Highlands, North Carolina is known for fresh air and breathtaking mountain scenery. It’s a beautiful place to visit and offers a wonderful respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Another great thing? There are also many day trips from Highlands, NC to be enjoyed.
Day trips from Highlands, NC include opportunities to visit natural wonders like breathtaking waterfalls, explore historic grandeur at the Biltmore Estate, and much, much more. Other destinations within day-trip distance include the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, eclectic Asheville, and even the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
With so much to do and see around Highlands, it is easy to see why buying or renting property here is a wise idea for those who want a slice of mountain heaven. Taking day trips from Highlands, NC, are just other ways to enjoy the beauty of Western North Carolina and the surrounding areas.
5 Day Trips from Highlands, NC
1. Dupont State Forest
Feel rejuvenated and recharged after spending time with Mother Nature in nearby Dupont State Forest. You’ll find hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails to explore, and much more to enjoy over the 10,300-acre recreation area.
Why is Dupont State Recreational Forest worth a visit? The forest is home to several waterfalls, each of which is truly a sight to behold. Take a 6-minute walk into the woods to see Hooker Falls, endure an upstream hike to Triple Falls and High Falls, or even take a horseback ride up to see Wintergreen Falls.
Viewing the waterfalls in Dupont State Recreational Forest is a great way to boost your mood. It’s not the only way to enjoy nature in the region, though. Learn more about the 10 Best Hiking Trails in Western North Carolina.
Dupont State Recreational Forest is located in Cedar Rapids, NC, about an hour east of Highlands. Get there by taking Highway 64. Pack a picnic and enjoy a soothing day in the woods!
2. The Biltmore Estate
Looking for a great destination for a weekend getaway from Highlands? Consider visiting the Biltmore Estate. This palatial home and its manicured ground span 8,000 acres. There’s really nothing else like the Biltmore in the United States, making this chateau-style mansion and the surrounding area a great place for a day trip from Highlands.
Built by George Washington Vanderbilt II around the turn of the century, the Biltmore Estate is likely the nation’s best example of a gilded-age mansion. Numbers show that 1.4 million people visit the Biltmore Estate each year, making it the most-visited attraction in North Carolina.
The Biltmore is about 85 miles northeast of Highlands. There’s so much to do and see at the estate. You can tour the home and gardens, enjoy great sips at the winery, take in an afternoon high tea, see the grounds from a private carriage, and much more even visiting the Biltmore Estate.
Ready to make the Biltmore a day trip from Highlands, NC? Tickets are required. While you’re at it, consider making it a weekend trip. You’ll find many quaint bed and breakfasts in the area, providing lovely accommodations for your weekend away.
3. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Highlands and its sister city Cashiers are on the edges of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains are just about 2 hours away and are a true sight to behold.
The Blue Ridge Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains are both part of the larger Appalachian Mountains. These two subranges are quite similar. The highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Mount Mitchell, which towers 6,684 feet into the sky. The highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains is Clingman’s Dome, which reaches 6,643 feet above sea level.
What makes The Great Smoky Mountains worth a day trip from Highlands, NC? There are more than 850 miles of trails throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, as well as some of the most picturesque scenery you’ll find in the nation. Additionally, interpretive centers throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will let you experience the true history and geology of the Appalachian region.
The drive from Highlands, NC, to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take you along the scenic Highway 64 (more on this later) and north up Highway 23. You’ll pass through mountain towns like Cullasaja, Cherokee, and Franklin. Consider making a stop at the Cullasaja River Gorge for photo opportunities and pausing to learn more about native culture in Cherokee.
4. Asheville, NC
Spending a day in Asheville is a serious treat. This eclectic city is known as one of the “South’s Best” and it’s easy to see why. This mountain city is teeming with fun things to do, new restaurants to try, museums to explore, shops to browse, and much more.
Beer lovers will love sipping suds at one of the city’s many breweries. Lovers of fine southern food will rejoice at the menus of restaurants along Biltmore Avenue and College Street.
Black Mountain, Downtown, River Arts District, and Weaverville are destinations to explore when you’d like to browse shops with broad-ranging wares. Asheville’s art studios and galleries will captivate aficionados.
With all of these factors in mind, it is easy to see why Asheville is a top destination for day trips from Highlands, NC. Asheville is just 85 miles northwest of Highlands. The route will take you through the Blue Ridge Mountains, so make sure to have your cameras ready to snap captivating photos.
Downtown Highlands is a destination to explore in itself! Check out 10 Ways to Enjoy Downtown Highlands, North Carolina.
5. Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway connects the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This breathtaking stretch of road is known as “American’s Favorite Scenic Drive” and it’s easy to see why.
All vehicles can travel the Parkway and it’s a favorite drive for motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts alike. That doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy cruising in your sedan or SUV, too. You’ll find that the Blue Ridge Parkway is a leisurely drive with time to enjoy, as the speed limit never tops 45 mph.
The history of the Blue Ridge Parkway dates back to the Great Depression, but the scenic stretch of road wasn’t officially opened until 1987. Since then, the panoramic parkway has become popular. More than 14 million people travel the Blue Ridge Parkway each year.
You can get to the Blue Ridge Parkway by heading north from Highlands. You can go up US-74 E or take a more scenic route up US-64 E through the Pisgah National Forest. A drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway ranks among the top day trips from Highlands, NC because of its breathtaking views and adventurous mountain twists.
Make Highlands, NC Home with Landmark
Highlands, NC is the perfect place to call home. Nestled right between the Nantahala National Forest and the Pisgah National Forest, this little mountain city is a great destination for lovers of outdoor activities and rich culture.
There are many great day trips from Highlands, NC to take and help you enjoy everything the region has to offer. Are you ready to make Highlands your home base? Reach out to the Real Estate experts at Landmark. You’ll find luxury North Carolina real estate for sale, mountain cabins to purchase, and even vacation rentals in Landmark’s vast inventory.
Give Landmark Real Estate Sales & Vacation Rentals a call at 1-866-853-3274 to find your perfect home base in Highlands, Cashiers, or the surrounding areas! Contact us now.