Best Towns to Live in the Smoky Mountains

Nowadays, many people decide to replace crowded big cities with a more rural setting. What could be better than living against a backdrop of a mountain? If you wish to wake up surrounded by nature, listening to birds chirping, and breathing in the fresh mountain air, we’ve prepared a list of the best towns to live in the Smoky Mountains. Hopefully, we’ll help you find the right place for you.

Why choose the Smoky Mountains?

The Great Smoky Mountains is the most popular national park in the US. However, it’s also a great place to live, and if you’re wondering why here are just some of the reasons:

  • Cost of living – The cost of living in the Smoky Mountains is cheaper than the US average.
  • Outdoor activities – If you love adventures, Smoky Mountains offer a lifetime of outdoor activities. Try fishing in sparkling clean rivers or enjoy a mountain hiking experience. There are over 800 miles of hiking trails.
  • Great weather – One of the best things about NC is that the seasons here are incredibly distinct, and the weather is excellent.
  • Pet friendly – Not only rural areas but towns in the Smoky Mountains are pet-friendly, too.

What are the best towns to live in the Smoky Mountains?

A subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountain System, the Great Smoky Mountains offers many exciting places where you can move with your family or spend your retirement. Below is our list of the best towns to live in the Smoky Mountains, North Carolina. You will surely find a great place to settle and never wish to go back.

Bryson City

If you enjoy picturesque cafes, museums, and galleries, Bryson City is the place for you. It even has its own microbrewery if you enjoy craft beer. This town has a mountain village feel with many lovely parks to spend time in. There is always something to do – check out impressive waterfalls, go hiking or rafting, enjoy delicious food, or go shopping.

You will be pleased to know that the public schools are rated above average. With a population of just over 1500, it is a relatively safe place to live in. Also, there are plenty of job opportunities in Bryson City, and the job market keeps improving.

This town becomes even more magical during the holiday season. Climb aboard the Polar Express in November and December and enjoy the journey over the river and through the woods to the North Pole. Your kids will love it, and it will definitely wake up the child within you.

If you decide to move to Bryson City, you will want to unpack and settle in with ease. Moving can be pretty stressful and tiring, so you want to make it as easy as possible for yourself. We strongly recommend hiring professional movers who will help make unpacking after moving in NC a breeze.


Sylva is a picturesque small town with a population of around 2500, and it’s one of the best places to live in North Carolina. It’s famous for its’ “all American” Main Street, but it offers so much more. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops. Also, there are a couple of microbreweries, so it’s no wonder that craft brewing is one of the most popular jobs in the North Carolina mountains.

With public schools being above average, it is an excellent place for families. Many events are organized during the year. One of the most interesting is Greening Up the Mountain – a street festival meant to welcome spring. There are also plenty of fun outdoor activities for everyone, such as hiking, mountain biking, fishing, etc.

One of the most important sights in Sylva is the Jackson County Courthouse, which you will probably recognize as it’s one of the most photographed places in North Carolina. It sits 107 steps above Main Street, high on a hill where you can enjoy incredible views.

Maggie Valley

This tourist town is located in Haywood county, known for its exceptionally high quality of life, growing economy, and unmatched business climate. Maggie Valley is a small town with a population of a little bit over 1700. It was primarily known as a popular family resort town.

You can see plenty of vintage motels, enjoy fun festivals, and check out motorcycle and car rallies. Also, there are plenty of craft shops. Maggie Valley is amazing in the winter as it’s a great place to snowboard, ski, and partake in other winter activities. Enjoying the views on gorgeous snow tops is just one of the reasons you’ll love living in the mountains.

The most interesting sight in Maggie Valley is Wheels Through Time museum. Any car fan will love it and always come back to see it because of its amazing collection of many rare items.


The “Gem Capital of the World” has a population of almost 4000. Rockhounds of all ages and from all around the world visit Franklin as it’s rich in gems and minerals. There are plenty of gem mines in the area, and there is also Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum. Interestingly, Franklin is home to the Scottish Tartans Museum, where you can explore and learn more about the culture and history of Scotland.

Also, in this town, you can find great local microbreweries, craft shops, and excellent public schools. This small town is historically significant as it was where the future of two nations was determined: American and Cherokee.

Franklin is located within Nantahala National Forest. If you are a nature lover, you’ll enjoy breathtaking waterfalls, fantastic hiking trails, pristine fishing streams, and rich wildlife.

In conclusion

If you are seeking a quiet life surrounded by nature and friendly people, North Carolina small towns are perfect to choose from.

We hope you enjoyed our list of towns to live in the Smoky Mountains. If you’ve chosen to relocate to one of the towns or know of another great town to recommend, leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear all about it!

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