Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley is known best for its friendly people, laid-back atmosphere, and stunning mountain views. Families planning a stay at one of the nearby vacation rentals in Maggie Valley can choose from cozy cabins to beautiful single-family homes that are ideal for those looking for a quiet retreat. Maggie Valley features plenty of sites to explore and things to do. Go skiing in the winter, or plan an all-day hike during the spring and summer months. You’ll also find movie theaters, golf courses, and various other family-friendly attractions in the area. This guide details nine popular activities for families with children.

1. Climb Waterrock Knob

Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Waterrock Knob offers stunning views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Hike to the top of the 6,292-foot peak and watch the sunset before heading back to your vacation rental. The first portion of the trail is paved, which is ideal for young children. Further up, there are plenty of rocks to climb on to view Maggie Valley below.

2. Play a Round of Mini Golf

Maggie Valley offers a couple of places to play a round of mini golf with the kids. Maggie Valley Carpet Gold has two 18-hole championship courses to try with standard obstacles, and music plays in the background to liven up your game. For another challenge, head to Fantasy Golf and Gameroom. Challenge family members to an 18-hole game of mini golf amidst waterfalls, lighthouses, and a beautiful view from the 18th hole. If you head indoors, you’ll find a game room full of arcade games, which are perfect for rainy afternoons and when you need an activity to beat the heat.

3. Enjoy the Snow at the Cataloochee Ski Area

Plan your vacation in Maggie Valley during the winter months at the Cataloochee ski area. Sign the kids up for a cross country ski lesson and ski together through the trees. Rent an inner-tube and go tubing down the snow banks, or rent some snowmobiles and enjoy speeding through the winter wonderland. Afterwards, head to the lodge for a cup of cocoa and a snack to warm up. For those who enjoy downhill skiing, there are several courses for all skill levels and lifts to bring you back up so you can go again.

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4. Take a Whitewater Rafting Trip

Cool off during the summer months with a rafting trip hosted by one of the Great Smoky Mountain Outfitters. Travel down the French Broad River with your guides, and learn how to paddle and navigate the river. During the last leg of the trip, you’ll experience the thrills of whitewater. If you prefer a slower pace, float down the Dillsboro River with the kids. At the end of the tubing trip, kids get free ice cream, and you’ll find facilities to change your clothes and freshen up.

5. Visit Santa Land

One of the biggest multipurpose theme parks near Maggie Valley, Santa Land delivers a holiday atmosphere every day of the year. Explore the zoo and get up close and personal with various animals from all over the world, including deer, kangaroos, bears, exotic birds, and monkeys. Afterwards, watch the magic show and let the kids volunteer as the assistant, then take pictures with Santa and let him know if you’ve been bad or good. Good children even get a conducting diploma. Santa Land has a roller coaster and several other rides for thrill seekers, and you’ll also find a game room with arcade games, a food venue with various carnival foods, and plenty of gift shops for souvenirs.

6. Hike Soco Falls

If you‘re looking for a short trip from your vacation rental along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Soco Falls lies just five miles from Maggie Valley. This double waterfall sits on the Cherokee Nation. Hike just five short minutes down the well-maintained trail to the viewing platform. Under a canopy of trees, you can cool off from the heat of the day. The falls offers a stunning backdrop for family and individual photographs.

7. Learn Something New at the Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum

If you and the kids love automobiles, motorcycles, and anything on wheels, you’ll enjoy spending the day at the Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum. This collection of rare memorabilia features over 350 machines in excellent condition, and the collection covers over 25 different makes from early as 1900. Stop by the gift shop at the end of the day and purchase some artwork or t-shirt designs featuring your favorite exhibit.

8. Play All Day at the Smoky Mountain Jumphouse

If it’s hot or rainy and you need to find something for the kids to do, head to the Smoky Mountain Jumphouse for a day of fun. Slide down an 18-foot slide, walk across the moonwalk, or let competitive siblings race through the obstacle course. The Jumphouse is the perfect place for parties or to celebrate a birthday, and there’s even a toddler area that features barnyard animals and pint-sized inflatables.

9. Go Horseback Riding Through the Smokies

Spend a lazy day touring the Smoky Mountains on the back of a horse with family. The CRT Ranch offers rentals and guided tours that take you to a mile-high meadow where you and your family can view the valley below. Whether you are a seasoned rider or a beginner, there are several trails to explore.

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