Shake off the winter blues and plan the perfect Spring Break mountain getaway to Western North Carolina!
It’s been a cold winter and if you’re like me, you’re itching to get outside and enjoy some head clearing fresh air and soul warming sunshine.
With warmer weather just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make plans to step away from the typical Spring Break tourist trap and party town destinations, and instead head to the mountains of Haywood County, NC.
Haywood County, NC
Made up of the five towns of Canton, Clyde, Lake Junaluska, Maggie Valley, and Waynesville, Haywood County offers affordable and exciting adventures that everyone can enjoy.
Not sure what to do in Haywood County?
How about recharging your mind, enjoying outdoor adventures, and indulging in great food all while soaking in the scenic beauty that these mountain towns have to offer?
Sign me up!
But if that’s not enough, wind down in the evening at the local craft breweries and taprooms and sample the best of the best bar food and craft beer the area has to offer. Yum!
Haywood County has everything needed to plan a perfect grown-up style getaway, so for Spring Break, come and explore this little slice of heaven in the mountains!
This article is featured on a Spring Break round up article! Check out all the other cool ideas for more fun things to do.
Nature At Its Best
The Western North Carolina mountains are home to thousands of miles of hiking trails perfect for any skill level. Are you looking for a trail that weaves and dips through lush forests, climbs to a scenic overlook, or takes your breath away with a stunning waterfall? Or perhaps you want to walk a section of the famed Appalachian Trail?
Haywood County, North Carolina and the surrounding area has all that and much more!
My favorite area trails include:
- Purchase Knob – a 4.1-mile round trip hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Hemphill Bald – a 13.7-mile loop, but just 4.7 miles to the bald
- Mount Sterling – a strenuous 5.4-mile round trip from Sterling Gap
If you’re looking for a thrilling whitewater rafting experience, several outfitters are within an hour’s drive or less, and many of them also offer ziplining adventures where you can elevate your day while zipping through the trees.
If it’s still too cool for you to even think about water sports, Dollywood Theme Park is only and hour and a half away and is a great option for thrill seekers of all ages. Dollywood opens on March 16th for the 2019 season!
Rule the Road
There’s no lack of curves when it comes to exciting and scenic mountain driving routes. The Blue Ridge Parkway pulls out all the stops as it comes to an end in Haywood County with more views, more elevation, and more overlooks than any other stretch of the 469-mile long Parkway. It’s easy to hop on and hop off at convenient intervals with four Parkway entrances within the county.
A Hearty Appetite
Throughout Haywood County, visitors can enjoy just about every type of cuisine imaginable. Finger-licking good North Carolina barbecue? Yes, we have that! (check out Willie Brooks BBQ in Maggie Valley) How about authentic Italian pizza? Yep, we have that too! (Brickhouse Burgers and Pizza in Maggie Valley.)
Other restaurants are plentiful and easy to find so don’t worry if you prefer something else.
Of course, every good meal deserves an equally good beverage, so be sure and check out the three local breweries. After a day of exploring, drop in for foot-tapping music and sample some local craft brew creations from Bearwaters Brewing Company, Boojum Brewing Company, and Frog Level Brewing Co.
Brews On Tap
Everyone knows that pristine mountain water makes for great craft beer and these Haywood County breweries create delectable local flavors, and some sport area landmark names like Sliding Rock ale and Graveyard Fields porter.
- Located along the banks of the Pigeon River in Canton, Bearwaters Brewing Company not only brews over 40 hand-crafted flavor varieties, they have partnered with Pigeon River Outfitters where visitors can enjoy a 2-hour long tube float that conveniently ends at the brewery. After working up an appetite on the river, grab a burger on site at Pigeon River Grille and enjoy the outdoor patio for fun and pet-friendly gatherings. UPDATE for 2020: Bearwaters is opening a second location in Maggie Valley with their all new Creekside brew pub!!
- Boojum Brewing Company features a fun bar tucked away right below the Waynesville taproom. The Gem serves Boojum beer, wine, and mixed cocktails and features space for hanging out and playing bar games like pool, darts, shuffleboard and foosball. The Gemstone Kitchen serves up delicious tacos, quesadillas, nachos and snacks after 7:00 pm six days a week. The Gem is for visitors aged 21 and up and is perfect for vacation fun. If you have little ones, head upstairs and hang out with them in the upper level taproom.
- Every day is a great day for a beer by the creek and that’s exactly what you get at Frog Level Brewing Company where you can sample some of the smoothest craft beer to ever pass your lips! Relish the bite from a refreshing IPA, savor the smoky darkness of a Scotch Ale, or choose a brew somewhere in between. Order a pint to enjoy in the tasting room or get a croaker (2 pints) or a growler (4 pints) to take with you. If you’re hungry, order a pizza or burger from the Canteen and enjoy it inside, or on the back deck overlooking the adjacent creek. Enjoy live music on the outdoor stage to round out your froggy experience.
Rest and Recharge
When you’re ready to recharge for the next day’s fun, rest your head at one of Haywood County’s plentiful lodging options. With a wide variety to choose from, you’re sure to find one that matches your style. Whether you’re looking for something small and budget-friendly, or a vacation rental Airbnb suitable for a large group, Haywood County has everything you need.
Planning your grown-up getaway is easy with this local’s guide to Haywood County where you can escape every day stress and visit Western North Carolina for the perfect vacation, no matter what time of the year you travel.
If you’re a craft beer aficionado, you may want to head to nearby Asheville and its South Slope area for even more craft and micro brewery options.
Have you visited Western North Carolina or Haywood County and have other suggestions of fun things to do? Let me know in a comment below.
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