Highlands, NC

Smoky Mtn Towns in Western North Carolina

Explore Highlands and Macon County, NC

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ELEVATION 4118 FEET: Discover Your Height of Happiness in Highlands, NC

Located at a breathtaking elevation of 4,118 feet, the enchanting town of Highlands, NC, beckons with open arms, offering a warm and welcoming haven. Here, the seamless blend of refined luxury and the great outdoors invites you to savor every moment of your mountain retreat. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or unique shopping, Highlands has it all. Immerse yourself in the natural allure of this unique destination, indulge in the local culture, and relish the pleasures of mountain chic hotels and spas. Elevate your dining experience at one of the town’s seven Wine Spectator-recognized restaurants. Highlands, literally and metaphorically, rises above the noise, offering a deep emotional connection and the opportunity to discover your own Height of Happiness.

Places to EAT & SLEEP in Highlands, NC

Why Choose Highlands, NC?

  1. Scenic Beauty: Highlands boasts breathtaking landscapes with lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and stunning mountain vistas. The natural beauty alone is reason enough to visit.
  2. Outdoor Paradise: Whether you’re an avid golfer, hiker, biker, or kayaker, Highlands offers a range of outdoor activities for enthusiasts of all levels.
  3. Golfers’ Paradise: The town features world-class golf courses set against a backdrop of rolling hills and forests, making it a golfer’s dream destination.
  4. Country Club Elegance: Several upscale country clubs in the area offer golf, tennis, swimming, and social events for a luxurious and relaxing experience.
  5. Culinary Excellence: Savor the town’s culinary delights, which include a wide array of restaurants offering gourmet cuisine and locally inspired dishes.
  6. Festivals and Events: Highlands hosts various cultural festivals and events throughout the year, adding a touch of local flavor to your visit.
  7. Year-Round Appeal: Highlands’ four distinct seasons ensure that there’s always a perfect time to visit, each offering its own unique outdoor opportunities.
  8. Historic Charm: Delve into the town’s history, from its early settlement to its transformation into a fashionable mountain resort in the 19th century.
  9. Proximity to Other Mountain Towns: Located near other notable mountain towns, Highlands serves as an excellent starting point for exploring the region.

Things to Do in Highlands, NC

  • Highlands Botanical Garden – Located at an elevation of 3,800 feet, it is the highest public native plant botanical garden in the Eastern United States.
  • Highlands Performing Arts Center (PAC) – Check their schedule for upcoming plays and events https://www.highlandsperformingarts.com/calendar
  • Golf: Tee off at renowned courses like Highlands Country Club and Cullasaja Club, where you’ll enjoy both challenging play and breathtaking mountain views.
  • Hiking: Explore nearby trails, such as Whiteside Mountain Trail and Glen Falls Trail, which offer stunning vistas and opportunities to connect with nature.
  • Biking: Ride along scenic byways like the Blue Ridge Parkway or embark on mountain biking adventures in the Nantahala National Forest.
  • Kayaking: Paddle in the pristine waters of Lake Sequoyah or the nearby Chattooga River for a refreshing outdoor experience.
  • Country Clubs: Unwind at Highlands’ elegant country clubs, where you can enjoy golf, tennis, and social events in a picturesque setting.
  • Dining: Indulge in culinary delights at local favorites like Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro and Madison’s Restaurant, offering a range of delectable dishes. Check out all the restaurants and cafes in Highlands

For a fun family vacation in Highlands, NC, consider the following activities and hiking trails:

  • Explore Cliffside Lake for hiking and swimming
  • Take a fun excursion around Highlands https://highlandexcursion.com
  • Visit the Highlands Nature Center and Highlands Recreation Park
  • Hike to School House Falls and Panthertown
  • Admire Whitewater Falls from an easy to access observation platform
  • Explore Gorges State Park to see Rainbow Falls and Turtleback Falls
  • Visit The Village Green in Cashiers
  • Try gem mining
  • Enjoy attractions like the Fun Factory in the Smokies in Franklin and the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City
  • Dine at Whiteside Brewing Company and Cornucopia Restaurant

Additionally, add these hiking trails to your adventure list:

  • Whiteside Mountain Trail
  • Glen Falls Trail
  • Dry Falls Trail
  • Secret Falls Trail
  • Ranger Falls Trail
  • Bartram Trail
  • Scaly Mountain via Bartram Trail

These trails offer varying levels of difficulty and scenic views, perfect for family outings to explore the natural beauty of Highlands, NC. Check more information for these trails on AllTrails.

Festivals and Annual Events

  • Highlands Food & Wine Festival: A culinary extravaganza featuring celebrity chefs, wine tastings, and gourmet delights. Event Website
  • Highlands Mountaintop Art & Craft Show: Browse and purchase exquisite, handcrafted works of art and crafts from local artisans. Event Website
  • Highlands Motoring Festival: Celebrating classic and antique automobiles, a must-see for automotive enthusiasts. Event Website

Highland’s Four Seasons of Weather

  • Spring: Mild temperatures, blooming wildflowers, and ideal hiking and outdoor exploration conditions.
  • Summer: Warm and sunny weather, perfect for golf, kayaking, and enjoying the town’s vibrant atmosphere.
  • Fall: Spectacular foliage, making it the ideal time for leaf peeping, hiking, and outdoor photography.
  • Winter: A peaceful winter wonderland with opportunities for cozying up by the fire and enjoying the tranquility of the mountains.

Unique History

Highlands’ history dates back to the early 19th century when it was established as a mountain resort destination. The town has preserved its historic charm and elegant architecture, allowing visitors to glimpse its storied past.

Proximity to Other Mountain Towns

Highlands is conveniently located within a short drive of other notable mountain towns like Cashiers and Franklin, making exploring the diverse beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains region easy.

Highlands, NC, is a destination that appeals to every traveler seeking a blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventure, cultural richness, and culinary excellence. Whether you visit for golf, hiking, or to unwind amidst stunning scenery, Highlands will leave you with lasting memories of your Blue Ridge Mountains getaway. Plan your visit to Highlands, and immerse yourself in the charm of this enchanting mountain town.


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