Get the scoop first with our official blog about Franklin, NC!
Of course, it’s exciting to think of all the things to do once you arrive in Franklin, North Carolina – the mountains rise on every side of the valley, calling you to hiking, fishing, kayaking, and other adventures, while the small town coziness rounds out a feeling of relaxation and rest – but have you ever realized that the journey in could be one of the best parts?
Let’s talk about going the long way round from Highlands, Cherokee, and Atlanta.
Highlands is a beautiful mountaintop town frequented by celebrities and locals alike, so if it’s your last stop on the way to Franklin, there are several ways to head down into the valley.
The most frequented route is US 64, which takes about 40 minutes. The views are beautiful, and several waterfalls dot the landscape as you wind up the tight curves and watch the world fall away. It’ll feel like an adventure without ever leaving your car, but if you choose to make a stop, be sure to walk the short trail behind Dry Falls to see a rare angle of the roaring water.
You could also drive down to Georgia and up through Sky Valley, which is only 50 minutes. While it adds around 10 minutes to your trip, drivers who would like a bit of cushion on the mountain roads can enjoy two lanes as they navigate the route’s sharper curves.
Travelling from Cherokee
Is culturally-rich Cherokee your last stop on the way to Franklin? We’ve got routes for you, too.
There are two main ways to travel: you could swing to the east on US 441 and pass through the quaint and lovely town of Dillsboro (about 40 minutes), or you could take US 28 to wind up through the mountains on an exciting stretch of road (55 minutes).
The choice comes down to how adventurous you are. The route through Dillsboro has some construction on US 23, but it doesn’t slow traffic much, and the highway has two lanes each way while traversing the mountains. US 28, on the other hand, takes a bit longer but treats avid drivers to the thrill of hugging each tight curve.
Travelling from Atlanta
Finally, if you’re heading up from the big city, we have routes for you, too!
Most will come up I-985 until it turns into US 23 – it’s an easy way to travel, since it’s a straight shot once you leave I-85 in Atlanta, and takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. You’ll also be treated to a faraway view of the mountains breaking through the trees, and the North Georgia mountains are a great taste of what’s to come.
If the truly scenic route is what you’re after, stay on I-85 and take the exit for US 76 to ride through national forest land and arrive in Clayton, Georgia. The roads are two-way traffic but not too curvy – just enough to get you ready for Franklin. It adds more travel time than the traditional route, taking about 3 hours, but if you’re willing to spend an extra 40 minutes driving through beautiful forests, US 76 is the way to go.
Wherever you’re from, welcome!
Franklin is delighted to host your next mountain adventure! While you’re here, why not explore some of our housing, dining, and outdoor adventures? Getting here is just half the fun!
Planning a vacation in the mountains for an outdoor excursion? Getting away from the bustle of life is a prized part of a Blue Ridge adventure, but you don’t want to be so away from it all that you can’t easily get from one place to the next!
Here are some transportation options in Franklin, North Carolina, so you can see what sort of services are available to visitors.
Public Transportation – The Macon County Transit
If getting around the valley without hopping in your own car is the goal, the Macon County Transit is the way to go. The shuttle has stops everywhere from Main Street to the grocery store – perfect for any of your transportation needs. General public rates are $3 to ride per day.
Keep in mind that some services are limited, however – for instance, transportation from airports to Franklin have been put on hold during the Coronavirus pandemic.
You can either jump on the transit along the route or make a specific location request. Requests must be received by 11:00 AM the day prior to the date of the trip that is within Macon County. Appointments are taken on a first call first served basis.
Non-emergency Medical Transportation – Mountain Area Transport
If your needs are a bit more specific, the Mountain Area Transport has just what you need. Servicing different medical sensibilities is their specialty, from handicap persons to the elderly. Their services are also available for long distance travel, and you can quickly and easily book their services online. Rates and schedules are available when you request service.
Rental Car Services – Enterprise Car Rentals
If you simply prefer to save mileage on your own car and nab another ride while you’re in the mountains, head over to our local Enterprise Rental center. Pick from a convenient lineup of vehicles and rent based on your needs for the vacation duration. Rates and services depend on availability when the request is made, of course, so be sure to check the dates of your trip.
Private Flights – Macon County Airport
Finally, you might like to take to the skies and see the dazzling views from thousands of feet up—if flying is more your style, consider the airstrip at the Macon County Airport your welcome mat. You’ll descend into the stunning Iotla valley in an unforgettable sweep and watch the mountains rise up around you. Just arrange your arrival by filling out the contact form on the airport’s website, and you’ll be on your way.
Ride, Explore, and Enjoy!
Whatever you choose for your ideal mode of transportation, we’re excited to host you for your mountain getaway vacation! Stay tuned on the blog for more tips, ideas, and the inside scoop on Franklin, North Carolina – we can’t wait to see you here!
Technology is a wonderful thing, but everyone has been on that one vacation or weekend when you tried to get away from it all and “it all” somehow still found its way to you.
Unplugging from the internet and demands of work contacts can be difficult, but it’s definitely worth it—here are a few activities to help you put down the electronics and get outside in the mountains.
What’s a trip to the mountains without a hike? If you’re not an experienced hiker, don’t worry—not everyone is cut out for the Appalachian Trail, and there are plenty of smaller trails that just about anyone can manage.
If you want to get down to the root of the mountains and don’t mind getting a little muddy, gem mining is the way to go! Franklin has several placer mines where sapphires and rubies abound—you can choose to sift through unaltered buckets of stones and dirt for treasure, or you can always get an enriched bucket that has small gems added for a guaranteed find.
Macon County has several spectacular parks all over town, so there’s plenty to choose from depending on what your family enjoys doing. Frisbee, hammocking, batting cages, playgrounds, creek, and walking trails abound—check out the Parker Meadows Complex for starters and plan a fun day outdoors!
The Little Tennessee River Greenway
For anyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors a little closer to town, the Little Tennessee River Greenway is a lovely place to walk, bike, or run. The entire Greenway is around six miles, but there are plenty of entry and exit points with pavilions and parking lots if you’d rather not walk the entire way.
Putting away your internet access and phone contacts for a few days may seem daunting at first, but when you realize how much there is to do outdoors in the mountains, you’ll find it’s not too hard at all! We hope you enjoy your time to unplug and wind down—we can’t wait to host you in Franklin!
Sunshine and gorgeous mountain views go a long way toward boosting your mood and bringing the family together. If you’re in Franklin, North Carolina, you know that the outdoor adventures are just waiting to be had – but you have little people to think about.
No worries. Here are some family-friendly hikes that everyone can enjoy.
The Little Tennessee Greenway – 6.4 Miles
This partially paved trail is perfect for families with younger kids and strollers. Not only will you get to walk along the Little Tennessee, but you can stop along the way for a play date at Wesley Park, take the dogs by the dog park, and stop for a picnic at several different pavilions.
The inclines are small, so this one can hardly be called a hike – but it’s a perfect outdoor stroll for younger families.
Wayah Bald Tower – 4 Miles
When you’re up in the mountains, what is cooler than an old stone fire tower to climb up and catch the view? That’s what you can find when you hike up to Wayah Bald.
The steady incline is perfect for kids who want a bit more of a challenge without anything too intense, and the 180 degree overlook at 5,342 feet elevation at the end is a treat for all. If it’s a clear day, see if you can spot the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee!
Rufus Morgan Trail – 1 Mile
Don’t let the single-mile loop fool you – this trail is almost entirely switchbacks that zigzag up the mountain, and the many small waterfalls are well worth the extra effort. You’ll cross several streams on stepping stones and gasp at the steepness of the mountain beside you; we’d recommend this trail for ages 10 and up.
If you want to feel like you’re truly immersed in a mountain adventure without committing to a long hike, the Rufus Morgan Trail is for you!
Bartram Trail – 4.1 Miles
Got any trail runners in the family? The Bartram Trail is going to be your new best friend! The perfect cross between switchbacks and winding trails, this section of the Bartram will take you to a breathtaking overlook at William’s pulpit. It’s also very accessible for kids of all ages, so long as they are able to make the 4.1 mile trek. Pack trail mix and get ready for a great excursion!
Wherever you go, have a great time in Franklin, NC!
Getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is one of life’s greatest joys – and Franklin is the perfect place to head out. For more information on hikes in the area, check out our other local trails and start planning your next adventure today.
There’s no better place to get the flavor of a town than its downtown area, and Franklin has quite a few delightful restaurants and eateries on Main Street. Of course, there are plenty more delicious places to stop for a bite in the area, but if you plan to spend an afternoon shopping downtown, here are the places you need to know (in alphabetical order!).
The Lazy Hiker
First up is one of our local microbreweries, which sports a food truck in their main parking area. Grab a beer and drop an order at the truck, whether you get street tacos, burgers, or some gourmet concoction you’ll never see anywhere else! The trucks rotate every few months, so keep up with the offerings on the Lazy Hiker’s social media pages.
This southern food staple is home-cooked goodness tucked away from the hustle and bustle. Martha’s Kitchen is best known for their full buffet, complete with three meets, two soups, salad, and deserts every day—but if you want to know what’s really stolen our hearts, it’s the cranberry pecan chicken salad. It’s a local favorite!
Motor Company Grill
Want a blast from the past and a real foodie challenge? Look no further than the Motor Company Grill, a 50’s style diner with the notorious El Dorado cheeseburger. If you can down all four pounds of this beefy, cheesy, bacon-y monster on your own in 45 minutes, you’ll get a t-shirt and you photo on the Wall of Champions! And, of course, there are plenty of regular-sized cheeseburgers for anyone wanting big flavor without the stomach ache.
Root and Barrel
The most sophisticated restaurant on main street has two appetizers that keep us coming back for more. Whether you order their fried pimiento cheese balls drizzled with red pepper jelly or indulge in some panko fried shrimp and Thai chili sauce, you’ll have the perfect Franklin delicacy to pair with your cocktail.
Rockin’ Rollie Pollies
Last but not least, if you want a big bite of the wild west, prepare to sink your teeth into a bison burger at Rockin’ Rollie Pollies! The fusion-style restaurant has mouthwatering bison, beef and lamb gyros, build-your-own tacos, and many more off-the-wall combinations. You’ll be sure to find something for everyone!
Just need a little bite? We’ve got those, too
If you’re in the mood for something small, there are plenty of options downtown for snacks. Check out Rathskellar’s famous peanut butter cookies, Just Donuts’ donuts (bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?), Crabtree General Store’s hand scooped ice cream, Life’s Bounty’s baked goods, and Main Street Coffee’s frozen yogurt for a quick bite to eat.