Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northwestern North Carolina, Blowing Rock is a charming southern mountain town that welcomes visitors all year long. With fresh air and plentiful outdoor activities, this town is a hot spot for families that want to spend a mountain vacation exploring, hiking, fishing, and biking. The town gets its name from a local rock outcrop that overlooks a gorge, and due to its unique formation, the wind blows vertically. Blocking Rock vacation rentals include rustic cabins in the woods or luxury family homes with spectacular views. With so much to see and do, you need to create a plan before you leave home. To help get you started, here’s a look at the 10 best family activities in Blowing Rock.

1. Tweetsie Railroad

Nothing says “vacation” to a child quite like an amusement park, and Tweetsie Railroad won’t disappoint. This Wild-West-themed amusement park has a little something for everyone in your family. Start the day with a ride on a full-sized train and end it by watching the live show of a gunslinger battle. Kids of all ages will enjoy touching and hanging out with the animals at the Deer Park Zoo, a small petting zoo inside the amusement park. There are rides for kids of all ages including roller coasters, free falls, and kiddie rides.

2. The Blowing Rock

Take the family for a short hike up to the Blowing Rock that gives the town its name. Let the kids set a piece of paper or something else light on the edge of the rock, and watch their faces break out in smiles when the wind raises it off the rock. Stop by the visitor’s center to learn more about the local area and get a map of the hiking trails. You’ll also enjoy amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from this vantage point.

3. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Wander around an old country estate at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. With more than 25 miles of trail, this park has plenty of space for your family to hike or bike for an afternoon. The stately manor home now serves as the Parkway Craft Center with crafts on sale from local artists. When you need a respite from the heat, head inside to see the one-of-a-kind offerings and let your kids pick out a souvenir or new handmade toy.

4. Appalachian Ski Resort

If you arrive during the winter months, you can store your skis in your vacation rental’s garage until you’re ready to hit the slopes. This resort offers several trails, so no matter their skill level each member of your family will have fun. If you didn’t bring skis, there’s a shop to rent everything you need and a school that offers lessons to get you on the slopes. There’s also an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter months.

5. Mystery Hill

Mystery Hill is a collection of three museums with a collection of oddities and things that defy logic. This attraction sits in a location with a gravity anomaly, so water moves up instead of down. Your kids will squeal with delight when they find it easier to push you in one direction on a swing than the other. Watch as they chase balls that roll up instead of down. Before leaving, stop by the gift store for a unique object to take home from this kooky place.

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6. High Gravity Adventures Zip Line and Aerial Park

Have some daredevils in your family? If so, then plan for an afternoon at High Gravity Adventures Zip Line and Aerial Park. Your family can zip line across the sky with amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There’s also a ropes course, and after a brief lesson and safety briefing, your family can don safety harnesses and begin climbing. There’s a lower-level course for smaller kids and a huge swing that holds up to three adults.

7. Blue Ridge Parkway

Pack a cooler before leaving your vacation rental and gather the family in the car for a day adventure on the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the fall, the drive is a riot of golds and reds, but it’s still a beautiful drive in any season. Along the parkway are overlooks and trails, where your family can stop and take in the scenery or go for a short hike. At mile marker 271.9, you’ll find the Cascade Loop that extends about half a mile with views of a stunning waterfall.

8. Linville Caverns

If the weather turns warm, cool off your family in the Linville Caverns. These are underground limestone caverns. A guide will take your family through the caves and teach you more about how the caves were formed. As your kids gaze at the size of the caverns in amazement, they’ll learn more about earth science and geology without even realizing it.

9. Julian Price Memorial Park

Take a picnic and canoes for a day at the Julian Price Memorial Park. Here, your family can enjoy a family meal in one of the picnic shelters before taking the canoes out on the small lake. If you don’t have a canoe, then bring fishing gear and fish from the banks. There are several hiking trails if it’s too cold to be out on the water.

10. Grandfather Mountain State Park

Rent horses and explore the trails at Grandfather Mountain State Park. If it’s the winter months, then pull out your cross country skis for a trip up the mountain. Your family can sign up for a guided hike with the park rangers to learn the history of the area and find out cool facts about the flora and fauna. This is also a hot spot for rock climbing with so many large boulders and stone mountain sides.

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