Adventures in Wonderland Await at Magical Mountain Resorts in Western NC

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Nestled in the WNC town of Hayesville, NC lies the Magical Mountain Resort, a whimsical and fun world where fairy tales come to life in cottages set in a forest and along a mountain stream. If you want to add a little magic to your trip, this is the place to do it in Hayesville, NC.

I’ve always enjoyed the whimsical aspect of stories – enchanted forests, drinks that make you grow tall or shrink to fit through minuscule doors, exaggerated characters like the Queen of Hearts, time travel, and gigantic mushrooms and flowers. All of that and so much more greets you at Magical Mountain Resort in Hayesville, North Carolina, just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Greenville. Plus, it is a great location any time of year! Our most recent visit was in February, and it was wonderful.

About Magical Mountain Resort

Set in 11 acres that back up to Nantahala National Forest, the Magical Mountain Resort has multiple options for lodging, some of which are still in progress. The owner, Shannon, bought the property after selling investment properties in Florida. She moved the day after Hurricane Ian hit and looked for properties with cabins on them in the woods. 

Once she bought the property in Hayesville, North Carolina, she set to making her whimsical fairy tale dreams a reality. And $1.5 million later, she’s well on her way.

I’ve met a lot of creative and innovative people in my life but Shannon ranks pretty high on that list. I was floored at the intricate details that are the hallmark of the property. Literally, no detail was overlooked from the giant mushrooms at the entrance to the property to the glow-in-the-dark teacups high in the trees next to the cottages to the hand-painted and hand-carved signs that tell you where to go around the resort. And that’s just on the outside. Wait till you see what’s inside all the cabins!

Sometimes I think that when one seeks to make their dreams a reality when it comes to fairy tales, it can come off as overdone and cheesy. Not this place. When you visit Magical Mountain Resort, you’re leaving your life behind for the time you’re there and get to step into a world that makes it easy to get caught up in the details of another time and place. 

Places to Stay at Magical Mountain Resort

At the time of this writing, there are four cottages and one bus to stay at: Alice’s White Bunny Cottage, Alice’s Queen Cottage, the Caretakers Cabin, the Snow White Cottage, and the MidKnight Buss. All have bathrooms and kitchens. The Snow White cottage is the smallest and the Caretakers Cabin is the largest. During our first trip, we stayed in Alice’s White Bunny Cottage, which was amazing. I’ll get to that in a minute. We had the opportunity to stay in Alice’s Queen Cottage as well more recently, and the attention to detail was stunning!

New in 2024, there are now an additional 5 RV slips available! The pull-in spots are perfectly situation along the creek, so you’ll have the wonderful sound of the water flowing while you camp. Each slip has a picnic table creekside, and a small firepit, and is close to the family-friendly area where your kids can play giant chess, create a fairy mini world in the fairy garden, or relax in the hammocks strung amongst the trees.

Keep in mind that the resort only opened mid-May 2023 so some construction is still ongoing and some of the lodgings are not quite ready. I’ll tell you what’s open and what isn’t. However, as of February 2024, the candy cottages are almost near completion, and they are looking truly magical!

Stay in a Bus

Shannon is a collector of very interesting items at Magical Mountain. The double-decker bus on the property, the MidKnight Bus, she has outfitted into a Harry Potter-inspired stay was once owned by Disney way back in the 1950s. The history of it alone is worth its own story but the short version is just that this bus is really darn cool. It is decked out with three beds on the lower level, stained glass windows, a kitchen, bathroom, and a lounge area. There’s a magical fire pit outside plus a deck and chairs to relax at while you contemplate how cool you are that you get to stay there. 

Shannon has three other buses she is either currently renovating or that she’s expecting to be shipped in, including a Magic Schoolhouse bus! 

Stay in a Candy House 

Remember the game, Candyland? Shannon has outfitted two cabins to look like they belong in that game. Both of them are not ready for visitors yet but we got to see them in progress and they are adorable. I felt like Hansel and Gretel coming up on the enchanted candy cabin in the woods (thankfully no witches here that eat kids).

The outside has steps that look like gumdrops, gingerbread people that greet you, and lollipops that you can see from the front steps. These are camper cabins and will not have bathrooms but they do have a mini-fridge, and microwave, and are outfitted with heat and air conditioning. The resort is currently building a dalmation-themed bathhouse that should open around the same time that the cabins are available.

Candy cottages at Magical Mountain Resorts and Enchanted Forest in North Carolina

Stay at Alice’s White Rabbit Cottage

While I got to see most of the accommodations at the resort, we stayed at Alice’s White Rabbit cottage, based on Alice in Wonderland. From the moment you see the pink house with white railings, glass flowers, teacups and teapots in the flowerbeds, and a hand-carved front door, you will absolutely forget you’re in the real world. 

The cottage is outfitted with a small kitchen, full bath, queen-sized bed up in the loft, and a pink leather pullout bed on the bottom floor. The light fixture has teacups on it and all the plates and cookware are the same color pink as the house. The coffee pot and tea kettle are pink and the bathroom has a white rabbit painted on the pink toilet seat while there’s a pink clawfoot tub if you want to enjoy a soak. 

Outside, you’ll have your own private porch with flowers that have faces from the movie: the Cheshire Cat, the white rabbit, and the Queen of Hearts. While you enjoy the babbling stream right in front of the cabin, your kids can color or enjoy a snack at the glass table and pink and white bouncy chairs. 

At night, the trees behind the cottage light up purple, and the tea cups suspended in the branches glow in the dark. Solar lights line the pathway to the door and the flowers also light up. 

No detail was overlooked whatsoever. I have zero knack for design or creativity when it comes to decorating and I’d never ever come up with something as neat as this place.

Alice’s Queen Cottage

Much of the same amenities are available in the Queen’s Cottage as in the White Rabbit Cottage, except the decor is stunningly royal! Lots of red and black take over the theme, even to the tiniest details. The clawfoot bathtub was stunning! Our family of four was able to sleep cozy in the cabin, with my oldest daughter and I taking the queen bed in the loft, while my husband and two-year-old slept on the pullout sofa downstairs.

Alice's Queen Cottage outdoors at Magical Mountain Resorts in North Carolina

It was so much fun exploring both the inside and outside of the cabin to see all of the neat things we could find. Around the perimeter of the cottage, there are lots of trinkets, glowing flowers, delightful seating by the creek, and lots of hidden gems to find.

Queen Cottage at Magical Mountain Resorts and Enchanted Forest in North Carolina

Bring your Own RV or Tent 

Magical Mountain Resort has five RV slips available. Campers who want to use a tent are welcome to book those sites and just camp out in the field if they like as well. However, the bathhouse is not yet completed but there is a porta-potty on site. The RV slips have a wonderful location along the creek side, close to the fire pits, and right near the hammocks and fairy garden for kids to play at.

Things to do at Magical Mountain Resort

While there are lots of things to do in the area, you won’t run out of fun activities at the resort. These are all located right next to the creek and just a short walk from the Queen and White Bunny cottages. 

Relax in a hammock

There are multiple hammocks on the property along the creek, which is just so nice. You can relax in a big hammock that was handwoven in Nicaragua and listen to the creek, read a book, or just chill out while your kids play nearby.

Swings and Fishing

There are a few swings and swinging benches also along the creek, including a baby swing. Again, just another invitation to enjoy the serene setting!

Shannon also has fish bait and a fishing rod that you can use to try your luck at catching trout in the stream. 

Lifesize chess and lawn games

There’s a life-size chess game that you’re welcome to play while you visit the resort. Shannon can tell you how to play if you don’t know how. They also have checkers, corn hole, and croquet. 

Play in the creek 

You’re welcome to get in the creek to cool off. Most of it is really shallow and some parts are maybe hip deep, which is perfect for bringing tubes and getting wet in the chilly water. 

Roast s’mores with magic fire 

Thanks to our neighbors who started a roaring bonfire and thanks to our other neighbors who had kids the same age as my kids and who brought stuff to make s’mores, we all enjoyed pretty awesome s’mores the night we stayed at the resort. It was so much fun! Shannon leaves guests with a packet of magic fire dust that you throw on the fire and which turns the flames blue.  See? No detail was overlooked. 

Make it a weekend trip: Things to do Near Magical Mountain Resort

One of the reasons I really liked Shannon is that she does all the things that she recommends to her guests (like us!). I’ve spent some time in that area and have done a lot of cool stuff, which I mention here, but Shannon has made it a point to explore the area and do things that she thinks her guests will love, so I’ve listed those as well.

Marina Station Water Park

Readers know how much my kids and I love inflatable aqua parks. Well, there’s one just 23 minutes from Magical Mountain at the Marina Station on Lake Chatuge. It’s $18/person for an hour of fun. We did this on the way home from Magical Mountain and had a blast. It was the perfect thing to do to cool off and you can hang out afterward at the little beach or go to town for some lunch.

Andrews Valley Rail Tours

I have not done this one but Shannon has and it looks super fun and unique. Andrews Valley Rail Tours takes visitors along a 10-mile trek through beautiful scenery, including a hand-carved tunnel from the late 1800s and railroad bridges – all on a railbike! Guests must be at least 4 years old and tours are currently $49.95/person and last for two-and-a-half hours.


There are some great trails nearby, including beautiful hikes to incredible overlooks at Bell Mountain (32 minutes away) and Brasstown Bald (40 minutes away), both of which are amazing for sunrise and sunset. Less than a half hour away is Leatherwood Falls, a great spot for a picnic and splash in the falls. It’s less than a mile roundtrip. Pickens Nose is a favorite of mine (watch the kids though – steep rocks at the overlooks) because the views are outrageously gorgeous and the total hike is less than two miles. It’s about an hour from Magical Mountain. 

Helen, Georgia & Blairsville, Georgia

This quirky and adorable Bavarian-themed town is a favorite of our readers. There’s a lot to do all year round. See our story on Helen, Georgia for ideas. And the cute little town of Blairsville, Georgia is only a 30-minute drive from Magical Mountain. There are some fun things to do in Blairsville as well!

On the drive home

During the summer, you can easily stop at Bull Sluice on the Chattooga River on the way home. There’s a little beach along the river and you can take a dip or hang out. If you go upstream just a little ways on the paved trail, you can watch the rafters take on the rapids. 

Also during the summer, if you want to take the northern route back home to Greenville, you can stop at Cashiers Sliding Rock. It’s a really fun natural waterslide with a sandy beach. There’s no fee but also not much parking. You can also stop at Dry Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, both roadside waterfalls that you can walk behind which we think are beautiful. 

Overall Mom Review of Our Adventures in Wonderland

I’d love to go back to Magical Mountain Resorts for several reasons: 

  • The place is just really cool with all the details that make it so fun and enchanting
  • I loved the play areas that make it easy to relax and have fun with your family
  • The location is ideal for outdoor fun and adventure
  • The resort is super family-friendly, and kids will love exploring all the little things!

The field behind the cottage had lots of fireflies and my daughters, who met friends their age right next door when we stayed there, went and caught the little bugs. It was one of those idyllic experiences that I was hoping my own kids would have as I did in my own childhood. 

And when our neighbors at the queen cottage next door introduced themselves the evening we were there, it became such an eventful and fun night. My daughters and their granddaughters painted rocks, roasted s’mores together, lit sparklers, tried out the magic fire dust, took all kinds of hilarious photos around the property, and really enjoyed each other’s company. The whole experience was just unforgettable. 

My daughters and I just had such a delightful time at Magical Mountain and I especially appreciated the massive effort that went into creating the experience by Shannon. It was one pleasant surprise after another while staying there and something that my kids will certainly remember with joy. 

Booking Your Stay Down the Rabbit Hole

It’s easy to book your stay at Magical Mountain Resort as all the properties are listed in AirBnB. Look at the Magical Mountain website though first and see which stay is best and go from there. 

The entire property is dog-friendly. You’ll definitely meet Shannon’s loveable and playful golden doodles, Molly and Charlie, while you’re there. Molly took to guarding my girls while they played chess and it was adorable.

If you’re looking for a place to get away in the mountains that is just a touch magical and that will leave your family with lasting, amazing memories, Magical Mountain Resort is the place to go.

Magical Mountain Resort
9594 Tusquittee Road, Hayesville, NC

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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.

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