Haywood County is home to several unique offerings for adventurers with a desire to explore. Five mountain towns make up this patch of heaven in Western North Carolina with exciting explorations stretching over the mountain tops and valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains. Check out why these towns are so special.
A nostalgic mountain town
This charming town, situated between the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge, is bursting with personality and adventure. Travel along the bustling Soco Road for shops, restaurants, and family fun. This is the perfect place to see the beautiful work of local artisans.
You can get your fill of outdoor fun year-round with swimming, hiking, skiing/snowboarding, and snow tubing. While the outdoors is hard to beat, you won’t want to miss out on the wide selection of indoor attractions. Add a little nostalgia to your trip at Dale’s Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum, or get some hands-on family fun at Maggie Valley Rock Shop & Gem Mine and Maggie Valley Puzzle Rooms.
Did you know this town is also home to some famous locals? We are talking about the herd of over 200 elk roaming the beautiful, lush fields of the Cataloochee Valley. We guess you can say Maggie Valley is like nowhere “elks”!
Where mountains meet main street
Waynesville is always serving up fun, food, and festivities with flare. The town has a thriving arts and culture scene that you’ve got to see for yourself. Ooh and ahh at gorgeous art galleries, marvelous murals, and stunning sculptures sprinkled throughout the area. With six vibrant shopping districts, each with their own distinct personalities, you’ll have tons to take in.
Stop by Frog Level Historic District for a taste of the Smokies. Sip back and relax at Frog Level Brewing Co. or embrace your inner oenophilia at Bosu’s Wine Shop. Hazelwood is a growing retail district known for its annual Folkmoot USA festival. If you’re a golfer, you’ll fall in love with Laurel Ridge’s Country Club and stunning scenery. Russ Avenue and West Waynesville are two districts for great shopping, dining, and outdoor activities. Russ Avenue is home to the Waynesville’s Skate Park and the Recreation Center. In West Waynesville, explore the growing retail space of Waynesville Commons and plan a picnic at Allens Creek Park.
Lastly, there’s Downtown Waynesville. Stroll through Main Street to discover a diverse selection of specialty shops and mouthwatering eateries. The fun doesn’t end there! Beyond these lively neighborhoods, you’ll find majestic mountains perfect for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more. If you’re looking to wind down for the week (or two), pamper yourself at a resort and spa, or play a round of golf with a mountain backdrop. No matter what you choose to do here, Waynesville is the way to go.
A vibrant lakeside retreat
Immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of Lake Junaluska. This is the perfect place to relax and recharge. Take in breathtaking mountain views while you stroll along the Rose Walk, a 3.8 mile walking trail surrounding the calming waters of the lake. If you’re a thrill-seeker, make a splash at this scenic spot. Enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and boating with friends or for some much deserved “me-time.” Dive in with your own equipment or rent from the Lake Junaluska Aquatic Center. It is no secret that the lake is a big attraction to this town, but there’s so much more to experience. Visit the SEJ Heritage Center for a bit of history. Take in some more practice for your golf swing by visiting the Lake Junaluska Golf Course. Your trip to this town will be un-fore-gettable.
A happenin’ Creekside getaway
This charming and historic town is a hidden gem in Haywood County. Downtown Canton is home to cute coffee shops, tasty southern restaurants, and specialty shopping. Canton is even known for hosting the longest-running Labor Day celebration in the Southeast.
Flowing right through the heart of this mill town is the beautiful Pigeon River, perfect for cooling off. Grab your water toys and float along the river with tubing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Or visit Canton Recreation Park, which comes complete with a Pigeon River Scenic Walking Trail, playground, and an ADA-accessible wheelchair ramp to the public swimming pool. If you’d prefer to stay dry, lace up your sneakers for a round of horseshoe, basketball or shuffleboard at their courts or head over to the flagship BearWaters Brewing Co. for a riverside beverage and live music performance.
While the blossoming town of Canton fills with excitement all along Main Street, it is also home to some of the most iconic hikes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Venture to the flowing waterfalls of Graveyard Fields or the spectacular views of Shining Rock along the Art Loeb Trail. You can also hit the trails of Chestnut Mountain, an upcoming mountain biking park. With so many activities and adventures to explore, you can’t miss out on Canton!
An unexpected Appalachian adventure
When it comes to a cozy mountain town, Clyde fits the bill. This town has a rich Appalachian history and has long been known as a place for travelers to stay along their journey through the mountains. One remarkable aspect of Clyde is its eclectic accommodations for visitors to enjoy. Book your stay in a luxury train caboose or an enchanting yurt overlooking the river. Take your herd of travelers to Buffalo Creek Bison Farm to see their adorable farm animals and purchase some fresh meat for dinner from their BC Depot. If you’re looking for more fresh food options, head on down to Ferguson’s Trout Pond to catch it for yourself. In addition to fishing, they also offer camping where you can stay beneath the stars and enjoy the beautiful mountain wilderness. With local shopping, country cooking, and a whole playground of outdoor adventures, Clyde will have you feeling right at home here in the Smokies.
Each of these Haywood County towns has unique fun for all ages. Consider this your sign to book a place to stay and start planning your tour. Whether you are a new visitor or a frequent vacationer, we hope to see you soon! During your visit, don’t forget to tag us on social with #HayNow or @VisitNCSmokies.