By Guest Blogger Kristen Bagwell
Looking for a beautiful day or weekend trip this time of year to witness NC’s vibrant fall colors? Then look no further than Maggie Valley!
Maggie Valley is about three hours from the Triad, past Asheville but before Cullowhee (home of Western Carolina University). Situated in the Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley offers a ton to do and see, whether you want to get out, go shopping or just chill. Stay with me – we’ll go through a little of each below.
Surrounded by mountain ranges in all directions, you’ll find cooler temperatures, amazing views, and cleaner air in Maggie Valley. For those who love the outdoors, you can hike the Blue Ridge Parkway, choose a whitewater rafting journey, or visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Simply driving the Blue Ridge Parkway one day is spectacular in itself. For scenic drive ideas, click here. (The picture at the top is from Watterock Knob, about 15 minutes from Maggie Valley. It’s located at Milepost 451.2, the highest Parkway visitor center).
For more info on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit nps.gov/grsm/index.htm. From their website: “Acres upon acres of forest straddle the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.”
If you and/or your significant other is a motorcycle enthusiast, Deals Gap (also known as the Dragon’s Tail ride) in this area includes 318 curves within 11 miles. My former boss did this once and said it was the most fun he’d ever had being scared to death!). You can also visit the Wheels Through Time Museum, home to the world’s premier collection of rare American motorcycles, memorabilia, and unique American automobiles.
Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley opens soon (check their website for updates) and boasts the longest ski season in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. You can also find gem mining and horseback riding where even novices will enjoy a trail ride through the scenic mountain ridges.
Maggie Valley also offers numerous festivals, bluegrass music, multiple concerts, dancing, clogging, much more all throughout the year. Click here for all upcoming events in Maggie Valley.
For anyone who likes to poke around and shop the local shops will have a field day in Maggie Valley. Whether you like art, antiques, gear, or flea-market treasures, the Maggie Valley area has a bit of all of it for everyone. While out treasure hunting, keep an eye out for roadside gardens and farm stands for some of the freshest plants and produce around!
“If you are in need of a little retail therapy, then shopping in Maggie Valley can help. Many of the shops are independent and locally owned, and shopkeepers make sure you feel at home. You won’t find a shopping mall with the usual lineup of trendy stores here. What you will find are one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty shops, art galleries, and plenty of places to recharge by sampling the perfect piece of fudge or relaxing on the porch with a tall glass of iced tea – sweet, of course,” ~ from MaggieValley.org.
In addition, there is something called the Haywood County Quilt Trail that you might want to check out! From MaggieValley.org: “Vibrant quilt patterns are painted on pre-built wooden squares ranging from two feet to eight feet in size. Cultural and heritage lovers inside and outside the area will experience the fun of locating blocks along the trails and learning the wonderful stories behind the site locations and the quilt patterns chosen for that particular venue.” The Maggie Valley website goes on to detail the quilt square locations and history. This is a fun idea and a great way to tour the Valley!
If you want to get away and relax, there are plenty of options in Maggie Valley. From hotels to B&Bs to rustic cabins and even RV camping grounds, you’ll find something to fit your need and budget, and get you recharged for more exploring. My vote would be to go with a cute cabin for the ultimate mountain experience, but of course, the choice is yours. There are plenty of places to choose from here!
Visiting Other Times of the Year
While this post focuses on reasons to visit Maggie Valley in the fall, there are plenty of reasons to visit this area other times fo the year. We just missed the Festival and Arts & Crafts season, but you’ll typically find one happening most weeks from April through early November.
Santa’s Land Fun Park & Zoo has been closed for the pandemic but they are opening May of 2022! This place looks like so much fun. Kids get to meet Santa in the off season, explore a zoo, feed baby black bears, ride amusement park rides, watch magic shows, and much morel
In the summer, Maggie Valley features its annual Fourth of July Festival with live music & entertainment, food & beverages, crafts & novelties, games, fireworks, and a kid’s zone and family fun. The Arts & Crafts shows take place in July, September and October. In addition to pottery, glass, painting, jewelry, and other handmade wares, the shows also feature food and live entertainment for the whole family. Also keep in mind that apple season (typically August and September) is a particularly good time to visit.
Have you ever been to Maggie Valley? If so, I’d love to hear some of your favorite things to do!