From its Atlantic Ocean shorelines on the eastern side to its mountain peaks in the western portion, North Carolina delivers the kind of rugged beauty that draws visitors year-round. Relatively mild weather extends outdoor adventure possibilities throughout the year in many areas of the state. North Carolina cabin rentals situated at various elevations provide memorable views and easy access to the attractions and natural beauty that makes the state appealing.

1. Asheville

highway treesA mountain town surrounded by the Blue Ridge range, Asheville blends active outdoor activities with the type of architectural beauty, culture, and art you might expect from a much larger city. Staying in a vacation rental wood cabin in this vibrant, edgy city keeps you close to the many art galleries and locally owned shops, well-preserved downtown architecture, and scenic outdoor activities. Visit the iconic Biltmore Estate for a trip back in time to the Gilded Age. Beautiful gardens surround this castle-like mansion, which is an ideal Asheville activity year round. Venture outside the city for whitewater rafting, ziplining, hiking, and fly fishing. Hike to an elevated spot to see breathtaking views from the city, which expand in beauty as the leaves change colors in autumn.

2. Cherokee

waterfall mountain
Source: Flickr / Mike Kalasnik

Immerse yourself in Cherokee Native American culture with this North Carolina vacation rental location option. Cherokee sits near the Great Smoky Mountains, offering a mix of native culture and natural beauty that gives your family all sorts of new experiences. Marvel at some of the best views of this Western North Carolina town from the Fire Mountain Trails. The Museum of the Cherokee and the Oconaluftee Indian Village offer interactive experiences to help families better understand the Indian tribes. Outside the town, head into nature to explore waterfalls in the area, including the popular Mingo Falls, a 120-foot waterfall that cascades over rocks in a gorgeous natural display that delights the senses.

3. Maggie Valley

mountain town
Source: Flickr / Jared

Another popular Smoky Mountain escape, Maggie Valley bursts with a welcoming attitude with more small-town charm than you can imagine. This mountain town delivers views right from your log cabin, but venturing on the many hiking trails in the area brings you even closer to nature. Cast a line into local waters to try your hand at trout fishing. Elk watching is another favorite outdoor activity in the Maggie Valley area. Fall foliage makes the transition from summer to winter a beautiful one. While outdoor activities are popular in the summer, cooler winter temperatures don’t keep Maggie Valley visitors indoors. Visit the Cataloochee Ski Area to enjoy thrills for all ages, from the Wee Bowl tubing area for little ones up to the higher slopes for those with a little more experience. Man-made snow keeps the slopes in perfect shape throughout the winter months.

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4. Lake Lure

lake forest
Source: Flickr / Richard Hefner

Lake Lure covers 720 acres of pristine woodlands and has 21 miles of shoreline, offering up plenty of space for water-based activities. The city of Lake Lure surrounds the body of water with access to many amenities during your stay. Clean beaches make the lake an ideal place for families to spend summer days. A lakeside water park adds to the water play options for families. Paddle a canoe, rent a motor boat, or fish from the lake’s shores for thrilling family entertainment. Many people choose the Lake Lure area for its world-class bouldering and rock climbing, particularly on the cliffs and boulders of Rumbling Bald Mountain. Climbing is popular in the fall and winter months. Its location just east of Asheville makes Lake Lure an ideal base for your outdoorsy North Carolina vacation with easy access to Chimney Rock, Asheville attractions, and other nearby areas.

5. Murphy

lake trees
Source: Flickr / Joe King

Located where the Hiwassee and Valley Rivers meet, Murphy lies near the western point of North Carolina surrounded by forests, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and natural beauty. This small town gives you a quiet, rural retreat for your North Carolina vacation, but it also offers several different outdoor activity options. You have a good chance of seeing wildlife during your wood cabin adventures, including bear, deer, elk, and fox. Winters in Murphy are relatively mild, meaning you can continue enjoying hiking and other outdoor activities throughout the year.

6. Franklin

mountains highland
Source: Flickr / Ken Lund

Waterfalls and mountain views highlight the landscape in the Franklin area. The small town offers a slower pace, making it easy to enjoy the gorgeous mountain peaks surrounding the area without feeling the call to rush from one activity to the next. Franklin has strong ties to the Cherokee Indian tribe. The area also features historical sites related to the Civil War. Three area museums give your family a way to enjoy time indoors, making them ideal for winter trips. The options include the Macon County Historical Museum, Scottish Tartans Museum, and Gem and Mineral Museum of Franklin.

7. Hendersonville

railroad club
Source: Flickr / Ron Reiring

Soak up the Southern hospitality found in Hendersonville, about 22 miles south of Asheville. The historic downtown area gives you plenty of shopping options along with views of beautiful old buildings. Stop by Hands On!  A Child’s Gallery, the Henderson County Heritage Museum, or The Western North Carolina Air Museum any time of year to keep family members engaged. The historic depot houses a model railroad, train artifacts, and a special kids’ area. Leave the small town behind for a ziplining adventure just outside of town. Check out the stunning view from the Jump Off Rock scenic overlook.

 
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