Cherokee, North Carolina, is among the best spots to breathe in the Great Smoky Mountains air. Cherokee may not frequently appear on the covers of travel publications, but that is part of its appeal.
Hidden Gems In Cherokee NC,Among the Great Smoky Mountains, there is a jewel that provides countless opportunities to learn about the unexplored history of the Native Americans.
List Of 16 Hidden Gems In Cherokee NC Today
1. Peter’s Pancake and Waffles
You’re going to need some energy to be upbeat while strolling past some of the most beautiful sights America has to offer. Why not learn about history as you fill up on Peter’s reasonably priced dishes of Americana?
No plate of blueberry pancakes has yet to surpass Peter’s, unfortunately! Every staple of an American breakfast, from Biscuits and Gravy to Strawberry Waffles, has been perfected by Peter’s, which is open from 6:30 am to 2:00 pm. Learn about the history of American morning cuisine in the proper manner.
Address: 1384 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
2. Museum of the Cherokee Indian
The earliest settlers of the Cherokee people date back more than 13,000 years. Visitors are welcomed by a 20-foot-tall hand-carved figure of the Cherokee alphabet’s creator. bringing ancient Cherokee mythology to life by combining cutting-edge animation, life-size holograms, and precious antiques.
Make your own authentic clay jewelry while admiring hundreds of photographs and archival videos detailing the history of the Cherokee people.
Give yourself plenty of time to have a mouthwatering traditional Cherokee dinner that has been made within the museum by members of the neighborhood Native American Women’s Association (remember to book ahead).
Address: 589 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
3. Santa’s Land Fun Park & Zoo
Santa’s Land offers a perfect getaway for families with all you need to keep the youngsters happy every day from mid-May to the end of October. Feed the black bears, enjoy all of their rides, and indulge in a variety of carnival foods like funnel cake.
The selection of rides may disappoint thrill-seekers, but for families with young children, this park provides everything needed to keep the kids occupied. Naturally, as the name implies, guests can take their picture with Santa and his elves or simply enjoy the Christmas festivities all year long. Adult tickets start at $23, while children under 2 are admitted free.
Address: 571 Wolfetown Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
4. Oconaluftee Islands Park
Cherokee can enjoy a special picturesque experience at the Oconaluftee Islands Park, where there is plenty of room to relax by the river or read a book.
A bamboo grove, farmers’ markets, and a Native American theater area are located next to them, though, and they frequently feature tribal dancing. This is the ideal location to enjoy your lunch and take a much-needed break between a day of museums and hiking, as it is located right in the middle of town off US-441 S.
Address: US-441, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
5. Granny’s Kitchen
The lunch buffet at Granny’s Kitchen is its biggest feature; it includes a salad bar with over 25 options, including roast turkey and baked Alaskan cod, as well as plenty of vegetables, sides like pickled beets, and dessert.
The pricing of only $12.50 for all of this cuisine, including their famed popcorn shrimp, makes all of these alternatives even better. On most days of the week, Granny’s is open from 11 until 8, serving breakfast beginning at 7 on weekends. Mondays are their only day off.
Address: 1098 Paint Town Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
6. Mingo Falls
Mingo Falls, which is only a quarter-mile stroll away, is still a pristine hidden gem in the Smoky Mountains, measuring 200 feet. Even during the busiest travel seasons, the viewing areas are rarely crowded, so the trip up the 161 stairs to the summit is well worth it.
You will be treated to the extremely rare sight of a frozen Mingo Falls, frozen in time mid-cascade, if you endure the winter cold. Don’t forget your camera; this might be the most photogenic waterfall in the Smokies due to the constant presence of local wildlife.
Address: Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
7. Mountain Farm Museum
Mountain Farm Museum, this free museum, which dates from the late 1800s, displays farming equipment, household items, and family life during the beginning of modern society. allowing you to experience artifacts from the lives of early farmers.
Given that chestnut wood is now scarce, admiring the artistry of the Davis House fashioned of it is a real highlight.
Wild elk and moose can frequently be seen wandering through the neighboring fields and water streams, adding to the natural scenery that surrounds these constructions. Year-round hours are 9 to 6, with less hours throughout the winter.
Address: Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
8. Ghost Town Village
Maggie Valley, which is 14 miles east of Cherokee, has the vibe of entering a time machine from the 1970s. The now-defunct Ghost Town in the Sky theme park is located here and is accessible to the general public.
The park makes you feel as like you are living out your own cowboy fantasy with saloons, tumbleweeds, and vegetation where rides once stood.
Binoculars are available at a great viewpoint spot where you can see the adjacent Eastern Cherokee Reservation. Despite the park’s closure in 2002, filming has continued there ever since.
Address: 16 Fie Top Rd, Maggie Valley, NC 28751, United States
9. Front Porch Cakery & Deli
The best place for inexpensively scrumptious food is Front Porch, where you can have any of their incredible sandwiches in a lunch combo with chips and a pickle for about $8. You will have a ton of options because new flavor combinations, like “sweet and spicy ham and pineapple,” are released on a monthly basis.
However, as their sweets are more popular than their sandwiches, you might want to save some of the sandwich for another time. You may purchase a sizable cinnamon bun or red velvet brownie for as little as $2. Doors are typically open from 10 to 5, with Sundays being a closed day.
10. Smoky Mountains Helicopter Tour
An day spent taking a helicopter tour is a great way to pass time if you’re tired of climbing Cherokee’s several mountains or want to see as much of the Smokies as you can. The 30-minute Fontana Special trip, which costs $180 per person, is the most affordable option.
This provides you enough time to explore the entire Smoky Mountain region and its fascinating history in the setting sun. The team is glad to start the chopper and leave on a tour from 9 am until sunset, which is the nicest part of them never closing.
Address: 264 Casino Trail, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
11. Fly Fishing Museum of the Southern Appalachians
The small village of Bryson City, which is only 15 minutes from Cherokee’s downtown (or a 3-hour hike away), is the location of a genuinely unusual museum dedicated to fly fishing.
The enormous fish statues outside the museum suggest otherwise, despite the fact that learning about such a simple pastime may appear mundane.
Explore the rooms that once housed renowned fishermen, their gear, and a hand-built drift boat. Famous reel and rod makers’ iconic tools are on exhibit, along with a complete workshop. This free museum is open from 8 to 4 most of the year; after seeing it, purchase a locally crafted lure at the gift shop.
Address: 210 Main St, Bryson City, NC 28713, United States
12. Oconaluftee Indian Village
It’s great to learn about the history of the Cherokee Indians and to see exhibits about their way of life. However, Oconaluftee Indian Village offers a genuine glimpse into Cherokee culture. You’ll learn traditional dances, hull canoes, make baskets, observe blowgun and warfare exhibitions, and weave baskets.
The adjacent forest is frequently the subject of guided excursions by tour operators who provide a thorough history of the local flora and historic buildings.
Tickets start at $10.50 for youngsters and $18.50 for adults, and combo tickets for surrounding attractions are available. The venue is open from 10 to 4 on Monday through Saturday.
Address: 288 Drama Road, Cherokee, NC
13. Paul’s Family Restaurant
The undeniable highlight of Paul’s is their $7.99 Indian tacos, which come with a fluffy base of classic fry bread. Elk Burgers and Pheasant Breast provide a distinctive taste of the area, and they have an eye for authentic Indian specialities found nowhere else in Cherokee.
Not to mention that there are several alternatives for recipes for both savory and sweet fry bread, such as fry bread with blueberries.
After spending the day seeing the local wildlife, you may relax in their charming outdoor seating area. With daily hours of 11 to 8:30, Paul’s is guaranteed to be there for you whenever you need them.
Address: 1111 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
14. Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
Fortunately, Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which is like a city in itself, is there when you need a respite from Cherokee’s almost endless natural splendor.
There are 11 eateries available, offering anything from British sandwiches to Tuscan spaghetti. With bowling, billiards, karaoke, and a plethora of arcade games, you’re going to need the energy.
Although it may seem like more of a kid-friendly activity, some of Cherokee’s best cocktails are also offered with a stunning view of the Smokies to match. At this resort, relaxation will always be a top concern. The on-site spa offers massages for as little as $130 per hour.
Address: 777 Casino Dr, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
15. Wize Guyz Grille
With lightning-fast service, a sizable menu, and even sizable quantities, Wize Guyz Grille is a lifesaver for those of us who are constantly on the go.
The best of America is available every day from 11 am to 9 pm, except on Sundays, when it is closed. This includes pizza, nachos, Nathan’s famous hot dogs, and chicken wings.
The price of a Chief Burger with the works starts at $4.29, while a side of fries only costs $1.99. The biggest surprise about this modest family-run takeaway place isn’t how extensive their menu is, but rather the availability of vegan options alongside the restaurant’s signature impossible burger.
Address: 68 Big Cove Rd #8, Cherokee, NC 28719, United States
16. Saunooke Mill
Numerous Cherokee will give you the impression that you are traveling back in time, but the Saunooke Mill will do it the best. The mill, which is still in use today, predates the 1970s; in fact, it is so old that no one is sure exactly how far back it dates.
Freshly milled meals are available throughout the warm interior, and the selection is growing week by week. From 9 am to 8 pm most of the year, shutting earlier in the winter, you can witness how the staff is repurposing the mill among a variety of locally made products.
The mill is the best place to buy authentic Cherokee souvenirs to bring home from your trip, despite the fact that it may appear a little touristic to some of us.
FAQs Hidden Gems In Cherokee NC
Where can I see elk in Cherokee NC?
Valley of Cataloochee. Visit the elk near Cherokee, North Carolina. Elk herds can frequently be seen grazing in the Smoky Mountains, most frequently in the fields surrounding the Oconaluftee Visitors Center and Cataloochee Valley. Even the Oconaluftee River has occasionally been spotted being forged by elk.
Is Cherokee North Carolina worth visiting?
The town of Cherokee, North Carolina, is full of outdoor adventure and history. Due to its location on the reservation that is home to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, it has retained the Cherokee way of life. There are numerous areas to walk and camp there, and it is also close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
What is Cherokee North Carolina known for?
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, Qualla Boundary (home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians), 11,000 years of Cherokee history, several outdoor sports, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort are some of the most well-known attractions in Cherokee.