15 Best Things to Do in Cherokee, NC

15 Best Things to Do in Cherokee, NC

An exotic quaint location in western North Carolina- Cherokee is quite a gem when it comes to taking a trip here. It is a town that has preserved the Cherokee lifestyle for ages now. Not interested in Google based description? Want to know what are the exciting things you can do here? Well, it is a town full of rich culture and history. Besides, it allows you to explore wonderful views, scenic natures, and a rich downtown vibe, waterfalls, horse riding, and plenty more to discuss.  So here are the 15 most exciting things you can do when you reach here.

Start with the Ocanaluftee Village

Oconaluftee village
I, Brian Stansberry, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, we won’t ask you to do something too adventurous or side seeing at the very beginning.  But the First thing is first. Open your list and prioritize this one as the number one point.  Visit the Ocanaluftee Indian Village.  Taking a step in this village is like re-winding time and going back to live in the past for this village offers you the experience to live the 1700s’ village lifestyles.

You may take a walking tour throughout the village and enjoy its culture, heritage, history, rituals, and works. Interact with the villagers and know their lifestyles, enjoy various cultural songs, dances, and plays. Watch the villagers sculpting pottery, making beaded jewelry,   weaving baskets, and many more. Gather knowledge about the local history of its war and peace.  You may also purchase a variety of handmade stuff and enjoy the bonfire at night under the glazing starred sky and listen to the Cherokee storytellers about the legacy of the legends and mysteries of the tribe.

Gaze at an amazing view of the Mingo Falls, Cherokee

Mingo Falls in Cherokee
Jill Lang / Shutterstock.com

When we are discussing this place, let’s talk about the places which make Cherokee famous around the globe.  The Mingo falls are the tallest as well one of the most impressive waterfalls in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  This place offers you car services which would drive you around half a mile along the Big cove Road, which leads to the Mingo falls campgrounds.

You would have to walk to the viewing base of the falls. The journey is accompanied by some magnificent scenic beauties.  In the morning you may experience small fog that adds essence to its magical views and mystery of the area.  You can also picnic s on the ground and cook barbeques as well.

Seek adventure in Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway
Gene from Aiken, SC, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Cherokee without having some fun at the Blue Ridge Parkway is unacceptable. But, how should you enjoy this magnificent parkway? The National Park Service managed to preserve this piece of land off the highway that starts in Virginia, ending in Cherokee.

Hiking is a great option in this parkway as there are a lot of trails. The interesting part is that most people don’t even know about them. Who knows? You might even come across a hidden gem! You can even see frozen waterfalls during the winter. The parkway is known for having some of the most mesmerizing waterfalls that freeze during the winter. Here at the parkway, you can go mountain-biking for there are many suitable trails. Like fishing? Bring your fishing rods here for there are a lot of natural water bodies. Overall, the place is the epitome of fun!

Heehaw! We are at the Smokemont Riding Stables

When you are here at Cherokee, we would surely recommend you to visit the Smokemont Riding stables and enjoy some wonderful horse riding. This is one of the very firsts we recommend you to do when you are here.  This place offers you a variety of horses to ride within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Enjoy some breathtaking scenic beauties while you are riding your horse. You would also ride along the banks of the Ocanaluftee River.  You can also opt for a peaceful wagon tour through the forest.

Learn some history at Mountain Farm Museum

Mountain Farm Museum
Andrew Tuttle / Shutterstock.com

The Cherokee town is a prime time place for a family vacation. So when you are here with your family do not forget to take your kids to the Mountain Farm Museum.  The Museum contains several old farm architectures, all from the early Cherokee culture, throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved at a definite location i.e. here.  

The site contains old barns, a spring house, a smokehouse, and an apple house. Moreover, the museum showcases over 13,000 years of history of the Cherokee people and their culture and their heritage. There is also a digitally generated graphical demonstration of the tribe’s timeline.  Your kids can also enjoy pop up books and graphically designed illustrations. Moreover, it also offers you the knowledge of what farming processes looked like around 100 years ago. You may also attend the workshops arranged here.

Start digging in the Smokey Mountain Gold and Ruby Mine

Imagine your very own gem mine where you can search and collect gems and bring them home. Well, Cherokee offers you one. The Smokey Mountain and Ruby Mine offer the visitors to find and chisel out their gems guided by the professional miners in there. Children can have hour exciting adventure here and find their gemstones and play their favorite pirate games there.

Are you not sure if the gem is a real one or a fake? Well, the mine has professionals who’d help you to identify and polish your gems.  You can also have your gemstone set in a beautiful item of your jewelry.  And take the, with you.  And yes don’t you worry to bring the panning equipment from your house as the site consists of various shops that sell panning equipment, jewelry as well gemstones.

Enjoy “Unto These Hills” on a certain starry night

"Unto These Hills" performance at Mountanside Theatre
Jan Kronsell, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Unto These Hills” is quite an important drama for the people of Cherokee. It was first performed on July 1, 1950, and has been going on since then. Interpreting the history and lives of the people of Cherokee, this play has won a lot of hearts over the years.

The drama is performed under the glazing stars, at the Mountainside Theatre.  The story has action, violence, bitter disappointments, and broken agreements.  You can enjoy triumphs, tribulations, and also the hardships of Cherokee history.  This is a very family-friendly production and would keep you tight to your seat till the end. Your children would also learn the Cherokee history and can also visualize it. The ticket prices are also flexible and vary from $31.00 for adults and $21.00 for children of 6-12 and free for children below age five.

Sit back and relax at the river

Ocanaluftee River
JenelleRodriguez / Shutterstock.com

Okay, you are here after you already enjoyed horse riding, made jewelry, and took a bite of the Cherokee history. But, the fun isn’t over yet.  Now we ask you to take your family and dive into the Ocanaluftee River. Relax a bit floating around in the Ocanaluftee River and swim in the natural pools too. These relaxing elements are greatly accompanied by the scenic beauties and landscape bordering the river. There are Baywatch as well as security personals who would guide and provide you with all the necessary equipment and life jackets.

Done with relaxing? Want to have an adventurous ride? Consult the Cherokee Rapids River Company to provide you some guided tours along the Nantahala River by raft. You would not have to raft through the heavy currents all along but start your trip on gentle waters, learn to navigate and steer and then you might proceed to the rapids to experience the thrill and adventure.

Have some fun at The Santa’s Land Fun Park

As we said above, Cherokee is the place for you to visit with your family. So now let us show you the perfect place for your kids to The Santa’s Land.  Enjoy a full day at the park. Do not worry if you are too old to visit a fun park as it has something or the other for everyone in your family irrespective of their age.  You can probably play a round of mini-golf or head inside to enjoy your favorite arcade games.

The park has several rides and fun items for the children as well as adults. The park is seasonal so you would probably have to plan a trip between May and the end of October.  As the name of the place suggests, You could have a Christmas vibe all over the year here.

Test your luck at the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

Let’s visit the casino and see what our luck can earn for us. This Casino is not just a casino but also consists of various shops and restaurants to enjoy.  You can also enjoy live music and Karaoke.  While the casino offers a range of games, the resort is a great place to enjoy the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The resort guarantees your comfortable stay with tour and guide facilities. The guests can also enjoy a spa, gym as well as swimming pool facilities. The resorts also arrange music concerts and also golf courses nearby.

Check out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smokey Mountains National Park
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the major tourist attractions of Cherokee, North Carolina. The park allows you to enjoy some of the most magnificent scenic beauties along with deep green woods and moss-covered creeks. You may find a wonderful variety of plants and wildlife all along.

Not only this, but you can also go hiking in these woods. You can spend a lazy day picnicking at definite spots or floating in the rivers. The ranger stations provide extensive geology and yes you would love the climate here. You could also opt for a scenic drive throughout the park and enjoy the true colors of nature.

Spend a lazy morning fishing at Fontana Lake

Fontana Lake
Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Done with enough of visiting the place? Want to spend a lazy day before you go? We recommend you spend your day fishing at Fontana Lake.  Not just fishing but you can also ski as well as swim. Go for boating and evidence a beautiful sunset with all the beautiful sceneries around.

Pay a visit to the Museum of Cherokee Indian

Museum of Cherokee Indian
ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

Want to learn more about the culture of the native Cherokee people? The Museum of Cherokee Indians is one of the best places to do that. Though the entire town reeks of Cherokee culture, the museum has accurate facts and figures.
Know everything about the Cherokee Indians through its various displays.

Also, you can opt for presentations for there are plenty of short films on the topic of the origin and lifestyle of the Cherokee Indians. You can even find holographs and various photographs of the native people. This museum usually attracts a lot of crowd throughout the year and is one of the major attractions of Cherokee.

Enjoy at the Oconaluftee Islands Park

Ocanaluftee Islands Park is one of the best ways to spend a day in Cherokee. Looking for something cool to do on a hot afternoon? Head over to Ocanaluftee Islands Park. There are a lot of things to do here. You can have a picnic, play sports or even explore. The main attraction about this place is the special bamboo garden where people go around to explore and snap quite a few pictures for their social media. You can even find a river here which can be used for swimming purposes. Also, the river is surrounded by a volleyball court where you can play freely.

Go hiking along the Oconaluftee river trail

Ocanaluftee river trail
Jordan Kercheff / Shutterstock.com

Are you looking for a great hiking trail that also offers some gorgeous sights? Also, amateurs as well as professionals are welcome here! Ocanaluftee river trail is one of the best trails in Cherokee, North Carolina that is centered around a river. For this very reason, the trail has some of the best vows you can see. The length of the trail is about 5 kilometers. Bonus point: Even pets are allowed here!

This brings us to the end of our Cherokee trip. Everyone states that Spring is the best time to visit Cherokee. And, we do completely agree for it brings out the true colors of Cherokee. However, if you are unable to visit at that time, you can opt for any season as the beauty of Cherokee never withers away!