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HAPPY NATIONAL PLAN FOR VACATION DAY!

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It’s 2022 and we know you’re already busy. Sometimes we get so caught up in our busy schedules, we forget to give ourselves time to unplug and recharge our spirits! That’s where we come in! Did you know National Plan for Vacation Day is January 25th this year? Don’t let your year slip by without taking some much-needed vacation time. If you plan now, you can get your time off requests in and ready to go! Want a tip? –allow a day back home before you head back to work so you can rest up before getting back into the swing of things. Here are 10 great ways to spend your vacation in the NC Smokies.

1. SKI & Snowboard AT CATALOOCHEE SKI AREA

Let 2022 be the year you learn something new or brush up on an old hobby! Cataloochee Ski Area has 18 slopes for people of all skill levels. Afterwards, cool down with a local brew in their lodge and fuel up with a hearty meal. Take the kids to Tube World in the Valley for some easy-going fun down the mountain. Great lodging like our hotels, motels, cabins and more will keep you and your family cozy.

2. ST. PAT’S WEEKEND IN WAYNESVILLE

Spring in the Smokies is full of wild blooms, crisp mornings, and fun events. Head to Downtown Waynesville for spring shopping and to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a cold beer. Visit Boojum Brewing Company or Frog Level Brewing Company to see what flavors they have on tap. Time for a shamrockin’ good time.

3. FEED A HERD OF BISON AND VACATION IN A TRAIN CABOOSE

We hope this one got your attention! At Buffalo Creek Vacations you can stay in a train caboose decked-out nicer than most luxury apartments! Or if you’re traveling with a large party of adventurers, check out one of their gorgeous log cabins on the 65-acre property. Each morning you can watch the Bison feeding and stroll the property to see alpacas, bunnies, goats, oh my!

4. TAKE A BREWERY TOUR WHILE EXPLORING WNC

Haywood county is home to a long list of breweries that will have you hoppin’ with excitement. Take a tour and taste all the flavors of the Smokies or pick your favorite and become a regular. You’ll leave feeling like a Western NC beer connoisseur.

5. SPEND YOUR SUMMER EXPLORING SWIMMING HOLES

Looking to make a splash during your summer vacation? “Water” you waiting for? Our refreshing mountain water feeds right into swimming holes all throughout the county. Some are hidden along Hwy 215 and others are easy to find like Sunburst Swimming Hole and Midnight Falls. Take the kids out for a picnic and a day of fun.

6. TAKE YOUR PUPS TO NEW HEIGHTS

Your furry friends could use a vacation every now and then! Treat them to a tail-wagging hike up to Devil’s Courthouse or Graveyard Fields. You can venture to any other great hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway (just remember dogs are not allowed at all in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park). There are over 100 pet-friendly lodging options so there’s no excuse not to go.

7. SEE THE RAREST MOTORCYCLE IN THE WORLD

At Dale’s Wheels Through Time you will be able to explore over 350 rare and antique motor vehicles that all still run today. Ask about the rarest motorcycle in the world and hear the stories that the metal tells. If you ask us, that’s a pretty awesome fun fact to share at your next social outing! After being inspired, take yourself on a winding ride through the Smokies. Be sure to make a pit stop when they open in April!

8. DRIVE THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY TO SEE FALL COLORS

October and November are our busiest seasons and for good reason – colorful fall foliage. Though tricky to pick which week will be peak color, Mother Nature has a way of changing every year, it’s always a beautiful time to drive through the Blue Ridge mountains. We’ve got 76 overlooks and vistas located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and you won’t be disappointed. Bring a snack and watch a sunset blow you away with its vibrant colors and layers of mountain peaks.

9. GET IN THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT AT A Night Before Christmas

This annual holiday tradition is held each December in Downtown Waynesville. Enjoy the entertainment of carolers, live music, horse-drawn wagon rides, and of course a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Take a stroll through a backdrop of holiday lights and décor while you shop around for gifts. This will surely make your vacation during the holiday season merry and bright.

10. CELEBRATE MUSIC AT THE ART OF MUSIC FESTIVAL

Balsam Range is a multi IBMA award-winning bluegrass band from Haywood County, NC. To give homage to their beloved home and the music that made them they will be celebrating with their annual Art of Music Festival in the majestic backdrop of Lake Junaluska. Great music in a beautiful atmosphere—what more could you ask for? Be on the lookout for this toe-tapping event in early December.

No matter when you choose to kick-back and enjoy your time off, make sure you get an early start on planning. Consider this year’s National Plan for Vacation Day as your designated moment. We hope to see you soon here in the NC Smokies! When you visit, be sure to tag us on social with #HayNow or @VisitNCSmokies.

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