Plan a Romantic Trip to North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains

Whether you’re newly in love or rekindling your romance, a getaway to North Carolina's Great Smoky Mountains will make your hearts sing.

Bryson City is your home base, named one of the “20 Best Small Towns to Visit” by Smithsonian magazine. It offers much to discover – explore downtown or venture out into the mountains.

Your lodging options are far from ordinary. Choose from an abundance of mountain cabin rentals such as the quiet luxury of Watershed Resort, or get the boutique experience at The Everett Hotel downtown. Then there's Lakeview at Fontana, which became a star on many couples’ wish lists when it installed treetop soaking cabanas. Pro tip: These tubs are designed for two, and you don't have to be a resort guest to purchase a soak.

Woman in soaking tub in treehouse with forest, mountains and river in distance
Lakeview at Fontana

If you enjoy outdoor adventure, there are several portions of the Appalachian Trail that cross into the Bryson City area, including some that are perfect for a day hike. You can also hike or drive to waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Nantahala National Forest.

Your exploration can also lead you to nearby Cherokee. Spend a day in this town and see the legendary "Unto These Hills" outdoor drama, showcased six nights a week during its summer season. Truly take in the beauty of the area on horseback with Smokemont Riding Stable, whose experienced guides lead rides ranging from 1 to 4 hours.

For a different type of exhilaration, try your hand at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, where there's more than 150,000 square feet of gaming. Time your visit to Harrah's to see one of the concerts by some of the biggest names in music, or simply retreat to a couple's massage at the acclaimed Mandara Spa.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Find more local spas in Bryson City, and because romance is on the menu, order sweets for your sweet at The Heavenly Fudge Depot. Later, enjoy dinner with craft beer at Bryson City Brewing, serving wings, salads, burgers and barbecue. Another creative option is to take your food with a tour on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, offering scenic excursions that pair barbecue with beer, or fancier foods with wine – on the train departing from (and returning to) the Bryson City Depot.

For your nightcap, take to the roof of Mountain Layers Brewing, where views look out on the mountains, Tuckasegee River and Everett Street.

Updated February 23, 2024
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