12 Best Things to Do in Franklin NC

Franklin is a small town located in Macon County, North Carolina.

Its downtown area has a bizarre and romantic atmosphere that is essentially welcoming to guests and residents.

With a rich history dating back thousands of years ago, the town features so many museums with numerous restaurants and bars, making it a popular place for both visitors and locals to experience the outdoors either hiking or enjoying shows and concerts.

Most of the town’s gemstone deposits buried underneath the soil were made possible by the movement of ancient rivers and glaciers.

Today, tourists troop in from far and wide to see and experience this town also known as the “gem mining capital of the world.”

With at least 4 gem mining facilities in the town, visitors get a rare opportunity to find their precious gemstones whilst also having a ton of fun.

Gem & Mineral Museum Franklin

Gem & Mineral Museum-FranklinSource: Wikimedia/ Warren LeMay | CC0 1.0 UniversalPin

The Gem & Mineral Museum used to be a jail in Franklin, North Carolina some years ago.

But today, it is home to a large number of minerals, gems, Indian artefacts, fossils, sea shells, and fluorescent minerals.

Everything found in the found represents minerals from different parts of the world such as Australia, Canada, Native America, and dozens of other countries.

The museum has a gift shop where visitors can buy items as souvenirs for friends and family; there is also a library that offers lapidary arts with books focused on gems, minerals, fossils, and other related topics.

The place is free to enter all week noon to 4 pm all year round.

Address: 25 Phillips St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Wayah Bald

Wayah BaldSource: Jud McCranie | CC BY-SA 4.0 InternationalPin

Wayah Bald is one of the top attractions to see and explore in Franklin, North Carolina. It is an outlook tower filled packed with nature and other activities.

To reach the lookout point, visitors must embark on a short walk from the parking area at the summit while viewing the amazing scenery.

The stone tower was built in 1937 as a fire tower by the Civilian Conservation Corps with magnificent views of the landscape around it with walking and hiking trails.

Address: Wayah Bald, North Carolina 28734, United States

Scottish Tartans Museum

Scottish Tartans MuseumSource: Wikimedia/ Warren LeMay | CC0 1.0 UniversalPin

If you have never been to Scotland then this attraction is the closest you can be to the country in the United States.

The Scottish Tartans Museum is an amazing place to be with a rich history of the past with detailed timestamps of the people, development, and the kilt.

This is one of the most amazing things to do in North Carolina as it showcases the story of Scottish emigration in North Carolina and how they lived among the Appalachian Cherokee people.

Address: 86 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Nikwasi Mound

Nikwasi MoundSource: Flickr/Warren LeMay | Public Domain Mark 1.0Pin

Nikwasi Mound is the best place to discover Cherokee roots and traditions, the name means “Star.”

The history of this man-made hill dates back to a thousand years ago which makes it a top attraction to see in Franklin, North Carolina.

It is a significant landmark with lots of cultural stories about the Cherokee Indians in the area.

The heap of sand appeared on maps back in 1544 and it was the location for treaty talks in 1727 and 1730 between the Cherokee people and South Carolina.

Address: 524 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Lake Emory Dam

Lake EmorySource: Wikimedia/ Warren LeMay | Public Domain Mark 1.0Pin

Located 2.6 miles from Franklin in Macon County, North Carolina; you can enjoy canoeing and kayaking in Lake Emory with many other fun activities.

The lake is the fishermen’s delight and offers a lot of swimming and boating activities too.

It was formed in the 1920s by a group of residents as Lake Emory Company which started the project as a dam to power the community.

So, get your fishing gear and head out to experience the different fishes in the lake such as the carp, bream/bluegills and many others.

Address: Lake Emory Dam, Franklin, NC 28734, USA

Ruby City Gems & Minerals Franklin, NC

Ruby City Gems & Minerals Franklin, NCSource: Flickr/Warren LeMay | Public Domain Mark 1.0Pin

Ruby City Gems & Mineral Shop is the largest store where you can find the finest gems & pieces of jewellery with a gemstone museum.

The museum is free and has mineral specimens, fossils, spheres, ancient tools & artefacts, and fluorescent stones.

It is the oldest gem store which first opened in 1958 and is open all year round. It offers free parking and you get to purchase some of the finest stones in the shop.

Address: 130 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

First United Methodist Church, Franklin, NC

First United Methodist Church, Franklin, NCSource: Flickr/Warren LeMay | Public Domain Mark 1.0Pin

The First United Methodist Church is another top attraction in Franklin, North Carolina which was developed in 1917 after a fire incident at the sanctuary at that time.

It was made of some parts of the 1860 sanctuary and in 1944 stained glass windows about 8 to 10 feet tall were added.

It has a rich history and a great story about Christianity in the region. So, make sure to take pictures for the gram and create awesome memories.

Address: 66 Harrison Ave, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Confederate Memorial, Franklin, NC

Confederate Memorial, Franklin, NCSource: Flickr/Warren LeMay | Public Domain Mark 1.0Pin

The Confederate Memorial is located in Franklin close to the Old Courthouse known as the Macon County Historical Museum today.

The memorial has a square pillar about 20-foot-five high with a statue of a Confederate soldier standing 6-foot tall holding a riffle with two hands.

There is a lot to learn about the activities of Confederate soldiers in the state at the memorial and a great way to see Franklin.

Address: 25 Phillips St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Franklin Terrace Hotel

Franklin Terrace HotelSource: Wikimedia/Warren LeMay from Cincinnati | CC0 1.0 UniversalPin

If you want to see 18th-century architecture then the Franklin Terrace Hotel is the attraction to visit.

This 1887 hotel was built in a medieval architectural style, it used to be a boarding school for young women and was later converted into a hotel in 1915.

It was registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1902 and has been serving the people of Franklin and visitors for a very long time.

It is one of the best places to relax in the Smoky Mountains as you enjoy the trails and tranquillity.

Address: 159 6203, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Dry Falls on the Upper Cullasaja

Dry Falls on the Upper CullasajaSource: Wikipedia/Zhans33 | CC BY-SA 3.0 UnportedPin

The Dry Falls is one popular attraction near Franklin on the upper Cullasaja Gorge a few miles away.

If you want to experience water activities with friends and family then you must visit this water.

It allows you the privilege they enjoy the thrills of standing behind a waterfall without getting drenched.

It is a seventy-five-foot-tall waterfall over a cliff which earned its name due to the fact you remain dry while exploring behind the waterfall.

Address: Dry Falls, North Carolina 28741, United States

Siler Bald

Siler BaldSource: Brian Stansberry | CC BY-SA 3.0 UnportedPin

This next top attraction lets you have fun while experiencing the outdoors on an 8.2-kilometre hiking trail a few miles away from Franklin, North Carolina.

Siler Bald offers magnificent views of the golden grasses atop the numerous mountain summits not too far from the Appalachian Trail.

Excite your inner self with the sight of wildflowers in their millions and rocky outcrops as you take photos and create awesome memories.

Address: Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Franklin, NC 28734, United States

Quarry Falls Macon County

Quarry Falls Macon CountySource: Wikipedia/Notneb82 | CC BY-SA 3.0 UnportedPin

Quarry Falls is another great attraction to visit and it is also located on the Cullasaja River close to the Highlands.

It is popular among people and visitors as a natural slide and swimming hole for an amazing water experience.

The waterfall has a jump-off rock where people can dive into the waters. Although a fun place, the rocks can be slippery so a little precaution must be maintained while walking around.

Also, water depths vary based on rainfall, so you have to be careful before diving into the water.

For those who enjoy watching from a distance, there are loads of big rocks to sit, picnic and take photos.

Address: Quarry Falls, North Carolina 28741, United States


Whatever your interests are in Franklin, North Carolina you will always find amazing activities and top attractions to experience and explore.

There are lots of museums to learn about the Cherokee Indian heritage, the Confederates, and many more.

Also, the town is packed with so many gem mines where you can discover how gemstones are found and even purchase one for yourself and your family or friend.

The town although small goes head-to-head with other places within the Appalachian region.

So, ensure to include Franklin in your list of places to visit so you can enjoy the fun of the outdoors and hike, bike, walk, camp, and also explore its historic downtown district.

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