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A Great Smoky Mountain Weekend Warrior Itinerary

a woman looking out at the north carolina smoky mountains.

A full weekend in the Great Smoky Mountains? Are you kidding? If you find yourself in this lucky predicament, then this weekend itinerary will help you make the most of your brief visit. The phrase “Weekend Warrior” will take on a whole new meaning while you experience some of the most iconic treats these mountains can serve up.

Friday Fun

Let’s begin with the Friday evening arrival in Haywood County, just beyond the mountain town of Maggie Valley. There’s a roadside waterfall you’ll want to see before the sun goes down for the night. Soco Falls is a beautiful, double waterfall you can view from an observation deck that’s only a five minute walk from the roadside parking. Splendid Sunset Waterfall Sighting – Uh, CHECK.

Next, you will be missing out if you don’t check out a local brewery where you may even discover your new favorite band.  Frog Level Brewing Co and the Boojum Brewery Taproom  in Waynesville, NC, both offer up interesting beers, tasty eats and incredible live music. Heck, if you’ve got it in you, go to both!!  Weekend Warrioring!

Saturday Adventures

Saturday morning, get an early start to the NOC, also known as the Nantahala Outdoor Center. The beautiful drive through the Nantahala Gorge is a pleasure in and of itself, and arriving on the 500-acre NOC adventure campus will only add to the joy. You will have your choice of guided whitewater rafting trips, tree-top zip lining, epic mountain biking and superb flatwater paddling. If you plan your day right, you can get in at least two activities and the friendly staff at the NOC is there to help you do just that. This is guaranteed fun for the whole family and a day you will remember for years to come!

After this much activity, a nice meal is going to be an excellent way to wrap up. Head to dinner in Sylva, NC, to ILDA for some rustic Italian-Appalachian (it’s Southern Italian, y’all!) fare that is sure to win your vote for BEST WAY TO END A FABULOUS DAY. The atmosphere, food, service, cocktails – all of it – continue to be rated “exceptional” by locals and visitors alike.  You owe it to yourself to find out why.

Sunday Scenery

Sundays are for refueling, right? We’re going to assume you got sufficient exercise yesterday and today is a time for leisure. But leisure doesn’t mean you skip out on exploring! Not when you can take a roundtrip train ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Daily trips depart from Bryson City’s historic train depot. Sit back, or stand in the wind, while your excursion takes you through either the Nantahala Gorge or along the Tuckasegee River. Either way, you will arrive back in Bryson City refreshed, relaxed and grateful for such a terrific weekend playing hard and making lifelong memories in the Great Smoky Mountains.