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Hi friends! I hope you all had a great Fourth of July. I’ve posted about our annual “Spain Family Vacation” for the past two years, where we get together with my husband’s entire family and travel either to the beach or the mountains. For the past three years, we have headed to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. (You can read about Year 1 here and Year 2 here.) We’ve stayed in different towns each time and visited different destinations. All of them have been breathtaking and we’ve had such a great time. Plus, it’s an amazing opportunity for our children to bond with their cousins and for my husband to spend time with his brothers. We all stay together in a big house — all 18 of us. (My in-laws, my husband’s 3 brothers and their families, and us.) I wanted to share our trip with you as well as some Blue Ridge Mountains attractions in case you ever decide to travel to the area. (Which I highly recommend!)
This year we stayed in Highlands, NC, in a remote mountain house in the Nantahala National Forest. The view from the house was spectacular.
Here is an even better view, Chris and Jonah with the mountains in the background.
On our first day there, we checked out Silver Run Falls in nearby Cashiers, NC. I highly recommend this spot for families as it’s beautiful and kid-friendly. It’s an extremely short hike from the car to the water, and it’s shallow enough for the kids to splash and swim. The mountain water is icy cold, but the kids were having too much fun to mind. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed our meal by the falls.
The next day, we headed to Cashiers Sliding Rock which, as the name indicates, is a natural waterside on the Chatooga River. It’s also a family friendly destination, but you do have to watch the little ones as there is a random 10 foot deep pool in the middle of the slide. As long as you stay to the side, it’s safe to slide down with little ones on your lap. We had a picnic here too, and the kids loved splashing. That’s their favorite mountain activity — locating waterfalls and creeks to splash in.
Here’s Chris sliding down with Aiden on his lap.
Another beautiful destination was Whiteside Mountain, where we hiked a gorgeous trail up to a lookout point with gorgeous views.
Unfortunately it was pretty hazy on the day we hiked so my pictures don’t do justice to the magnificent landscape, but it was amazing and worth seeing for sure.
The day before we left, we went to see Whitewater Falls, the highest waterfall east of the Rockies. It was absolutely spectacular, but it was raining so I didn’t get good photos. I didn’t want my camera to get wet, so we just took a few phone snapshots. Here’s one of me and my little hiking buddy. He was such a good sport during the whole trip!
It stopped raining on our way back to the mountain house and we pulled over at a lookout spot to take photos of this gorgeous view. It was still very hazy though.
We had to end our trip a day early and head back home on the 4th of July due to flash flood watches in the area since we were afraid we might get stranded. The roads we had to take to the mountain house were very winding and off the beaten path, and could be extremely dangerous if the area flooded. We had an amazing time with family though, and made lots of priceless memories.
We didn’t make it into downtown Highlands this time, but we have gone in the past and the little downtown area is really cute and fun to explore. There are lots of cute little shops and restaurants.
If you are considering traveling to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I highly recommend it! We have enjoyed every destination we’ve visited there.
How did you spend the 4th of July? I would love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and let me know.
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Thank you for the wonderful blog! Your passion and enthusiasm are appreciated.
My wife and I just had our second daughter, and are finally at a stage where we are trying to plan our first family hike, with our two girls (one is 1.3 years old, the other 4).
We are currently looking at early October as a target timeframe, somewhere in the blue ridge mountains.
We would LOVE to get your input on a nice 4-5 day stretch of hikes. Feedback welcome! Thank you again.
This recent trip you posted about seems great. Thank you for taking the time to make this blog.