Cherokee, North Carolina is the ideal vacation spot for any family who wants to spend more time enjoying everything the great outdoors has to offer. From the scenic views of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to the region's rich Cherokee history, here are five of the best kid-friendly things to do near Cherokee, NC.
The Great Smoky Mountains are among the oldest mountains on the planet. They emerged during the last Ice Age, which left the area rich with diverse plants and wildlife. More than 11 million people visit the Smoky Mountain National Park each year to see its breathtaking views. There are endless hiking trails, scenic paths, waterways and more to explore throughout the park's 522,427 acres, which is split between North Carolina and Tennessee.
For a stunning, one-of-a-kind view of the Smoky Mountains, venture to Clingman's Dome, which is only a short drive from Cherokee. Clingman's Dome is the highest point in the park, standing at 6,643 feet. Clingman's Dome observation tower is 45 feet tall. You can drive or hike your way up to Clingman's Dome — but be prepared for a steep, uphill trek either way. Due to hazardous road conditions, the road to Clingman's Dome is closed from December 1 to March 31, as well as during any inclement weather.
Cherokee, NC is named after the Cherokee natives who first inhabited the land. The Cherokee lived across much of the southeastern United States in small communities made up of houses constructed with wood, vines, saplings and mud, as well as seven-sided council houses. As settlers entered the region, the Cherokee culture underwent several changes, including the creation of their own printing press and a form of democratic government. During what is now known as the Trail of Tears, many of the Cherokee were forced west. The Oconaluftee Cherokees were able to remain in the region of what is now the Qualla Boundary region of Cherokee, North Carolina. Today, there are around 11,000 members of the Eastern Tribe.
If you are visiting the area with children, the Ocanaluftee Indian Village and the Museum of the Cherokee Indian are two excellent ways to incorporate history and education into your family trip:
Visitors flock to Cherokee, NC to find outdoor adventure, including at scenic waterfalls like Mingo Falls, or on a thrilling tube ride down one of Cherokee's refreshing waterways:
Oconaluftee Islands Park is a public green area located close to downtown Cherokee. It is among the top family things to do in Cherokee, NC because it offers a little bit of something for everyone, including:
Many people visit the Cherokee region to watch herds of elk while they graze. In the spring, summer and fall months, you can usually find elk near the Oconaluftee Visitor's Center in Cherokee, or in one of several surrounding low-lying fields. You can also drive about an hour from Cherokee to Chatalooche, NC, which is another popular elk viewing spot. When viewing elk, here are some things to keep in mind:
The best way for your family to experience the wonders of Cherokee is to fully immerse yourself in the region with a camping trip at KOA Cherokee. KOA Cherokee provides the ultimate balance of outdoor activities and relaxing amenities, meaning each member of your family will find something they love.
At the end of the day, relax by your own campsite campfire at your Premium Tent Site, RV Site with KOA Patio™ or Deluxe Cabin with full baths. Are you ready to create lasting memories with your family? To reserve your spot at KOA Cherokee, visit us online or give our friendly staff a call at 828-497-9711.
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