Located in Jackson County, Dillsboro, North Carolina is the ideal getaway for a weekend or longer. Surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest and located along the banks of the Tuskasegee River, this charming and artsy town offers a relaxing atmosphere, family activities, shopping, and great food. Just 45 minutes west of Asheville, Dillsboro is a one stop destination with a variety of experiences to create a memorable visit.
Things to do in Dillsboro
With an abundance of hiking trails and activities along the Tuskasegee River, Dillsboro is the perfect basecamp for outdoors adventure.
The Tuckasegee, also known as “Tuck” flows from Cashiers all the way to its entry into Fontana Lake. A popular river for fly fishing, boating, and floating, visitors can experience it all. Dillsboro is the fifth put-in point along the river and the ideal spot to take a slow float, kayak trip or fishing expedition. Here are some places who can help you access these mountain blueway adventures.
- Smoky Mountain River adventures takes families on white water rafting with guide or offers advice to do it on your own. Rental for rafts and inflatable kayaks are available.
- Tuckasegee Outfitters offers family friendly rafting trips May-September from Dillsboro to Barkers Creek Crossing. The rapids are small (class I and II), and perfect for an easy trip down the river.
- Dillsboro River Company provides river trips for the whole family and is perfect for first time rafters or young children.
Fly fishing is huge in Jackson County. In fact it’s known as the North Carolina Trout Capital and boasts 15 spots to catch a few varieties of trout. You’re sure to find a great spot away from other fishers to spend a quiet morning or afternoon. For license information, rules, and maps visit Discover Jackson NC.
Hiking in Jackson County will always end with a great view but what makes it special is that there is a trail for everyone regardless of age or ability. Here are some local favorites.
- Black Balsam Trail loops through Black Balsam Knob with the full hike being 5 miles. Once you reach the 6,000-foot elevation point, visitors will see mountains from every angle. A seven mile challenge for the seasoned hiker or adventurer
- Pinnacle Park Trail offers a steep and rocky ascend to gorgeous summit views.
- Whiteside Mountain offers panoramic views following a 2 mile track. In the spring and summer, keep lookout for nesting peregrine falcons.
Culture and Shopping
Explore a variety of cultural and shopping experiences rich in the history and people of the area. Probably one of the most popular excursions is the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which offers year-round train rides along the Tuckasegee River. Special themed trips like The Polar Express and The Easter Express are local favorites. Another unique Dillsboro offering is the Appalachian Women’s Museum, the first museum dedicated to Southern Appalachian women offers exhibits and a glimpse into their lives.
Dillsboro is known as an artsy community that has hundreds of arts and crafts on display along the five block village.
- Since 1976, Dogwood Crafters has housed fine arts and crafts from over 125 local artists. Stop here to purchase a piece of Dillsboro culture.
- The American House Cat Museum is for cat lovers alike. Located 4 miles south of Dillsboro, visitors will find cat memorabilia from any decade and many important pieces of purr cat history.
- Riverwood Pottery has been in the village since 1973 and is a great place to find a special ceramic piece. The studio also offers demonstrations and classes.
Great Places to Dine
Boasting the “Best Hand Cut Steaks in the Smokys”, Boots Steakhouse offers fine dining with a cozy mountain town feel. Besides steak, the menu offers seafood, southern comfort foods, and a full bar.
With locations in neighboring Sylva and Dillsboro, Innovation Brewing offers a unique selection of over 30 brews along with crowd favorites. Live music is featured every Saturday and Cosmic Carryout, their food truck is in full operation every day.
Located in Sylva, Foragers Canteen offers an eclectic twist on southern and new favorites. By offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you could make a day out of it!
Places to Stay in and Around Dillsboro
Dillsboro and surrounding offer a variety of accommodations to rest and relax after all that fun!
- Best Western Plus River Escape Inn and Suites offers traditional accommodations with Tuckasegee River and Great Smoky Mountain views. Each stay offers full amenities including full hot breakfast, internet access, and an indoor pool and hot tub.
- Holiday Inn Express-Sylva is convenient to many area attractions, offers reasonable rates, and pool and hot tub.
- For a unique experience, try The Grand Old Lady Hotel in nearby Balsam. Housed on a historic property, The Grand Old Lady Hotel offers standard rooms along, junior and traditional suites.