Western North Carolina Winter Activity Guide

Western North Carolina is a wonderful place to escape when the temperature starts to drop – and this winter is going to be FANTASTIC. Seasonal events and stunning snow-capped mountains make this an ideal time to visit. Additionally, there are some exciting traditional and new activities (like the Ice Fest Weekend) that will only take place during the winter months. Here is our Western North Carolina Winter Activity Guide to help plan your Waynesville winter getaway.


Biltmore holiday decorations - North Carolina Winter Getaway

November 3, 2023-January 7, 2024 – Christmas at Biltmore

Starting in late Autumn, the staff at Biltmore begin a frenzy of decorating to get ready for the holidays. Trees and garland adorn the majestic rooms in Biltmore House for guests to enjoy during the Candlelight Christmas Evenings. Glittering lights also cover much of the grounds and Antler Hill Village, setting the stage for excellent holiday photos. Reservations required.


Santa Claus at the Polar Express - Biltmore holiday decorations - North Carolina Winter Getaway

November 9-December 31, 2023 – The Polar Express Train Ride

Now an annual tradition, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad hosts this wonderful kid-friendly experience. This unique 1¼ hour round-trip journey departs from the Bryson City Depot. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the story. The train arrives at the North Pole and Santa greets each child, presenting them with their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols are sung as they return back to Bryson City. The train runs most days – check their online schedule for specific dates, reservations required.


Waynesville Christmas Parade on a North Carolina Winter Getaway

December 4, 2023 – The Waynesville Christmas Parade

A special favorite of residents and tourists alike, the annual Waynesville Christmas Parade is a really, really big deal. Described by some as something straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, this event takes place right on Main Street. This fun evening features great floats, costumes, local dance groups, bands, and so much more. The parade will start at 6pm.


Paper lantern lights in Waynesville North Carolina

December 9 and 16, 2023 – A Night Before Christmas

Hundreds of luminaries line the brick sidewalks of downtown Waynesville during this special annual event. Highlights include carolers, live music, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a living nativity, and old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon rides. Shops and galleries stay open late for those seeking the perfect gift, while visitors can also enjoy excellent dining and entertainment throughout the evening. This year the event will span two weekends to accommodate all the extra visitors!


Ice Scuptors

January 26-28, 2024 – NC Smokies Ice Fest Weekend

One of the biggest new events for this year is the NC Smokies Ice Fest Weekend. Haywood County will be transformed as the festival goes county-wide. experience jaw-dropping ice sculptures, interactive ice games, and the chance to peruse local artisans’ masterpieces. Lace up your skates and glide across an ice skating rink, indulge in delicious dining specials, and snag some incredible deals while you shop. This weekend-long event is guaranteed to make your heart melt – in the best way possible! BONUS: Guests booking at The Yellow house can take advantage of special discounted weekend rates for the festival. Booking the package includes tickets to the event, as well as a special wine reception, and hot chocolate and dessert bar. Book online or call 828-452-0991 to take advantage of this offer.


Cataloochee Skiing on a North Carolina winter getaway

Late November, 2023-Early March, 2024 (weather-dependent) – Cataloochee Ski Area and Tube World

Located just north of Maggie Valley, Cataloochee Ski Area features 18 excellent trails for every level of skier or snowboarder. Onsite rentals provide all the necessary equipment, and lessons are offered for a variety of ages and skill levels. In addition to regular daytime skiing, lighting on all trails allows for excellent night skiing. Cataloochee also hosts a small terrain park for boarders and more adventurous skiers. If you are looking for an alternative way to enjoy a little speed on the snow, be sure to check out Tube World. With specially groomed slopes maintained for inner tubing, the 1 hour and 45-minute slope pass should tire out even the most avid tubing enthusiast. Better still, their moving carpet lift makes it easy to get back to the top of the slope, letting you save your energy for each downhill run.

Our luxurious Waynesville bed and breakfast makes a perfect home base for your Western North Carolina winter getaway Book one of our romantic suites and relax in front of your fireplace after a day of exploring. Enjoy our homemade three-course breakfast each morning, or a glass of wine while soaking in our quiet mountain views each evening. Also, weekday discounts are available all winter long for North Carolina residents, senior citizens, AAA members, and retired and active military.

Safe Travels!