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Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

Find the Most Jaw-Dropping Waterfalls Near Greenville, SC

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Are you wondering where to go to find some beautiful waterfalls without traveling too far from Greenville, SC? You’re in luck because we have gathered all the information you need about finding waterfalls close to home, all in one handy place! Whether you want to take in a waterfall while enjoying a long hike or a waterfall that you can view with very little effort, local mom Kristina has all the details right here!

Waterfalls near Greenville, SC

Waterfalls can be quite magical and we have so, so many near us in the Upstate. Waterfalls are beautiful any time of year also – surrounded by wildflowers in the spring, framed by greenery over the summer and perfect for swimming, delivering fall colors in autumn, and showing off (some) frozen beauty in winter.

It is incredibly important for your own safety and for the safety of your family, EMTs, and rescuers, to never play at the top or sides of a waterfall, even for a second or to get an Insta-worthy photo. Those rocks are slippery and many people have unfortunately lost their lives at waterfalls in our area.

For important tips on recreating responsibly, please see this story on the seven Leave No Trace principles.

Below are some of our favorite waterfalls near the Upstate, SC. But, if you love waterfalls you’ll want to take a look at this list of Waterfalls of the Southeast, loaded with waterfall hikes in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

Waterfalls in & near Greenville, SC

Falls Park

You don’t have to go far to see the first waterfalls on this list. Pack a picnic, relax on the nearby swings, or take a walk through Falls Park on the Reedy River in downtown Greenville and see the beautiful waterfalls that run right through our beautiful city.

South Main Street and Camperdown Way
Greenville, SC

Distance from Greenville: 0 minutes – it is located downtown

Waterfall at Falls Park in downtown Greenville.

Raven Cliff Falls

Take the two-mile long Raven Cliff Falls trail to view the gorgeous 420-ft Raven Cliff Falls from an overlook at Caesar’s Head State Park. There are also a variety of hiking trails within that park and the surrounding Mountain Bridge Wilderness.

Or if you’re a more experienced hiker, take the Dismal Trail to get to the suspension bridge that goes over the falls. It’s a tough 8+ mile loop but worth it.

8155 Geer Hwy
Cleveland, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~hour

View of Raven Cliff Falls with fall foliage.

Jones Gap State Park

Known for its natural scenery, this 300 acre park is perfect for a relaxing day of exploration – and waterfall viewing of course. One of the more popular trails leads uphill to the stunning Rainbow Falls. It’s a strenuous trail but there are other waterfalls that are along the main trail.

This is a hugely popular park that now requires reserved parking ($5) on weekends in addition to the entrance fee.

303 Jones Gap Road
Marietta, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~an hour

Station Cove Falls

This waterfall in Oconee County near Hwy 11 is so, so stunning. It’s a big waterfall towering high dripping water from hundreds of small ledges. It’s also a very easy hike, about 1.5 miles round trip.

State Rd S-37-95
Walhalla, SC

Distance from Greenville: an hour and 10 minutes

People sitting near the base of Station Cove Falls.
Station Cove Falls

Chau Ram County Park

A little over an hour from Greenville, Chau Ram Park is called South Carolina’s “Best Kept Secret” by the Oconee County Recreation and Tourism Department. There is a 40 foot waterfall at Ramsey Creek plus the county’s longest suspension bridge here. You can also swim, hike and camp, all for only $2 per car load.

1220 Chau Ram Park Road
Westminster, SC

Distance from Greenville: an hour + 5 minutes

Table Rock State Park

Table Rock contains lots of awesome waterfalls easily accessible from the many trails that wind through this beautiful park. Trails are not stroller-friendly so be sure to either bring a baby carrier if you’ve got a little one or sturdy shoes for the younger kids. There is a fee to enter the park if you don’t have a park pass.

158 Ellison Lane
Pickens, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~45 minutes

Yellow Branch Falls

Located in Walhalla near Isaqueena Falls, Yellow Branch Falls are amazing. The falls are huge and picturesque and just a beautiful place to visit. This is a popular waterfall and trail so again, get there early if you want to experience it with less people.

2911-3023 Highlands Hwy
Walhalla, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~an hour + 10 minutes

Looking Glass Falls

This wildly popular waterfall is right on the side of the road off 276 in Pisgah Forest in Brevard. We’ve seen it in every season and our favorite has been over the winter when it’s been partially frozen. No hiking is involved but you can take the stairs and ramps down to the bottom for some great photos.

Hwy 276, Brevard, NC
Distance from Greenville:
~an hour + 20 minutes

Wildcat Wayside

This one is perfect for smaller kids to splash around in a waterfall without any of the hiking. The waterfall is literally on the side of the road on SC 11 in Cleveland, SC as you drive towards Table Rock from Greenville. There is an easy mile loop trail if you’d like to hike.

Heading north on Route 11, the trail and pull-off parking are on the right side of the road.

SC 11
Cleveland, SC

Distance from Greenville: ~38 minutes

Waterfall at wildcat Wayside.
Wildcat Wayside

Issaqueena Falls

Located in Oconee County, Issaqueena Falls is located at the end of a short walk through what is known as Stumphouse Tunnel, which was originally constructed in 1852 to connect Charleston to Knoxville but was halted because of a lack of money.

As for the waterfalls, “legend has it that the falls is named for an Indian maiden, Issaqueena, who warning the white settlers of an Indian attack, was then chased by Indians and she appeared to jump over the falls. By actually hiding behind the falls (or some legend-tellers say she hid behind a stump, hence Stumphouse Tunnel), she tricked her pursuers and survived.”

And be sure to read KAG contributor Deidre Smith’s review of Stumphouse Tunnel and Issaqeena Falls.

Hwy 28
Walhalla, SC

Distance from Greenville: an hour + 10 minutes

Wright Creek Falls

This is an extra special waterfall since you can only get there by boat. It’s on Lake Jocassee and you can access the lake through Devils Fork State Park. Here’s a map of the waterfalls at this stunning lake. There is a fee to enter the park.

161 Holcombe Circle
Salem, SC

Distance from Greenville: Devils Fork Park is an hour + 20 minutes plus another hour to 90 minutes of paddling (or take a boat through Jocassee Lake Rentals)

Spoonauger Falls

This family-friendly hike is located near Mountain Rest, SC, close to the Georgia border. The hike to the falls is an easy 0.3-mile hike, so it is perfect for families with small children. Once there, you can check out salamanders and small fish in the pools and discover the falls towering above!

Spoonauger Falls
Near Mountain Rest, SC
Ellicott Rock Wilderness

Distance from Greenville: 1 hour 55 minutes from Downtown Greenville.

Rainbow Falls at Gorges State Park

This is a different Rainbow Falls than at Jones Gap. You’ll have to travel into NC to see this beauty! If you’re lucky, you’ll get to the see the rainbow that gives it its name. The hike is a moderate 4 mile roundtrip hike.

Gorges State Park
976 Grassy Ridge Road, Sapphire, NC

Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

If you’re looking for even more waterfalls, because really, who isn’t, then head over to our article on the North Carolina no-hike waterfall tour.

Find More Waterfalls to Explore!

Our huge guide to waterfalls of the southeast tells you all about waterfalls you can hike to in the Georgia mountains, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. They make a beautiful day trip or addition to a family getaway.

Did we miss your favorite waterfall?  If so, please use the comments to share your best spot!

The NC Arboretum Is A Dreamy Holiday Light Experience in Asheville, NC

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Have you visited Winter Lights at the NC Arboretum in Asheville, NC? While the Greenville area has its good share of fantastic Christmas light displays, a completely over-the-top experience at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville for their Winter Lights exhibit is worth the drive. Winter Lights has returned to walk-through light displays, exhibits, treats, smores, activities, and more!

The Arboretum, which is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway and part of the Pisgah National Forest, is set on over 434 acres of gorgeous gardens, biking trails, and streams, meticulously planned out and designed to deliver a top-notch experience for guests.

Christmas activities in Asheville, North Carolina

Make a day of the visit to North Carolina with The Kidding Around List of Ways To Celebrate Christmas In Asheville!

The Winter Lights at NC Arboretum

The Winter Lights exhibit is no less than that. With nearly half a million LED lights lit up for the exhibit, there is no shortage of amazement.

Guests are greeted in the parking lot – the parking lot – with rows of huge trees adorned with red, blue, green, and white lights, all leading to the entrance, a two-story lodge with staff and volunteers ready to scan tickets and send guests on their merry way into the gardens.

These trees are gorgeous with the lights and make for an incredible entrance. The staff at the Arboretum started putting up the lights on September 1st. That’s how expansive this exhibit is.

Guests first exit the lodge onto a patio where they can choose to begin their walk through the lights or go straight to the Cocoa Shack, where they can purchase hot chocolate or hot cider and many different goodies like a chocolate-dipped Oreo cookie or chocolate-covered pretzel rod, or even a s’mores kit to be used at one of the supervised fire pits throughout the Arboretum.

Bent Creek Bistro will also be selling sandwiches, soups, and more during Winter Lights. Here is the Bent Creek Bistro Menu for Winter Lights 2023

What To Expect: Gum Drops and Chandeliers

Passing the Cocoa Shack, guests can meander under a lighted trellis where lights on the ground look like gumdrops. Gaze to your left and you’ll be greeted with an enormous structure of string lights that look like a Christmas tree. Head to your right for the light display that lights up in sync with captivating Christmas music.

Keep walking to the white lights strung up on trees that mimic snow falling off of branches. Or stroll under the tunnel of lights that lead to chandeliers – several of them – hanging from trees. The Arboretum also expertly decorated some of the larger trees to look like elaborate gowns, which made that part of the gardens look like a gorgeous, darkened dance hall, where a ghost of Christmas past may be seen floating among the chandeliers, dressed in a flowing gown.

The imagination can easily wander in this place.

The NC Arboretum Wishing Tree

Heading past the chandeliers is the Wishing Tree in the bonsai garden (where bathrooms are as well, in case you need to know). Guests are invited to write their warm holiday wishes on little cards and hang them from the Wishing Tree.

This was honestly my favorite part. While people wrote all kinds of interesting wishes (one guy wrote his name and number and asked pretty ladies to call him…), there were some that left me feeling like I was peeking into someone’s heart. One woman wrote that she wished to see her late husband. Another wrote that they wished everyone would feel valued this holiday season.

It was beautiful. I’m not going to say what I wished for, though.

Reindeer Games and Crafts

Past the Wishing Tree was the “Reindeer Games” section, where people could play “tic tac snow” – you and your partner could press buttons that would correspond to a tic, tac, toe board of holiday wreaths, which would light up according to the moves each player would make. They also had a game of Jenga and a nearby fire pit for making s’mores.

Past the games was another inviting building, where families could do a free craft with their child (or just do it themselves because it was fun). When we went, my kids made a butterfly that had a glowstick inside, which was perfect for when we got back outside.

In the same room, there was an animal storytime, “Storytime at Woodland Cove”, a set-up of deer and bears and squirrels that all talked (think a Disney ride but without any actual ride) and told a story of a baby bear going through his first winter alone.

On our way back through the exhibit outside, we happened to come across a train exhibit, which was fun to watch. We saw it atop the bridge that led to the big Christmas tree-like light display, but you could walk down below and see the trains up close as well. My oldest wanted to go to see, as did I, but my youngest was reaching her breaking point so we had to head out. Next time!

Winter Lights

Making The Trip To Asheville, NC

The NC Arboretum is just over an hour from Greenville. There are nearby restaurants that are great for families if you want to eat before you go. I was given the recommendation to go Papas & Beer, which is five minutes from the Arboretum, and it was awesome.

It’s a late night for little ones but depending on your child’s temperament and mood, they will probably love it. My three-year-old was hitting her limit about an hour and a half into the exhibit so opted to head out.

There were a bunch of families, children, couples, and grandparents all enjoying the exhibit. One dad even had on a hiking backpack where he stowed his smaller child. Smart thinking.

To enjoy as much of the exhibit as possible, try to get there when it opens at 6 pm. You’ll have to show your tickets and park, which takes about 20-25 minutes, and then you have the rest of the time to wander around the exhibit and enjoy the magical experience.

2023 Winter Lights Ticket Info & FAQ

  • DATES
    November 17th, 2023 – December 31st, 2023
  • HOURS
    The gates open for the Winter Lights Display at 6:00 PM. Tickets are timed and guests may enter anytime between the time on their ticket and 9 pm. All guests must be off the property by 10:30 pm. Don’t not arrive early and block the gate.
  • TICKETS
    Tickets for a standard passenger vehicle range in price from $40-$70 per car when purchased in advance. Peak days will be priced at a premium. All the pricing details can be found on the NC Arboretum Winter Lights Ticket page If you have your ticket on your smartphone, take a screenshot before you arrive. Cell service is limited at the ticket gate.
  • North Carolina Arboretum Winter Lights -100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC | 828.665.2492

Know Before You Go

  • Animals are not allowed in the Arboretum and food and drink cannot be brought in either.
  • Bathrooms are in the main lodge entrance building, near the Wishing Tree in the bonsai garden, and in the building where the restaurant and crafts are located.

The Annual Cashiers, NC Christmas Parade Is A Perfect Day Trip This Holiday Season

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Love a small-town Christmas parade? Head to Cashiers, NC for Christmas this year! Celebrating in the mountains for the Cashiers Christmas Parade sounds like a great day trip from the Upstate!

As much as we love being in Greenville for the holidays, there are just some events that prove to be too much for the younger kids, one example being the Poinsettia Christmas Parade. Between finding parking downtown, getting there early enough to get a good spot, keeping the kids occupied until the parade starts, and then managing the hungry little guys upon getting home late, parade day could be extremely taxing on this mom’s holiday spirit!

I can’t exactly remember how we first heard about our new holiday tradition, but our Christmas in the Upstate now includes a trip to the mountains for the Cashiers Christmas Parade!

Be sure to check out our guide to the holidays for more fun things to do during Christmas near Greenville, SC.

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You Can Hike With Llamas at Earthshine Lodge

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If your family needs a break, head to the mountains for a chance to hike with llamas at Earthshine Lodge! Kidding Around Greenville contributor Liene visited a retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family, and found the llama hike to be an enthralling experience – one of many experiences Earthshine Lodge has to offer! Find out about the llamas, the Earthshine Lodge property, and their upcoming holiday event that includes brunch with Santa. Get ready for a great time!

Media tickets were provided for this review, but opinions are solely those of the author.

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Get Tickets Now! Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Polar Express in Bryson City, NC

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Wondering about the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad’s Polar Express? Bryson City offers one of the most magical experiences of a kid’s life on this themed train ride based on the book The Polar Express. Whether you love an early beginning to the holiday season or wish you could put it off, this North Carolina attraction is one very good reason to start your own planning early this year. KAG Contributor Liene has all the information you need to know about this very popular holiday attraction.

The Polar Express in Bryson City, North Carolina

The Polar Express: Bryson City, NC

Bryson City is a gateway city to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but is it also home to the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad depot, with scenic rail excursions through the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. Beginning November 9th, 2023, a very special train will be departing from the historic Bryson City depot: The Polar Express. This is one of two very popular train rides on the Polar Express near Greenville, SC, so get your tickets soon!

Based on the popular children’s book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, this magical train ride recreates the journey to the North Pole complete with hot cocoa and a warm cookie.  At the end of the train ride, Santa Claus himself will be waiting at Santa’s Village to board the train and present each child with their very own silver sleigh bell.

Things to Know About the Ride on the Polar Express

You’ll want to arrive in Bryson City at least an hour before your departure time. This will give you time to park, which is not an easy task in this little town that brings upwards of 90,000 passengers through for the Polar Express. Parking charges are already added when purchasing tickets ($6) and parking attendants are on hand to direct traffic.

Once you’ve walked to the depot you might want to explore the GSMR train museum, and you’ll find a dozen little souvenir and snack shops lining the street to explore while waiting for your train’s boarding time. Hint; the Smoky Mountain trains museum is free with tickets, but you can purchase pictures with Santa if you arrive early.

When it is time to climb on board, passengers join the queue at their assigned boarding station, which correlates to the train car in which you will be riding.   The beautifully restored vintage coaches date from the 1920s to the 1940s, and the interior has been festively decorated in the holiday spirit. Friendly employees are on hand to help the boarding process and get everyone situated, and before you know it, the whistle blows, and the Polar Express is off, headed for the North Pole!

While music plays in the background (from the motion picture The Polar Express), the conductor comes through to stamp the ‘golden train tickets.’  These tickets, based on the book, make a cherished souvenir for the children. Hint: make sure to bring your copy of “The Polar Express” on the trip so that you can read along while enjoying the hot chocolate brought to you by the singing and dancing chef.  

Like most parents, we had changed the kids into their pajamas so that they would be cozy and comfortable on the journey.  And, the singing of Christmas carols and antics of the Polar Express characters kept them mesmerized the entire trip.

Bryson City, North Carolina Great Smoky Mountain Train view

Tips to Make the Most of Your Trip

With three different ticket options (First, Crown, and Coach), families have a variety of choices concerning seating, snacks, and memorabilia – only reserve your tickets soon, as the tickets for the weekends approaching Christmas tend to sell out by the end of October. We opted for Coach and were completely satisfied with the seating, the service, and the benefits that came with our package.

We purchased tickets on the 5 pm train, meaning it would still be light out for the first 1/2 hour of the journey (and we could watch the gorgeous mountain scenery roll by). The sun had set and darkness descended just before our arrival at the North Pole, and so the Christmas lights adorning ‘Santa’s Village’ twinkled in the darkness, helping convince reluctant believers… On our return trip, lights from homes along the route sparkled in the distance, adding a magical dimension to the ride.

When selecting seats, you might want to choose to be on the left side of the train (that would be the opposite side where you board the Polar Express), as the river and the majority of North Pole lights will be on that side. Also, Santa boards on the front of the train, so be prepared for him to come through rather soon after stopping if you’re in Coach; have your copy of “The Polar Express” ready for him to sign, and the kids ready to tell him what they would like for Christmas.  He even makes some time to ask some disbelieving adults about what they would like under the tree – so make that list and check it twice!

More information on the Polar Express: Bryson City, NC

The first Polar Express departure is on November 9, 2023, and the train operates through December 31, 2023, with the exception of certain weekdays, Thanksgiving, and Christmas day. They do have a Christmas Eve ride if you want a truly memorable night. Most days, there are three departures a day and tickets sell out quickly.

For detailed information on the different seating available, visit the Polar Express website.

Bryson City is about 2 ½ hours by car from both Greenville and Spartanburg, optimally a weekend destination, but doable in a day (since the kids will sleep on the way home!).

There are several classes to choose from with Coach Class being the cheapest of the tickets starting at $29 for kids ages 2-12 and $44 for adults up to First Class, which is $47 for kids and $68 for adults. Crown and Premium Crown Class are in between those prices. Depending on what ticket class you choose, you’ll receive a cookie, hot chocolate, and a souvenir of some type for a full Polar Express experience.

You can book tickets by calling 800.872.4681 or you can book them online.

Where to Stay Near the Polar Express in Bryson City, NC

This Stay22 Affiliate links map will help you find the perfect place to stay during your visit!

Sky Ridge Yurts

If you want to enhance your Polar Express experience with a super cool place to stay in town, try Sky Ridge Yurts, only about 20 minutes away from the city center and the railroad. The yurts are spacious, clean, and very comfortable. We tried them out over the summer and fell in love with the unique structures. Enjoy some warm cocoa and the mountain views during your trip!

Sky Ridge Yurt exterior

For other Great Smoky Mountains Railroad family-friendly adventures, check out the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad website.

“At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

From The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg

Would a ride on The Polar Express be a trip your kids would cherish?


Tree farms in Bryson City, NC

Bryson City has a lot to offer during the holidays! Read more about the town’s holiday offerings while you plan your winter getaway.


See our list of Western NC Day Trips and our list of Holiday Day Trips for even more suggestions for fun around the holidays.

This post was originally published on Femme au foyer and is republished with permission.

Get Tickets Now! Head to the North Pole on the 2023 Polar Express in Spencer, NC

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Have you ridden the Polar Express in Spencer, NC? The North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, North Carolina is home to an impressive collection of trains, automobiles, aviation, and other transportation equipment representing over 100 years of transportation history.  But every year as Christmas approaches, the North Carolina Transportation Museum transforms into a popular stop for the famous Polar Express. Climb aboard for a magical ride to the North Pole!

The Polar Express in Spencer, North Carolina

Looking for more day holiday day trips? We have them on our Guide to Holiday Day Trips Near the Upstate.

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25+ Hendersonville, NC Things to Do: Fun Days Start Here

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Are you looking for things to do in Hendersonville, NC? Just over the border into North Carolina is the mountaintop town of Hendersonville, NC. There are lots of things to enjoy, but the thing Hendersonville, North Carolina is most famous for is their apple orchards! If you are planning a trip to Hendersonville, we’ve got all the info you’ll need to fill your day with fun, or enjoy a day trip or weekend getaway any time of year.


We Love Adventures in Hendersonville, NC


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Discover the Magical Mountaintop Town of Beech Mountain, NC

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Have you visited North Carolina’s Beech Mountain? If you’re planning a North Carolina mountain getaway, you’ll want to check it out! We were lucky enough to be invited to the annual Land Of Oz attraction, and while visiting, we discovered Beech Mountain is a mountaintop town with a magic of its own.

Looking for more adventures in North Carolina? Kidding Around has tons of recommendations for fun in North Carolina!

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Riverside Retreat in Saluda, NC: Easy and Fun Family Getaway

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Only an hour from the Upstate, Wilderness Cove Campground in Saluda, NC feels a lot further away. Let the river soothe you to sleep, hike the Green River Gamelands, or go tubing over the summer at this fun campground. 

Thank you to Wilderness Cove Campground for inviting us out to do this review. 

I have tubed down the Green River a few times and have always loved it. Staying on the Green River is just as much an adventure and one you can do right at Wilderness Cove Campground all year long. 

We’ll tell you what they offer, things to do in the area, and how to book your trip. 

About Wilderness Cove Campground 

You may already know about this place because it’s one of the big tubing outfitters on the Green River. But maybe you didn’t know they offer riverfront cabins, bigger family cabins, tent sites, and glamping tents. Wilderness Cove Campground is owned by Outdoor Adventure Retreats, a family of campgrounds throughout the Southeast offering unique access to outdoor recreation, led by Andrew Garcia and Ben Cohen.

They offer tubing over the summer and the campground is open all year. They also offer some neat classes like fly fishing.

Accommodations at Wilderness Cove

The campground is right along the Green River but not all the rentals can hear those soothing sounds. We stayed at one of the small riverfront cabins where we could hear the river, which was awesome. The cabin has a full bed plus a loft, which has a twin bed. There’s a fire pit, Keurig, and a mini-fridge but these are rustic cabins. It’s basically camping but indoors with beds and electricity.

Heating and air are provided, as well as linens, but you’ll have to walk to the bathhouse or pit toilets. 

The bathhouse is nice. It was clean and had both toilets and showers. Bring your own towels and flashlights. 

The glamping tents are a lot closer to the bathhouse but we didn’t stay in those so I can’t give a firsthand review. They did look pretty awesome though. 

Here are how many people each place/site can accommodate: 

  • Glamping Tent – 3 people (max of 2 adults)
  • River Cottage – 3 people (max of 2 adults)
  • Large Glamping Tent – 4 people (max of 2 adults)
  • Standard Cottage – 4 people (max of 2 adults)
  • Double Glamping Tent – 6 people (max of 4 adults)
  • Deluxe Cottage – 6 people (max of 4 adults)
  • Green River Guest House – 7 people
  • Individual Primitive Campsite – 4 people
  • Group Primitive Campsite – 20 people
  • RV Sites – No preset limit. Up to 2 adults and 3 children included at no extra charge. After that it’s $5 extra per person.

The campground does have WiFi but we found it to be a bit spotty at some points. Cell service is minimal at the campground. 

Things to do at Wilderness Cove Campground 

The campground is located adjacent to the Green River Gamelands, which has almost 17 miles of beautiful trails. I’ve hiked all through there and the Narrows trail is my favorite because you can watch the kayakers tackle the huge rapids (it’s extremely steep to get down and up though – there are ropes). But there are miles of other trails to hike at all levels.

You can access the Gamelands across the street from the campground itself. Or you can hike the six-mile round trip hike to Milton Bradley Falls. The trailhead is just steps away from the riverfront cabins and camp store. 

And, of course, over the summer, you can go tubing on the Green River. Tubing season is usually Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. 

If you have a NC fishing license, you can fish in the river as well.

If you love kayaking, you can rent a kayak from Wilderness Cove and run the river. We saw some kayakers who had ran the river that day staying at the campground. The Green River is well-known for its kayaking opportunities.

Things to do Nearby 

Hendersonville is just a short 25-minute drive from Wilderness Cove and there are so many things to do there: apple picking, snow tubing, free museums, the Team ECCO aquarium, more hiking, and shopping. We have a big list of Things to do in Hendersonville to give you ideas. 

Flat Rock is also close by, where you can play with the goats at the Carl Sandburg Home or hike on the property for free. Grab a pizza or baked good at the Village Bakery on your way home. 

Saluda, NC is close as well. The small town has great restaurants like the Purple Onion and Wildflower Bakery. 

We didn’t do this although I’d like to but the Gorge Zipline is just down the street from Wilderness Cove. I love ziplining and this place has excellent reviews. 

Wilderness Cove is also not far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah Forest, and miles and miles of amazing trails to enjoy. Since we went during leaf season, we headed up about an hour and 15 minutes to the Blue Ridge Parkway near Craggy Gardens to see some fall foliage and we were not disappointed. I love staying at places that are great base camps for adventures. 

Booking Your Stay at Wilderness Cove Campground 

You can book your stay online at the Wilderness Cove Campground website. Note that some accommodations are pet-friendly. 

Prices per night start at around $91/night for the riverfront cabins and glamping tents. Tent and RV sites are cheaper while the cabins that hold more people go up from there. 

Please drive slowly down to the river. The road is very curvy and sometimes you can’t see around the curves. 

Wilderness Cove Campground
3772 Green River Cove Road, Saluda, NC
Facebook | Wilderness Cove Website

Kidding Around's Travel Guide to North Carolina

Loving North Carolina? Here’s our huge North Carolina Travel Guide

Hands On! Children’s Museum in Hendersonville, NC is the Perfect Day Trip

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Have you visited Hand On! Children’s Museum in Hendersonville, NC? It’s the perfect place for kids to play and learn with parents and grandparents. The small footprint of Hands On is great for a kid-size adventure without being too overwhelming. You’ll find Hands On! along Downtown Hendersonville’s beautiful Main Street, beside Black Bear Coffee.

The orchard at Hands On

Hands On! Children’s Museum

Hands On! Children’s Museum has a target audience of children aged ten and under. The museum is all located on one floor which is great for parents keeping track of multiple kids.

The smaller front section contains a fire truck play area, a dinosaur dig exhibit, an art area, and a Kilwin’s Ice Cream-themed pretend play area.

Fire truck at Hands On in Hendersonville, NC

Behind that, you’ll find the larger open play space where kids can pretend to shop at the grocery store, cook a meal, and pick apples. There’s also a pretend play doctor’s office with a baby care station, a dentist’s office, an engineering area, and a theater.

The middle of this Hendersonville children’s museum features a beautiful mountain play area with a fun stairway that leads to a slide in the rocks. The bubbling sounds of both a natural-looking waterfall feature and a fun water play area add to the natural mountain scene and fill the whole museum with the calming sounds of running water.

Mountain area at Hands On

Babies and Toddlers at Hands On! WNC

There is a small area set aside just for babies and toddlers at Hands On! In this area you’ll find soft mats, a low table and chairs, many sensory toys suitable for toddlers and babies, plus blocks and puzzles.

Rocking chairs in this area overlook the mountain in the center of the museum.

Admission and Hours at Hands On! Hendersonville, NC

Your $10 admission allows you to enter and leave the museum for a full day. Every person pays admission – even adults. Infants are $4. Hands On! is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 9 am – 5 pm. (Closed Sundays and Mondays, except for special holidays and seasonal breaks.)

Memberships are available and if you think you would make the trip to Hendersonville more than a few times a year, a membership could be the perfect option for your family. (Remind grandparents that museum memberships make great birthday and Christmas gifts!)

Classes, Parties, and More

Hands On! offers regular classes that are often free with your admission. Classes range in topics from science to reading to crafting. Summer is filled with weekly class options – and the convenient part for parents is that one child can attend a class while the other children play. Throughout the year there are weekly classes – such as storytime and science classes, plus other weekly options.  Be sure to check their Hands On website or Facebook page for all the details.

Hands On! also offers an easy and enjoyable option for birthday parties. They provide a party room for the cake and gifts and then, of course, the museum is all the entertainment you will need for your birthday guests.

Dinosaur at Hands On

More to Do in Hendersonville, NC

Downtown Hendersonville has so many fun things to do. Hop out of the museum for lunch at one of the family-friendly Main Street restaurants. Options like pizza and sandwiches and an iconic soda fountain shop across the street can make Hendersonville a great day trip destination. Right next door to the museum is Black Bear Coffee Shop with great coffee beverages, treats, sandwiches and a lot more. And, McFarlan’s Bakery is right across the street. Pick up some donuts, cookies, pastries, or even a whole pie to bring home!

Gather a few of your girlfriends and strap the kids in their booster seats. A day at Hands On! will be a day the kids will really remember and love

Hands On! Children’s Museum
318 N. Main Street, Hendersonville, NC
828.697.8333

Has your family ever visited the Hands On! Children’s Museum?

Don’t miss our full guide to Hendersonville, NC Things to Do.