As the weather cools down, fall activities come into full effect. For you, this might mean going to a pumpkin patch, going through a corn maze or even going on a road trip to the mountains. While knocking out a few fall bucket list items, this scenic train ride through the Great Smoky Mountains must be on your list of things to do in North Carolina this fall. Hop on a train in the Smokies to experience the colorful trees and cool, crisp air.
The best way to see North Carolina's fall foliage is riding the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and taking the Nantahala Gorge Excursion. For four and a half hours, you will take the scenic ride over the Nantahala River and of course, through the beautiful Smokies.
The other excursion, the Tuckasegee River Excursion, is just as great. Departing from Bryson City, the relaxing ride shows of the countryside on its journey to Dillsboro and back. It is also about four hours long. But if a moonshine experience sounds like something up your ally, the Nantahala Gorge ride is for you.
From now until November 2, you can take this special train ride. You will learn all about Fontana Lake and the Nantahala Gorge and river. This entire trip will be 44 miles and while you are enjoying your ride, you might even see rafters adventuring on the river below you.
There are a couple of different sections of the train you can sit in (highest to lowest): first-class, family first-class, premium open-air gondola, crown class, coach, and open-air gondola. First-class and premium open-air gondola seatings are only for those 21+ and are actually the best areas if you don't want to be around kids or large families. These areas also serve brunch and lunch during your ride.
There is a one-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center where you can get off the train and go sightseeing, or just sit by the river and enjoy the scenery. Once you hop back on, you can sip on some moonshine on the way back as well.
This is the only excursion that has the Carolina Moonshine Experience. This ticket is only $110 and you get to learn all about this vintage drink and taste different flavors. If you want a whole cocktail with the moonshine, you can experience that as well for an additional fee.
If that's not enough and you need a little more of a push to buy that ticket, you will get a full meal and souvenirs as well. You will be served Cajun barbeque with southern cornbread and honey butter, coleslaw, cinnamon apples, and sea salt caramel cheesecake for dessert.
Just two states down in Georgia, you can go on a similar train ride that takes you throughout North Georgia to see the fall foliage that people fangirl over every season.
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Price: Prices start at $51
When: Now until November 2
Address: 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, NC 28713
Why You Need To Go: This is the perfect way to see North Carolina's fall scenery and you can also drink moonshine during your adventure.