Bryson City, the county seat of Swain County, is a small mountain town on the banks of the Tuckasegee River at the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At last count, the population was approaching 1500. In stark contrast to the towns on the Tennessee side of the Park, Bryson City has kept its laid-back, small town charm and offers a more relaxed way to enjoy the Smokies.
Driving through the sleepy downtown, you may wonder why the town’s advertising proclaims “Have a Big Vacation in a Small Town.” Or why Bryson City is often called “The outdoor adventure capital of the Smoky Mountains. It’s because all the activities take place in the mountains, gorges, rivers and lakes surrounding the downtown. Downtown Bryson City is where you go to relax, dine and shop after a busy day of outdoor activities.