Looking for a vacation spot in NC or Virginia, need help!
November 24, 2013 9:47 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning to travel south from Massachusetts this summer's vacation, Virginia or NC (with elementary aged kids). Looking a home base with beautiful natural scenery, nice little restaurants nearby, and maybe a river to tube down.

I am planning on renting a cabin or the like, and hope to be within an hour of pretty hikes and nice places to explore. I love to plan vacations but looking for some places to narrow my search. (We love history, nature, science and Vermont and Maine)
posted by beccaj to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Well, if you go to Blowing Rock, NC (or nearby places like Boone, Banner Elk) you're driving distance from Grandfather Mountain, Tweetsie Railroad, Linville Falls, Linville Cavern, Moses Cone and more. Mystery Hill is a real overpriced tourist trap but might amuse kids for an hour. When I was young I was taken white-water-rafting somewhere in that area, a pretty gentle ride suitable for little kids. Sorry, don't have a link to that at hand within the edit-window.
posted by K.P. at 10:10 AM on November 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding the Boone/Blowing Rock suggestion. The scenery is beautiful, there are plenty of historical attractions - although I can't vouch for their accuracy - wonderful hikes, some good rivers to raft, kayak, or tube down, and great waterfall/swimming hole attractions (Hebron Rock Colony is one of my favorites). It's also a very, very laid back area.

Boone is a great town, but you might also want to check out smaller places like Valle Crucis or Banner Elk if you prefer a quieter setting. It wasn't until I moved away and came back for visits that I realized what a wonderful, beautiful, relaxing place I left. It's gotten busier in the past 30 years, but I suppose time travel is not an option.
posted by bibliowench at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

The northern neck of Virginia. In particular, Westmoreland County. Westmoreland State Park has lovely cabins.

WeCo has lots of history, including George Washington's Birthplace, James Monroe's, Robert E. Lee's home. Colonial Beach, which is a small town, has the second longest beach in the state along the Potomac River.

There are lots of small restaurants, plenty of wineries and all within a short drive to Fredericksburg, VA (and the battlefields,) Washington, D.C. (everything you can imagine,) Richmond, VA. There are plenty of places to hike, lots of other history and it really is a beautiful area.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:01 AM on November 24, 2013

Asheville NC or Roanoke VA.
posted by brujita at 11:30 AM on November 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Outer Banks. Plenty of great rentals there.
There are some great hikes in that area, including some hikes where you can see Wild Horses.
The town of Duck, NC on the Outer Banks is a great little town. Most people stay in Nags Head, though.
There is a ton of great stuff to do on the Outer Banks.
posted by Flood at 11:41 AM on November 24, 2013 [2 favorites]

We spent time in Williamsburg area this summer - Colonial Williamsburg is great, the National Park run fort by the water is great, the area has everything you could need, we stayed at the more southern Hampton Inn and it was an exceptionally nice Hampton. This doesn't meet the outdoors/natural cabin component of your vacation but may provide a 2 day on either end add-on.

I am in agreement on the Boone area. Cabins during the off-ski and off-University times will be a good deal. We stayed in a super nice VRBO. The restaurants are really suitable for everyone. Hikes, views, not too far from Virginia Creeper Trail, ziplines.

On your travels, Monticello is a great stop.
posted by RoadScholar at 12:27 PM on November 24, 2013

Luray VA hits all your points.
posted by COD at 1:08 PM on November 24, 2013

Seconding Duck NC: a great small town in the Outer Banks that's family-oriented, as opposed to college-student or party-oriented. It's got both ocean and sound-side beaches, plus it's just north of Kitty Hawk.
posted by easily confused at 4:20 PM on November 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

Myrtle Beach is pretty great and there are tons of vacation condos to rent..
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:57 PM on November 24, 2013

Asheville, Hendersonville, Brevard, or Boone, NC
posted by ZabeLeeZoo at 6:05 PM on November 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Western NC (west of Asheville) has plenty of areas with cabins, there is tubing at Cherokee (on the Indian Reservation (not a good place to stay, pretty tacky) and kid safe rafting on the Tuckasegee just outside Dillsboro. Smokey Mtns national park is nearby, the vistas driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway in that area are unbelievable.
The Cherokee museum is a Smithsonian affiliate. You can sometimes get reasonably close to Elk at the Cataloochee wildlife preserve.
If you'd like a bit more adrenaline with your rafting the Nantahala is nearby - min age of 8 years I think.
We have been staying at Maggie Valley, which is really nothing but tourists, but it's a nice central location with plenty of services.
posted by rudd135 at 6:30 PM on November 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

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