The Ultimate Bucket List of Things to Do in Franklin NC for Every Traveler

Things to Do in Franklin NC

If you are looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Franklin NC is the perfect destination for you. 

Franklin NC is a small town in the heart of the Nantahala National Forest, surrounded by stunning natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. 

Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, you will find plenty of things to do in Franklin NC that will suit your taste and budget.

In this article, we will share with you some of the best things to do in Franklin NC for every traveler. From hiking trails and waterfalls to museums and art galleries, there is something for everyone in this charming town. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore Franklin NC!

Outdoor Activities

One of the main reasons why people visit Franklin NC is to enjoy its outdoor activities. The town is located in the Smoky Mountains, which offer endless opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and more. Here are some of the outdoor activities that you can do in Franklin NC:

  • Hiking trails: There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in and around Franklin NC, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some of the most popular trails include the Bartram Trail, the Appalachian Trail, the Little Tennessee River Greenway, and the Wayah Bald Trail. You can hike through forests, meadows, streams, and waterfalls, and enjoy spectacular views of the mountains.  If you love hiking, you might also like these exciting things to do in Goldsboro NC, another great destination for outdoor lovers.
  • Waterfalls: Franklin NC is known as the “Land of Waterfalls”, as it has over a dozen waterfalls within a short drive from the town. Some of the most beautiful waterfalls are Dry Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Cullasaja Falls, Glen Falls, and Bust Your Butt Falls. You can admire them from a distance or get up close and personal with them. Some of them even allow you to walk behind them or swim in their pools.
  • Fishing spots: If you love fishing, you will be happy to know that Franklin NC has some of the best fishing spots in the state. You can fish for trout, bass, catfish, and more in the Little Tennessee River, the Nantahala River, or one of the many lakes and ponds in the area. You can also join a guided fishing tour or rent a boat or kayak to explore the waters on your own.
  • Camping sites: If you want to immerse yourself in nature, you can camp at one of the many camping sites in Franklin NC. You can choose from primitive sites, RV sites, or cabins and cottages. Some of the best camping sites are Standing Indian Campground, Van Hook Glade Campground, Cartoogechaye Creek Campground, and Rose Creek Campground. You can enjoy amenities such as picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms, showers, and playgrounds.

Indoor Activities

If you prefer indoor activities or if the weather is not cooperating, you can still find plenty of things to do in Franklin NC. The town has a rich history and culture that you can learn about at its museums and art galleries. Here are some of the indoor activities that you can do in Franklin NC:

  • Museums: Franklin NC has several museums that showcase its history and heritage. One of them is the Scottish Tartans Museum, which is the only museum of its kind in the United States. It displays over 500 tartans and tells the story of the Scottish migration to America. Another one is the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum, which exhibits thousands of gems and minerals from around the world. You can also see fossils, artifacts, and jewelry at this museum.
  • Art galleries: If you are into art, you will love visiting the art galleries in Franklin NC. You can see paintings, sculptures, pottery, photography, and more by local and regional artists. Some of the art galleries that you can visit are Gallery 1 Sylva, Uptown Gallery on Main Street, Macon County Art Association Gallery, and Catchlight Gallery.
  • Antique shops: If you are looking for some unique souvenirs or gifts, you can browse through the antique shops in Franklin NC. You can find vintage furniture, jewelry, clothing, books, toys, and more at these shops. Some of them are Smoky Mountain Antique Mall, Franklin Antique Mall, Whistle Stop Antique Mall, and Memory Lane Antiques.
  • Local markets: If you want to experience the local flavor of Franklin NC, you can visit its local markets. You can buy fresh produce, baked goods, crafts, and more from local farmers and vendors. You can also enjoy live music, entertainment, and activities at these markets. Some of them are Franklin Farmers Market, Cowee Farmers Market, and Nantahala Farmers Market.

Food and Drink

Another reason why Franklin NC is a great travel destination is its food and drink scene. The town has a variety of restaurants, breweries, and wineries that offer delicious and diverse cuisine and beverages. You can taste the local specialties, such as barbecue, fried chicken, biscuits, and pies, or try something new and exotic, such as Thai, Mexican, or Italian food. Here are some of the food and drink options that you can enjoy in Franklin NC:

  • Local restaurants: Franklin NC has many local restaurants that serve mouthwatering dishes made with fresh and quality ingredients. You can find casual eateries, family-friendly diners, cozy cafes, and fine dining establishments in the town. Some of the local restaurants that you can try are Caffe Rel, Motor Company Grill, Root + Barrel Kitchen, Ms Lois’ Restaurant, and Thai Paradise.
  • Breweries and wineries: If you are a fan of beer or wine, you will not be disappointed by the breweries and wineries in Franklin NC. You can sample craft beers and wines made with local ingredients and flavors. You can also tour the facilities and learn about the brewing and winemaking process. Some of the breweries and wineries that you can visit are Lazy Hiker Brewing Company, Currahee Brewing Company, The Rathskeller Coffee Haus & Pub, Calaboose Cellars, and Cartoogechaye Creek Winery.
  • Farmers’ markets: If you want to cook your own meals or have a picnic in the park, you can buy fresh and organic ingredients from the farmers’ markets in Franklin NC. You can find fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, eggs, honey, jams, and more at these markets. You can also support the local farmers and producers by buying their products. Some of the farmers’ markets that you can go to are Franklin Farmers Market, Cowee Farmers Market, and Nantahala Farmers Market.


After a long day of exploring Franklin NC, you will need a comfortable place to rest and relax. Fortunately, Franklin NC has a wide range of accommodations that cater to different needs and preferences. You can choose from hotels and motels, bed and breakfasts, cabins and cottages, and more. Here are some of the accommodations that you can book in Franklin NC:

  • Hotels and motels: If you want convenience and affordability, you can stay at one of the hotels or motels in Franklin NC. You can enjoy amenities such as free Wi-Fi, breakfast, parking, and pools at these places. Some of them are Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, Microtel Inn & Suites, and Colonial Inn.
  • Bed and breakfasts: If you want a more personal and cozy experience, you can stay at one of the bed and breakfasts in Franklin NC. You can enjoy a homey atmosphere, delicious homemade meals, and friendly hosts at these places. Some of them are Franklin Terrace Bed & Breakfast, Cat Creek Lodge, The Old Campbell Farm, and The River House.
  • Cabins and cottages: If you want more privacy and space, you can stay at one of the cabins or cottages in Franklin NC. You can enjoy a rustic charm, a fully equipped kitchen, a fireplace, and a hot tub at these places. Some of them are Franklin Home Store Vacation Rentals, Carolina Mountain Vacations, Smoky Mountain Hosts Vacation Rentals, and Mountain Laurel Chalet.


As you can see, there are so many things to do in Franklin NC for every traveler. You can have fun outdoors, learn about history and culture indoors, taste delicious food and drink, and relax in comfortable accommodations. Franklin NC is a hidden gem that you should not miss on your next trip to North Carolina.

We hope this article has given you some ideas on what to do in Franklin NC. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Thank you for reading!