North Carolina sits on the southeast coast of the United States. The state motto is “First in Flight” in honor of the Wright Brothers. They took their historic flight in the Kitty Hawk off the Outer Banks, a group of barrier islands where well-known beaches now lie. North Carolina covers the gamut from coastal resorts to mountain retreats. The ocean off the shore is so clear that the area is known as the Crystal Shore. To the west are the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains full of natural wonders worth seeing. To make it easier to plan your trip to North Carolina, we have put together this list of 10 beautiful small towns to enjoy a family vacation.
Lying on the Appalachian Trail is Bryson City. This mountain town is one of the gateways to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. You can enjoy many adventures here from riding the vintage train around the national park to white water rafting down the Tuckasegee River. You can also practice fly fishing with 1800 rods purchased from the Fly Fishing Museum. If you need a place to stay during your visit, check out the Calhoun House Inn & Suites.
Nestled between the Great Balsam and Plott Balsam mountain ranges is the tiny town of Sylva. The main attractions here are provided by Mother Nature. Home to the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, anglers come from around the world to catch the rainbow trout found in the Tuckasegee River. Strolling down Main Street, you will find antique stores, breweries, and restaurants like the local favorite The Coffee Shop, known for their homemade pies. Be sure to book a room at the Blue Ridge Inn for your trip to Sylva.
If getting out of the city is your vacation goal, the tiny town of Saluda just might appeal to you. This mountain resort town has a population of just under 1,000 folks. The Historic District downtown offers a thriving art and music scene along with antique stores and family restaurants. Outdoor lovers will rejoice in the many hiking and biking trails or spend the afternoon with a kayak mastering the whitewater rivers. At the end of the day, get a good night’s sleep at the Saluda Mountain Lodge.
You might be interested in these Airbnbs!
Sitting on the Crystal Coast is Beaufort, the third-oldest town in North Carolina. It has been called “America’s Coolest Town” by Travel & Leisure magazine. The marina is right off main street and offers delicious seafood restaurants with an ocean view. Surrounded by water, fishing is one of the most popular activities in town. While visiting you should take the time to check out Front Street which offers cafes, boutique shops, and family-friendly attractions. You will need a place to stay during your visit and you can’t go wrong with the Pecan Tree Inn.
Sitting on the banks of the Eno River is the charming town of Hillsborough. This small Southern town enjoys a lively arts and culture community. Hillsborough’s rich history dates back to 1745 and the downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During your visit, you can take part in Revolutionary War reenactments or enjoy a guided tour of the historic district. Or plan your trip for the end of the month and enjoy Last Friday when Main Street comes alive with art and entertainment. No matter when you choose to visit, be sure to stay at the Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham.
Located near the mouth of the Pamlico River is the tiny town of Bath. It was the first town established in North Carolina back in 1705 and remains almost untouched today. One of the town’s biggest claims to fame is that it was the home of the notorious pirate Blackbeard. Enjoy a guided tour of historic homes, try quail hunting at the Webb Farm, or explore the Goose Creek Nature Park. At the end of the day relax in your room at The Inn On Bath Creek.
Located on the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway in western North Carolina is the small village of Blowing Rock. It is named after a nearby rock formation that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Take in the beauty of the area as you explore the Johns River Gorge. See artwork from area artists at the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum p\or go for a hike along the marked trail to see the Glen Burney and Glen Marie waterfalls. After hiking all those trails, get a good night’s rest at the Village Inn.
Sitting at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest is the city of Brevard. Known as the Land of Waterfalls, hunting for them is a popular tourist activity. And you have plenty of places to find them between Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, and Gorges State Park. Downtown, on the main square, sits the courthouse and gazebo, where you can enjoy the town’s many festivals and outdoor concerts. One of the town’s residents is the white squirrel and right off the main square, you will find a shop by that name where you can buy a stuffed squirrel to take home with you. While visiting Brevard enjoy the hospitality of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites.
Sitting among the Blue Ridge Mountains.is the resort town of Banner Elk. With ski resorts to the north and south, the town attracts a lot of visitors during the winter. During the warmer months, enjoy the pier and beach at Wildcat Lake where you can take a dip or just try your luck at fishing. Or make the trip to Grandfather Mountain where you can explore the nature museum and hiking trails, and see the Mile High Swinging Bridge. At the end of the day, rest your head on the comfortable pillows of the Little Main Street Inn.
Where Spring Creek and the French Broad River meet you will find the tiny mountain town of Hot Springs. Folks travel from all over to experience the healing qualities of the mineral springs. Being on the Appalachian Trail you can take advantage of the natural beauty on the hiking trails or just enjoy a lazy day floating down the French Broad River. Make your trip complete and also a little more special by staying at the Paint Rock Farm Glamping Retreat.
Paint Rock Farm Glamping Retreat
Address: 1295 Paint Rock Road
From the mountains to the sea, North Carolina has it all
Whether you prefer a mountain getaway or a beach vacation, you can find it in North Carolina. This small Southern state has a lot to offer its many visitors, especially for those folks who love an outdoor adventure. Plan your next vacation and explore these small beautiful towns.
Get Trip101 in your inbox