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On a hot summer's day there's nothing like hitting the water. On the North Carolina side, you can swim or go tubing on Deep Creek near Bryson City. The upper section is a little wild and woolly, with white water flowing from cold mountain springs. The put-in is at the convergence of Indian Creek and Deep Creek where the sign reads "No tubing beyond this point." The lower section of Deep Creek is more suitable for kids. Put-in for this section is at the swimming hole just above the first bridge on the Deep Creek Trail. There are several tubing outfitters near the entrance of the park at Deep Creek. Some have changing rooms and showers. Wear a swimsuit and bring towels and dry clothes to change into that you can leave in your car. Most tubing outfitters are open April–October.
You can rent an inner tube for tubing on Deep Creek for around $5 a day at these outfitters, all located near the Deep Creek entrance to the park near Bryson City. Tubes come in a variety of sizes, and some have seats and backrests.
Deep Creek Lodge & Creekside Tubing. On the left near the Deep Creek entrance to the park, Creekside Tubing has hot showers, a game room, and snack bar as well as tubes for rent. It also rents rooms and a cabin. 1881 W. Deep Creek Rd., Bryson City, NC, 28713. 828/488–2587. www.deepcreeklodgetubing.com. Tube rentals: mid-Apr.–Sep., 8 am–dusk.
Smoky Mountain Campground, Deep Creek Store & Tubes. About 50 yards from the Bryson City entrance to the park, this (highly) commercial operation rents tubes and sells camping supplies. It also has a campground and rental cabins, with free Wi-Fi. 1840 W. Deep Creek Rd., Bryson City, NC, 28713. 828/488–9665. www.smokymtncampground.com. Closed Nov.–Mar.
Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground. About 1 mi from the park entrance, Deep Creek Tube Center rents tubes with plastic seats ($5 a day) and sells creek shoes and other tubing accessories in its camp store. The Tube Center also has a campground with more than 50 sites and rental cabins (including two restored log cabins) with Wi-Fi. 1090 Deep Creek Rd., about 1 mi from downtown Bryson City, Bryson City, NC, 28713. 828/488–6055. www.deepcreekcamping.com.