There are so many great things to do in the Western North Carolina, Southeastern Tennessee and North Georgia area! Most are within easy driving distance and make a great day trip activity.
More than 20 years ago, they prayed it would be a place of spiritual refreshment where people could leave behind the stresses of everyday life and focus on reaching others for Jesus Christ. Since then, tens of thousands of believers have come away to The Cove’s beautiful setting in western North Carolina to enjoy the endless mountain views and powerful Bible teaching.
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail is a 2,159.1-mile foot trail along the ridge crests and across the major valleys of the Appalachian Mountains from Katahdin in the central Maine wilderness to Springer Mountain in a designated wilderness area in north Georgia.
Located in Asheville, North Carolina, just 95 miles from Murphy, is the world-famous Biltmore House and Gardens which were built by George Vanderbilt in 1895.
The historic village of Blowing Rock sits astride the Eastern Continental Divide at a cool 4,000-foot elevation. The Blowing Rock itself is an immense cliff 4,000 feet above sea level, overhanging Johns River Gorge 3,000 feet below. The phenomenon is so called because the rocky walls of the gorge form a flume through which the northwest wind sweeps with such force that it returns light objects cast over the void.
Blue Ridge Parkway:
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles of scenic roadway that connects the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.
Just a short drive over the state line in Georgia, beautiful Brasstown Bald, rising 4,784 feet above sea level, is Georgia’s highest mountain. On clear days, the spectacular 360-degree view from atop the mountain allows you to see four states and often as far as Atlanta! The surrounding area is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. The Visitor Information Center, located on the summit of the Bald, offers exhibits, video presentations and interpretive programs. Brasstown Bald is open daily from Memorial Day through October and on weekends in the early spring and late fall (depending on the weather).
Interestingly, this area called Cades Cove that we so dearly love for its beauty and symbolism of the strength and resilience of its pioneer settlers, peaked within 30 years of its first settling. The State of Tennessee acquired this land from the Cherokee Indians in 1820, and by 1850 many of the population (685 at its peak) were ready to move on to more fertile land and new frontiers. Today millions of visitors annually flock to Cades Cove to see the preserved pioneer homesteads, the blue-misted mountains which serve as a backdrop to the cove, and the abundant wildlife which now populate the area.
Crossing through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, from which it gets its name, this National Scenic Byway connects Robbinsville in North Carolina to Tellico Plains in Southeast Tennessee. The road winds up and over 5,400-foot mountains.
Cherokee Indians Museum:
Located in Cherokee, North Carolina, this museum contains a huge collection of original artifacts used by the Cherokee Indians many years ago.
Chimney Rock Park:
Chimney Rock Park is the natural fulfillment of your trip to the mountains. Take a deep breath of refreshing mountain air, become invigorated by the hiking trails, and let your cares fade away in the cool mists of Hickory Nut Falls. This is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and spend time with family and friends. The Park, located 25 miles southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, offers the best of the mountains in one place—spectacular 75-mile views, hiking trails for all ages, a 404-foot waterfall, a variety of special events and much more.
At 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s highest point. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the second highest point east of the Mississippi. Only North Carolina’s Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) rises higher.
Deals Gap/Dragon’s Tail:
Crossing Deals Gap at the Tennessee/North Carolina state line, the Dragon is considered by many as one of the world’s best motorcycling and sports car roads. Anyone looking for an exciting highway will enjoy this stretch of US 129. The Dragon’s Tail has 318 curves in 11 miles on US 129.
Fields of the Wood:
From Prayer Mountain to the gigantic Ten Commandments to the All-Nations Cross, God’s Word unfolds through the use of marble and stone. Also features a gift store and a life-size representation of Golgotha and Jesus’ tomb. This Bible theme park is located on NC 294 between Murphy, North Carolina and Turtletown, Tennessee.
Fontana Lake and Dam:
Fontana Dam is located in Graham County, North Carolina and is the highest dam east of the Rockies. It forms Fontana Lake, some 29 miles of beauty on the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains. Features include electric plant tours and a gift shop.
Georgia Mountain Fair:
Located about 40 miles from Murphy is Hiawassee, Georgia, where the grounds really come alive in July and August during the two-week event which features amusement rides, arts and crafts and country music at its best. The beautiful fairgrounds are located above Lake Chatuge. Also visit the Rhododendron Festival in May and the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival in October.
A day at Ghost Town is filled with a thrilling ride up the mountainside and continues with fast-moving action of gunfights and tons of entertainment. In a beautiful mountain setting above Maggie Valley, North Carolina, with authentic “replica” buildings, and new features each year, Ghost Town is one of the South’s most photographed attractions.
Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in the Blue Ridge, is considered the most biologically diverse mountain in eastern North America. In addition to the beautiful scenery from an elevation of 5,946 feet, cross the mile high swinging bridge, view habitats for native wildlife, the Nature Museum, hike the 12 miles of alpine trails, bring your picnic or purchase fried chicken or sandwiches at the museum restaurant, or take part in the summer naturalist programs.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains Park, established in 1934, covers 520,408 acres of land with heights ranging from 840 feet at Abrams Creek to 6,643 feet at Clingman’s Dome. Enter through Cherokee, NC or Gatlinburg, TN to view spectacular mountain views either from the road or one of the park’s many hiking trails or quiet walkways. Be sure to stop at Newfound Gap and look at the view!
Great Smoky Mountain Railway
With the romance and mystique of an era gone by, guests on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad will enjoy year-round scenic train journeys across fertile valleys, through tunnels and across river gorges in a spectacular region of the Great Smoky Mountains with ever-changing vegetation and fantastic landscapes. The 4 ½ hour round trip departs from Bryson City, North Carolina.
Helen, Georgia—Alpine Village in North Georgia
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River, this Northeast Georgia village has a rich history linked to the Cherokee Indians and Indian burial mounds as well as early settlers who arrived to mine for gold and cut virgin timber for a thriving lumber industry in the early 1900s. Helen is a re-creation of an alpine village complete with cobblestone alleys and old-world towers. Enjoy shopping, restaurants, mountains, theater, recreation, beautiful scenery, family activities, waterfalls, museums, history, art, fishing, tubing, golf, and more. Something for every member of the family. Festivals and special events include a hot air balloon race, Winefest, Volksmarch, Oktoberfest and Christmas parades, Fourth of July fireworks, and Bavarian Nights of Summer. From mid-September through October, Helen hosts the longest Oktoberfest in the South. Alpenfest offers entertainment during the Holiday season from Thanksgiving through December.
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest:
Deep in the mountains of Graham County, NC lies a 3800-acre trace of the most beautiful forest in America – unmarred and undefiled by the hand of man. On July 30, 1936, the area was dedicated to poet and World War I veteran Joyce Kilmer as a living memorial. Walk the easy 2-mile figure eight loop hiking trail. Recommended for novices or families with small children.
Nantahala National Forest:
This beautiful forest lies in the mountains and valleys of western North Carolina between Waynesville and Murphy. Elevations in the Nantahala National Forest range from a low of 1,200 feet along the Tusquitee River below the Appalachian Dam in Cherokee County to a high of 5,800 feet at Lone Bald in Jackson County. All sorts of outdoor recreational activities are available: hiking, swimming, boating, whitewater rafting and more!
A family Fun Park and Zoo, Santa’s Land is an enchanted Christmas theme park. Enjoy riding the Rudi-coaster, train and paddle boats. Pet domestic animals, view exotic animals, visit with Santa, his elves and reindeer, or browse the Christmas shops. Open daily May through November.
Welcome to the pride of the Southland—Chattanooga’s Southern Belle Riverboat! Whether one of the fabulous dinner cruises, the daily lunch cruise or daytime sightseeing cruise, you’ll love the scenic Tennessee River in the climate-controlled Southern Belle!
Stones River National Battlefield:
The Battle of Stones River began on the last day of 1862 and was one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War. The battle produced important military and political gains for the Union, and it changed forever the people who lived and fought here. There are a variety of outdoor activities including self-guided tours, hiking, biking and scheduled interpretive tours from May through October. Be sure to visit the Stones River National Battlefield Museum.
Tsali Recreation Area:
Probably the most popular features of Tsali Recreation Area are the 39 miles of trails suited for mountain bikers and horseback riders, as well as hikers. The 4-loop system offers a variety of landscapes. You can climb 1-foot wide rugged paths or travel flat, well-beaten roads. The four trails meander through mixed pine and hardwoods on a peninsula stretching into Fontana Lake.
Western North Carolina Attractions:
Comprehensive Western North Carolina’s area attractions and travel guide. Includes fishing, waterfalls, golf courses and more.