Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains in western North Carolina, the town of Bryson City offers your family all the fun and outdoor activities that come with a mountain vacation. Whether you’re planning to stay for a long weekend or a full week, a Bryson City vacation rental will give your family the chance to spend more time together and relax after the stress of everyday life. In this town that sits close to the border of Tennessee, you can fill your days with hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing. All year long, you’ll find plenty to keep yourself busy when you aren’t playing board games with the kids. Here’s a quick look at the top nine things to do with kids in Bryson City.

1. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

old gristmill
Source: Flickr/Phil Horton

All aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for an afternoon of train travel. You and your family can board this train and enjoy a ride through the mountains to see sights you normally wouldn’t get the chance to see. Order boxed lunches, or eat in the dining car. This train offers a variety of tours and special events, such as holiday trips through the mountains and wine evenings that treat riders to a wine tasting as they travel through the countryside.

2. Smoky Mountain Trains

smoky mountain train
Source: Flickr/BrianBoardman

After an afternoon or evening of riding on an actual train, take the kids to Smoky Mountain Trains to see its collection of miniature trains. In addition to the hundreds of trains on display in glass cases that line the walls, this attraction has train tracks set up with detailed towns and mountains with actual miniature trains weaving their way around the tracks. After watching the trains, you can visit the gift shop and let the kids pick a souvenir from their trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.

3. Clingmans Dome

clingmans dome
Source: Flickr/daveynin

Gather the family in the car and leave your vacation rental behind as you make your way into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a visit to the Clingmans Dome. Perched high on the mountain, the Clingmans Dome stretches into the air and out over the mountain, so you and your family get stunning views of the mountains and valley below and around you. Located at the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains, this lookout tower is a popular destination that’s open year round.

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4. Fishing in Tuckasegee River

tuckasegee river
Source: Flickr/Matthew T. Bradley

Running through the center of town is the Tuckasegee River. If fishing is your favorite thing, then look for a vacation rental along the river and head out to your dock each morning for some fishing. Along the edge of the river, you and your family can find places to fish off the banks. This is a hot spot for fly-fishing, so expect to have some company in the river during the warmer months.

5. Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians

fly fishing museum
Source: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region

If the weather turns rainy or cold during your stay in Bryson City, take the kids to the Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians. Here, they’ll learn more about the history of fishing in this area and the varying techniques used to catch the fish in the lakes, rivers, and streams. Check out the display of fly rods that date back to the 1800s, and take a few minute to watch the video that details the conservation efforts in the area.

6. Swain County Parks and Recreation Department

playground
Source: Flickr/Matthew Paul Argall

Pack up the kids for an afternoon of fresh air at the Swain County Parks & Rec Department center. Here, younger kids will go wild on the playground, swinging and climbing over the monkey bars. The river runs through the park, so you can roll up your pants legs and wade out in the water to cool off or try your hand at fishing. Fill up your picnic basket at your vacation rental, and delight in an alfresco family meal.

7. Cades Cove Riding Stables

horse back riding
Source: Flickr/Dorian Wallender

Hop in the car for the short drive to the Cades Cove Riding Stables. This is the only stable in the area with permission to take trail rides through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Schedule a ride almost any time of day, and enjoy a few hours of navigating the trails through the park. See waterfalls, caves, creeks, and lush forest. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife and birds as you meander through the woods and valleys.

8. Cross-Country Skiing

appalachian trail sign
Source: Flickr/Nick Amoscato

If you’re visiting in the winter months, make sure to pack your cross-country skis before leaving home. You and your family can visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and navigate the hiking trails while cross-country skiing. Around town, you’ll find trails, where you can get out and enjoy the crisp clean air as you make your way along the countryside on skis.

9. White Water Rafting

water rafting
Source: Flickr/anoldent

A short drive from Bryson City lies the Nantahala River that’s known for its exciting white water rafting. Numerous outfitters have set ups in the area, so choose one and get a lesson on how to tackle the river. After you have your river legs, enjoy an afternoon rafting on the Nantahala. If you don’t want to tackle any fast white water, there’s an option to leave the river before the waterfalls and faster-moving water.

 
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