The area around Cherokee is meant for exploration. The beauty of the Smoky Mountains have inspired countless pieces of art, songs, and people. A chance to visit all of the national and state parks in this region is the true highlight of the area. Apart from nature, cities like Gatlinburg and Knoxville, Tennessee also make great tourist destination and are easily and quickly reached from Cherokee.

The most popular side destination from Cherokee is without a surprise, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which is open all year round. The website provides directions and camping/tourist information.

Clingman's Dome in the highest point on the Appalachian Trail, the walkway jets out over the valley providing amazing views. This observation tower can be reached while in the National Park. Speaking of the Appalachian Scenic Trail, this itself of course is a major destination to hit and is also a National Park.

The Nantahala National Forest is also not far from Cherokee; the forest offers many hiking trails, rivers for kayakers, and beautiful waterfalls. When passing through here, make sure to use the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.