There is a put in/park under the US 28 bridge next to the RR Tracks. These tracks are used by the Smoky Mountain Railway. They often use a steam locomotive. I used a 14' Mohawk with flotation front and back. I was joined by four kayakers from work most of whom were novices. The scenery could have been better as there was a lot of trash especially shredded tarps. Speaking of scenery, check out the wrecked locomotives and river right from the movie The Fugitive. This river is a good introduction to class 2 whitewater. There are several drops and nice standing waves. None of our group turned over but I did a little bailing after the standing waves. The take out is about 2 hrs down stream under the SR 1392 bridge at Tuckasegee Outfitters. During the summer months the outfitter will provide a shuttle for a small fee, or you could rent a raft or duckie to test the waters.
There are many quaint B&B's in Dillsboro. I don't recommend the Park campgrounds as they don't have hot showers, but there are hundreds of private campgrounds in the area. Follow US74 up the Nantahala Gorge there are many outfitters and campgrounds. I like the bunk house at Rolling Thunder if it's not full of boy scouts.
From Asheville take US 74/441 towards Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.