If you’re interested in Native American history and heritage, then Cherokee, NC, should be on your travel bucket list. This town in the Oconaluftee River Valley is home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the best place to immerse yourself in Cherokee culture. If you’re coming to visit, bedding down in a rental cabin right in Cherokee or in the town’s immediate surroundings might be the best option, but you can also opt for a vacation home in either Asheville, NC, or Knoxville, TN—they’re 2 of the closest major cities to Cherokee.
Cabins for rent in Cherokee
A visit to Cherokee is no doubt a historical and cultural field trip, and the learning starts as soon as you set foot in the town. Bilingual street signs signal that this is no run-of-the-mill American community, while storefronts display tomahawks, moccasins, and various locally made crafts. Attractions include the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, whose exhibits trace 13,000 years of Cherokee history, and the Oconaluftee Indian Village, where you can sign up for guided tours and check out interactive exhibits modeled after a typical day in Cherokee life during the 18th century. Alternatively, if you’re visiting in the summer, you can watch the Cherokee story come to life on the Mountainside Theatre stage via the drama “Unto These Hills,” the third-oldest historical drama performed outdoors in the US. Your Cherokee vacation need not entirely be about history and culture, either. Numerous fishing spots give avid anglers plenty of opportunities to catch trout, while the Fire Mountain trail system offers hikers, runners, and cyclists a scenic spot to get some exercise. You can also try your luck at Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort or tee off at Sequoyah National Golf Club, and there’s even more outdoor recreation to be had at nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Asheville vacation home rentals
Blue Ridge Mountains Asheville, located in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is one of 2 cities that serve as gateways to Cherokee. If you want to be surrounded by stunning architecture, lively local microbreweries, and a booming arts district occupied by hundreds of galleries and studios, then you might want to look through the vacation homes that Asheville has to offer. You can stay close to the downtown area, where you can check out mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, then wander around in search of the bronze plaques that tell the story of the city’s history. The majestic Biltmore Estate is a must-visit in Asheville—completed in 1895, its French chateau–inspired historic mansion has over 250 rooms and is the largest privately owned home in the country. Alternatively, you can hole up in a cozy cabin rental ensconced in the verdant mountain landscape, where you’re close to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. Rental cottages in the Blue Ridge Mountains offer proximity to hiking and biking trails, as well as to waterfalls and wildlife encounters. Many cabins come with decks and outdoor seating, so you can better relish the woodsy setting and mountain views, or a hot tub for a relaxing soak at the end of the day.
Cabin rentals in Knoxville, TN
Many visitors to Cherokee also come from the direction of Knoxville, a city set on the Tennessee River in the neighboring state of Tennessee. This destination has just as vibrant a downtown area as Asheville, making it an equally good choice for lodging. Rental cabins in Knoxville put you close to attractions like James White’s Fort, where you’ll find a reconstruction of the Revolutionary War captain’s 1786 log cabin—the first home in Knoxville. Both the Museum of East Tennessee History and the Knoxville Museum of Art lend more insight into the region’s art and culture, while Zoo Knoxville may be an exciting stop for families with kids. Looking to spend time in the great outdoors? You can visit Ijams Nature Center for plenty of hiking, biking, rock climbing, canoeing, and kayaking. The 315-acre slice of urban wilderness also features Navitat Knoxville, a zipline park where you can choose from several adventure trails in the treetops. If you want to add wildlife viewing to the day’s outdoor activities, head for Great Smoky Mountains National Park—you might come across black bears, white-tailed deer, and coyotes while hiking the Cades Cove valley, if you're lucky. The park’s wide selection of trails caters to visitors of all ages, and they’ll lead you to stunning vistas, roaring waterfalls, and historic structures.