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Your Next Family Adventure in the Smokies

A young family having a picnic atop Cataloochee Meadow.

Looking to get the family out of the house for a while before they start to tear it apart? Don’t stress—there’s relief waiting for you in our mountains. What will it take for you to enjoy it, you ask? It’s easy: load up the car and take a weekend trip into the heart of the Smoky Mountains for some family-friendly adventure. Here are some ways you can spend your short getaway with us:

Day One 

Fishing in Our Mountain Heritage Trout Waters

Father and son fishing at Sunburst Swimming Hole in the NC Smoky Mountains.

Spend your first morning in the Smokies getting your feet wet with the whole ‘adventuring’ thing. You’ll find our Mountain Heritage Trout Waters brimming with new experiences for the kids and a relaxing change of pace for you parents. Just get your three-day fishing license from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission here and scoop up your free tackle box from us at the Visitor Center, then you’re all set!

Sightseeing at Cataloochee Valley

go-elk-watchingCataloochee Valley is famous for many things—including a name that’s fun to say (plus historically significant). In this magical valley, you’ll find nature at its purest. Cool, rushing streams. Towering treetops. And perhaps most notably, a famous gang of wild elk. Take some time to enjoy all of these things—pick up a meal to-go from one of our restaurants and find a shady spot along the stream to enjoy it together for the most outdoorsy picnic you’ve ever had.

Horseback Riding at Cataloochee Ranch

Horse geared up for a ride.Continue your non-stop day of outdoor exploration—this time from a different perspective. Take in the lush greenery, wildflower blooms and miles upon miles of mountaintop views from horseback at Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley. The trails around the ranch will take you throughout the property and into the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Day Two

Mini Golf Challenge

Fantasy Golf and Game Room in Maggie Valley, NCFinally, just what you’re looking for: an excuse to reignite the family rivalries. Haywood County’s three mini golf courses are all tricky enough to bring out everyone’s competitive side, but they’re still tame enough to keep your matchup from going off the rails. Head to one of these spots to find out who will reign supreme this weekend:

Swimming at Sunburst

The warmth of our Smoky Mountain sunshine may force your hand on this next activity. Beat the heat and discover a true natural wonder at Sunburst Swimming Hole in Canton. This is one of the best splash zones around, with two main swimming areas, both of which are perfect for kids and adults. The crisp mountain water is refreshing, but not freezing, and the natural beachy formations will surely make it tough to pack up and leave.

Blue Ridge Parkway Ride

Motorcycle Ride on the Blue Ridge ParkwayWhile we’re sad to see you go, we can rest easy knowing you’ll be able to check off this last activity on your way out of town. A scenic cruise along the Blue Ridge Parkway comes complete with a new, yet memorable, mountain view around every corner. Stop at any pull-offs to take these views in longer or discover a short hiking trail. Whatever you do, just come back to see us soon!

Where to Eat

We know the most important piece of a successful vacation revolves around the three most important daily activities: breakfast, lunch and dinner. While many of our restaurants are operating slightly differently in order to keep their works and customers safe, you can still enjoy the same old flavor so many visitors have come to fall in love with. Check out our dining options here. To better prepare for your meal, check out menus from some of our restaurants here.

There are a lot of adventures to uncover in the Smoky Mountains. To see them all will require more than just this one trip—and we’re cool with that if you are! Find some more ways to fill your days here, and swing by our Visitor Center for even more suggestions. We hope to see you soon.

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