14 Best Things To Do In Cherokee, North Carolina - Updated 2021

things to do in cherokee north carolina
Megan
Megan
Updated

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. And plenty of amazing accommodation options are available here too - from the best hotels near casinos to the top hotels by the river in Cherokee. With your lodging sorted, you can now go out and explore this amazing town. Take a look at these best things to do in Cherokee, North Carolina for your trip there!

1. Fire Mountain Trails - Bike Trail Head

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Fire Mountain Trails on Thursday, August 19, 2021

If you are visiting Cherokee for some adventures, Fire Mountain Trails is definitely worth a visit. Perfect for outdoorsy travelers, the trails here are ideal for hiking, cycling, and running. It features numerous paths that suit both beginners and experienced riders and hikers. Cross through the Great Smoky Mountains and enjoy some breathtaking views during your trip. For your convenience, there are parking spots within the area.

Fire Mountain Trails - Bike Trail Head

Address: State Rd 1361, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States

Website: Fire Mountain Trails - Bike Trail Head

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

2. BJ's Diner

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Introducing, the new BUBBA burger, A double with double cheese, and double bacon. With all the topping if u prefer.

Posted by BJ'S DINER on Sunday, July 9, 2017

Serving delicious American cuisine, BJ’s dinner is a must-visit in Cherokee if you want to enjoy some mouthwatering burgers. The establishment offers comfortable benches and umbrellas, so you can enjoy dining al fresco even on sunny days. Order a scrumptious bacon cheeseburger and pair it with some chili cheese fries or onion rings. They also have healthier options, like salads, for the health-conscious.

BJ's Diner

Address: 840 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States

Website: BJ’s Diner

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 11am - 4pm (closed from Sun - Mon)

3. Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls
Source: Photo by Flickr user pulaw used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re wondering what to do in Cherokee, how about visiting 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!

Mingo Falls

Address: Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Cherokee, NC 28719

Website: Mingo Falls

4. Museum of the Cherokee Indian (from USD 12.0)

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

Skip the Line: Museum of the Cherokee Indian Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 day

5. 3. Mountain Farm Museum

Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill
Source: Photo by Flickr user Robert Lz used under CC BY 2.0

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

6. Oconaluftee Indian Village (from USD 16.0)

Oconaluftee Indian Village is a “living museum” showing was a Cherokee community would have been like in the 18th century. Visiting the village is one of the best Cherokee activities as it 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

Oconaluftee Indian Village Admission Including Guided Tour

Duration: 1 to 3 hours

7. 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

8. Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Forest on Baxter Creek Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Source: Photo by user Miguel.v used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is undoubtedly one of the top things to see in Cherokee. It 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

9. "Unto These Hills" - Outdoor Drama

Unto these hills
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jan Kronsell used under CC BY-SA 4.0

“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

10. Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


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

11. 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!

Cherokee Bear Zoo

Address: 1204 Tsalagi Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719

Website: Cherokee Bear Zoo

12. Santa's Land

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Santa's Land, Inc. on Thursday, February 7, 2013

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.

Santa's Land

Address: 571 Wolfetown Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719

Website: Santa’s Land

13. Take a trip down and play a round of golf at Sequoyah National Golf Club

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account


If you’re looking for things to do around Cherokee, consider Sequoyah National Golf Club. It 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

14. Tube or raft with Cherokee Rapids Tube and Kayak Rentals

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

This is what memories are made of.

Posted by Cherokee Rapids Tube Rentals on Sunday, July 30, 2017

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

15. Oconaluftee Island Park

Feeding flock at Oconaluftee Islands Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Sharon used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Spend a fun day out with your family or friends at Oconaluftee Island Park in Cherokee, North Carolina. This lovely park has a river flowing through it, which is the highlight of the park. You can enjoy fishing for trout, tubing or swimming in the river or watch your kids splash about in the shallow areas. Enjoy a picnic by the banks, take a stroll through the bamboo forest, admire the scenic views from the many bridges or just spend a day relaxing in nature.

Oconaluftee Island Park

Address: US-441, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Enjoy

Cherokee has a rich history and loads of outdoor adventure. It has plenty to keep couples or families occupied. If hotels aren’t your preference, you can also choose from a selection of secluded cabins and pet-friendly cabins. Have fun exploring Cherokee, North Carolina!

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12 Best Things To Do In Cherokee, North Carolina
Source: Trip101.com

Frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Cherokee, North Carolina

1. What are the top attractions to visit in Cherokee?

A lot of attractions awaits you in Cherokee and a few of the top must-visits include Museum of the Cherokee Indian and Oconaluftee Indian Village. Both attractions will tell you more about the city’s heritage and culture. For other options, you can also visit Mingo Falls and Cherokee Bear Zoo.

2. What are the best outdoor activities in Cherokee?

One of the best outdoor activities you can do here is hiking the Mingo Falls. It is one of the tallest waterfalls in the southern Appalachians. Another outdoor must-try activity here is exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can find a wide array of animals and plants.

3. What are the most popular things to do in Cherokee with kids?

If your kids are tagging along with you on your trip to Cherokee, you better bring them in Oconaluftee Indian Village, which offers art classes for kids. Also, they will surely enjoy a day at the Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine, where they can have a treasure hunt-like experience.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Megan is an avid explorer and food aficionado. She loves to see the world, experiencing different cultures & traditions. When she’s not off traveling, you’ll most likely find her tucked away with a...Read more

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