Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Dillsboro is a charming small town that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and outdoor adventures. Whether seeking a peaceful retreat, a romantic getaway, or a family-friendly vacation, Dillsboro has something for everyone.

Here’s a curated list of the 15 best things to do in and around Dillsboro, NC, inspired by various travel websites.

1. Stroll Along the Historic Dillsboro River Walk

Take a leisurely walk along the Dillsboro River Walk, which offers picturesque views of the Tuckasegee River. Admire local art galleries, boutiques, and charming cafes along the way.

2. Unique Shops of Artisans and Craftsmen

Dillsboro boasts an array of boutiques and shops offering local crafts, artwork, and handmade items. Explore the diverse collection of stores and find unique souvenirs to take home.

  • The Sylva Dillsboro Craft Gallery is a treasure trove of locally made arts and crafts. From pottery and textiles to jewelry and paintings, the Sylva Dillsboro Craft Gallery showcases the talents of regional artists and craftsmen. You’ll have the opportunity to bring home one-of-a-kind pieces that embody the spirit of the North Carolina mountains.
  • Dogwood Crafters: Established in 1976, Dogwood Crafters is a cooperative gallery featuring the works of over 80 local artists. The gallery is a testament to the region’s rich artistic heritage, from quilts and woodcarvings to intricate glasswork and handwoven baskets. As you browse the selections, you’ll gain insight into Dillsboro’s diversity of creative expression.
  • Tree House Pottery: If you’re drawn to the tactile beauty of pottery, Tree House Pottery is a must-visit destination. The studio and gallery are operated by potters Travis Berning and Joe Frank McKee. Their creations blend functionality and artistic flair, showcasing the perfect fusion of form and design. From elegant dinnerware to unique decorative pieces, their work reflects the essence of Dillsboro’s creative community.
  • Riverwood Pottery: Immerse yourself in the world of pottery at Riverwood Pottery, where artist Jane Peacock’s handcrafted ceramics come to life. Each piece tells a story, evoking a connection with the natural surroundings. The studio’s serene setting and the artist’s commitment to her craft create an inviting space for visitors to appreciate and purchase exceptional pottery.
  • The Village Florist: For those seeking artistic creations and the beauty of nature, The Village Florist offers an exquisite array of flowers and floral arrangements. The shop’s skilled florists combine color, texture, and design to craft stunning bouquets that capture the essence of the local flora.

3. Dillsboro Chocolate Factory

Indulge your sweet tooth at the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory, where you can savor handmade chocolates and treats. Watch the chocolatiers in action and even participate in chocolate-making classes. https://www.dillsborochocolate.com/

4. Explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located just a short drive from Dillsboro. Enjoy hiking, wildlife spotting, and scenic drives amid the stunning mountain vistas.
https://www.nps.gov/grsm/

5. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Embark on a scenic train ride with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Choose from themed rides, like the Nantahala Gorge Excursion or the Polar Express, during the holiday season. Located just 20 minutes from Dillsboro, this is an experience your whole family will enjoy. While you’re there, discover the history of railroads in the region at the Smoky Mountain Trains Museum. Admire a remarkable collection of model trains and railroad memorabilia.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad https://www.gsmr.com/

6. Dillsboro Gem Mining

Unleash your inner treasure hunter at the Dillsboro Gem Mine. Pan for gemstones and minerals, and learn about the region’s rich geological history.
Rockhound Ridge Gem Mine https://www.rockhoundridgegemmine.com
Mason Mountain Mine https://masonmtnmine.com
Gold City Gem Mine https://www.goldcityamusement.com

7. Tubing on the Tuckasegee River

Experience a relaxing float down the Tuckasegee River on a tubing adventure. It’s a great way to enjoy the scenery and beat the summer heat.
Dillsboro River Company https://www.northcarolinarafting.com/
Tuckaseegee Outfitters https://tuckfloat.com/

8. Visit the Jackson County Green Energy Park

Witness the fascinating fusion of art and sustainability at the Jackson County Green Energy Park. Explore the artist studios and galleries housed within a former landfill gas site. https://www.jcgep.org/

9. Fishing and Fly Fishing

The Tuckasegee River offers excellent fishing opportunities. You can catch trout and other fish species as an avid angler or a beginner.

10. Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual

Explore the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, showcasing traditional Cherokee crafts created by local artisans. The co-op offers a wide range of authentic handcrafted items.
https://quallaartsandcrafts.org/

11. Waterfalls Exploration

Venture out to nearby waterfalls such as Mingo Falls, High Falls, and Soco Falls. Capture the beauty of these natural wonders and enjoy a refreshing hike.
https://828vibes.com/smoky-mountain-waterfalls-of-wnc

12. Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum

Expand your cultural horizons at the Western Carolina University Fine Art Museum. The museum features rotating exhibitions of contemporary and traditional artwork. https://www.wcu.edu/bardo-arts-center/fine-art-museum/

13. Guided River Tours

Experience the Tuckasegee River differently by joining a guided river tour. Kayaking and canoeing options are available for those seeking an active adventure.
https://smokymountainriveradventures.com/
https://www.northcarolinarafting.com/
https://www.twobrothersguide.com/

14. Elk Watching in Cherokee, NC, and Cataloochee Valley

Experience the awe-inspiring sight of majestic elk in their natural habitat by visiting Cherokee, NC, and the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains, where you can witness the captivating behavior of these magnificent creatures during the fall rutting season. Observation Tips: When elk watching, remember to maintain a safe distance and use binoculars or a camera with a telephoto lens to get a closer look without disturbing the animals.
https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/cataloochee.htm
https://www.greatsmokies.com/elk-watching/

15. Attend Local Festivals

Check the local event calendar for festivals and events in Dillsboro. Whether it’s a craft fair, live music performance, or seasonal celebration, these events add a vibrant touch to your visit.

Dillsboro, NC, is a hidden gem that promises travelers an enriching and memorable experience. From natural wonders to cultural attractions, outdoor adventures to artisanal shopping, this charming town offers diverse activities that cater to every interest. So pack your bags and head to Dillsboro for an unforgettable getaway!

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