Where the Hiwassee and Valley rivers meet, you find the charming town of Murphy, North Carolina, with its tree-lined streets and quaint shopping options. Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, this town is a great place to spend a week’s holiday with your family, reconnecting and getting back to basics. With several rivers and national parks within driving distance, outdoor activities take your family out of the house and off on a hike or out onto the water. Murphy vacation rentals include mountain hideaways with stunning views or lakeside cabins. You’ll find many charming towns in the area, so start planning your trip by checking out the top picks for towns to stay in.

1. Murphy, North Carolina

When you arrive in this small southern town, the locals will greet like a long lost friend. You have the chance to settle into a vacation rental in the mountains and enjoy soaking in a hot tub as the sun goes down each evening. If hiking is your thing, check out Murphy River Walk and Canoe Trail for a day of meandering through the woods, checking out the local flora and fauna, and taking tons of pictures to post to Instagram.

2. Brasstown, North Carolina

Drive southeast from Murphy through breathtaking mountains with views that go on for miles to arrive at Brasstown. While staying in town at a family condo or log cabin tucked away in the outskirts, enjoy all of your favorite outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking, or horseback riding. If anyone in your group has an interest in folk art, the John C. Campbell Folk Art School offers short classes on a variety of topics, including blacksmith arts and clay.

3. Warne, North Carolina

Continue your trek towards the southeast and check out the options in the town of Warne. You can enjoy some peace and quiet in this sparsely populated area and return to your outdoor roots. Close to the town is the Walnut Hollow Ranch, where your family has the chance to take a tour of the farm and see how a working farm operates, and then grab some farm fresh supplies to cook dinner back at your vacation rental.

4. Hayesville, North Carolina

Heading from Murphy, enjoy the ride on Highway 64 through the mountains to Hayesville, which is nestled in a cozy valley. Vacation rental offerings include cabins in the foothills with creek views or large luxury homes designed to make you never want to return home. You and your family can step back in time to when the Cherokee Indians made their home in this area at the Cherokee Village.

5. Marble, North Carolina

Travel northeast through the mountains along Highway 74 to Marble, where you and your family’s vacation home away from home include picturesque views. This laid-back town is all about kicking back and relaxing. However, a short drive takes the daredevils in your family to some raging whitewater. Wildwater Outfitters offers rafting trips to chill and thrill the most adventurous in your group.

6. Andrews, North Carolina

Leave Murphy behind and travel north to make Andrews your vacation retreat. This booming town has a local brewery and winery along with a local movie theater to take in the latest blockbuster if the weather turns gray. On Friday and Saturday evenings, put on your dancing shoes and visit the Andrews Brewing Company that offers free live music.

7. Young Harris, Georgia

Take a short drive and cross over the state lines into the town of Young Harris to enjoy a vacation rental for almost any sized group or family. As a college town, Young Harris offers plenty of restaurants, bars, and unique opportunities you don’t find in a mountain vacation, such as a planetarium. You could take the younger members of your family and the animal lovers to meet an alpaca up close and personal at Destiny Alpacas.

8. Ivylog, Georgia

Follow Highway 60 southwest through charming mountain scenery, then cross into Georgia to set up your base camp in the small southern town of Ivylog with its natural charm. When you’re ready to rejoin the real world, you could take your older kids on a short drive to Tank Town USA, where they can board a real tank and cheer as you drive over old cars and other obstacles. It’s a truly unique experience that everyone will remember forever.

9. Hiawassee, Georgia

Enjoy stunning views, mountain life, and access to the highest spot in Georgia when you look for a vacation rental in this small Georgia town. The town sits on the shores of Chatuge Lake, so you and your kids can spend each day swimming, fishing, and boating. To see for miles, take the family to Brasstown Bald and visit the highest spot in Georgia.

10. Macedonia, Georgia

Worth the drive, Macedonia offers that famous southern hospitality and small-town ambiance. For fun out on the town, you and family have your choice of a couple of bowling alleys, a local water park, and a mini golf course.

11. Blairsville, Georgia

Almost directly south of Murphy is the bustling and booming town of Blairsville. You and your family have the best of both worlds with hiking, biking, and exploring the mountains and a national park that’s just a short drive away. When you’re done hiking, take an evening off and enjoy the latest movie at the Blairsville Cinema. It’s a family owned movie theater with three screens and all your favorite snacks.