10 Perfect Fall Family Day or Weekend Trips from Greenville, SC

Posted on |

Are you planning a fall day trip from Greenville? Fall is my absolute favorite time of year to take day trips or weekend adventures with my kids because of all the incredible beauty in the mountains and the cooler temps. It’s just ideal. So we compiled this list of pretty amazing (if we do say so ourselves) day trips that you could make into an overnight if that’s something you and your family or significant other are looking for. 

This article contains some Stay22 affiliate links.

Pilot Cove

North Carolina Fall Adventures

Cashiers/Highlands, NC

Visit here if you like hiking, waterfalls, and llamas. 

Distance from Greenville: 1.5 hours
Day trip itinerary: Hike Glen Falls (~2.5 mile moderate hike) and see the huge, tiered waterfall. Grab lunch at Slabtown Pizza in Cashiers. Head west on 64 towards Highlands and stop at Bridal Veil Falls and Dry Falls. You can walk behind both waterfalls! If you’re visiting during mid-October/early November, keep going west on 64 to the Rhodes Big View Overlook before 5:30 pm to see the Shadow of the Bear. It takes about 30 minutes to fully appear. Stop by Ingles on the way home for subs for dinner.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay at: This renovated Cashiers cottage, or try Earthshine Lodge or the Sapphire Valley Resort
What to do: Hike with llamas at Earthshine Lodge, hike the gorgeous Whiteside Mountain or Schoolhouse Falls in Panthertown Valley. If you stay at the Sapphire Valley Resort, get an amenities pass to enjoy the indoor pool and sauna. 

Waynesville, NC

Visit here if you love quaint little towns, gorgeous views, and alpacas. 

Distance from Greenville: 1.45 hours
Day trip itinerary: Grab coffee, a bagel, or pastries in downtown Waynesville at Smoky Mountain Roasters. Make an appointment at Winchester Creek Farm to meet the resident alpacas (there are babies!), miniature cows and horses, and a pig. Take a drive along the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway and stop at any of the pull-offs for stellar views and bring a picnic lunch.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay: Try this comfy cabin in Waynesville, NC or try Winchester Creek Farm, which has vacation rentals right on the property so you can wake up and see alpacas while you drink your coffee. 
Play: Fly fishing is huge in Western NC. Let Hookers Fly Shop help you find the best places to cast your line. You can also hike up to Waterrock Knob, a moderate hike of less than two miles but with some of the most amazing views of the Smoky Mountains. 

Petting animals at Winchester Creek Farm

Bryson City, NC

Visit here if you love trains, hiking, and elk.

Distance from Greenville: 2 hours
Day trip itinerary: Get coffee and breakfast at La Dolce Vita and then take an easy hike to see three waterfalls off the two-mile Deep Creek trail in the nearby Smoky Mountains. Eat at High Test Deli or Everett Street Diner. Visit Darnell Farms to enjoy a wagon hayride and get a pumpkin from their pumpkin patch.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay: Sky Ridge Yurts – super comfortable, unique accommodations overlooking the Smokies
Play: Take a ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad to see the leaves showing off their fall colors. See the elk at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center and trek up the 161 steps to Mingo Falls in Cherokee. 

Lake Glenville, NC

Visit here if you love fall foliage, hiking, waterfalls, cute mountain towns, and lake views.

Distance from Greenville: Under 2 hours
Day trip itinerary: Take a boat tour on Lake Glenville, eat lunch at Happs with the kids (they’ve got mini-golf and cornhole), hike to High Falls on Lake Glenville, and squeeze in dinner at Slabtown Pizza.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay
: Look up AirBnBs on Lake Glenville, like this beautiful one
Play: Visit the Village Green playground in Cashiers, hike to Black Balsam and Schoolhouse Falls, eat at Whiteside Brewery.

View of Lake Glenville

Hendersonville, NC

Visit here if you like apples, apple cider donuts, goats, awesome playgrounds, and cute shops.

Distance from Greenville: a little over an hour
Day trip itinerary: Start off heading to an awesome apple orchard in Hendersonville to grab coffee and apple cider donuts. Or visit one of the other many orchards in the area. After getting a boatload of apples, drive over to the Village Bakery in Flat Rock for a lunch of brick oven pizza and goat cheese salad. Eat out back and watch out for the free-roaming chickens. You can shop for unique items next door at the Wrinkled Egg. Afterward, go two minutes down the road to the Carl Sandburg National Historic Site to visit the goats and hike up to Glassy Mountain. 

Make it a weekend trip
Stay
: Try the beautiful Cascades Mountain Resort.
Play: Add on a visit to the awesome playground at Park at Flat Rock and we wish you luck getting your kids to leave. If you’re homeschooling, a visit to the Mineral And Lapidary Museum could be a great experience. And eating at Sierra Nevada Brewery and enjoying the vast outdoor gardens and cornhole is highly recommended. We have a lot of other ideas in our Hendersonville Guide.

Land of Oz

If you love Dorothy, the world of Oz, and the Yellow Brick Road, you need to go to the Land of Oz at Beech Mountain for an unforgettable adventure. The dates for the 2022 Land of Oz are below:

  • Weekend One: September 9th-11th, 2022
  • Weekend Two: September 16th-18th, 2022
  • Weekend Three: September 23rd-25th, 2022

Distance from Greenville: 3 hours
Day trip itinerary: Because it’s a long drive, you may want to stay overnight but it’s certainly doable as a longer day trip. Leave early so you have enough time to get to Beech Mountain and find parking. Once you experience the Land of Oz, you can get something to eat, and if you want, hike to Crabtree Falls before you head home. It’s an amazing waterfall.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay
: The Pinnacle Inn is a great spot and convenient to the Land of Oz.
Play: There’s a lot to do in this area. There’s hiking, a zoo, and the mile-high swinging bridge at Grandfather Mountain. You can explore caves at Linville Caverns. Or you can check out the theme park, Tweetsie Railroad.

Marion, NC

Visit here if you like gold panning, hiking, exploring, fishing, and relaxing.

Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes
Day trip itinerary: Start off heading to Lucky Strike Gold & Gem mine and pan for gold. Stay for lunch because the food is good and inexpensive and gold panning is tiring! Visit the nearby Orchard at Altapass for u-pick apples and a hayride.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay
: Gold River camp & cabin is amazing!
Play: There isn’t enough time to do all the things if you stay overnight here but let’s try. Hike to the 60-foot stunning Crabtree Falls, about 45 minutes from Gold River. It’s a moderate three-mile hike with a huge payoff. Tom Creek Falls is close by as well if you want a shorter hike. Take the family to catch trout at Buck Creek Trout Farm and catch your dinner. Your second day can consist of hiking and exploring the beautiful Grandfather Mountain, about an hour from Gold River. You can easily spend the day there.

Gold River
Gold panning at Gold River

Georgia Fall Adventures

Helen, GA

Go here if you love adventure, Oktoberfest, and cute, Bavarian towns. 

Distance from Greenville: 2 hours
Day trip itinerary: Visit Unicoi State Park and try your hand at archery or take a spin on the zip lines. Afterward, drive the five minutes to Helen and get a delicious brew and German food at Oktoberfest, which runs Thursday through Sunday during the month of September, and daily during the month of October. Don’t forget to stop by the Hansel & Gretel Candy Kitchen, which has an array of tempting chocolate treats.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay: Book a weekend at the barrel cabins at Unicoi State Park or if you’re lucky, get an Airbnb or hotel right in Helen. 
Play: Hike through Unicoi State Park (you can even hike down to Helen on the six-mile round trip Unicoi Helen Trail). Visit Anna Ruby Falls, a dual waterfall that is just stunning. Take a trip to Hardman Farm, a Georgia State Park, where they have really neat fall events like farm day, learning about pioneer life, and checking out the historic site. If you stay the weekend, you’ll have more time for Oktoberfest and any outdoor activities at Unicoi State Park you’d like to do.

Blairsville, GA

Visit here if you like cute little mountain towns, horseback riding, and alpacas. 

Distance from Greenville: 2 hours 40 minutes
Day trip itinerary: First stop should be Cabin Coffee for coffee and breakfast. Then head to Trackrock Stables for a horseback ride! The minimum age is five years old for an hour ride, and 10 years old for two hours. Lunch is at The Sawmill Place, a favorite of our writer, Melanie, who spent a couple of days in Blairsville. Head to Lasso the Moon Alpaca Farm before you head home to spend time with the fluffy animals and feed them and take cute photos.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay: Shady Rest or The Ridges Resort
Play: Take your time eating and drinking in Blairsville – we have a lot of suggestions in our Blairsville guide to the little town. Meeks Park is also a great option for hanging out and playing for kids as it has hiking trails, a playground, batting cages, a skateboard park, tennis courts, a dog park, and the beautiful Butternut Creek and Nottley River.

Tennessee Fall Adventures

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, TN

It is hard to beat the Great Smoky Mountains in the fall honestly. The majestic sweeping views of deep valleys and tall mountains topped with the vibrant colors of changing leaves are breathtaking. We have a big guide to the best of Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for you to look through.

Distance from Greenville: 3 hours
Day trip: Hit up Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, take a hike to Alum Cave or Grotto Falls, or ride through Cades Cove, or just stroll around downtown Gatlinburg. You could travel to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the NC side of the Smokies and see the elk and do the Jr. Ranger Program.

Make it a weekend trip
Stay
: If you’re looking for a weekend getaway to enjoy both the leaves and for the kids to have fun at the hotel, both the Wilderness at the Smokies and the Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort have giant indoor waterparks. If you want to be downtown and in the middle of all the action, the Greystone Lodge in Gatlinburg and Margaritaville at the Island at Pigeon Forge are the places to be.
Play: Anakeesta has a great Halloween spooky-themed month or so up on the top of the mountain in Gatlinburg also and Dollywood has the award-winning Great PumpkinLumilights from mid-September through October 30.

Where is your favorite place to visit during the fall season?

About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

Sign up for our email newsletter.

Comments are closed.