Cherokee, NC Great Smoky Mountains

When you think of Cherokee these days, it is likely that the first thing you will think of is Harrah’s Casino.  In recent years this has become the destination in the town.  However, there is quite a bit more than just getting cozy with your favorite slot machine.  However, there are many things to do in this town including fishing, kayaking, camping, tubing, and learning all about the Cherokee.  Unlike places like Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Townsend, this town resembles more of a normal town.  There is no single major parkway.  There are attractions, restaurants, and lodging throughout the city.

Lodging    There are more than a dozen hotels and motels, cabins, and campgrounds in the city.  Do you want basic accommodations or a four-star experience?  You can find either here.  This will help cater to anyone’s taste and budget.

Restaurants    From Burger King to Ruth Chris steakhouse, there is something for your palette here.  There are also many dining options in the casino that are quite good and serve alcohol if you wish to partake.

Entertainment    The biggest show in town is Harrah’s Casino.  It seems that each year that add more games, restaurants, and entertainment to the complex.  It is the juggernaut of Cherokee.  That is not all there is to do, however.  If you want to do more natural entertainment, there are many options for tubing, kayaking, and fishing.  There are also museums and learning centers where you can learn all about the Cherokee people and their culture.

Shopping    Shopping here is very different from other places.  Though you can get the typical souvenir fare that is available in Gatlinburg and other places such as t-shirts, magnets, and other trinkets, Cherokee has the potential for wonderful and unique finds.  There is a large amount of authentic Native American goods that are made and sold here.  You simply will not find these in other places.  Everything from blankets, shoes, woodcarvings, art, and so much more is within the city limits.  You do need to be careful, however.  You need to make sure that the goods you buy are authentic.  I have seen several “authentic” items with a “made in China” sticker.

Proximity to National Park    Like Gatlinburg and Townsend, you are right next to the entrance to the Smokies on Newfound Gap Road.  Oconaluftee Visitors Center is only a few miles from Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee.  Hiking in this area is great, and the crowds are never as large as they are on the other side of the Gap.

Traffic    Traffic here is very manageable.  As previously stated, the town is very spread out.  This keeps congestion from becoming to bad in any one spot.  Parking is also much better here than its counterpart on the other side of Newfound Gap.  There are plenty of places to park at stores, restaurants, and attractions and you will not have to pay for it.


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