The state of North Carolina extends from the mountains to the sea. Venture away from the cities to find beautiful landscapes, hiking, water activities, and golf.
International travelers to the US might be tempted to travel to New York and Los Angeles, but for adventure consider visiting North Carolina. Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, touch a waterfall, go white water rafting on the Nantahala River, kayak mountain rivers, and visit the parks and forests.
Outdoor Adventure Vacations in Western NC
In western North Carolina, the mountains offer outdoor adventures and beautiful scenery. Sleep outside along the trails, at American inns, or in traditional hotels. Eat a variety of foods. Drive a car or hire a driver. It will be worth the effort to see what lies outside the cities of the US.
Mountain Climbing, Adventure Tours, Hiking, Waterfalls
Go online to choose an adventure company. Here are a few descriptions.
- The Nantahala Outdoor Center, with 40 years of experience, is well- known for paddling and fly-fishing instruction, rafting, and hiking tours. Various skill level classes are offered, including children’s classes. Lodging, restaurants, and outfitter stores and are onsite. The Center is located near The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, within driving distance of Atlanta, Charlotte, and Knoxville. Tel: +1-888.905.7238.
- Guided adventures including rock climbing, mountain biking, waterfall tours, hiking, and paddling are available through Pura Vida Adventures, operating around Asheville and Brevard, NC. Tours go inside Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Forest. Guides have extensive experience and hold advanced wilderness medical certifications, according to the website.
- Family white water rafting adventures can be arranged through such companies as High Mountain Expeditions. Some rafting trips include children from 3 years of age and older. Caving and hiking trips for the entire family are available. Tel: +1-800-262-9036
Western NC Parks and Forests
Western North Carolina’s parks and forests are numerous; here are a few highlights.
- The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee covers 521, 085 acres, with 850 miles of hiking trails. Views are stunning all year, but most beautiful in autumn.
- Mount Mitchell State Park features the highest peak in the eastern US. The park is easy to reach from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hiking trails connect to the Pisgah National Forest.
- Pisgah National Forest covers over 500,000 acres. It boasts some of the best outdoor recreations in eastern North America, including a natural water slide at Sliding Rock.
- Nantahala National Forest is the largest of North Carolina’s National Forests. Elevations range from 1200 to 5800 feet.
Lodging & Dining in Western North Carolina
The truly adventurous will bring a sleeping bag and tent. Find one of the many campgrounds, or check with the Park Service about camping along the hiking trails.
Simple mountain cabins can be rented near outdoor adventures. Look for links on the adventure company websites, or ask when contacting them. Numerous bed and breakfast inns can be found on the NC Tourism website. Check travel sites for chain hotels in the area.
Dining near outdoor adventures will be casual foods such as sandwiches. Pan-seared local mountain trout is the best choice when it is on the menu.
Japanese food may be difficult to find. Bring miso packets, tea, or rice to enjoy occasionally.
At a bed and breakfast inn, very good American foods will be offered.
For those who enjoy coming back inside to a nice bed and great food, here are some suggestions.
The Swag Country Inn
The Swag Country Inn voted number two in Condé Nast Traveler magazine among the United States’ Best Small Hotels in November 2009 and listed in National Geographic Traveler’s April 2009 edition of “129 Hotels We Love,” this inn is superb. The grounds are adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Dress casually for meals, but do not miss them. Meals are all included and a highlight of the experience. The chef will pack a lunch for hiking trips.
The Grove Park Inn and Resort in Asheville is an elegant hotel that has hosted many celebrities. It includes a spa, tennis court, and golf course. It is listed on Fodor’s “Top 10 Luxury Spa Resorts,” according to the website. Restaurants are available on site.
Adventure Vacations In North Carolina
This information on travel from Japan to North Carolina is just the beginning of a great adventure. Try these outdoor activities, experience beautiful parks and forests, stay in American inns and enjoy different foods. It will be a memorable vacation!