Special annual events speak to the flavor of Dillsboro, including October’s ColorFest, where fine artists line Front Street to show their work. Dillsboro’s Festival of Lights and Luminaries transforms the entire town into a winter wonderland with more than 2,500 luminary lights. The two-weekend event also features horse-and-buggy rides, carolers, and visits from Santa Claus.
This Blue Ridge mountain town is known for its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the United States.
More to Explore
Looking for more ways to discover Dillsboro? We have a few ideas in mind for you.
- Enjoy the riverfront by exploring gift shops in this small town. A stroll through town will yield endless treasures to bring back home with you.
- Dillsboro Art and Craft festivals – While the area has lots of annual events, these fun local craft festivals are held monthly in June, July, and August, featuring local artisans, live music, and food vendors. One of the most unique is the Easter Hat Parade, which takes place in April.
- Rafting on the Tuckasegee River – Take a ride down the Tuck with the Dillsboro River Company or Smoky Mountain River Adventures for a family-friendly whitewater rafting adventure.
- Innovation Station Brewery – One of six breweries along the popular Jackson County Ale Trail, you can sidle up to the bar in this former train depot to find more than three dozen brews on tap at any given time.
- Dogwood Crafters – This popular co-op shows off work from 100 artisans in the region. It also offers Appalachian craft workshops to teach visitors a new skill or two.
- Appalachian Women’s Museum, located at the nearby Monteith Farmstead, preserves the stories of ordinary women leading extraordinary lives.
- Did somebody say a Cat Museum? American Museum of the House Cat is a collection of 30 years of everything dealing with the house cat. It started with a single picture and grew into a monumental collection. The museum is one of only two in the United States dedicated to the house cat.
- Jackson County Green Energy Park is one of two in the world that utilize clean, renewable energy resources to encourage economic development, provide environmental protection, and offer educational opportunities that together will help lead towards a more sustainable future for Western North Carolina.
- Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – Just a quick 20-minute drive outside of Dillsboro, you’ll find the train depot to the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Take the whole family on an adventure through the mountains!
- Nearby excursions – Only a short distance to bike trails in Cullowhee and performances at Western Carolina University, Fly fishing in Webster, and close proximity to Cashiers’ stretch of the Nantahala National Forest, Dillsboro is a great home base for your mountain adventures.
- Plenty of places to stay – From vacation rentals to hotels along the river like the Best Western Plus River Escape Inn to Holiday Inn Express, Microtel, and others, there are endless options, and once you check-in it’s time to explore the town! Hit one of the Top 25 BBQ restaurants in the United States – Haywood Smokehouse. Then explore the shops and general stores downtown and don’t miss Riverwood Shops, which has been in existence for decades sharing the beauty of Appalachian handmade crafts.
- Known for its variety of great restaurants, including Foragers Canteen, Rivers and Rails, Kostas, Boots Steakhouse and more, there are endless opportunities to try a unique non-chain restaurant.
- Want to stretch your legs? Hit the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is only a twenty-minute drive from Dillsboro! Want to see waterfalls? Check out nearby Cashiers which has dozens.
Ready to plan your trip to Dillsboro?
Take a look at our Trip Ideas to get inspiration for your next mountain getaway. Or check out some FAQs to get all your Jackson County questions answered.