Spring Break Getaway? Visit Western North Carolina!
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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You had me at Brewery! This is the perfect getaway. Nature, food, exercise and beer. I’m in. We grew up going to Asheville, but I haven’t been as an adult. Maybe this summer.
My daughter and I call the Western North Carolina mountains home, so if you ever need tips on hiking trails or other things to see and do, I would be happy to help! The local craft brews are the best!
I might end up there after seeing this blog-post! The food I personally don’t care of that much, but I’m a sucker for these mountain views. Are all 3 trails part of the Appalachian Trail?
These three particular trails are not part of the AT but access points are all around that you can easily drive to in under an hour. For the easiest AT hike with stunning views, you might want to give Max Patch at try, reached via exit 7 (Harmon Den) off of I-40 in North Carolina.
I really need to explore more of North Carolina. Love scenic road trips — and the best reward for a great day is craft beer and pizza.
Agreed!! Come visit Diana, you won’t be disappointed!
Perhaps it is because my husband and I met in North Carolina, perhaps it’s just the beauty of the mountains – but I am totally itching for a trip to the mountains! This is a great post, so many options. I saw that Dollywood is opening up with a festival of nations in March. It looks so interesting! We went to Dollywood in October and I simply fell in love. – Tweeted out your post to my followers.
Thank you! Yes, the mountains called me and I made them my forever home. 🙂 Dollywood opens in mid-March and is an easy drive from Haywood County.
A mountain getaway sounds great! Adding to the list!
I do have relatives in that part of the States and I’m ashamed to say I have never visited. Sounds amazing!
Joleisa! It’s time to go visit your family and soak in all the beauty of these mountains. 🙂
This is great, I have never heard of this part of Western NC. Will definitely keep it in mind for future trips!
This area is where you will find true southern hospitality and beautiful scenery all in one happy place.
This would be a wonderful trip! I have friends heading to Asheville in early June and I’ve sent her links to all your articles pertaining to that area!
Thanks Pam! I hope your friend has a wonderful time in Asheville. iI’s quite edgy and laid back all at the same time and June is a great time to visit. If she needs other tips I would be happy to help and I’m just an email away at [email protected] .com
I am ready for spring break in Western North Carolina Haywood County! We love hiking. I appreciate the hike trail list.
You’re welcome Missy. The three trails I mentioned are among the many, many others that are all just as fun.
I’m a beach girl at heart, but can certainly appreciate beautiful scenery, great food, and fun breweries! We love finding new breweries, so we will keep the ones you listed in mind!
Kristin, Asheville, which is just a hop, skip, and jump away from Haywood County, is known as the craft brewery capital of everywhere with 26 breweries of their own. This corner of NC really has it all!
It is cold where I’m at right now! That does look like a nice place to visit
WNC really is wonderful!
I love this!!! North Carolina is SOOO on my list!!
Come on, Jen!
I’m ready to leave the snow behind and check out those mountains! They are beautiful!
Come visit, Tammie!
I have always wanted to go to North Carolina!
Lisa, I’ve lived here full time for just a couple of months and love it!
Never knew what to do if I found myself in NC, good to know! I’ve been hearing that some places even have a great foodie scene. That pizza looks good!
Nearby Asheville ia a great foodie destination!
I am ready! This is one of my favorite areas!
Mine too! I love living here….so many hiking opportunities, and the brewery options in the entire region are second to none.
It would be so amazing to hike and see those lovely mountains! Adding this to the list of places I’d love to travel. Thanks for all of the lovely info and travel suggestions!
You are very welcome!
My brother-in-law just moved to NC! I’ve driven through it once, but we will have to get out there to explore!!
Yes! Go visit your brother in law and enjoy this wonderful state.
Great spots to check out! Thanks for the inspiration!
You’re welcome, and I’m glad I could inspire.
We have an upcoming trip planned to NC. We might have to add some of these to our list! Thank you for sharing them!
You’re welcome Trisha! I hope you have a great time!
Thanks for the great photos and inspiration! I’m in the RTP are and way overdue for a visit to gorgeous Western NC – I need a dose of these beautiful mountain views!
Come visit Sarah! We’re not too far from where you are!
I’ve always wanted to visit North Carolina and this gives some great tips on what to explore, see and eat. I’m ready to start planning!
I’m glad I could help Kristi!
I am pinning this for future reference! What a great getaway. We love being outdoors and being from Georgia, we are not that far away!
We are actually headed to Asheville for a girls trip in early April! Looks beautiful
That’s great Gail! I hope you get a chance to hike and sample a craft brew or two. Have a great time!