Do these sweltering summer days have you holed up inside next to the A/C? There’s a better way to beat the heat! The activities on this list prove that it’s possible to go on a summer adventure with your family in Western North Carolina’s beautiful mountains – WITHOUT losing your cool.
Experience Sliding Rock
This 60-foot natural slide is renowned for a reason! The waters of Looking Glass Creek are cooler and more refreshing than any man-made water park. Sliding Rock Recreation Areais located in Pisgah National Forest and is open 365 days a year. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, lifeguards are present from 10 am to 6 pm. Go early or late to beat the crowds at this popular attraction.
Tube the French Broad
Want a lazy day on the river? Float with family and friends while soaking in the beauty of the 3rd oldest river in the world-the French Broad River. Check out Zen Tubing with 2 locations and 2 river trips.
Paddle the Upper or Lower Green
Add fun and fitness to a river trip by taking an inflatable kayak. The Lower Green River with Green River Adventures is suitable for paddlers age five and older. More daring adventurers can get away from the crowds and enjoy the Upper Green. Try not to get too distracted by the beautiful scenery as you take on Class II-III rapids!
Get Wet on a Waterfall Trek
Looking to really up the adventure? Green River Adventures offers a variety of amphibious treks, including trips where you can rappel down beautiful waterfalls! Start small(er) with the 70-foot Little Bradley Falls, or go straight down the 200-foot Big Bradley Falls.
Find Secret Swimming Holes
The Green River is full of secret swimming holes that you will almost always have all to yourself. Not sure where to start? Check out "The Secrets of the Gorge" our free downloadable Guide. Be sure to check out the daily release schedule for the Green River and avoid swimming in areas with turbulent rapids downstream.
Visit a Wealth of Waterfalls
DuPont State Forest is filled with waterfalls, trails and hidden lakes. Whether you opt for a hike to Hooker, Tripp, or High Falls, or you choose to mountain bike on some of the area’s flowing singletrack trails, there is no shortage of things to do. So much to see in so little time!
See What It’s Like at the Summit
The higher you go, the cooler it gets! In fact, for every 1,000ft of elevation you gain, you lose about 3.5ºF. At 6,683 feet, Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Generally, it’s about 15ºF cooler than Asheville and over 20ºF cooler than Greenville. Now isn’t that a breath of fresh air! While you are up there, enjoy one of the many hikes right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Mount Mitchell State Park.
Check Out Lake Lure
Relive your Dirty Dancing days and head to Lake Lure! There’s nothing quite like a pristine mountain lake to cool you off. With a beach and water park, there is fun to be had for all ages. On a clear summer day, you’ll also enjoy fantastic views of Chimney Rock State Park.
Enjoy WNC’s Steepest Fastest Zipline
We can’t forget a day at The Gorge Zipline! Flying through the cool canopy will lower the temperature - and increase your heart rate - on a hot summer day. Come early to really beat the heat. We are 1,200 feet higher than Greenville, so it is already 5ºF cooler before you start zipping through the jungle.
- Grab a Milkshake
No beat the heat top 10 list is complete without ice cream! Head to Thompson’s Store & Ward’s Grill - the oldest grocery store in the state of North Carolina - to get the best milkshakes and ice cream around. They’re made the old fashioned way and are guaranteed to satisfy any sweet tooth!