Explore: Franklin, NC
My family had the pleasure of spending the week in Franklin, North Carolina a few weeks ago. This part of the state brings you back to a simpler time - things are quiet, simple, and nature focused. Though North Carolina can still get pretty toasty in the summertime, us Floridians surely enjoyed the temperatures in the evenings that dipped into the low-mid 70s and remained there throughout the day when we ventured into the mountains. We had an incredible time exploring, and below is a quick recap of our family adventure!
What We Did:
Wayah Bald Lookout Tower - Located in the Nantahala National Forest, this lookout tower offers stunning views of the Smoky Mountains and surrounding areas. In fact, you can see into South Carolina from this vantage point! This tower was one of my 3 year old’s favorite places to explore - he thought that the tower looked like “Rapunzel’s house before she became a princess and moved to her castle.” The walkway to the lookout point is paved - very stroller friendly. Just steps away, you can hop on to the Appalachian trail for a day hike.
Mountain Waters Scenic Byway - This was the perfect dreary afternoon activity for our family. We hopped in the car with snacks and our favorite playlist and took this 2 hour drive to explore the sights! Lake Nantahala was my favorite stop along the route. The emerald green water was like nothing I can describe! Waterfalls line the route as well as well as breathtaking mountain range views.
Nantahala Outdoor Center - For the adventurers, this is your spot! The outdoor center is the perfect destination for rafters, kayakers, climbers, hikers, bikers - you name it! The boys had a ball watching the white water rafters whiz by after a stop by the NOC Outfitter’s Post (anyone else obsessed with outdoor gear?). My husband spent his childhood visiting this area, and one of his favorite places to grab a burger every time he visits is at River’s End Restaurant. You can make a whole vacation right at this spot, as accommodations are available too!
Downtown Franklin - The town of Franklin hosts an adorable downtown. A few blocks boast sweet mom and pop shops and eateries. Our favorite store in the area is Outdoor 76. We also grabbed dinner at Root and Barrel (definitely order the crab cake sliders!), and a great place for coffee or sweet is the Crabtree General Store and Coffee Vault.
Little Tennessee River Greenway - if you have any beginning hikers in your family, this is a great find! This park, complete with paved walkways, is stroller friendly and even has a playground with a fun water feature for the kids as well as a dog park.
Where We Stayed:
We stayed at a family member’s mountain home in the area, and I would recommend exploring homes on AirBnB for affordable and comfortable accommodations if you are interested in vacationing here!
That’s a wrap, folks! Laid back vacations like these can be just what the doctor ordered sometimes. It was a wonderful way to end our summer, and I have a feeling we will be back in Franklin again in the future!