Visit the Cherokee Indians Near Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Published Mar 28, 2023

Immerse yourself in Cherokee culture with an easy day trip. Just over the border in North Carolina, you’ll find tribal history, culture, and entertainment to fascinate the whole family. Here’s what you need to know.

How Do I Get There?

From Gatlinburg, take Newfound Gap Road (US 441) south. This spectacularly scenic road through the Smokies makes the one-hour drive a delight.

Is This a Reservation?

No. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians owns this land, called the Qualla Boundary. The town of Cherokee, N.C., is the tribal capital. Cherokee bustles with restaurants and shopping and is the gateway to outdoor activities including fishing, hiking, kayaking, and tubing.

What Is There to Do?

The Cherokee welcome you to explore their land and lives with these cultural highlights.

  • Museum of the Cherokee Indian USA Today named this museum one of the 10 best Native American experiences in the country. The museum covers 13,000 years of history using today’s technologies. The museum promises: No dull, dusty exhibits, just immersive stories you won’t forget. Open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Adults $12, children ages 6-12 $7, children 5 and under free. 
  • Oconaluftee Indian Village Discover how the Cherokee lived in the 18th century. Watch local artisans fashioning canoes, weaving, creating beadwork, shaping pottery, making arrowheads, demonstrating dances, and much more. Don’t miss the blow-dart demonstration. Open April 18 through October 28, 2023. Adults $25, children $15, children 5 and under free.
  • Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual Qualla Arts and Crafts is both a gallery and a shop. What could be more local than pottery made from clay dug right here, then etched by hand? Find out stories behind handmade masks or baskets woven from river reeds gathered nearby. Free and open to the public daily.
  • “Unto These Hills” Under the stars, with the Smoky Mountains surrounding you, watch the story of the Cherokee unfold in an epic, emotional outdoor drama for all ages. May 27-Aug. 19, 2023. Tickets start at $35 for ages 12 and up, $25 for children 6-11, age 5 and under free.

What Else Does the Tribe Offer?

The Cherokee also welcome visitors to the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, featuring a casino, shows, restaurants, and an arcade. Golfers can book a round at Sequoyah National Golf Club, nestled among forested slopes.

Plan a day trip to Cherokee when you visit Gatlinburg. Browse Gatlinburg cabin listings now.

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