When it’s time to recharge your figurative batteries and get back to basics with your family, a vacation in Maggie Valley is just what you need. Located in western North Carolina, Maggie Valley sits in the Great Smoky Mountains, and boasts easy access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is perfect for hiking, biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, and other outdoor activities. Throughout the area, there are other small mountain towns that feature a variety of amenities and exciting attractions. Book a stay at one of numerous cozy Maggie Valley vacation rentals today. Without further ado, here are several of the most unforgettable spots to visit in and around Maggie Valley.

1. Maggie Valley

In the winter months, Maggie Valley becomes a haven for skiers with the nearby resort of Cataloochee Ski Area. This ski resort has trails and slopes to meet the needs of a beginner or an expert and all skill levels in between. At the resort, you can rent equipment and take a quick lesson to brush up on any rusty skills. When the weather is warm, pack the kids in the car for a day at Ghost Town Village, a Wild West-themed amusement park. Fill your day with rides and an exciting gunslinger battle in the center of town.

2. Lake Junaluska

Drive east along Highway 19 with its gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains to reach the Lake Junaluska area. Spend your days boating, fishing, and swimming in the lake, and grill the catch of the day for dinner at your vacation rental. Take the kids to the Lake Junaluska Aquatic Center for a day of the pool and their chance to beat you at a couple of rounds of mini golf.

3. Bryson City

To the west of Maggie Valley sits the friendly mountain town of Bryson City, where your family can relax and enjoy days of fishing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and river rafting. The town is close to the Nantahala River, so it’s easy to find a company to take you on a guided trip through the rapids. Stop by Deep Creek Tube Center to enjoy the slower portion of the river as you bob along enjoying the scenery.

4. Canton

In Canton, you can blend your wilderness vacation with a little city living. With easy access to hiking, fishing, biking, and cross-country skiing, this town also offers shopping and tasty restaurants. Take the kids to Canton Recreation Park for a day of splashing and water tag in the community pool, or head to Old Pressley Sapphire Mine to learn more about how people mined sapphires in the past.

5. Clyde

Feel time slow down when you enter the small mountain town of Clyde. Fill your days with hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, and just enjoying downtime with your favorite people. When hunger strikes, check out Fat Buddies Ribs and Barbecue for a pork sandwich or rack of ribs. Take your kids to the Shook Museum at the Shook-Smathers House to learn more about life in Clyde and the surrounding area now and in the past.

6. Qualla

In the tiny town of Qualla, you and your family can find a vacation rental tucked away in the woods with a deck that offers stunning views of the mountains around you. This small community lies close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where you can hike, bike, fish, and cross-country ski. Make your way to the highest point in the Park, Clingmans Dome, and climb up to the observation tower to view the mountains covered in a magical mist.

7. Whittier

Take Highway 19 west through the mountains to reach the friendly mountain community of Whittier. While staying in the area, enjoy a train ride through the mountains on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad to catch glimpses of more remote areas. At the Santa’s Land Fun Park & Zoo, Christmas comes early, and your kids will love the rides, animals, and show. You can even get a little gift shopping done early this year.

8. Waynesville

Just a few minutes south of Maggie Valley is Waynesville, where you can find more modest vacation rentals while still enjoying quick access to the ski resort. In town, the Wheels Through Time Transportation Museum has more than 300 rare bikes for you to check out while you learn more about the history of motorbikes and riders. Visit the stunning waterfall at Balsam Gap after you tackle the steep hike to the viewing area.

9. Cherokee

Nestled in the midst of the Cherokee Indian Reservation, this town offers natural beauty and its famous casinos. An evening at the casinos gives you the chance to try your luck at the slot machines, take in a show, and enjoy a first class meal. While hiking and biking in the area, check out Mingo Falls with its natural beauty, or pile the family in the car and take a drive up the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.

10. Balsam

Just minutes from the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway is the mountain community of Balsam, where your family can enjoy a rustic cabin tucked away in the woods. Fill your days fishing, hiking, and enjoying the views as you drive along the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway. Take your family to the Balsam Mountain Inn Dining room for a dinner out, and enjoy getting dressed up for a fancy meal.

11. Morning Star

If you want to go off the grid, choose a vacation rental in Morning Star, where you’ll find friendly locals and plenty of outdoor activities. You and your family can hike, bike, and fish in this area. It’s just a few minutes to access the Blue Ridge Parkway, where you can enjoy a day of driving or stop along the way to access one of the hiking paths. At mile marker 230.1, stop at the Little Glade Mill Pond Trail for a short stroll around the lake.