Things to do Near Franklin, North Carolina

Gem mining has been a favorite activity for visitors to the Franklin area for years and is called the "Gem Capital of the World” . Cherokee Ruby and Sapphire Mine, Cowee Mountain Ruby Mine, Gold City Gem Mine, and Jackson Hole Gem Mine are just a few of the mines in Franklin.

The Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum has thousands of specimens on display including a local ruby weighing 2 ¼ pounds!  The Macon County Historical Museum on Main is housed in the J.R. Pendergrass building which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The centerpiece of the Society’s collection is the building itself, complemented by original fixtures from the old store and a fascinating variety of artifacts and photographs illustrating Macon County’s past.  Scottish Tartans Museum is the only one of its kind in the United States. A direct extension of the Scottish Tartans Society in Scotland, the museum not only displays Scottish Tartans, but covers various aspects of the Scottish experience—culture, history, dress, migration and military.

The Bartram Trail also passes through Franklin, going East-West, and offers many highlights. There is a wide variety of trails offering hikes of different lengths in the Cowee, Fishhawk, and Nantahala Mountains. And whether on your motorcycle or bicycle the Franklin area is a true cycling paradise.

The Nantahala National Forest has over 152,000 acres which lie within Macon County and offers a wide variety of recreation activities from mountain climbing and hiking to white water rafting. There is abundant wildlife, unique plant communities and wildflowers including endangered species of plants, waterfalls and breathtaking mountain vistas. There are sixteen waterfalls in the Franklin area including Juneywhank Falls and Looking Glass Falls.

The performing arts are alive at the 1,500 seat state-of-the-art Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts which presents the finest in performing arts to the surrounding towns.

Choose from a variety of wonderful accommodations, including bed and breakfast inns, cabins and cottages, inns, resort, retreat center and campgrounds.



Wesser Bald Observation Tower located north of Franklin Hiking to the Albert Mountain Firetower Nantahala National Forest

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Nearby Places

Want more to explore? Try these nearby places.

  • Cashiers

    The Cashiers area includes Sylva, Dillsboro, Cherokee, and Cullowhee. Cashiers is located in Jackson County, North Carolina.
  • Clayton

    The Clayton area includes Dillard, Lakemont, Tallulah Falls, Mountain Cty, Rabun Gap, Tiger, and Sky Valley. Clayton is located in Rabun County, Georgia.
  • Hayesville

    Hayesville is located in Clay County, North Carolina.
  • Highlands

    The Highlands area is located in Macon County, North Carolina.