Looking for a Smoky Mountain getaway that won’t break the bank? Franklin, North Carolina is the perfect spot for you. From Main Street shopping to hiking to chasing waterfalls, you’re sure to have a blast no matter how long you stay.
Here’s what to do in Franklin if you’re in town for a few days.
Day One: Experience Downtown Franklin and Gem Mining
Why not get a taste for the heart and soul of Franklin? Main Street is lined with shops; whether you love a cozy bookstore like Books Unlimited or need to gear up for the trails at Outdoor 76, you’ll find just what you need.
We have coffee shops and bakeries galore, and they’re all open for a bite as you roam up and down the sidewalks. Franklin is also home to three different museums, so stop in and get a deeper understanding of the town’s heritage!
For lunch, stop by Motor Company Grill for retro-style burgers and milkshakes, Frogtown Market for a fantastic catfish po boy, or the food truck by the Lazy Hiker for some cold beer and fantastic eats.
Once the afternoon hits, head out to do some gem mining! Gem mining in Franklin NC is great fun for the entire family. Be sure to wear old clothes so you’re not concerned with getting a little muddy—that’s half the fun!
If you’re lucky, you might find a rare star ruby or sapphire when gem mining in Franklin, and many of your gem finds can be crafted into jewelry for a one-of-a-kind souvenir!
For supper, change clothes and head back into town for Root + Barrel on Main Street, or check out Currahee Brewery for a beer by the river.
Day Two: Hit the Trails
Hiking is a favorite activity in Franklin, since we’re so close to some awesome trails! You’ll want to pack a picnic lunch for day two because there’s so much to see.
The Appalachian Trail is only 11 miles from Downtown Franklin, and we’ve had a love affair with the A.T. dating back to the 1940s. Franklin is about 110 miles north of the trail’s start point in Springer Mountain, GA, but you don’t have to hike that far—just follow the path to the nearest summit for breathtaking views!
The Bartram Trail is also accessible from Franklin. Walk in the steps of Philadelphian naturalist William Bartram, who traveled throughout the southeast from 1773 to 1777, by hopping on the trail near the Wayah Ranger Station.
If you want stunning views of the mountains without the strain of a long hike, Wayah Bald Lookout Tower is just what you’re looking for. The Appalachian and Bartram trails both pass by the tower for more adventurous hikers, so anyone can stop and enjoy the overlook and view of the valley below.
For dinner, head back into town for the best barbeque you’ve ever tasted at Fat Buddies or Willie’s. Both are sure to please!
Day Three: Waterfalls, Dinner and a Show
Who said chasing waterfalls was a bad idea? In Franklin, we have some spectacular sites to find roaring falls without the long hike (especially after a busy day two!).
Dry Falls is anything but, and you can see the water from the road; park and hop out for a short walk behind the fall itself for an incredible photo op. There’s also Bridal Veil falls, which is quite literally right beside the road. No leaving the car necessary!
Once you’ve gotten your fill of the sights, head back down the mountain for lunch at Yonder for some locally-sourced, breakfast-style food. The Hungry Hiker burger is to die for!
After that, it’s time to kick it back until showtime at the Smoky Mountain Center for Performing Arts. There’s always something going on at the theatre, from classic country stars to Overlook Theatre Company productions.
For dinner, treat yourself to decadent Italian fare at Café Rel or Lucio’s. Whichever you choose, you’re in for a real treat!
That’s a wrap!
No matter what you do, we’re sure you’ll have an unforgettable time in Franklin, Nc. Our website has all the details on restaurants, activities, and lodging, so be sure to explore the site for more information!