Forests, rivals the Blue Ridge Parkway for its scenic beauty.
Sports car enthusiasts and motorcyclists love the curvy roads of Deals Gap, aka The Tail of the Dragon - just an hour west of the Inn. With 318 curves in 11 miles it's truly a great ride.
Shopping and Antique Hunting - Potters, craftsmen and antique sellers are scattered throughout the area, from Bryson City to Franklin, Dillsboro and Waynesville, to Stecoah.
Two of our favorite artists in Bryson City are Elizabeth Ellison and Charles Heath. Favorite shops include The Wild Fern, Madison's on Main, McClanahan's, Humanite, Charleston Station, Old Clampitt Hardware, Calby's Antiques and Pursenality.
We have great music venues in our area. Each Saturday from June through October, local artists play at Riverfront Park in Bryson City.
And just west of Bryson City from late June to Labor Day, the Stecoah Valley Center hosts concerts in their 300-seat air-conditioned auditorium. You can also catch big name entertainers at Harrah's in Cherokee. There are plenty of other opportunities to hear great music at festivals and music halls all year – just ask us.
Bryson City One of the Nation's Best. The book "101 Best Outdoor Towns" has named Bryson City the nation's third best whitewater paddling town.
"If you can't find something exciting to do in Bryson City, you're not breathing," it says.
We found an oasis in Western North Carolina. This is a beautiful home next door to so many outdoor adventures! Thank you for all the suggestions on trails, restaurants and sights.
Cindy & Mitchell