7 Great Things To Do In Bryson City, N.C.

Whether a mountain hike or tubing down a wilderness spring is your idea of the perfect outdoor getaway, there are plenty of fun things to do in Bryson City, N.C.  The Great Smoky Mountains are ideal for those on a quest for serenity, adventure, or a little of both. With the region’s natural beauty and thrilling outdoor activities to choose from, your family vacation or a girls’ trip is bound to be a success.

View of Lake Fontana from the villas at Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City, N.C.
View of Lake Fontana from the villas at Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City, N.C.

Pamper Yourself By Staying at Lakeview at Fontana

Staying at Lakeview at Fontana was Shangri-la for our group of girlfriends celebrating some of our “Medicare Birthdays.”  Lakeview at Fontana is all about pampering oneself with the ultimate in relaxation. The setting transports you to a quaint European villa with its outdoor seating under red umbrellas and a mountain view of Lake Fontana. It feels secluded, low-key, and very intimate.

Lakeview at Fontana is a Shangri-la set in the Smoky Mountains of Bryson City, N.C.
Lakeview at Fontana is a Shangri-la set in the Smoky Mountains of Bryson City, N.C.

The friendly staff welcomes you and sees that you’re settled in the comfort of the rustic-chic rooms and, in our case, the shared three-bedroom cabin. Rooms are intentionally free of televisions and Wi-Fi, although those amenities can be found in the shared lounge area. Our well-appointed cabin had a kitchenette with options for cooking.

Lakeview at Fontana has unique 1, 2, and 3 Bedroom lodging to choose from
Lakeview at Fontana has unique one-, two-, and three-Bedroom lodging to choose from.

Included in the stay is a healthy continental breakfast and evening wine and cheese.  We loved the treat of French-pressed coffee, pastries, and gourmet oatmeal in the mornings.  We never wanted to miss happy hour with wine, freshly made Sangria, a variety of cheeses and olives keeping with the Mediterranean theme.

Lakeview at Fontana's Happy Hour is like visiting the Mediterranean
Lakeview at Fontana’s Happy Hour is like visiting the Mediterranean.

Pamper Yourself with a Spa Package and Yoga

Lakeview at Fontana is home to a top-of-the-line spa with specialty massages, body treatments, and facials.  Our group of ladies couldn’t have been happier with the variety of spa treatments we chose. However, making the decision was a challenge. Feeling completely pampered, we were ready to continue to unwind with a morning yoga class. Our class was gentle and unintimidating with enough of a blend of yoga styles to make first-timers and yoga enthusiasts feel at home. 

Yoga classes at Lakeview at Fontana welcome all
Yoga classes at Lakeview at Fontana welcome all

To maintain a tranquil spa environment, guests staying at Lakeview at Fontana must be 18 or older.  More respite can be found along the on-site hiking trail that winds through 50 acres of mountain foliage. Guests have a unique opportunity to unwind in a Treetop Soaking Cabana, an outdoor tub nestled under the trees.

Evening overlooking Lake Fontana from the villas at Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City, N.C.
Evening overlooking Lake Fontana from the villas at Lakeview at Fontana in Bryson City, N.C.

Hike to Deep Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Our group chose an easy 2.4-mile hike along the river to Three Waterfalls Loop from our parking spot at the Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We appreciated the tranquility of the time spent in the unspoiled forest, walking along a smooth trail with slight inclines. 

A gentle hike along Deep Creek in Smoky Mountain National Park in Bryson City, N.C.
A gentle hike along Deep Creek in Smoky Mountain National Park in Bryson City, N.C.

We stopped to view the waterfalls and mountain wildflowers along Deep Creek. From Bryson City, there are three more isolated streams accessible by foot or boat: Forney Creek, Eagle Creek, and Hazel Creek. They are home to some of the best trout fishing streams in the area. 

Waterfalls on the Deep Creek trail in Smoky Mountain National Park
Waterfalls on the Deep Creek trail in Smoky Mountain National Park.

Go Tubing in Deep Creek

The crystal clear waters flowing in Deep Creek beckon the adventuresome to cool off. There are two options for tubing in the lightweight, colorful inflatables rented within the park.

Walking to the whitewater section of Deep Creek for an exciting day of tubing
Walking to the whitewater section of Deep Creek for an exciting day of tubing

The upper section is the “whitewater” section with plenty of swift-flowing water and a guaranteed wild and bouncy ride. The lower section is wider and moves more gently, so it is more appropriate for smaller kids and adults looking for a peaceful ride.  

Gently tubing the lower section of Deep Creek is perfect for kids and adults
Gently tubing the lower section of Deep Creek is perfect for kids and adults.

Fun for the Entire Family at Nantahala Outdoor Center

You won’t want to miss a 500-acre outdoor playground, Nantahala Outdoor Center, located just outside of Bryson City. Situated on the Nantahala River, the outdoor center offers plenty of adventure for white water rafters, hikers, and browsers.

Kayakers test their whitewater skills  around the Nantahala Outdoor Center
Kayakers test their whitewater skills around the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon strolling under the cool cover of trees, shopping in the Outdoor Center outpost, and dining in one of the river-side cafes. We had a front-row seat to families bouncing happily in their rafts along the mild rapids.   Four aerial ziplines, mountain biking, and hiking on private trails are choices for your group’s outdoor fun.

Rafting with a whitewater guide provides plenty of thrills at the Nantahala Outdoor Center
Rafting with a whitewater guide provides plenty of thrills at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

One of the “Top 10 American Train Rides” on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

In the heart of Bryson City are excursions into the past on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. A section of the Southern Railway was completed in the late 1800s and operates today as one of the top 10 tourist trail excursions, according to USA Today. Choose from a variety of railroad scenic tours:  The natural outdoors of the Nantahala Gorge, a quaint mountain town,  a history narrated tour, or several rides with food and drink specials, all on an authentic diesel locomotive.  Scenes from the Harrison Ford movie, “The Fugitive” were filmed along the route in Dillsboro.

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad offers tourist excursions on authentic diesel locomotives
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad offers tourist excursions on authentic diesel locomotives.

Dine at the Everett Bistro in Downtown Bryson City

Treat yourself to an exceptional dining experience at the Everett Bistro; you will be so glad you did. Our food, drinks, and excellent service made our evening there superb.

Fine dining at the Everett Bistro is top of the line (Photo compliments of Facebook)

After dinner, the dining manager invited us to go to the rooftop for sunset. We could take drinks up with us from the bar and gathered around a fire pit to keep us warm as the sunset.

Everett Hotel guests can enjoy a rooftop lounge for beautiful sunsets
Everett Hotel guests can enjoy a rooftop lounge for beautiful sunsets.

The setting was so tranquil, we lounged for as long as we wanted under the mountain sky. 

View from the Everett Hotel rooftop of the Swain County Heritage Museum
View from the Everett Hotel rooftop of the Swain County Heritage Museum

You will find many more than 7 Great Things to do In Bryson City, N.C. For our long weekend girlfriends’ trip, we couldn’t have been happier soaking up nature than with our stay at Lakeview at Fontana and visiting Smoky Mountains National Park, Nantahala Outdoor Center, and downtown Bryson City.

For our list of items that you might need on your mountain vacation refer to our Smoky Mountains Packing List.

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