20 Best Things to Do in Murphy, NC

Murphy, NC
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Located in the Cherokee County of North Carolina, Murphy is a destination with a rich cultural history.

If you have always dreamed of escaping to the mountains and spending some time away from the busy city life, Murphy is probably the place for you to be.

With a population of 1,627, this small and beautiful town tucked away in the mountains will provide you with a calm and relaxing ambiance.

You can even catch picturesque landscapes, meet interesting people, eat and drink, and learn about the local history.

Moreover, this mountain town is easily accessible.

Knoxville is the nearest airport to the town, located 50 miles away.

Have you already booked your tickets, or are you still waiting for something?

Whatever step you might be in, read on to find out all the best things to do in Murphy, North Carolina:

Go on a Leisurely Stroll along the Murphy River Walk

The Murphy River is the central and the most vital part of the town.

Plus, the beauty of the Murphy River Walk is bound to mesmerize you.

It is a very famous trail, widely known both locally and nationally, so expect a crowd when you visit.

It is also suitable for all skill levels, thus making it easier for families with children.

Dogs are allowed to take the trail as long as they are kept on a leash at all times.

Another plus point is that you have ample parking spaces.

The paved section of the trail is situated towards the north of the river, specifically in Konehete Park, and is perfect for those with strollers and wheelchairs.

Stay at Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel

Exterior of Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel
Warren LeMay from Cincinnati, OH, United States, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Who doesn't enjoy trying their luck at a casino?

If you are someone who loves how casinos work, look, smell, and sound, you have to visit this casino.

You can even rent a room here.

Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel provides visitors with the option of choosing from more than 1,000 slot machines.

If you are a sports enthusiast, there is something for you as well.

View of Harrah's Cherokee Valley River Casino's entrance
Jan Kronsell, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Book, a recent addition to the casino, allows one to bet on sports matches.

Other than that, there are ample dining options for guests.

From Starbucks to more sophisticated family restaurants, one can find everything they might want at this hotel.

The drive up to the property is easy with a beautiful view.

Visit the Cherokee County History Museum

The Cherokee County History Museum is one of Murphy's landmarks.

So, try not to leave this out of your itinerary.

This place has a rich collection of art related to the history and tribal heritage of the area.

Since the Cherokee Nation is the largest tribe in America, the museum is an essential part of their lives and contributes to the area's economy.

You can contact them in advance to book one of their tours.

They also conduct workshops and classes for a more interactive experience.

Take the Apalachia Lake Tour

Apalachia Lake, also known as Apalachia Reservoir, is situated in Cherokee County on the west of Murphy.

It is one of the most important and famous lakes in the country.

Running for about 9.8 miles, its shoreline extends to a massive distance of 31 miles.

The area is perfect for a day amidst nature.

It is suitable for all sorts of family activities, like enjoying a picnic, camping, fishing, and the like.

Chartered boat tours are also available, which are accompanied by the captain.

If you want to relax and soak yourself in all sorts of natural activities, this is the place to be.

Take a look at the site's itinerary and pick from a range of activities like waterfall hiking, swimming, tubing, and other exotic activities listed on their seasonal guide.

Engage in a Biblical Experience in Fields of the Wood

This beautiful park is situated along the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.

It is an outdoor park with a biblical theme.

Fields of the Wood has a total area of 200 acres and comprises beautiful mountains, streams, valleys, and wooded areas.

The most fascinating thing about this place, however, is the man-made installations that take inspiration from the Bible.

Apart from the Baptism pool and the Arise and Shine marker, one of the most famous parts of this nature park is the Ten Commandments Mountain.

This vast installation is the park's signature attraction, and you won't want to miss out on it.

If you want to take back souvenirs, there is a gift shop and a cafe on the premises.

Visit the Hiwassee Dam

Structure of Hiwassee Dam
George Dukin / Shutterstock.com

Dams can be wonderful places to observe and learn.

It might seem to be a different kind of addition to your itinerary, but the Hiwassee Dam is one of the important dams in this part of the country.

Apart from being an enjoyable place to visit, the dam also has much to impart about its rich historical past.

Hydroelectric substation of Hiwassee Dam
Patrick Jennings / Shutterstock.com

Built off the Hiwassee River way back in the 1930s to control flooding of the area, this dam earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

A walk around the dam complex can be very fun and informative, especially if you are traveling with children.

Visit the Charters of Freedom Monument

A visit to the Charters of Freedom Monument should be an essential part of your trip to Murphy.

It is a grand display of the one true example of the collective American identity, the Constitution.

Inaugurated in 2015, this monument has become an important place for both the citizens of America and international tourists who visit Murphy.

Apart from the granite display of the most important political document of the country, it also has honorable mentions of the three North Carolina Representatives, which are displayed separately.

Take Your Kids to Two Crows Farm

Two Cros Farm, which lies on the southwest corner of North Carolina, is home to 43 alpacas, a llama, farm dogs and cats.

This is the best place in Murphy that you can visit with your kids.

Owned by the Ham family, Two Crows Farm is a beautiful place where your children can interact with lovely animals and learn how life on a farm works.

You can consult them beforehand and book a tour.

At the farm, you can learn all about livestock raising, growing one's own food, and processing yarn.

If you want to experience country life or learn more about rural lifestyles, a trip here can be a truly enriching experience.

Have a Hearty Meal at Murphy's Chophouse

All travel and no food make a trip a dull experience.

So, to make the most out of your trip to the town, check out some of the best eateries Murphy has to offer.

Located at 130 Valley River Avenue, Murphy's Chophouse is a restaurant that you cannot afford to miss.

They have an outdoor seating area in case you want to enjoy the view.

They also provide ample parking spaces, which make your visit all the more comfortable.

The place is owned by the world-renowned Chef James Reaux, who has specially designed a fantastic menu.

Other than that, their signature cocktails are just what you'll need after a day of touring the area.

They also offer private dining options, but you would have to make a reservation in advance to avail of such.

The famous dishes from this restaurant include their crab cakes and filet mignon.

Out of the many cocktails they serve, be sure to try out the Murphy's Mule, which is made with bourbon and ginger ale.

Go Wine Tasting at Nottely River Valley Vineyards

Established in 2008, this family-owned vineyard specializes in traditional winemaking.

The owners believe that the best way to get the highest quality wine is to stay away from modern mass manufacturing processes.

Nottely River Valley Vineyards has separate tasting rooms that are open on Fridays and Saturdays during the season.

You can go around and get a taste of their exquisite wine collection.

In case you can't make it on one of those days, you can contact them and book an exclusive appointment with them as well.

Once you visit, you will also learn a lot about the way the vineyard functions and the importance of a good environment for the cultivation of superior quality grapes.

Spend a Laid-Back Afternoon at Valley River Brewery and Eatery

Valley River Brewery and Eatery offers a one-stop solution to all your pangs.

If you are looking for locally brewed fine beer, this is the place.

Valley River Brewery provides customers with 16 different options.

They also offer a range of appetizers, soups, and salads.

Try out their soft pretzels served with a unique accompaniment: beer cheese.

Their wood-fired pizzas are always the talk of the town.

Pair your beer with a pizza and your choice of toppings, and have an enjoyable meal.

Browse through the Beautifully Curated Selection at Marketplace Antiques

Is there any better way to end your trip than with a visit to the local gift shops and mountain decor boutiques?

Marketplace Antiques is the one shop in Murphy that you cannot miss.

They have a vast collection of everything that you can think of.

In fact, you can spend a whole day in the store, browsing through the collection and getting to know the history behind each piece, curated carefully by the owners.

The best thing about this place is that it is well-organized and you need not spend extra time looking for what you need.

Have a Picnic at Fires Creek Recreation Area

The Fires Creek Recreation Area, which has various amusing options and originally comes from the creek that runs through it, is located in the Nantahala National Forest.

In addition to paved and unpaved pathways and allocated picnic spots where you may grill and prepare your food, it has a variety of amenities for a more pleasurable day.

You may go horseback riding, hiking, camping, fishing, and take lots of photographs with the stunning scenery as a backdrop.

Swimming or diving around in the cool stream water is the perfect way to combat the heat outdoors.

Create unforgettable memories at Fires Creek Recreation Area while enjoying a joyful nature vacation with your kids.

Visit Murphy Visitor Center before Touring the Town

Do you wish to discover which tours would be the greatest for you?

The Murphy Visitor Center, also known as the Cherokee County Visitor Center, is a tourist information hub that gives visitors the most recent information on the area.

You may get all the essential information you need by speaking with their skilled staff or browsing their pamphlets.

The most outstanding restaurants in the neighborhood, budget hotels, trip packages, transportation services, and similar information can all be found here.

They will also inform you of Murphy's best-kept secrets and the best locations to find souvenirs.

Engage in Outdoor Activities at WagonMaster Ranch Resort

WagonMaster Ranch Resort combines a theme park with a hotel and a boat excursion service.

It is a haven for adventurous travelers with a wide range of entertaining options for people of all ages.

The Ranch Resort offers a diverse range of excellent choices, including a miniature golf course, kid-sized dune buggies, a target paintball and gun range, and much more.

It has many cottages you may rent and an RV campground if you wish to stay longer than a day.

Additionally, you may practice your aim by shooting pistols or, for a more enjoyable activity for the whole family, target paintball.

Treat Yourself to a Tasty Meal at Chevelles 66

The pub and restaurant Chevelles 66 has a rusty, southern atmosphere, occasional live performances, and a sizable selection of alcoholic beverages.

In addition to a lineup of rock and country bands, Chevelles 66 is renowned for its dancing, full bar, and outdoor fire pit.

It is a well-liked neighborhood hangout, especially on evenings when there are live musicians, trivia nights, or open jam sessions.

It features numerous delectable dishes, including steaks, grilled salmon, ravioli, chicken wings, and much more.

Depending on their schedule, you may also have the opportunity to sip beer, cocktails, or wine while watching live acts.

Connect with Nature at Ye Olde Goat Farm

Ye Olde Goat Farm, founded in 1999, is a farm that welcomes children and offers close interactions with a variety of charming goats.

Visit this wonderful goat farm when you're seeking local activities that the whole family will love.

This farm has many goats and pleasant personnel who are happy to show you around and educate you about the animals.

Seize the chance to connect with the animals by petting them, feeding newborn goats from bottles, or giving the adult animals carrots.

It is the ideal roadside attraction to pass the time and enjoy a pleasant day outside with your friends.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Take a Day Trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Elk in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Diego Trabucco / Shutterstock.com

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is located 16 miles away from Murphy.

A 30-minute drive through beautiful and serene sights can lead you to the location.

It is the most visited national park in America.

Dense forests cover the area, which lies on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee.

The area is famous for its rich diversity in terms of flora and fauna.

Scenic view of Great Smoky Mountains National Park's mountain peak
Teri Virbickis / Shutterstock.com

The park has been a black bear protection site for a long time.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park provides camping opportunities of different kinds.

It also offers a wonderful learning opportunity for children.

An on-site bookstore sells important and informative books for travelers and wildlife enthusiasts.

A waterfall at Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Photosbyjam / Shutterstock.com

Drive Down to the Bald River Falls

Cascades of Bald River Falls
NaturalStock / Shutterstock.com

Take a day trip to explore the wilderness of this fine county.

Located 60 miles outside Murphy, the Bald River Falls is one of the most visited attractions in the area.

The waterfall is 90 feet high and is easily accessible through Tellico River Road.

You can get a mesmerizing view of the falls from the comfort of your car if you are at the bridge across the river.

In the winter, the waterfall freezes, which takes away most of the amazing views.

So, to enjoy the beauty and elegance of the place, it is advised that you visit during the summer.

There are several swimming spots around the fall as well.

Parking is limited, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.

Embark on a Journey along the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

If you are looking for an adventure with a dash of history, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad should be on your list.

Do you remember the famous Hollywood production Fugitive?

It was shot in this very place.

The facility has a 53-mile track, 25 bridges, and two tunnels.

Steam locomotive of Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Joseph Creamer / Shutterstock.com

A ride will take you around these tunnels, river gorges and valleys, all amidst the grandeur of the neighboring mountains.

The journey starts at Bryson City, an hour away from Murphy.

You can choose to go on a 3.5-hour trip or opt for a full day's trip, which will involve every fascinating bit that this railroad has to offer.

As for your meals on the trip, you can take your pick between the elaborate dining menu or one of their boxed lunches featuring classic American food.

People waiting to board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Murphy is the ideal destination to get close to nature as you tour scenic farms, flowing waterfalls, or outdoor leisure areas.

Mature trees and antique structures fill the streets of its historic downtown.

Making wagers at a casino, browsing the displays at a museum, and engaging in a shopping spree are all entertaining indoor activities.

Overall, a visit to Murphy is unforgettable thanks to its beautiful scenery, fascinating history, and distinctive attractions.

Discover More of Cherokee County, NC:

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