In 2020, the great outdoors are more appealing than ever before. Fortunately, Western North Carolina is full of wonderful trails, hikes, country roads, mountain views, and waterfalls. there are loads of great things to do here. With reduced travel traffic, things are even quieter than usual, making it even easier to safely enjoy the area. So without further ado, we have put together our top travel recommendations for the Summer of 2020.
See More of the Biltmore
The famous Biltmore Estate is America’s largest home, and tours of the main house have always been popular. However, there is so much more to see and do than just tour the main house.
- Instead of heading straight for the main house, spend the day exploring more than 8,000 acres of tree-lined gardens and trails. The rose garden is spectacular, and beautifully curated plants and trees are scattered around the property for you to discover. Bring along your own lunch and enjoy a relaxing picnic on the lawn.
- The estate also offers horseback riding, or you can bring your bike and ride around the many trails and paths.
- As a special treat, enjoy some fresh ice cream over in Antler Village.
- IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING HOUSE TOURS: While there are capacity restrictions, the main house has reopened to tours. Be sure to call ahead and reserve your tour time if you are planning to take a tour.
Grab a Picnic and Hike on The Blue Ridge Parkway
A 10-minute drive to the southwest of Waynesville is the Pisgah region of the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most-traveled motorways in America. We often talk about the Parkway, but this year it seems to be especially quiet up, even on the weekends. Be sure to plan ahead – restrooms and some public services are remaining closed during the pandemic.
- Grab a bag lunch from one of the fantastic local restaurants. Some of our favorites for a quick pick-up are the Patio Bistro, The Cuban Guy, or the Smoky Mountain Sub Shop. (If you are staying with us at the Yellow house, we also offer a picnic lunch package.)
- Connect with dozens of amazing trailheads for the gently-used Mountains-to-Sea Trail right from the Parkway. Select an appropriate overlook, park your car, take a hike, and unwind!
- Visit some of the top hiking trails along the Parkway, including Graveyard Fields and Devil’s Courthouse.
Get a Little (or a Lot) Wet
- About 25 minutes to the southwest of the Yellow House are several river rafting outfitters that offer trips on the Tuckasegee River. This family-friendly rafting river features class I and II rapids. For those seeking a more relaxed pace, 15 minutes to the West, outfitters service tubing down the Oconoluftee River.
- According to recent visitor’s survey by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, “Fly fishing for Trout and Game Fish” was ranked next after hiking and sight-seeing as the next most popular activity. The park has long had a reputation for a healthy trout population, and the pure, sparking mountain streams make this part of North Carolina perfect trout country. Both Waynesville and Maggie Valley are designated Mountain Heritage Trout Waters, abundantly stocked with dozens of easy-to-access fishing spots. You can also hire a local fly fishing guide to teach you the art and craft of fly fishing.
(Re)Discover the Parks and Forests
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most visited national park. The park is world renowned for its diverse plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. Within the park and easily accessible from Waynesville is the Cataloochee Valley, once home to a sizable Appalachian community and a Cherokee hunting ground. There is ample hiking, biking, fishing, and wildlife viewing throughout the park.
- The Pisgah National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts offering a wide range of recreation options. To mention just a few, there’s hiking and back-packing, camping, fishing, biking, horse-back riding, swimming, rock climbing, car tour sightseeing, waterfalls, wildlife, and historical areas.
Let us know what you think of our list! We wish you happy and healthy travels!
Chad, Josh, and Harry