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Things To Do

Outdoor Attractions

Nantahala National Forest

Lake Nantahala (Fishing & Boating)

Lake Nantahala is one of the most pristine lakes in North Carolina. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains in Macon County, the Lake has a surface area of 1,605 acres; sits at over 3,000 feet above sea level and boasts over 20 miles of shoreline. About half of the lake sits within the Nantahala National Forest; the other half is surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Recommended by a former guest at Buttercup Haven. “We would like to recommend Lakes End Marina on Lake Nantahala for boat rentals. We rented a pontoon boat for the afternoon and the lake was beautiful.”

Scenic Drives

There are three recommended Franklin trips including the Scenic Highway 64 to Lake Lure. Along this roadway, you will see beautiful waterfalls, such as Bridal Veil Falls, Dry Falls, and Cullasaja Falls. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park covers more than half a million acres, making it the largest national park in the East. A scenic drive auto tour of the park offers panoramic views, tumbling mountain streams, weathered historic buildings, and uninterrupted forest stretching to the horizon. For more ideas, browse the Romantic Asheville Guide.

Where Shadows Walk

Haunted history walking tours begin at the gazebo on Franklin’s town square on main street each Friday and Saturday evening (Thursdays also in June, July and August). Special late night ghost tours and in-house tours are also available. Check website for recommendations regarding suitability for children.

Waterfalls

There are 16 scenic waterfalls in Southwestern North Carolina, including areas of the Nantahala National Forest, Pisgah National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Be sure to check out Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls just outside of Highlands. Click here for a list of waterfalls, including a map and guide. Or, click the image to the right to pinpoint Franklin area falls. Be sure to check out the Snapshots from Franklin Blog (waterfall entries) as well as these great waterfall videos.

Gem Mining

This is a popular activity, particularly with children. Most gem mines operate from early Spring through late Fall. Be sure to wear old clothes. For a list of locations and gem mining map, click here. Dating back to before 1897, Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine is one of the most popular “dig your own” gem mines and is open 7 days a week from April 1st to October 1st.

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