The Greatest 29 Activities in and Around Sylva, NC

The charming little towns of Sylva and Dillsboro are located in western North Carolina. These little communities, which are less than an hour’s drive from Asheville, provide as a superb illustration of mountain living and the breathtaking beauty of this region of North Carolina. In addition to offering some of the best hiking trails, shopping, and brewing in the state, these two places also provide some of the best fishing.

The Carolina Railroad’s completion in the 1880s led to the creation of Sylva, the county seat of Jackson County. Along with the arrival of the Murphy Branch Railroad in the 1880s, Dillsboro was also created around this time.

For a considerable amount of time, both villages were little and unnoticed until 1964, when Sylva Community College was founded. The towns of Sylva and Dillsboro have become more well-known as travelers become aware of their stunning landscapes and extensive histories.

For those seeking unadulterated beauty and a simple lifestyle in the mountains, Sylva and Dillsboro are fantastic destinations. In addition to a wealth of historical information, the neighborhood offers a plethora of stores, dining options, and top-notch outdoor pursuits.

The Greatest 29 Activities in and Around Sylva, NC

Also Read: 8 Asheville, North Carolina, Barbeque Places


Are you arranging a visit to Dillsboro and Sylva, North Carolina? Remember these overlooked towns. These are some of the most incredible places to visit, things to do outside, places to stay, and much more.


Sylva, North Carolina 28779

A thriving village tucked away in the Appalachian Mountains is downtown Sylva. The charming, low-key streets of downtown Sylva are lined with interesting shops, fantastic restaurants, and historic structures. Few downtowns are more charming than this one. One of the top 25 most adorable main streets in the US is Fodors Street.

There are so many stores in downtown Sylva that we are unable to include them all. Here are a few of our favorites plus a few more entertaining activities.

  • tuckaseegee Located in the centre of Sylva’s downtown, this upscale fishing and equipment store is well-known for being the fishing capital of North Carolina. For all of your fishing requirements, including gear, permits, and information, here is the place to go.
  • Every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., the Jackson Arts Market (JAM Flock) is open year-round as an art and food market. On Saturdays, several vendors sell handcrafted goods from the area along with food, live music, demonstrations, crafts, and other events. Guests may feed the JAM flock of chickens and participate in a live drum circle every third Saturday of the month.
  • The Sylva Heritage Walk uses placards and brochures along Main Street to take visitors on a nostalgic journey through Sylva’s history. At the Jackson County Public Library, guests can choose between a self-directed and guided tour offered by the Jackson County Historical Association.
  • The City Lights Bookstore has been a Sylva landmark since 1985. The bookstore has a wide variety of books in great condition, many of which are written by local and regional writers.
    Wonderful local restaurants: Sylva is home to so many wonderful restaurants that we are unable to list them all here. Please visit this link to learn more about them!


5063 US-441, Sylva, North Carolina 28779

For those who enjoy strange art, cats, or the arts in general, the American Museum of the House Cat is fascinating. The museum is home to antiquities, relics, and artifacts that record the history of cats and teach about them. A sizable collection of artwork, ceramics, and other items are also present. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance!

The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for youngsters, with all revenues going to a neighboring no-kill animal sanctuary.



A great community library is the Jackson County Public Library, which is situated in Sylva’s downtown. The library offers a wide selection of books, films, music, and public computers in addition to an excellent interactive children’s area.


Location: Google Maps

On the outskirts of Sylva, Pinnacle Park offers serene nature paths and treks. Hikers may reach The Pinnacle’s peak via the main path, which is a portion of the West Fork path. There is a significant elevation gain during the about 3.5-mile hike.


8430 US-441, Sylva, North Carolina 28779

The family-run Rockhound Ridge Gem Mine is a company that specializes in all things rock and mineral. Both local and foreign stones are available in buckets that come in different sizes for purchase by visitors. In addition, the store sells individual stones, equipment, and packages for gem mining.


29 Central Street, Sylva, NC 28779

With its vintage wooden play structures and equipment, Poteet Park is a charming playground for children. There are plenty of grassy spaces and benches in the park for family picnics. In the warmer months, visitors may also take in live mountain music most Fridays of the month.


Sylva, NC 28779, 316 1381 Hometown Pl

The Monteith Farmstead is a historic farmhouse that was formerly owned by two sisters who spent their entire lives tending to the property.

Currently accessible to the public, the century-old house is brimming with furniture, quilts, canned goods, and other relics from early 20th-century existence. On the adjacent land are picnic spaces, walking trails, fishing locations, and a river.


Six breweries in Jackson County—Sylva, Dillsboro, Cashiers, Cherokee, and Cullowhee—are part of the Ale Trail, which offers craft beer tastings. Beginning in Dillsboro, the Ale Trail travels to Sylva and beyond. Guests can select from over a hundred beers that are made locally.


714 West Main Street, Sylva, NC 28779

Fusions Spa is the best place to unwind in Sylva. Massages, facials, spa body treatments, skincare, and more services are available at this full-service spa. Additionally, there is a gym available for members to use before unwinding.


18 Macktown Road, Sylva, NC 28779

This is your chance to go whitewater rafting if it has always been your dream. Families, first-time whitewater rafters, and those looking for a more relaxed river experience may all enjoy a trip down the Tuckasegee River with the Dillsboro River Company. Visitors have the option of taking a guided tour, exploring at their own pace, or having a great time tubing.


347 Jackson Plaza, Sylva, NC 28779.

Galaxy Lanes is a fantastic location for an evening dating or family outing. In addition to 22 bowling lanes, Galaxy Lanes has an arcade, snack bar, swimming pools, and alcohol service.


342 Old Cullowhee Road, Sylva, NC 28779

Hiking along the Tuckasegee River for 2.3 miles in an out-and-back manner is possible on the Jackson County Greenbelt. The system is excellent for family walks and takes around an hour to complete. The walk features bridges, benches, and areas for exercise equipment.


110 Railroad Avenue, Sylva, NC 28779

The Jackson County Marketplace is an outdoor year-round farmer’s market including dozens of merchants offering a variety of items such as handmade crafts, natural remedies, and fresh food. The aforementioned market is open every Saturday from April through October from 9:00 a.m. to noon and on Saturdays from November through March from 10:00 a.m. to noon.


State Road 1731, Sylva, NC 28779

A national forest area known as the Wayehutta OHV Riding Park became accessible to the public in 1981. The riding area is only available from April until mid-December, but it has 28 miles of loop circuits with camping facilities. You need to buy a season pass or day pass to ride.


81 Preserve Road, Sylva, NC 28779

In addition to offering some intriguing outdoor activities, the 4,000 acres of pristine alpine splendor that make up the Balsam Alpine Preserve. The Preserve’s full-service club, complete with a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, fitness center, and horseback riding center, is its most well-known feature.

Another well-known golf course at the Preserve is Arnold Palmer’s. The golfing on this course is not only great but it is set in one of the most beautiful environments.


Dillsboro, North Carolina 28725

Although Dillsboro’s downtown isn’t the biggest, its five blocks are crammed with interesting historical sites, independent shops, mouthwatering eateries, and live entertainment. The next time you’re in the area, check out these locations.

  • There are perhaps 80 members of the creative co-op Dogwood Crafters Co-Op in the area. There are crafts, jewelry, wood goods, textiles, paintings, metals, and pottery for sale.
  • Front Porch General shop: A classic general shop featuring a wide range of merchandise including furniture, canned foods, antiques, and casual goods.
  • A local craftsman’s jewelry, crafts, and home décor are the specialty of The Corn Crib, a gift shop.
  • For more than 50 years, Nancy Tuts Christmas Shop has been operational. Local Christmas feasts and much more are available, along with an incredible assortment of handmade goods.
  • Lazy Bear General Store & Ice Cream is a great local business that carries practically anything you could need. Everything from necessities and information to artisan goods, delicious homemade fudge, locally prepared meals, and freshly crafted ice cream are available in the shop.
  • Dillsboro Chocolate Factory: This well-known neighborhood chocolate store has been providing the neighborhood with freshly made chocolates, fudge, and other delectable sweets since 1999.
  • eateries: Dillsboro has a wide variety of excellent eateries. Everything is available in Dillsboro: seafood, small-town eateries, taverns, steakhouses, and excellent smokehouses and barbecues.


Dillsboro, NC 28725, 100 Green Energy Park Rd.

Visitors may engage and learn about renewable energy at the Jackson County Green Energy Park, which is an art studio dedicated to renewable energy. A wide range of talents are demonstrated and taught, including metalsmithing, ceramics, and blacksmithing.

Additionally, the artwork of artists is on sale, and studio space is always for rent. You should take your kids here for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.


Dillsboro, NC 28725, 100 W Hometown Pl

The Monteith family constructed a three-story home in 1908, which now houses the Appalachian Women’s Museum. Volunteers administer the museum, which highlights the value of women and their history in the Appalachian Mountains.

Artifacts and antiques made by Cherokee women are on display, along with women-made crafts, books, pictures, and other items.


While you’re in the area, you ought to stop by some of the stunning spots in and around Sylva and Dillsboro. These are a handful of our best choices.

Cherokee Indian Museum Address: 589 Tsali Blvd, Cherokee, NC 28719

Founded in 1948, the Cherokee Indian Museum is a nonprofit institution. Along with educational resources, it offers a look at unique Cherokee Native American antiquities and artifacts from the area’s past.

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is located at 45 Mitchell Street in Bryson City, North Carolina.

Experience the history of North Carolina’s mountains on unique train excursions and witness vintage goods trains at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. They provide fantastic family holidays and the greatest ride with a Polar Express theme throughout the Christmas season.

Address for Oconaluftee Visitor Centre & The Great Smoky Mountains National Park: 1194 Newfound Gap Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719

From Sylva to Cherokee, North Carolina, the Oconaluftee Visitor Centre is about a 29-minute drive away. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitor center is close to the park’s entrance. The museum has log cabins, a gift shop, a farm museum/store, and amazing demonstrations of mountain life.

You may see elk herds at the Oconaluftee Visitor Centre during the spring, summer, and autumn. They like spending time in the late afternoons and early mornings on the fields behind the center.

Mingo Falls is located on the Eastern Cherokee Reservation near Cherokee, North Carolina.

A 200-foot waterfall called Mingo Falls may be found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The route to the foot of the falls is only 0.3 miles long, making this a must-see attraction in the neighborhood.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is located at 20 US-19, Cherokee, NC 28719.

The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, which links North Carolina and Virginia, is one of the most well-known roads in the nation. Cherokee, North Carolina, is the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Along the BRP are some stunning waterfalls.

Judaculla Rock Petroglyphs are located at 552 Judaculla Rock Rd in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Near Cullowhee, North Carolina, there is a noticeable sandstone outcrop adorned with petroglyphs and sculptures made by the Cherokee Indians. Travelers are welcome to visit, take pictures, and explore the little piece of privately owned land where the rock is located.

Mountain Heritage Museum 176 Central Dr., Cullowhee, NC 28723

A little tourist center dedicated to culture and tradition is called the Mountain Tradition Centre. Visitors may discover more about the history of the Appalachian people and their environs through artifacts, photographs, antiques, and other objects.


You won’t want to miss some of the most well-liked yearly events in Sylva and Dillsboro, which are listed below.

Festival of Greening Up the Mountains (April 27, 2024) – Every year in the early spring, Sylva’s downtown is transformed for a day by the Greening Up the Mountains Festival. More than 175 regional exhibitors, craftspeople, food vendors, brewers, a 5K race, and live music will all be present during the event. The purpose of the event is to educate both locals and visitors on sustainability and ways to improve the environment.

Harvest Festival (October 20 & 21, 2023) – The Friday night events are free and feature a campfire and Cherokee storytelling. Music, crafts, food trucks, dancing, a quilt exhibition, and other activities are planned for Saturday. Adults must pay $5.

North Carolina Pottery Festival (November 4, 2023) – Sylva Bridge Park is home to the stunning autumn event known as the WNC Pottery Celebration. Just in time to locate the ideal Christmas gift, the event will feature over 40 local ceramic merchants. Children under 12 enter free of charge, with an admission fee of $5.

Concerts on the Creek (every Friday evening from Memorial Day weekend to Labour Day weekend) – During the summer, Sylva Bridge Park hosts a live Friday night event called Concerts on the Creek. Live music will be available from 7 to 9 p.m. at this free event, which is open to everybody.

Sylva Christmas Parade (3 December 2023) – To get everyone in the holiday mood, downtown Sylva hosts the annual Christmas parade every year at the beginning of December. The procession starts at 3 p.m. and goes for around 60 minutes. Massive Christmas floats, bands, costumes, and other celebrations are all there.

The Greatest 29 Activities in and Around Sylva, NC



North Carolina is full of small-town mountain communities; Sylva and Dillsboro are two excellent examples. Even if they aren’t the most well-known locations in the state, there are plenty of exquisite, remarkable, and fascinating eateries and stores there. Hopefully, you have Sylva and Dillsboro on your itinerary now!

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