Boone lies in the northwestern corner of North Carolina. Nestled between the Cherokee National Forest and the Appalachian Mountains, it’s a mountain paradise with streams, meadows, and forests. Take your family for a getaway here and book a stay at a cozy Boone vacation rental surrounded by trees and greenery, as well as seclusion and tranquility. Spend time reconnecting with nature via a hike or kayaking trip, or wander through the quaint downtown area and enjoy an unforgettable meal. Here are a few of the top kid-friendly things to do in Boone.

1. Visit the Children’s Playhouse

The Children’s Playhouse is a great place to take the kids any time of the year. Kids can play, build, work on art projects, and mingle with animals at the petting zoo. Additional hands-on exhibits include a puppet theater, construction zone, music corner, and drama area. The Children’s Playhouse combines fun with an education for an experience that engrosses them and allows you to relax.

2. Go Hiking

Nestled next to the Appalachians, there are plenty of opportunities to take the kids and explore nature. Take Deer Park Road up the mountains to Bass Lake Hoop, or hike The Maze, all of which are close to Boone and your vacation rental. Go a little further west on Blue Ridge Parkway, jump onto Green Knob Trail. Other good hikes include Price Lake Trail, Tanawha Trail, and Boone Fork Trail. Instead of hiking only local trails, take your kids up to the Appalachian Trail for a day-long adventure. Explore the history and get out into nature at the North Carolina Daniel Boone Heritage Trail, or hike up to Howard’s Knob. The former passes by the ruins of the Moravian Village from the 1700s and the Yadkin River caves. The latter is surrounded by 46-acres of forest and boasts great views of Boone.

3. Go Horseback Riding

If your kids love horses, then there are plenty of ranches and farms that offer guided and self-guided tours. Take a relaxing ride along the water and through meadows with Dutch Creek Trails, or opt for a trot among the hills at Spirit Rides. The latter is right next to Apple Hill Alpaca Farm, a perfect addition to your outing. Broyhill Equestrian Preserve is not only located among the hills, the perfect riding scenery, but it’s also by Broyhill Park and Bass Lake where you can do a little hiking as well.

4. Go Rafting

Boone might lie near a lake, but there are plenty of creeks and rivers to more than make up for it. Take the kids whitewater rafting on the Watauga River or French Broad River. If your tastes run to more sedate adventures or you have young children, try tubing or stand up paddle boarding. Guided tours and raft rentals are offered by both River and Earth Adventures and Wahoo’s Adventures.

5. Visit Grandfather Mountain

Take a scenic drive or hike up Grandfather Mountain. Bring a picnic lunch for a picturesque view as you eat, and then walk along the nature trails to explore the crags, overlooks, and swinging bridge. After a day of outdoor recreation, head to the museum where the kids can watch an educational nature film and look at exhibits.

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6. Explore Linville Caverns

Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and make your way to the Linville Caverns. Discovered in the 1800s, the caverns boast a bat population, an underground stream, and vaulting roofs with stalactites and stalagmites. The lighting systems and pathways make it a great place to visit for everybody in the family.

7. Go Rock Climbing

Head to Rock Dimensions for some rock climbing. Kids can climb walls at the Discovery Course, or participate in a climbing camp that teaches them all the basics, from rappelling and climbing to caving. If you’ve got older kids, sign them up for a Rock Dimensions climbing trip, where they can explore the ladder climbs on the Grandfather Trail on MacRae Peak.

8. Ride Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad is a family fun park boasting a Western theme. Kids can ride the steam train, which is considered a national historic place while enjoying the scenery. The train also goes to Miner’s Mountain and Deer Park. After the train ride, stop by the petting zoo where your kids can visit with burros, miniature horses, llamas, European fallow deer, and African pygmy goats.

9. Go Mining

Several gem mines in the area make it easy to hunt for treasures. Stop by the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine and learn about the mining history of the area while viewing all the gem displays. After your tour, grab a bucket and sift through the soil for some valuable stones. It’ll give your kids something to do with some possible payoffs at the end.

10. Go Fishing

Stock up on supplies at Elk Creek Outfitters, and go fishing at Price Lake or Bass Lake. If you’re new to the hobby, book an expedition at the Appalachian Angler Guide Service. Teach your kids the value of patience and hard work with good old reel fishing or fly fishing. The streams around Boone are rich in smallmouth bass, trout, and muskies.

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