Cherokee, North Carolina, is a town nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains with lots of history and plenty to see, do and explore. In this historic town, you can enjoy breathtaking scenic views, outdoor activities, family attractions, shopping, and so much more.
If you’re planning a visit to Cherokee, NC and wondering what exciting activities and attractions this charming town has to offer? Look no further, as we will take you on a journey through the top 20 fun and unique things to do in Cherokee, NC.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or seeking cultural experiences, Cherokee has something for everyone.
20 Best & Fun Things To Do In Cherokee, NC 2023
1. Museum of the Cherokee Indian
One of the fun things to do in Cherokee, NC, is to visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. This museum is home to artifacts that preserve and showcase more than 13,000 years of native history.
On your visit, immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the Cherokee people through interactive exhibits and captivating displays. Learn about the tribe’s ancestral lands, traditional dwellings, and their contributions to art, music, and language.
Address: 589 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States.
2. Oconaluftee Indian Village
Looking for fun things to do in Cherokee? Relive the 18th-century Cherokee community lifestyle by exploring the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
As you wander, watch as artisans create pottery, beadwork, and baskets and interact with villagers who showcase traditional Cherokee daily activities. Also, watch as villagers prepare for war and be blown away by a blowgun demonstration.
The Oconaluftee Indian Village is not just a place to visit in Cherokee; it’s living history.
Address: 218 Drama Road, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States.
3. Drive Along the Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the free things to do in Cherokee is to take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, vibrant foliage (especially during fall), and picturesque picnic spots.
The Blue Ridge Parkway drive stretches for 469 miles on the southwest side of the Blue Ridge Mountains ending at the southern gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, right near Cherokee. Stop at overlooks, snap some memorable photos, and take in the natural beauty of the region.
Address: Cherokee, NC 28719.
4. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
One of the best outdoor activities to do in Cherokee, NC, is to hike the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The mountain occupies a whooping 800 square miles of unfiltered natural landscape and has the much-deserved title of being the national park with the most visitors in all of America.
Lace up your boots and hit the trails in one of the most scenic national parks in the country, filled with diverse wildlife, stunning waterfalls, and panoramic vistas. Choose from a variety of trails that cater to all skill levels, from leisurely strolls to challenging hikes.
Address: Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
5. Oconaluftee Islands Park
One of the family-friendly things to do in Cherokee, NC, is to have a fun day at the Osconaluftee Islands Park. The park is an island oasis along the rushing Oconaluftee River, a short walk from downtown.
Take a leisurely stroll along the riverbank, have a picnic amidst the beautiful scenery, or simply relax on one of the riverfront benches. The park provides a serene escape from the bustling town center. The park also has basic amenities like restrooms and parking.
Address: US-441, Cherokee, NC 28719.
6. Mountain Farm Museum
If you’re looking for top vacation spots in Cherokee, NC, then you need to visit the Moutain Farm Museum. The museum is an outdoor collection of historic log buildings assembled throughout the Smoky Mountains.
Explore historic log cabins, barns, and farm buildings that showcase traditional Appalachian life and farming practices. Learn about early settler life and agricultural techniques, and interact with interpreters who demonstrate skills such as blacksmithing and weaving.
Address: Cherokee, NC 28719, United States.
7. Cherokee Indian Fair
One of the free and fun things to do in Cherokee with kids is to attend the Cherokee Indian Fair. The annual carnival is full of excitement as it features cultural exhibitions, music, dance, arts and crafts, and exhilarating carnival rides.
Experience the vibrant atmosphere as the fairgrounds come alive with the sights, sounds, and flavors of Cherokee traditions. Indulge in delicious traditional foods, marvel at intricately handcrafted artwork, and enjoy thrilling rides that add to the festive spirit.
Address: 545 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719
8. Go Horseback Riding
One of the unique things to do in Cherokee for adults is to go horseback riding in the mountains. Saddle up and embark on a guided horseback adventure through the scenic trails of Cherokee.
Explore the picturesque landscapes, meandering rivers, and lush forests while enjoying a leisurely ride on gentle and well-trained horses. It’s a fantastic way to connect with nature and experience the beauty of the region.
9. Sequoyah National Golf Club
There are a plethora of things to do in Cherokee for golf lovers, like enjoying a round of golf at the Sequoyah National Golf Club. The golf course sits amidst the oak, fir, and flowered valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains and is about a seven-minute drive south of Cherokee’s city center.
The Sequoyah National Golf Club was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for golfers of all skill levels. Immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings as you navigate the fairways and greens.
Address: 79 Cahons Rd, Whittier, NC 28789, United States
10. Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc
Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual Inc. is the nation’s oldest and foremost Native American cooperative. Browse through a wide selection of authentic Cherokee crafts, including pottery, baskets, jewelry, and woodcarvings.
The Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual showcases the works of local artisans, providing a unique opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect the rich cultural heritage of the Cherokee people.
Address: 645 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
11. Eat Traditional Cherokee Cuisine
One of the best things to do in Cherokee is to have a taste of traditional Cherokee cuisine. Explore the unique flavor of Cherokee cuisine.
Sample mouthwatering dishes like fry bread, elk chili, trout, and wild game. The city has numerous restaurants that offer authentic Cherokee dishes that celebrate the traditional ingredients and culinary heritage of the region.
12. Cherokee Botanical Garden and Nature Trail
Exploring the Cherokee Botanical Garden and Nature Trail is one of the free things to do in Cherokee, North Carolina. The garden displays over 150 species of plants native to the Great Smoky Mountains, with an herb garden and 0.5 miles of walking trail through a mixed pine and hardwood forest.
Immerse yourself in the beauty of native plants and wildlife as you wander along the tranquil nature trail. Learn about the traditional uses of plants by the Cherokee people, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this hidden gem.
13. Cherokee Mountainside Theatre
One of the best things to do in Cherokee at night is to attend a live performance at the Cherokee Mountainside Theatre.
Experience the magic of outdoor theater against the stunning backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Mountainside Theatre presents captivating performances that tell the story of the Cherokee people through music, dance, and drama.
Address: 688 Drama Road, Cherokee, NC
14. Go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River
One of the family-friendly things to do near Cherokee is to go whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River. Located in Bryson City, near the Great Smoky National Park, the Nantahala River is a perfect adventure destination for many tourists.
Rafting trips are available for all skill levels, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rafter, you can enjoy the excitement and beauty of the river. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you paddle through swirling waters and take in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you.
Address: Bryson City, NC 28713
15. Fire Mountain Trails
Looking for fun and exciting things to do in Cherokee, NC, this weekend? Then experience a new source of excitement and adventure at the Fire Mountain Trails.
These trails are multi-use, comprising a network of over 10.5 miles in total, where you can run, bike, or hike. Located near the Oconaluftee Indian Village, the Fire Mountain Trails are popular because of the flow of their different roads, packed with all sorts of features like quick, easy elevation, berms, rock gardens, blinds, tables, and more.
Address: State Rd 1361, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
16. Mingo Falls
One of the most stunning attraction sites to visit near Cherokee, NC, is the Mingo Falls. Located close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Mingo Falls tower more than 120 feet into the air, essentially making them the tallest of those in the southern Appalachian Mountains – and the most impressive.
Take a short hike to the falls and find a scenic spot to enjoy your picnic amidst the serene sounds of cascading water. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beauty of the falls and the surrounding lush greenery.
17. Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
Located downtown Cherokee, NC, exploring the Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine is one of the fun things to do in the city. It is one of those places to visit with kids and pets.
At the mine, you can spend hours trying your hand at gem mining for precious stones like rubies and gold. With guidance from experienced staff, you can pan for gems and uncover hidden treasures, creating lasting memories and unique souvenirs.
Address: 971 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
18. Soco Falls
One of the most interesting things to do in Cherokee, NC, today is to visit the Soco Falls. One of the many Cherokee waterways, Soco Falls is a cascading masterpiece and one of the most beautiful tourist spots in the town.
The falls’ higher waterfall measures 120 feet. On your visit, take a moment, and revel in the lush wilderness that surrounds you.
Address: US-19, Maggie Valley, NC 28751, United States
19. Fontana Dam
Looking for unique things to do near Cherokee, NC? Then go on a scenic drive to Fontana Dam. At 480 ft., Fontana Dam is the tallest concrete dam east of the Rocky Mountains.
Marvel at the engineering masterpiece while enjoying breathtaking views of Fontana Lake and the surrounding mountains. Take a leisurely stroll along the dam and capture stunning photographs of this impressive structure.
20. Visit the Cherokee Bonfire
Looking for fun and unique things to do in Cherokee at night? Then visit the Cherokee Bonfire. Gather around the bonfire at the Oconaluftee Islands Park and listen to traditional Cherokee stories and legends told by knowledgeable storytellers.
Experience the warmth of the fire, the enchanting tales, and the sense of community as you immerse yourself in Cherokee culture and traditions.
Address: At the Intersection of 441 and Hwy 19 on Oconaluftee Island Park.
Final Thoughts on Fun Things to Do in Cherokee, NC
With our list of fun and unique things to do in Cherokee, NC, your visit to the town is guaranteed to be filled with excitement, cultural immersion, natural beauty, and cherished memories.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a deeper understanding of Native American heritage, Cherokee offers a wealth of experiences that will leave you with a lasting appreciation for this remarkable destination.