If you’re planning a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, chances are you’re not alone. After all, these mountains are the home of one of the most visited parks in the country, plus dozens of unique mountain towns filled with different adventures. So how are you supposed to pick where to go and where to stay during a visit to western North Carolina?
Maybe we’re biased, but we think Haywood County’s five towns are the perfect home base for any stay in the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re taking a weekend road trip or planning a longer adventure, read on to see our favorite reasons for choosing Haywood County.
We’ve got accommodations for every budget.
You might not want to spend a fortune on a place to stay when you’re on vacation—you’d rather save some cash and use it to shop, explore, and eat. Or maybe a fancy cabin getaway is exactly what you’re looking for! From luxurious mountainside cabins to cozy, affordable motels and everything in between, Haywood County’s got you covered. No matter your budget, start planning your trip by searching for the perfect place to stay, then fill your calendar with ways to discover the NC Smokies.
We’re close to everything.
Haywood County is right in the heart of Western North Carolina. That means we’re close to many of the area’s popular attractions, like the Biltmore Estate and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. Avoid the crowds and high prices by staying just a hop, skip, and a jump away—then spend extra time discovering the hidden gems of Haywood County.
It’s quiet and relaxing…
If you’re heading our way for a getaway, you’re probably planning to take a load off and enjoy the serenity of the Great Smoky Mountains. Lucky for you, there are lots of ways to relax around these parts. Consider adding a leisurely hike to your itinerary and let the views captivate you. Afterwards, kick your feet up and enjoy the view from your cabin or one of the county’s many scenic overlooks. Traveling in a smaller group? Find a classic motel and meditate to the sounds of a creek running through the property.
…but there’s a lot to do here!
Seriously, you can spend weeks experiencing all the things our five mountain towns have to offer. Go elk-watching in Maggie, kayak across Lake Junaluska, eat and drink your way through downtown Waynesville, walk through Canton’s culturally-rich town center, and stay in a caboose (really) in Clyde. Check for events happening during your stay—chances are you’re in town the same time as one of our marquee cultural celebrations. And of course, enjoy the outdoor activities provided by Mother Nature, like a hike on Black Balsam Knob or trout fishing in the Mountain Heritage trout waters.
You can drink here.
Yup, we said it. But the truth is, many parts of Western North Carolina are known for being dry towns. In Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Canton, and Clyde, you don’t have to worry about whether or not it’s okay to drink. In fact, we have some of the best wine shops and breweries for miles—and if you haven’t been to Elevated Mountain Distillery yet, you’re really missing out. For five dollars, you can taste all of the craft liquors brewed right in their one-of-a-kind still.
We’re kid-friendly and pet-friendly.
We hope you’ll bring your whole family with you because there are ways for everyone to play here. The kids will especially enjoy playing mini-golf, stuffing a bag at a local candy store, or getting their groove on at a Mountain Street Dance. If you’re looking for kid-friendly hikes, stop by the Maggie Valley visitor center for maps and advice. There are tons of nearby learning opportunities, too. We’ve got the perfect guide to all of them just in case you need help planning your adventure with us.
If your kids have four legs and fur, don’t leave them at home—they’re welcome in our Smokies. We’re proud to be recognized as one of the best pet-friendly destinations in the state. Bring your pup on an easy hike along Pink Beds Trail Loop before heading to Frog Level Brewery to celebrate the trek. They’ll also love the Pepsi Dog Park in Waynesville, and if your dog’s been good enough, swing by Smoky Mountain Dog Bakery for fresh handmade treats!
We embrace our Appalachian culture.
The one thing you can’t escape in the NC Smokies is the rich Appalachian heritage that surrounds us. We love it—and we aren’t afraid to show it off! We go all out to celebrate it in events like Folkmoot, Hillbilly Jam, and the Apple Harvest Festival. Each town celebrates Appalachia in their own way, and it’s something to be experienced.
We’d love to have you.
You better believe every visitor gets treated like a local in our Smokies, so come experience our mountain hospitality first-hand!
Eager for more reasons to visit the Smokies? We’re always posting about the best activities and must-see attractions, so follow us Facebook and Instagram @visitncsmokies to discover more ways to enjoy the Smoky Mountains in Haywood County.