North Carolina Lakes Worth a Visit

North Carolina is a land of bountiful beauty, with miles of coastline and acres of lush forest; though, there’s something special about North Carolina lakes that make them the best in the Eastern United States. Whether you’re looking for a serene spot to relax and take in the natural beauty or a place to explore with friends and family, this article on North Carolina’s best lakes from Southern Living will have you wanting to come back time and time again.

If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway, a fishing trip, or an adventure-filled day on the water, North Carolina has it all, and with 59 lakes to choose from, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs in this wonderful state. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best lakes in North Carolina and explore each lake’s unique features so you can determine which one is right for you. So grab your swimsuit and your fishing rod and prepare to head off to some of North Carolina’s most beautiful bodies of water.

Kerr Scott Dam And Reservoir

Kerr Scott Dam And Reservoir is located in Wilkes County, North Carolina, and the reservoir has a capacity of 1,475 acres, making it perfect for swimming. The dam was originally constructed in 1951 -1952 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and it was dedicated to W. Kerr Scott, who was the Governor of North Carolina at the time. Today, the reservoir is open for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, camping, and picnicking.

Lake Gaston

Lake Gaston is one of the best lakes in North Carolina for several reasons. First, it is a large lake, with over 350 miles of shoreline. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for activities like swimming, fishing, and boating. Second, the lake is located in a beautiful setting, surrounded by forests and hills. Third, the water quality is excellent, making it a great place to swim and fish. Finally, the lake is well-stocked with fish, making it a popular destination for anglers.

Biltmore Lake

If you’re looking for a serene and beautiful lake to relax by in North Carolina, look no further than Biltmore Lake. This man-made lake is located just outside of Asheville and is surrounded by lush greenery and the stunning views of the wonderful Blue Ridge Mountains, in which Biltmore Lake is settled. Visitors can go fishing, kayaking, or swimming in the lake, or simply take a leisurely stroll around its scenic perimeter. Additionally, vacationing on Biltmore Lake means that you can rent paddle boats, sailboats, cedar strip canoes, and kayaks at the local boathouse. On top of that, this destination also offers fly fishing, hot air balloons, tennis courts, forested trails, and camping for you to enjoy.

Lake Nantahala

Lake Nantahala is the perfect place to enjoy a peaceful lakeside vacation. This beautiful lake is located in the heart of the Smoky Mountains near the Nantahala River Gorge, and its clear waters offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. There are plenty of activities to enjoy on Lake Nantahala, including fishing, swimming, canoeing, and hiking.  In addition, the lake is a perfect spot for those looking to fish for bass, salmon, trout, and catfish, as those are widely available. This lake is just a short drive from some of North Carolina’s best attractions, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Asheville. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, Lake Nantahala is the perfect destination.

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Outdoor Getaways to Take in the Fall

The fall season will soon be upon us and that means it’s time to get out into the world and enjoy all that the great outdoors has to offer.  Thankfully, this handy article from Southern Living details the best, family-friendly vacation spots to plan for this upcoming fall season. As the summer starts to wind down, it’s nearly time to step up, grab your gear, and get outside, because before you know it the leaves will be changing, the days will shorten, and the nights will become cooler. So, you better start planning for that fall vacation now and check out the exciting options that the South has to offer.

Blue Ridge, Georgia

If you’re looking for a fun way to enjoy the beautiful weather without having to bundle up too much, consider visiting this gem of Northern Georgia this fall. With its quaint towns, beautiful hiking trails, and unforgettable waterfalls, there’s no better place to enjoy the crisp air and beautiful views than Blue Ridge.

Hands-down, one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with the scenery of Blue Ridge is by engaging in a trip to Lake Blue Ridge. Supplied with gorgeous, crystal-clear waters, Lake Blue Ridge is one of Georgia’s most picturesque mountain lakes that’s complete with a full-service marina, available campsites, and several picnic areas and boat ramps for your enjoyment. Blue Ridge is also home to some truly treasured hiking trails that you should explore, as areas such as Long Creek Falls or the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge offer some of the best trails and sights in the entire state, and the hiking trails are complete with a diversity of options for all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a quick walk through the woods or a challenging hike that will take you higher up into the mountains, Blue Ridge has something for everyone!

Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia is a city that offers a wide variety of outdoor activities for the whole family, because whether you’re looking for a quiet weekend getaway that’s filled with history to explore or an adventurous week-long vacation with a wide array of outdoor activities, Williamsburg has something for everyone. From hiking and biking to kayakingand horseback riding, there are plenty of ways to explore the outdoors in Williamsburg. Consider taking advantage of Virginia’s temperate climate by heading outside to explore one of the many scenic walking trails around town or if you prefer not to get your feet wet, you can try taking a tour through one of the many historical sites located about.

Williamsburg is part of Virginia’s “Historic Triangle,” a title that it shares with the towns of Jamestown and Yorktown, as they are the focal points of American history. In order to learn more about colonial America, consider spending your time at the historic district and living museum that is Colonial Williamsburg, as there’s truly no better way to learn all there is to know about colonial living than from actors who are dressed in period-accurate costumes completing daily tasks of colonial life. Outside of the historical features of Williamsburg, you visit the highly-popular Busch Gardens theme park where everyone on your vacation can enjoy exhilarating roller coasters, virtual reality rides, and much more.

Boone, North Carolina

If you’re ready to take advantage of the autumn season of beautiful weather before winter sets in, then look no further than Boone, North Carolina, as this small town is full of things to do and sights to see, making it a perfect destination for your next fall vacation. This western North Carolina town is perfect for those seeking wonderful sights and the scent of  sensational, fresh mountain air. Once in Boone, you’ll want to head out to Grandfather Mountain State Park, as this national park offers hiking and walking trail opportunities as well as panoramic views of surrounding mountains. Other excellent hiking trails can be found in Price Lake, and Elk Knob State Park, so you have plenty of options, depending on your level of skill.

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Swimming Holes To Visit in the American South

Are you tired of spending the summer months soaking in salty oceans or over-chlorinated pools? If so, you may want to consider this list of the best swimming holes to be found in the south from Southern Living Magazine.

Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy some cooling water in the summer months that doesn’t involve sand, beach parking, or pool chemicals. If that sounds ideal to you, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to travel too far to enjoy it, because there is an easy-to-reach beauty in your own backyard that you should check out: a natural swimming hole. After a day of hiking, biking, and climbing at nearby state parks like the Blue Ridge Parkway, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or Roan Mountain State Park, you’ll find these places are more than just great for outdoor recreation – they’re also located close to a refreshingly beautiful swimming hole in their own right.

Mississippi’s Black Creek in DeSoto National Forest

A great way to get out of the Mississippi summer heat and cool off is by visiting the swimming hole in DeSoto National Forest known as Black Creek. The Black Creek is a National Scenic River, meaning that this river is so remarkable in terms of scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, or historic value that the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service has designated it and given it our nation’s strongest form of protection for free-flowing rivers and streams. In addition to this designation, the Black Creek also features multiple sandbars along its expanse that create several natural swimming holes that are perfect for cooling off and relaxing after a day hiking the Black Creek Wilderness found within the DeSoto National Forest.

Tennessee’s North Chick Blue Hole

The North Chick Blue Hole is a beautiful, secluded collection of swimming holes located in the woods along Walden’s Ridge and the Cumberland Plateau near Chattanooga, Tennessee. The river gorge found here has several large boulders along the waters, disrupting the flow and thus creating several swimming holes all along the creek. Better yet, these boulders serve as excellent ledges that are perfect to jump off of into the waters below, making this the perfect spot for any outdoor adventurer seeking to keep cool this summer.

Texas’s Barton Springs Pool

One of the outstanding crown jewels of Austin, Texas is the Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre, water-filled area nestled within the beautiful Zilker Park. This mineral-fed swimming hole is within the channel of Barton Creek and utilizes water from Main Barton Spring, the fourth largest spring in Texas. Open year-round and featuring gorgeous limestone formations that reflect its natural spring waters, this natural swimming hole has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike since its opening  in 1837 shortly after the city of Austin was incorporated. The Barton Springs Pool is incredibly popular due to it being open to the public for year-round swimming and consistently hovering between 68 °F and 74 °F throughout the entire year.

North Carolina’s Cashiers Sliding Rock

If you’re looking for a fun and quirky way to spend a day or weekend in the North Carolina mountains, you have to visit Cashiers Sliding Rock. Located in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of Jackson County, not far from Highlands,Cashiers Sliding Rock is just one of many spectacular natural attractions that draw millions of visitors every year. At the bottom of this 10-foot slide you’ll find yourself in a uniquely beautiful setting. The water is crystal clear and cool, and while you’re sliding down you can enjoy the view of hundreds of babbling brooks that feed into the larger pool of water at the bottom.

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Spend Christmas in these Winter Destinations

The end of the year always serves as a wonderful time to visit with loved ones in a calming environment to look around, take stock, and cherish the experiences from the past year while setting your sights on the new dawn right around the corner. So when it comes to the ideal Christmas vacation setting, who says you have to open gifts at home? Thanks to this article from Travel + Leisure that suggests the fifteen most cheerful destinations to spend Christmas this year, it’s never been more tempting to spend the happiest time of  year in these winter destinations.

As always, recent COVID-19 surges may have caused new government restrictions, rules, and safety measures to have been set. Because of this, it’s always suggested that those who wish to travel check local guidelines, consult CDC recommendations, and take personal health conditions into account before traveling. This way you’re more prepared to enjoy your trip while remaining as safe and responsible as possible in these unprecedented times.

Highlands, North Carolina

Consider spending your Christmas morning in Appalachian amazement in the charming town of Highlands, North Carolina. This idyllic winter destination, modern-day setting is so humble and quaint that residents and visitors alike compare its environment to a Nancy Meyers film or Lifetime Christmas special. For over a century, Highlands has been suggested to visitors as being the perfect setting for a “break from it all,” as it’s colloquially known as a mountain respite. Located in one of the few temperate rain forests of North America, the mountain resort town is located only ten miles from Cashiers, North Carolina, and is surrounded by the main attraction that is Nantahala National Forest.  Spend your Christmas in a mountain cabin on the outskirts of this forest or nestled deep within, either way you’re sure to enjoy your time spent among nature.

Inside the town proper, you’ll find many shops, experiences, and community-laden amenities to keep you entertained in between the holiday’s festivities. Downtown Highlands is often called a “postcard” for just how perfectly situated and pictured its various buildings and features are laid out, such as the historic building that houses a full European-style spa. Other spots nearby that are worth a dedicated visit are the Bridal Veil Falls, located on the Waterfall Byway, the historic High Hampton Resort, and the unforgettable American Museum of Cut and Engraved Glass. No matter where you go in this comfortably charming little hamlet, you’re sure to be delighted by it’s size and attention to detail this holiday season.

Stowe, Vermont

For those who were raised on Christmas movies and other similar media, it’s hard to make it through the holiday season with an abundant absence of snow in the background. So, if you’re looking to celebrate a snowy white Christmas, then look no further than the East Coast ski paradise of Stowe, Vermont for your winter destination. Located at the foot of Vermont’s highest peak, Mount Mansfield, Stowe is quite literally a winter wonderland that is known not only for its world-renowned trails and ski slopes, but it’s also famous for its accompanying town as well.  Once you make your way to Stowe, it’s hard to believe that you’re not literally stepping foot into a snowglobe, as the buildings, trees, and grounds are often blanketed with thick layers of smooth snowfall.

Be sure to spend Christmas in the style of a storybook by reserving a horse-drawn carriage ride for you and your loved ones to see the sprinkled pine trees. Alternatively, take a trip down Main Street for nightly winter activities that are sure to make ever-lasting memories. If you’re in the mood for adventure, you can host your holiday celebrations and then cap it off by planning an unforgettable day on the slopes, or you can simply spend the time quietly around the fire of the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort. No matter the reason, there’s no question that Winter is the perfect season to see all of the wonders that Stowe, Virginia has to offer.

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Where to Stay in Charmingly Rustic North Carolina

When the autumn season is upon us, many people tend to flock to the East Coast, particularly to the Highlands-Cashiers region of North Carolina. These travelers are known to do this to experience the breathtaking fall foliage and cascading waterfalls of the region. So, if you’re also looking to partake in these unforgettable fall treasures, then this article from Travel + Leisure will help you find the perfectly charming luxury hotels to rest in after a long day in North Carolina.

North Carolina tourism often cites the city of Asheville as the most popular and most-visited spot in the state, but the Highlands-Cashiers plateau is the region’s hidden gem that’s home to comfort, beauty, and spectacle. This region is generally compared to the East Coast’s equivalent to Aspen, Colorado. This is mostly because it’s the perfect location in Appalachia for those wishing to partake in the outdoors activity or the quaint, cultured outing. Though your cell reception and internet service may dip in and out because of the elevation, you’ll always be around something exciting and inviting, so take a look at the following accommodations for the next time your need to book a trip to North Carolina’s highlands-cashiers plateau, where your can unwind, unplug, and relax.

High Hampton

This is a masterful, recently-renovated lodge that is utterly perfect for those large reunions, get-togethers, and/or family gatherings. Located just two miles away from the town center of Cashiers, North Carolina, this massive woodland lodge is perfectly situated near the Nantahala National Forest, and it’s quite honestly the perfect resort for your next big trip. While large and spacious, High Hampton is often heralded by reviewers for how it retains an atmosphere of coziness despite the ample space found inside. The welcoming resort makes it the ideal ”home base” for a variety of outdoor excursions that you make scheduled such as swimming, boating, golfing, and so much more. Stop by after a hearty day of outdoor adventure with a meal around the grand, main dining room that holds an atmosphere, not unlike a year-round, charming Thanksgiving dinner.

The design team behind the award-winning Blackberry Farm are the ones responsible for High House’s 2020 renovation. They were successful in not only bringing new, rustic life into the hallowed halls and suites of the resort lodge, but they also took genuine care to properly maintain and secure the property’s storied past. Book a stay in this literal autumnal lodge straight out of a storybook and allow yourself to take part in a long-standing tradition of travelers wanting to escape in style. In fact, you can read about the previous guests’ stays by perusing their hand-written accounts in the cataloged ledgers found lining the literal walls of the main inn in the form of storytelling wallpaper. This location is truly magical and must be seen to be believed.

Highlander Mountain House

If your traveling party is lighter than that of the above residence, then take a look at this boutique hotel located in Highlands, North Carolina, just in the past two years. Opening up as recently as 2019, the Highlander Mountain House, or HMH, is a perfect pairing of Appalachian comfort and accommodations akin to the English countryside. Quaint, charming, and warm are adjectives that attempt to accurately describe the sensation that you’ll breathe in once you’re rocking along in the porch’s Adirondack chair while enjoying a dawn-laden cup of chicory coffee. This hotel is truly a welcomed salve to your mental health as it’s slow-paced as any proper trip in the Carolinas should be. The majestic view of the Western North Carolina Mountains that are viewable from the porch and rooms of the property’s Mountain House and Bunk House are just the confirmation you’ll need to know that you made the right choice. You’ll find five district room types that each offer a different vibe or atmosphere to your stay, but it’s the conversations that you’ll find yourself partaking in once setting foot in the communal commons area that will stay with you long after you pack your bags.

Other suggested stays in the area include: the Southern-inspired Skyline Lodge, gorgeous Half Mile Farm, and the relaxing Old Edwards Inn & Spa.

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