By Kristen Bagwell

It’s that time of year again when we feature many of our favorite day and weekend trips for families in the Triad. We have an entire category on our site dedicated to fun Day Trips here, as well as Family Vacation Ideas here, and Travel Tips here. Plus, don’t forget to visit our Disney category here and our Favorite Beaches directoryhere. We’re always looking for new places to review and we welcome guest blogs on places you’d recommend. Email Katie@TriadMomsOnMain.com with your ideas and suggestions. Enjoy ~ Katie

Maggie Valley is surrounded by mountain ranges in all directions, and the higher elevations mean cooler temperatures, spectacular views, and cleaner air.  Maggie Valley offers numerous festivals, bluegrass music, multiple concerts, dancing, clogging, much more all throughout the year. During the spring, summer and fall seasons you can enjoy  Wheels Trough Time Motorcycle Museum, and Cherokee’s Santa’s Land Theme Park and Zoo.

Maggie Valley is about three hours from the Triad, past Asheville but before Cullowhee, home of Western NC University. Situated in the Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley offers tons to do and see, whether you want to get out and do, or go shopping and do, or even hang out and not-do. Stay with me – we’ll go through a little of each below.

For those who love the outdoors, the NC mountains offer a ton of family-friendly fun. In the Maggie Valley area, you can hike the Blue Ridge Parkway, choose a whitewater rafting journey, or visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (If mom or dad 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 find gem mining and horseback riding pretty easily, and even novices will enjoy a trail ride through the scenic mountain ridges.

Anyone who likes to poke around and shop the local shops will have a field day in Maggie Valley…there truly is something for everyone, whether you like art, antiques, gear, or flea-market treasures. The Maggie Valley area has a bit of all of it, and is a beautiful drive besides. Keep an eye out for roadside garden and farm stands for some of the freshest plants and produce around! Apple season is a particularly good time to visit. Yum!

In addition, there is something called the Quilt Trail that you can tool around and follow. 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 festivals and/or Arts & Crafts are your cup of tea, you’re in luck. The annual July 4 Red White and Boom Festival will feature live music & entertainment, food & beverage, crafts & novelties, games, kid’s zone and family fun. Fireworks will display over the venue at approximately 10:00pm. Following that, artisans from all over the Southeast show their wares at the July and October Arts & Crafts shows; the next one is July 12 and 13. In addition to pottery, glass, painting, jewelry, and other handmade wares, the shows also feature food and live entertainment for the whole family. Click here for all upcoming events in Maggie Valley.

If you want to get away and relax, check out some of the links below. All of the lodging and food info you need will be there. I bet once you arrive you’ll want to wander around, but we’ll see. There is a way to relax for almost everyone in the NC mountains!

For more information or to reserve a room, go to www.visitmaggie.com or www.maggievalley.org.

For more info on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit www.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.

More info on the Blue Ridge Parkway can be found here: www.blueridgeparkway.org with specific hiking trail details here:www.maggievalley.org/explore/blue-ridge-parkway/.

If you’d rather wait to go, the winter brings skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley opens in early November and closes in late March and boasts the longest ski season in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Whatever your interests, we hope you choose to visit Maggie Valley! It is truly a great time for all ages.

Photo above from www.visitmaggie.com