Mountain lakes in the region include Hiwassee, Fontana, Santeetla, Chatuge, Nantahala, Thorpe and Bear Lakes. Western North Carolina is home to mountain crafts and culture. The North Carolina Great Smoky Mountains offer some of the best locations for family reunions, weddings, honeymoons and antique shopping in the southeast. Outdoor recreation in the Smokies includes whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Nantahala, Tuckasegee, Little Tennessee, Hiwassee, Pigeon and headwaters of the Chattooga as well as single track mountain bike trails that rip and twist through the Tsali Recreation Area.
Fontana Lake forms the southern boundary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, sea kayaking on the lake is an exceptional way to experience the great outdoors and camping with children.
Hiking on the Appalachian Trail tops out at 6643 feet on Clingmans Dome as the AT follows the spine of the Smokies through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Nantahala National Forest and the Pisgah National Forest. Families can view the landscape from a tourist train as the railroad follows the Tuckasegee and Nantahala River corridors through steep mountainsides and rolling farmland. The outdoor drama, Unto These Hills, depicts the Trail of Tears march of the Cherokee Indian and is a popular family attraction.