Tucked within the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains on the edge of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock welcomes you and your family. The many vacation rentals that look rustic and homely from the outside but have all the amenities within. Have breakfast on the porch while you take in the majestic views of the mountains. Later, feel free to hike, camp, ride your bikes, fish in the pristine waters, or go shopping in the many shops and boutiques. Visit the nearby caves or clamber up the many boulders. The kids will absolutely love the nearby Tweetsie Railroad that features Thomas the Tank Engine, the Ghost Train and special events for Christmas and the 4th of July. Don’t forget to visit Blowing Rock Cliff with its powerful, nearly vertical winds. Indeed, the winds gave birth to the legend of a Cherokee brave tossing himself off the cliff only to be blown back up into the arms of his lover. Following are ten other fantastic Blowing Rock vacation rental locations around this beautiful area.

1. Gragg, North Carolina

flowing water
Source: Flickr / Michael Kight

Head to the overlook on Stack Rock Creek Bridge at mile marker 304.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Look down to see the pretty town of Gragg. Homely vacation rentals are on offer here, with the delights of the town within walking distance or a short drive away. These include the Coffey Trout Lake, the Cascades at Gragg Prong and Stack Rock Creek. You and the kids can spend the morning with a fishing rod at the lake, or spend the afternoon simply paddling your feet in the creek’s bracing cold water.

2. Sugar Mountain, North Carolina

winter ride
Source: Flickr / Rex Pe

Named because the first European settler’s thought the snow on the mountain reminded them of grains of sugar, this village is on the eponymous mountain’s northern slope. Sugar Mountain is the place to go if you and your family love winter sports. Have fun on the slopes during the day and enjoy the view from the ski lifts as they bring you up and down the mountain. In the evening, enjoy mugs of hot cocoa and marshmallows in your vacation rental.

3. Valle Crucis, North Carolina

lake and mountain
Source: Flickr / Jon L Albee

Valle Crucis is just the place for the pony-mad people in your family. Visit the Valle Crucis Farm for their horseback rides or indulge in the horseback riding tours at the Dutch Creek Trails. The Valle Crucis Community Park offers picnic areas, trout fishing, birdwatching, and walkways. In the spring, it explodes with the colors of bay laurel and other mountain flowers. Best of all, the park is right near the Mast Store Annex, so you can do a bit of shopping.

4. Aho, North Carolina

rays of the sun
Source: Flickr / Bradley Burgess

Found at Bentley Knob just northeast of Blowing Rock, this peaceful little community is dotted with farms and has its own views of the mountains. Take advantage of deliciously cool springs and autumns to go on hikes and picnics.

5. Boone, North Carolina

family inside a wagon
Source: Flickr / Steve Brickhouse

Yes, this town was named after Daniel Boone. It’s a fun place to visit all year long, and offers winter sports, sophisticated dining and cozy vacation rentals, including log cabins, tucked away in the mountains. Make sure to attend the Horn in the West historical play at the amphitheater in the summer. Take in the bluegrass concerts, and bring the kids to listen to stories of Appalachia. Don’t forget to visit historic places such as Blair Farm, Jones House, and the famous Post Office. Boone is also near the Tweetsie Railroad and the breathtaking Howard’s Knob and Grandfather Mountain.

6. Seven Devils, North Carolina

people enjoying the snow
Source: Flickr / elias elias

Seven Devils is another town in the Blue Ridge Mountains famous for its winter sports at Hawksnest. In this case, it’s winter tubing and skiing. Dedicated to its vacation homes and guests, Seven Devils is a surprisingly young town, named for a family of seven fractious brothers or seven shrieking devils. Besides tubing and skiing, take the kids to the playground in the family park, take advantage of the tennis courts and have a picnic in the pavilion. Horseback riding is available for the horse lovers, and, there’s always hiking and fishing in the mountains.

7. Foscoe, North Carolina

lady fishing at the lake
Source: Flickr / reppepluc

Near Boone and Seven Devils you’ll find Foscoe, with its enticing shops and boutiques along the highway. Besides that, it is a place of surpassing beauty, with waterfalls, mountain views, ponds, lakes, and streams. Go fishing, hiking or bouldering, or even pan for gems; then, take it easy on the deck with a glass of wine — apple cider for the kids — and watch the blue hour steal over the mountains.

8. Sugar Grove, North Carolina

green farm
Source: Flickr / Zach Dotsey

Found on burbling Cove Creek, this community got its name from the sugar maples the settlers found there. Take the kids to Ben Farthing Farm or the colorful Ward Family House for a peep back in time. Check out Cove Creek itself with its waterfalls and the vernacular houses built along its banks.

9. Banner Elk, North Carolina

mountainous view
Source: Flickr / Mike Griffin

Like the vacation rentals in the other towns, the ones in Banner Elk are delightfully rustic. You and your family may even find the frames of your beds made of rough-hewn wood. But Banner Elk is an unexpectedly sophisticated place, with classy restaurants, wineries, spas, and museums. At nearly 4000 feet above sea level, you and the kids can hike, bike, horseback ride, rock climb, and go shopping in comfort even as lower elevations swelter in the southern summer heat. Don’t forget to come in winter! There’s plenty of skiing and tubing.

10. Ansley Heights, North Carolina

cloudy sky
Source: Flickr / Jeremy Clinard

Nearly a suburb of Blowing Rock, Ansley Heights has cozy vacation rentals with wood-burning fireplaces, fully stocked kitchens and views of majestic Grandfather Mountain. It also offers hiking and fishing in the warm months and skiing and snowboarding in the winter. Make sure to visit the nearby art and antique stores and welcoming restaurants.