The quaint town of Murphy in the western part of North Carolina may seem small, seeing that you can walk around the town square and do many things, but it is mighty and has a fierce sense of community. Murphy has pristine landscapes, locally-owned boutiques and antique stores, waterfalls, dense forests, and river activity choices. You are in for a real treat when you take a road trip to Murphy, North Carolina, located two hours from Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.
What to See in Murphy
Hiking is a primo activity with two famous mountain ranges to choose from. You can also hike the beautiful landscape of the Nantahala National Forest, which has abundant trails. It is easy to get your nature fix in this part of the North Carolina.
There are three lakes to choose from (Hiwassee, Apalachia, and Cherokee) in the area, so boating, swimming, inner-tube floating, water skiing, fishing, whitewater rafting, and kayaking are popular activities. Camping around these lakes would be a great alternative to typical lodging.
A cool thing to do in Murphy is to dig for gems and pan for gold at Salty Dog Gem Mine at Wagon Master Ranch Resort. You can also charter boats, play mini-golf, skeet shoot, and go for a wagon ride. There are even Power Wheels dune buggies and Jeeps for the little ones to enjoy.
Do a little shopping in downtown Murphy at Marketplace Antiques, Curiosity Shop Bookstore, Bless My Stitches Quilt Shop, or Simply Sweet Baby Boutique. The scented body products and jewelry at Serenity Mountain are worth a look, too. Art classes are offered, or you can watch artisans at work at MAC, the Murphy Art Center. Hanging Dog General Store is a local favorite, with dipped candles, retro candies, and ice cream.
Murphy’s two unique attractions are Fields of the Wood and the John C. Campbell Folk School. Fields of the Wood is a nature park based on the Holy Bible. Rock formations and creative displays depict God’s word at a free attraction that is fun and beautiful for all denominations. The Ten Commandments display is stunning!
The John C. Campbell school offers 800+ year-round classes related to art, music, gardening, dance, crafts, photography, writing, and much more. It has been in business and supporting/teaching with a hands-on learning curriculum for almost 100 years.
Where to Eat in Murphy
For a town the size of Murphy, there are many good dining choices. Pop in Muttigan’s for aromatic coffee, cold brew, espresso, and tea in a gorgeous space. This space doubles as a pet boutique, too, and pets are welcome to hang with you.
Get your Mexican food fix at Monte Alban Restaurante Mexicano for lunch, or try the raved about “overstuffed sandwiches” from Red Brick Deli, the #1 rated restaurant in town per TripAdvisor.
The Parson’s Pub is excellent for dinner options. They have an extensive beer menu and German favorites, like Bangers & Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, and Corned Beef and Cabbage.
You will find comfortable and clean accommodations at the Stonebrook Lodge (free Wifi and breakfast) and Holiday Inn Express & Suites Murphy (with a lovely indoor pool). If casino action interests you, check out Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River (a Caesar’s property), with 1,000+ slot machines and 70 table games. Harrah’s also has a food court, several restaurants, and rooms for under $100 per night.
Add some romance to your mountain visit at Angels Landing Inn, a 115-year-old Victorian home turned bed and breakfast in 2002. It offers a gourmet breakfast, fresh flowers in each room, vintage clawfoot tubs, and turn-down service, to name a few of the enticing amenities. A second romantic choice would be to rent a rustic cabin from Mountain Country in the stunning Appalachian Mountains. You’ll have privacy galore and all of the comforts of home in this peaceful setting.
A Real North Carolina Gem
Between the beauty of the Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains, local attractions, acute town square, the lakes, and scenic vistas, you will find Murphy, North Carolina, to be a great weekend getaway no matter what time of year you visit.
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For more to do in the area, check out these posts:
North Georgia Mountains
**This is an article I wrote for Charleston Home and Living Magazine in the past.