Top 10 Things to Do in Bryson City NC

Outdoor Adventure Family Fun

Post Covid Family vacation planning in the Great Smoky Mountains, including a stay in Bryson City, NC, will surely include the Google Search: Things to do in Bryson City NC.  Even if this is an annual trip, or your first time, outdoor adventure activities are sure to be on the list. There’s one thing you can count on too – there’s  always new ‘things to do’. At Carolina Bound Adventures, our vacation planning concierge division is designed to save you time in the effort.  So in this blog, we wanted to share some of our favorites when you’re searching things to do around Bryson City, NC.   No list is ever complete and as you can see on our site, there’s more outdoor adventure here than you can pack into a week. And seasonality plays a factor… in the Winter, our Guided Hikes are still popular because the views become so long range, but in the Summer, whitewater rafting is a huge adventure.  Year round, visitors always want to take a Great Smoky Mountain Train Ride and our Appalachian Trail Shuttle is super busy in most months of the year.  So, in no particular order, here’s a Carolina Bound Adventures 10 things to do near Bryson City, NC:

1.  Paddle Boarding on Fontana Lake.  Watersports are a popular summertime favorite here in the Nantahala National Forest, including a Fontana Lake Paddle Board adventure. When you book a Smoky Mountain Vacation through us, this will be one of our top recommendations, because who doesn’t like the cool splash of crystal clear lake water on a warm afternoon? At Carolina Bound Adventures, we’ve got Paddle Board Rentals or, if you prefer, offer a Guided Paddle Board experience!

2.  Fontana Lake Kayaking.  So we’re big fans of Fontana Lake as you can see! We offer Fontana Lake Kayak Rentals, or Guided trips for those that want to get out there, but prefer the guided experience. The beautiful water flowing out of the Nantahala Gorge into Fontana Lake arrives via the cool waters of the Nantahala River. But never fear… Fontana Lake Kayaking is warmer than her cousin, Whitewater Rafting on the Nanatahala River.

3.  Pontoon Boat Rental on Fontana Lake.  Have you noticed a pattern here? We love the Lake! Most of the time, Fontana Lake boat rentals are of the Pontoon Boat variety. Pack a cooler, lunch, a tube or two, the family and friends, head out to the Lake on a Pontoon Boat and you’ve got a geniune vacation day to remember. Don’t forget the camera! Advance reservations recommended.



4.  Whitewater Rafting with Rail Ride.  A popular booking at Carolina Bound Adventures is the “Raft and Rail”, which puts you on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for a trip into the Nantahala River Gorge, and then an exhilarating whitewater raft trip down the Nantahala River. After the train crosses Fontana Lake in the Smoky Mountains, it travels a bit longer up into the gorge, stops, and then you are shuttled off to a rafting adventure. The Bryson City Raft and Rail is a big day, with big fun!

5.  Zipline in the Nantahala Gorge. If you’ve never ziplined, this is the place to start! If you’re a Zipline aficionado, then this is your mecca! On Ziplines in the Nantahala National Forest, you have beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Fontana Lake. If you want a Bryson City Zipline combined with a Smoky Mountain Train Ride, we offer a product package where you can ride our Bryson City Railroad on a Nantahala Gorge excursion, and then get off to go Ziplining. Folks here call it the “Tarzan Train”. We call that a big day!

6.  Breweries Tour. If you like Craft Beer, than you’ll probably want to seek out a Bryson City Brewery… and maybe more! Bryson City boasts 2 fabulous breweries and one of the premier taprooms in Western North Carolina. A Bryson City NC Brewery stop or two is fun, but you want the big fun adventure on your vacation, right? Carolina Bound Adventures offers a Waterfalls and Breweries Tour where our “Brew-bur” Driver takes you to 4 beautiful Waterfalls, and then 5 Breweries around Western North Carolina. Or check out our Fly Fishing and Breweries Tour!  All the fun… none of the risk!

7. Explore Waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains.  There is a good selection of beautiful Waterfalls near Bryson City NC. Carolina Bound Adventures offers a Guided Bryson City NC waterfalls tour, or stop in the Swain County Visitor Information Center and pick up a self guiding map for local waterfalls.

8.  Fly Fishing in the Great Smoky Mountains. No gear or experience necessary! The Fly Fishing excursions we offer include the guide, plus gear, and you have options to take a wading trip or float trip. Our local Bryson City Tuckaseegee River is stocked with Trout and boasts around 35,000 Trout per mile! Fun for the whole family! Or check out our Fly Fishing and Breweries Tour.  You fly fish in the morning and then we take your crew to 4 breweries in the afternoon. 

9.  Horseback Riding. A Bryson City Things-to-Do list often has the family favorite Nantahala Horseback Ride booked at Carolina Bound Adventures. This family fun adventure requires no riding experience and is open to children 5 years of age and older. Guided horseback trips will allow you to enjoy beautiful wooded scenery in the Nantahala Gorge, an overlook of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains in the Nantahala National Forest.

10.  Mountain Biking – Get off the pavement! There are family friendly trails here in the Great Smoky Mountains in addition to moderate to aggressive riding. If you want to try mountain biking and prefer a Guided Adventure, Carolina Bound Adventures has your solution. You don’t need to have a bike as we partner with a local bike shop that will rent you a bike, or we meet groups at the trailhead and outfit everyone.

As you can see, North Carolina Adventures abound – particularly here at Carolina Bound Adventures – Bryson City’s Adventure Leader!  You don’t need a Bryson City phone book:  Go online, email, or call and say “Plan my vacation for me!”