Vacation in the Smoky Mountains | Cherokee, NC

How will Cherokee affect you?

What to Do While Vacationing in the Smokies

Come to Cherokee, NC on Your Next Smoky Mountain Vacation

If you are planning a vacation or weekend getaway to the Smoky Mountains make Cherokee, NC your home base away from home. Cherokee has friendly people, beautiful mountains, and lots of fun stuff to do.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort are only two of the amazing attractions in Cherokee. Our cultural and outdoors activities will delight, surprise, move and teach you. Here is a quick guide to some of the unforgettable activities that you can only do in Cherokee, North Carolina, the perfect destination for your next vacation in the Smokies.

The Top 5 Ways to Learn about Cherokee Culture!

Artifacts indicate that the Cherokee people have inhabited the Smoky Mountains for at least 11,000 years. In Cherokee there are plenty of things to do while you learn about the fascinating and moving story of the Cherokee. Any list of what to do in the Smoky Mountains should include visits to one or more of the following Cherokee historical attractions:

  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian: learn about Cherokee history, legends, myths, hunting practices, herbal medicines, village life, ceremonial traditions, and the story of how European settlers changed the world of the Cherokees forever.
  • Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.: see authentic Cherokee arts and crafts being made: bead working, pottery, stone carving, wood carving, basketry, finger weaving and more. Bring home an authentic Cherokee work of art to remind you of your vacation in the Smoky Mountains.
  • Oconaluftee Indian Village: be transported centuries back in time as you journey through this authentic recreation of a Cherokee village from the 1750s. Interact with villagers as they hull canoes, make pottery, create masks, weave baskets, fashion beadwork, and participate in other daily activities.
  • "Unto These Hills": the Mountainside Theatre has staged this famed outdoor drama every year since 1950. Experience the tragic and triumphant story of the Cherokee people from the years before the Trail of Tears to the present day. For a truly amazing experience on your next vacation, visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian after seeing "Unto These Hills."
  • Festivals in Cherokee: plan your next vacation around one of Cherokee’s many festivals. They take place year-round, so choose the festival that fits best into your schedule. Our local festivals highlight local music, dance, art, and food.

What to Do Outdoors in the Smoky Mountains 

Cherokee is right next door to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's an excellent place to vacation on your own or with the family. People come to Cherokee from all over to enjoy outdoor fun on our trails, rivers, and mountains. Hiking, mountain biking, road cycling, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, rock climbing, kayaking, tubing, golf, elk watching, and waterfall watching can be part of your vacation in the Smoky Mountains.

Tubing and Kayaking

Oconaluftee Islands Park is an excellent place to swim, fish, tube, picnic and play in and along the banks of the Oconaluftee River, sheltered by canopies of oak and sycamore. Many elk sightings have also been reported along the riverbanks. The Oconaluftee River is widely known as one of the best tubing rivers in the southeastern United States and features type I and II rapids, crystal clear waters, and plenty of swimming holes.


Some of the best trout fishing in the U.S. can be had in the thirty miles of clean, beautiful, trout-stocked waters that flow through Cherokee, NC. For the most fun, plan to vacation during Rumble in the Rhododendron or one of the other fishing tournaments that take place throughout the year in Cherokee. You can win prizes up to $10,000! Order your Cherokee fishing permit today.


The Oconaluftee River Trail is a local and tourist favorite. Walk from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the town center of Cherokee, NC on this beautiful 1.5-mile trail through the forest along side the river. Bicycles and dogs are allowed! Looking for a more challenging hike? Don’t miss Mingo Falls! At 120 feet, Mingo Falls is one of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls found in the Southern Appalachians. If you love hiking, waterfalls, or just enjoy natural beauty, be sure you make a trip to Mingo Falls part of your next vacation to Cherokee, NC.

Mountain Biking and Road Biking

The Blue Ridge Parkway provides a spectacular stretch of road beloved by cyclists from around the world, as well as access to a wide variety of trails perfect for mountain biking. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy all aspects of the Smoky Mountains from the forest depths to the breathtaking panoramas of the Parkway’s scenic overlooks.


Sequoyah National Golf Club is a spectacular 18 hole course filled with breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. It will make your next golf game unforgettable.

Planning your next vacation adventure? Come to Cherokee and discover your own favorite things to do in the Smoky Mountains.

Sample Trips