Top 16 Things To Do In Franklin, North Carolina - Updated 2022

things to do in franklin north carolina

The small township of Franklin in Macon County, North Carolina, impresses with its quaint and idyllic downtown area. Its historic district features several museums together with a plethora of bars and restaurants, making it popular with both locals and visitors. Amazing places to stay such as Airbnb vacation rentals and Vrbo vacation rentals are also available. But it doesn’t end there, as there are many other excellent attractions in the area. One can enjoy camping at Cullasaja River RV Park, search for interesting antiques at Franklin Flea & Craft Market, or watch an enthralling show at Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Check out our comprehensive list of things to do in Franklin, North Carolina, and plan your upcoming trip accordingly.

1. Hike the Appalachian and Bartram trails

Appalachian & Bartram Trail cross at Wayah Bald, NC
Source: Photo by user Jud McCranie used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you love nature and enjoy hiking, then you should consider visiting the Appalachian and Bartram trails. It’s a 100-mile (160-kilometer) long trail with a steady but moderate elevation and a scenic waterfall for you to enjoy. Make sure to look around for the beautiful wildflowers if you’re visiting during the summer and bring along your dog as long as you keep it on a leash.

2. Spend an amazing time with your family at The Factory Franklin

PumpkinFest is sponsored by The Factory Franklin! The pumpkins are ready to go for the famous Pumpkin Roll this Saturday.

Posted by Discover Franklin NC on Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Plenty of fun can be had at The Factory Franklin due to its wide range of activities. These include an arcade, go-carts, mini-golf, and a trampoline park. The staff is friendly and helpful and you can expect a clean and safe environment. Furthermore, the kids are going to love all the yummy treats available such as ice-cream, pizza, and tacos sold by the in-house vendors.

The Factory Franklin

Address: 230 Franklin Rd, Franklin, TN 37064, United States

Website: The Factory Franklin

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 3pm - 8pm; Fri - Sat: 10am - 10pm; Sun: 12pm - 8pm

3. Go camping at Cullasaja River RV Park

Dry Falls Nantahala NF
Source: Photo by user Ken Lund used under CC BY-SA 2.0

A good way to explore those gorgeous mountainous regions of North Carolina is by trekking with an RV. But you’ll need to stop by an RV park for a certain duration to rest and unwind so check out Cullasaja River RV Park. It’s located next to the picturesque Cullasaja River and features a bathhouse, free WiFi, laundry facilities, showers, toilets, and even a church service on Sundays. Note that they recommend you reserve a slot during July and October.

Cullasaja River RV Park

Address: 6269 Highlands Rd, Franklin, North Carolina 28734, USA

Website: Cullasaja River RV Park

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: From 35 USD

4. Discover Cherokee Heritage at Nikwasi Mound

The western side of Nikwasi Mound (31Ma2). (32347857503)
Source: Photo by user Matthew T. Bradley used under CC BY-SA 2.0

There are many reasons to visit North Carolina, but one of the most important is to discover the region’s rich Cherokee heritage. So, take time out of your day to visit Nikwasi (Cherokee Town), which means star, and pronounced as Noquisi by the Cherokee Indians. And what you’ll find here is the Nikwasi Mound that’s a man-made landfill and dates back at least 1,000 years. The Nikwasi Mound also serves as an important cultural landmark.

Nikwasi Mound

Address: Cherokee Town, Franklin, North Carolina

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

5. Mine gems at Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine

Posted by Mason's Sapphire Mine on Saturday, 4 May 2019

Most of us dream of striking it rich and wish that we could find the right opportunity to make our dreams come true. Well, if you’re heading to North Carolina, stop by Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine as you’ll have an opportunity to find some valuable gems here. You’ll be treated to an authentic mining experience and allowed to sort through large hauls of gems such as garnets, kyanite, mica, rubies, sapphires, quartz, to name a few. This is a kid-friendly activity, too, so take along your kids and watch them enjoy unearthing sparkling gems!

Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine

Address: 6961 Upper Burningtown Rd, Franklin, North Carolina 28734, USA

Website: Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 15 - 30 USD

6. Turn your gemstone collection into stunning pieces of jewelry at Artisan Jewelers

Victoria and Albert Museum Jewellery 11042019 Necklace Enamelled gold Lovers knots Cheapside Hoard 3037
Source: Photo by user Vassil used under CC0

One of the best jewelers in North Carolina is none other than Artisan Jewelers. What makes this store so good is that it has skilled staff on hand that will help you will all your jewelry needs. If you have a custom design in mind, or simply want to transform an existing piece into something special, then they’re up for the job. Moreover, their prices are competitive, and their service levels are world-class!

Artisan Jewelers

Address: 1105 Walnut St, Cary, North Carolina 27511, USA

Website: Artisan Jewelers

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 9pm; Sun: 12pm - 6pm

7. Take in the breathtaking mountain views on a drive up to Wayah Bald Lookout Tower

Wayah Bald North Carolina, observation tower, eastern side
Source: Photo by user Jud McCranie used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Those stunning rolling hills and mountain ranges of North Carolina are truly a sight to behold. So, don’t sit around - head over to Wayah Bald Lookout Tower to get the best views of these remarkable works of nature. There’s also walking and hiking trails in the area, which means that you’ll also have an opportunity to get some exercise while enjoying those amazing views.

Wayah Bald Lookout Tower

Address: Wayah Road and Forest Service Road 69, Franklin, North Carolina 28734, USA

Website: Wayah Bald Lookout Tower

8. Cycle along Little Tennessee River Greenway

Middle Prong Little River
Source: Photo by user ChristopherM used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Tennessee River Greenway is a beautiful natural preserve that features parks and trails along the riverside. The main trail is approximately 5 miles (8 kilometers) in length and made from asphalt and gravel. Therefore, it’s ideally suited for cycling as well as inline skating, walking, and for differently abled people, as the area is wheelchair-accessible.

Little Tennessee River Greenway

Address: 573 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, USA

Website: Little Tennessee River Greenway

9. Catch a show at Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Posted by Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, 21 December 2015

North Carolina isn’t only about beautiful mountain ranges as you’ll also find plenty of good entertainment options here. We recommend Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts since it’s an impressive contemporary venue that’s designed and built for the most gripping live performances. Upcoming productions include the Youth Theatre Production of Aladdin Jr., Newsboys United, and Sister Hazel. Remember to check their website for updates.

Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 1028 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, USA

Website: Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10am - 6pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

Price: 6 - 38 USD

10. Dig for antiques at Franklin Flea & Craft Market

Posted by Franklin Fleamarket on Friday, 23 May 2014

There’s no better way to get to know and appreciate the community of Franklin than by visiting one of its most prominent markets. Take time out of your day to check out Franklin Flea & Craft Market, where you’ll have an opportunity to mix and mingle with the friendly vendors and locals. Here, you’ll find a wide variety of valuable goods and bargains such as antiques, curios, furniture, rugs, toys, and tools, to name a few.

Franklin Flea & Craft Market

Address: 867 Highlands Rd, 28734 Franklin, NC, USA

Website: Franklin Flea & Craft Market

Opening hours: Fri - Sun: 9am - 3pm (closed from Mon - Thu)

11. Treat your taste buds with a sumptuous breakfast at Yonder

If you ask the locals in Franklin where you should get breakfast, then many will recommend Yonder. And yes, this restaurant is indeed a good recommendation since it specializes in delicious comfort food and yummy breakfast offerings that you won’t soon forget. Try out their breakfast bowls, French toast, yogurt bowl with blueberry hemp granola, and their wide variety of fresh fruit drinks. Furthermore, the venue boasts an amazing atmosphere and you’ll be inclined to converse with the cheerful locals and helpful staff.


Address: 2720 Georgia Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, USA

Website: Yonder

Opening hours: Mon, Thu - Sat: 8am - 2pm; Sun: 9am - 1pm (closed on Tue & Wed)

12. Taste some quality beers at Lazy Hiker Brewing Company

Located in the former fire department and town hall of Franklin, one will find Lazy Hiker Brewing Company that was founded in 2015. And, it’s worth visiting if you have a thing for tasty craft beers and a warm beer-loving community. A few of their choice beverages include the Margarita Gose, Night Hike Imperial Stout, Pomegranate Gorge Berliner Weisse, Slack Pack IPA, Trail Mate Golden Ale, Wesser Evil Porter, and Winter Nutterland.

Lazy Hiker Brewing Company

Address: 188 W Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, USA

Website: Lazy Hiker Brewing Company

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 12pm - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 12pm - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 8pm

13. Enjoy live music on Saturday nights in Downtown Franklin at Gazebo on the Square

Pickin' on the Square Downtown Franklin! Come to Downtown Franklin to enjoy an evening of FREE entertainment at the...

Posted by Franklin, NC Chamber of Commerce on Friday, 25 August 2017

Saturday nights can be a lot of fun in Franklin, as there’s always something interesting happening in the downtown area. We recommend Gazebo on the Square, as this is where plenty of live music performances take place on Saturdays. You’ll have an opportunity to experience the blues, Caribbean, classic country, motown, R&B, and rock ‘n roll music performed by talented artists. And the best part, it’s completely free but just remember to bring along a lawn chair so that you have something to sit on.

Gazebo on the Square

Address: Iotla St, Franklin, NC 28734, USA

Website: Gazebo on the Square

Opening hours: Sat: 7pm

14. Follow Cullasaja Gorge Run on a spectacular motorcycle ride

Source: Photo by user Brian Stansberry used under CC BY 3.0

Cullasaja River is stunningly gorgeous as it features cascading waterfalls and other natural landmarks that offer visitors plenty of photo opportunities. Luckily, there’s a 165-mile (265-kilometer) looping road that makes it possible for you to conveniently make your way around these landmarks. But there’s no better way to do this, then with a motorcycle ride so that you can negotiate those dramatic sharp turns that cause heart palpitations along the way. Your trip will start in Maggey Valley, and you’ll also stop by Franklin and Brevard.

Cullasaja Gorge Run

Address: Maggey Valley, North Carolina, United States

15. Explore the dark side of Franklin by joining Where Shadows Walk Historic Ghost Tour

Candlelight Ghost Tour 2016 at Wilderness Road (30049954971)
Source: Photo by user vastateparksstaff used under CC BY 2.0

Franklin has such a rich history that you can expect to hear some amazing folktales and ghost stories from the locals. But you can immerse yourself in the more macabre side of this fascinating place, by partaking in a ghost tour that unveils plenty of horrifying facts that you won’t forget anytime soon. This tour will have you exploring haunted locations during the nights and you’ll learn about unsolved murders, strange creatures, witchcraft of the indigenous people, and paranormal activities in the area.

Where Shadows Walk Historic Ghost Tour

Address: Franklin, North Carolina, United States

Website: Where Shadows Walk Historic Ghost Tour

16. Have a walk down memory lane in Historic Downtown Franklin

Franklin tennessee historical district view from square 2010
Source: Photo by user Ichabod used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Franklin’s historic downtown dates back to 1799 and revitalized in 1984 and considered one of the most eclectic and vibrant neighborhoods in America. And that’s not surprising since it has so much to offer both locals and visitors from out-of-town. Here, you’ll find plenty of modern bars and restaurants, but also many historical gems such as Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum, Macon County Historical Museum, and Scottish Tartans Museum.

Historic Downtown Franklin

Address: Main St, Franklin, TN 37064, United States

Website: Historic Downtown Franklin

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Never a dull moment in Franklin, North Carolina

There’s a wealth of excellent attractions in Franklin that you should never get bored. If you enjoy being outdoors, then there’s bike riding, hiking, and camping options at your disposal. And, if you prefer to spend more time in town, then the historic district and Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts will keep you enthralled and entertained.

Choose among the best cabin rentals or other vacation rentals in Franklin and book your trip now.

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

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