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Your guide to Bryson City
All About Bryson City
Cradled by the Smoky Mountains and their eponymous national park, Bryson City hits the sweet spot between stunning natural scenery and flourishing arts and crafts community. Here you can follow a trail of murals through the downtown strip, admire jewelry made by local makers, peruse woodworkers’ ateliers, take home hand-thrown pottery as a souvenir, and visit great local restaurants and breweries.
Bryson City is also known as a gateway to the great outdoors, including the rugged forest trails and sky-kissing peaks of Smoky Mountain National Park. Nantahala River, which splices through the town, is a renowned destination for whitewater rafting, kayaking, and tubing.
It’d be easy to spend the morning here paddling along the water, the afternoon taking a scenic railway tour through the Smokies, and then return to town in the evening for a belly-busting Southern home cooking.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Bryson City
Every season has its charm in the Great Smokies, and you really can’t go wrong with a visit here at any time of year. The winter gets chilly, and snow is a given in this mountain region. Come in December for the cozy, festive spirit that permeates the town with a festive train ride through this winter wonderland. In autumn, the Smokies are set ablaze in hues of orange and red as the leaves change, and the crisp temperature creates perfect conditions for hiking or snuggling up with a good book in a cabin. In the springtime, wildflowers pop out from the fields and forests, and March through May tend to be the least busy. June, July, and August are typically sunny and are an especially fun time for water sports enthusiasts to visit, when whitewater rafting is a great way to cool off from the heat.
Top things to do in Bryson City
Fishing for art
No, not the kind of fishing you do on a boat with a pole. This kind of fishing is more of an art-filled scavenger hunt: six local artists were commissioned by the city to paint fish all around the town, honoring the water dwellers that call this neck of the woods home.
Rafting on the Nantahala River
Bryson City is known for its incredible whitewater rafting, the best of which can be found on the Nantahala River. Nestled amongst dense forests with the Great Smoky Mountains on the horizon, this is a scenic spot for a rafting adventure or even just a leisurely float. With 500 acres of rolling river, there are varied courses to take over everything from gentle to roaring white-capped rapids.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Ride the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to take in the best views that the Smokies have to offer. Chug up and down mountain peaks, through valleys, and around lakes and rivers, winding through the Smoky Mountains National Park. There are several experiences to choose from: ride the Polar Express version in winter, feel the wind in your hair in open-air vintage train cars, or splurge for a first-class experience with all the frills.