Franklin was first settled by Native Americans of the Cherokee Nation and its tribes at least a thousand years ago. The town is home to Nikwasi Mound. Nikwasi was an important and ancient Cherokee town, and was centered around the platform. The city was named for Jesse Franklin, who was one of two state commissioners who surveyed and organized the town in 1820 as the county seat for what would become Macon County in 1828. Franklin was not formally incorporated until 1855. In 1946, the town raised money to buy Nikwasi Mound, and vowed to preserve it.
Many people drive to Franklin, or drive from the Asheville Regional Airport to Franklin. Most people come from Asheville, Atlanta, Sevierville, and Greenville.
If you're driving from Asheville, take I-40 West to Exit 27 (23 South/74 West). Follow to Exit 81 (U.S. 441/23 South). The ride is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes. If you're driving from Atlanta, follow I-85 North to I-985. Go left on I-985 which becomes 23/365 North. Then, 23/365 will become 23/441 North. Follow to Franklin. The ride is approximately 2 hours.
The Macon County Transit has several stations around Franklin. With Franklin being a retirement town, many seniors who cannot drive take the transit buses; expect to ride for at most an hour before you reach your destination, because many seniors and some homeless people take this bus. The MCT runs from 7AM to 5PM. It is required to wear a face mask on the buses.
Local (Franklin Area) requests are taken on a first call first served basis. Scheduling your ride as far in advance as possible is preferred but can be made no later than 11:00 a.m. at least one business day prior to the date of the trip. If calls are received after 11:00 a.m. or if the route capacity is already met, transportation will not be provided.
Outside the Franklin area trips must be scheduled at least 1 week in advance and will be taken on availability only. Appointment times for out of county trips must be no earlier than 10:00 a.m. and no later than 2:00 p.m.
Automobiles are the most common mean of travel. There is construction on Georgia Road (U.S. Route 441), and its completion is estimated to be in 2026, as of 2022; so, traffic can get bad on some days. Franklin has two major highways, being U.S. Route 23 and U.S. Route 441. These intersect near the south portion of town.
- 1 Gem & Mineral Museum, 25 Phillips Street. noon-4PM. Quaint museum with a gift shop housed in a former county jailhouse displaying gems, rocks and fossils from Western North Carolina.
- 2 Nantahala National Forest. numerous waterfalls
- Yonder, 151 Hillcrest Avenue. noon-6PM. Organic and curated food market grown from local farmers. Has specialty dishes and an outdoor seating area. Hosts events and live music every now and then. Tel: +1 828-200-2169.
- Rathskeller, 58 Steward Street. 10AM-8PM (closed Sunday-Tuesday). Café in the basement of one of the oldest buildings in the town. Has café food, coffee, and live music and events on some nights. $1.00-$5.00. Tel: +1 828-369-6796.
- Gooder Grove Hostel, 130 Hayes Cir. Humble place where people can come together. Tel: +1 828-332-0228.
- Hilltop Inn, 433 E Palmer St. No-frills stay. Tel: +1 828-524-4403. ~$53.
|Routes through Franklin|
|Chattanooga ← Murphy ←||W E||→ Highlands → Hendersonville|