Bryson City: Whitewater Paddling Town
Bryson City, North Carolina is a great town for doing just about anything outdoors. This small city, located on the southern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is an outdoor vacation destination for tens of thousands each year.
With just under 1,500 permanent residents, Bryson City defines small town charm. The residents are proud of their beautiful little part of the world and love to invite guests in and show them a good time.
Great Smoky Mountain Railroad | Bryson City, NC | Photo: Brian Stansberry
Surrounded by mountains on every side, Bryson City is a perfect setting for enjoying nature. The Tuckasegee River and Deep Creek both flow through town providing fantastic water-based fun.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to the north and Nantahala National Park is just south of town. Both parks are incredible, and the former is the most visited national park in North America. In addition, the Cherokee Indian Reservation is a neighbor to the north and east.
Bryson City has a history that is intertwined with the Cherokee Indians. Cherokee lived in this area prior to the arrival of the Europeans. The nearby reservation is a reminder of the relationship that has existed, albeit tumultuous at times, for centuries.
Reasons to Visit Bryson City
The number one reason to visit is the amazing outdoor adventure. Sarah Tuff and Greg Melville, authors of 101 Best Outdoor Towns: Unspoiled Places to Visit, Live & Play (101 Best…Series), ranked Bryson City as the “nations third best whitewater paddling town”. We might argue that it is THE best, but you can decide for yourself.
Many local restaurants and a couple of micro-breweries offer great food and opportunities to try local brew. Elsewhere on our website, we have mentioned that we enjoy eating at local restaurants whenever possible. Consider yourself encouraged to try something other than the familiar. You will be glad you did!
Board a train and take a scenic ride through the mountains on the best railroad experience in the southeast. Actually, this is the only train of its kind in the Smokies. Don’t pass it up.
Southern hospitality is a way of life. The people will welcome you and make you feel at home. Visit the culture museum or walk around town and talk with the locals. Whatever you do here, the townspeople make it better.