Cherokee, North Carolina is a town rich in history and full of outdoor adventure. It has preserved the Cherokee lifestyle, due to its location on the reservation home of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. It is also near the Great Smoky Mountains National park and thus has many places to hike and camp. Take a look at these things to do in Cherokee, North Carolina for your trip there!
1. Mingo Falls
Mingo Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the southern Appalachians, at 120 feet tall. It is just outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. The hike up is less than half a mile, and not terrible difficult. The steps and paths can be slippery and it is a bit rocky, but over all any one in good health should be able to make the climb. It is worth it to see the breahtaking falls up close!
Address: Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Mingo Falls
2. Museum of the Cherokee Indian
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian presents Cherokee culture, art, and history is a variety of mediums. Here visitors will experience typical museum exhibits, photographs, digitals films and holographs. It reflect the Cherokee people and is truly unique. Exhibits are informative and interesting. It is a great place to learn the history of the Cherokee and the area.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Address: 589 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Museum of the Cherokee Indian
3. Mountain Farm Museum
Mountain Farm Museum is a collection of old farm buildings that were taken from through out the Smoky Mountains and preserved on one site. The buildings include a barn, a spring house, a smoke house, and an apple house. These are all available for visitor to explore and look through. It gives a sense of how things may have been 100 years ago. Mountain Farm Museum also presents agricultural practices, such as gardening and caring for livestock, as they may have been 100 years ago. It is a really excellent museum to see what life would have been like a century ago. Oconaluftee River Trail also begins here and follows the river 1.5 miles to Cherokee.
Mountain Farm Museum
Address: Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Mountain Farm Museum
4. Oconaluftee Indian Village
Oconaluftee Indian Village is a “living museum” showing was a Cherokee community would have been like in the 18th century. Visiting the village will take you back to 1760 when the Cherokee were facing challenges of European settlers. Visitors will be able to interact with villagers, watching them make pottery, weave baskets, hull canoes, and go about daily life. Cultural dances, preparations for war, and blow gun demonstrations are things visitors will all have the chance to witness. There are even hand on Cherokee art classes for kids at Oconaluftee Indian Village.
Oconaluftee Indian Village
Address: Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Oconaluftee Indian Village
5. Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine allows visitors to find beautiful gems (emeralds, rubies, garnets, and more) in a large trough for sifting. These gems and stones can then be identified by one of the assay professionals there. The stones can then go home in your bucket or in a setting chosen by you in the gift shop! It is a fun experience for both kids and adults to dig through and find the stones, identifying them on the way.
Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
Address: 971 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is absolutely beautiful, with deep green woods and moss covered creeks. There are incredibly diverse plants and animals through out these ancient mountains. Within the park there are extensive hiking trails, both easy and difficult. There are picnic spots and exhibits. There are streams and rivers to float on. It is a fantastic spot to hike for multiple days or just to go do some hiking for a day trip. The beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is astounding and you are sure to love it, no matter what you do.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Address: 1194 Newfound Gap Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
7. "Unto These Hills" - Outdoor Drama
“Unto These Hills” is an outdoor historical drama that has been played since 1950. It has been seen by over six million people within that time. “Unto These HIlls” tells the story of the Cherokees from 1780 until the 21st century. It is performed regularly, every day but Sunday in the evening. The Mountainside Theatre can seat 2800 people.
Unto These Hills Ticket Office
Address: 564 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Unto These Hills Ticket Office
8. Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort is more than just a casino. There are also many shops and restaurants to enjoy. Live music and karaoke regularly occur in the area. And, of course, the casino offers table games and slot machines. It is a nice place, with friendly employees.
Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort
Address: 777 Casino Dr, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
9. Cherokee Bear Zoo
Cherokee Bear Zoo allows visitors to admire the magnificent bear species. Black bears to grizzlies, they have a variety of species and visitors can enjoy watching them play and eat. Cherokee Bear Zoo also have lemurs and tigers that visitors can take a look at while they are here!
Editor’s Note: There’s an on-going lawsuit against against Cherokee Bear Zoo for the treatment of their bears. Please travel responsibility and read up on all cases (can be found on PETA’s website) before deciding to visit the zoo.
Cherokee Bear Zoo
Address: 1204 Tsalagi Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Cherokee Bear Zoo
10. Santa's Land
Christmas can happen all year with Santa’s Land! It is a perfect spot to come with the kiddos. This Santa Clause themed park has rides, a zoo, and paddle boating in the lake.
Address: 571 Wolfetown Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719
Website: Santa’s Land
11. Take a trip down and play a round of golf at Sequoyah National Golf Club
Sequoyah National Golf Club is 5 km (3 miles) from Cherokee, in Whittier. The views from the course add to the pleasure of the game. The course may be a bit tough in places due to the terrain, and it has 5 par 3 and 5 par 5. Hit some balls on the range, if you prefer. Just take along lots of golf balls and your camera. The scenery is beautiful. Take along some extra water as it’s thirsty work on the challenging Robert Trent Jones course.
Sequoyah National Golf Club
Address: 79 Cahons Rd, Whittier, NC 28789-7111
Website: Sequoyah National Golf Club
12. Tube or raft with Cherokee Rapids Tube and Kayak Rentals
Get out onto the water and go tubing with Cherokee Rapids Tube and Kayak Rentals. Grab a ride to the river put-in spot and float downstream. But it’s not all laziness, as you navigate around river obstacles. The rapids are fun rather than frightening, so hold on tight. Take along your hat, sunscreen, water bottles, and snacks for a fun time out on the water. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours. The exit is by an ice-cream and candy store, so you can replenish your energy. If you’re not sure about tube sizes ask the staff, who are helpful and knowledgeable.
Cherokee Rapids Tube and Kayak Rentals
Address: 1681 Acquoni Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719-9413
Website: Cherokee Rapids
Cherokee has a rich history and loads of outdoor adventure. It has plenty to keep couples or families occupied. Have fun exploring Cherokee, North Carolina!
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