5 Mountain Towns that Make Up the NC Smokies

5 Mountain Towns that Make Up the NC Smokies

Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde are the five mountain towns that make up the North Carolina Smokies and offer great entertainment, dining, shopping and of course, unmatched views.

Each with its unique appeal, the five mountain towns that make up the North Carolina Smokies are Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde. Host your family reunion in these charming towns that boast a picture postcard-worthy backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and Blue Ridge Parkway. With year-round activities, events and festivals and wildlife abounding, there is plenty to see and do in Appalachian Country.

Maggie Valley

Located on the fringe of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Maggie Valley is a charming town that offers a variety of things for families to do with favorites like hiking, fishing, horse riding, ziplining, whitewater rafting and skiing. Maggie Valley also has many family-friendly attractions like the popular Wheels Through Time Museum that houses a rare collection of American motorcycles and memorabilia along with unique American automobiles with exhibits like Military Might and the Chopper Graveyard. A great place to enjoy the outdoors is Cataloochee Ranch where you can take a tractor-drawn wagon ride and enjoy games like horseshoes, badminton and ping-pong and activities such as swimming, trout fishing and more. An easy hike takes you to the observation deck at Soco Falls where twin waterfalls cascade down forested terrain making it another must-see attraction in Maggie Valley.


Between the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains, Waynesville affords breathtaking vistas in every direction. Families can explore Frog Level, a declared National Historic District with restored buildings dating back as early as the early 1900s. Downtown, which is a buzzing hub with art galleries, shops, cafés and restaurants, makes for a fun day out and the community of Hazelwood is where you can find a statue of the North Carolina state dog, the Plott Hound. There is no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had in Waynesville. Families can go waterfall hiking in the mountains and elk watching in Cataloochee Valley where they freely roam.

Lake Junaluska

Named after nearby Mount Junaluska, the 200-acre Lake Junaluska and its surrounding 1,200 acres hills and valleys is an ideal destination for family reunions. Known for its nature trails, set off on Rose Walk that is lined with rose bushes and runs along Lake Shore Drive and the paved Lake Junaluska Walking Trail surrounding the lake with breathtaking views of the mountains. The lake is also the center of seasonal events and celebrations like the two-day Smoky Mountain Folk Festival, Independence Day at Lake Junaluska with parades and concerts and Appalachian Christmas with festive music, food and local artisan vendors.


Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on the Pigeon River, Canton is a quaint historic town with fun experiences year-round. Attend a concert, movie or performance at the renovated Colonial Theatre that dates back to 1932 and enjoy a farm-to-table family meal at the Imperial and Southern Porch that is housed in a Victorian-style building built in the 1800s. Families that like festivals will be treated to many in Canton including the Canton Labor Day Festival and the Cold Mountain Music Festival, which features musical talent, family-friendly activities and bites and beverages by local food and drink vendors. Enjoy a day of fishing, swimming, hiking and picnicking at the picturesque Lake Logan along with recreational activities like kayaking, canoeing and tubing at Pigeon River.


Families can experience authentic Appalachian culture and Southern charm in Clyde where the mountainous scenery never gets old. Visit the Haywood Community College Arboretum to see species of trees, shrubs and ground covers as well as a rhododendron garden and dahlia garden, a fruit tree orchard and greenhouse. Drop in at the Shook-Smathers House built in 1795 for a history lesson, take a kid-friendly hike up to Max Patch for 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains and Mount Mitchell and see bison, mini horses, mini donkeys, llamas, alpacas, goats and rabbits at Buffalo Creeks Vacation Bison Farm.

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