North Carolina Mountains Outdoors

Backyard for Big Kids
  |  Gorp.com
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Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, and the Black Mountain range
Mount Mitchell, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, and the Black Mountain range

If you grew up in the heart of the city, you might have missed out on the wonders of a backyard: trees for fruit-picking, climbing, and secret clubhouses; open space bordered by a vegetable garden, or flowers wild and planted. Backyard bambinos get to work up a sweat with swing sets and volleyball nets, then cool down with sprinklers and slip-n'-slides. Best of all, playing in the backyard keeps kids within hollering distance of their personal chef-medic-and-camp counselor (also known as mom or dad). Whether you never had it so good or you'd like to relive those childhood days, experience a grown-up take on the backyard in North Carolina's Mountains region.

The Blue Ridge and the Great Smoky Mountains of the southern Appalachians—where you'll find the highest peaks in the eastern United States—provide both the young and young-at-heart with plenty of fun and games. Claim your title as king of the hill with a rock climbing adventure, a weekend of skiing, or a road trip atop the winding spine of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Get in touch with your inner explorer on a day hike, a canoeing expedition, or a campout in one of the region's countless forests and parklands. Most of these outdoor activities are quickly accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway's long and winding road, so you can leave your cares behind without feeling too far from the comforts of home.

See map of western North Carolina.


Published: 3 May 2002 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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