Nestled near the Virginia and Tennessee borders, Ashe County, North Carolina, is a hidden treasure. It’s sometimes overlooked in favor of bustling Asheville or tourist-centric Blowing Rock because it lacks many of the typical tourist attractions or activities you might find in those areas.
But sometimes less is more, especially if you have young kids.
If what you seek is family-friendly outdoor adventure, good food and a side of mountain magic, start planning your trip west. Ashe County will match your pace.
Go for leaves in the fall or Merlefest in the spring. But whenever you go, take the chance to slow down, unplug and ease into mountain time. Settle into an Airbnb with a view, and check out these spots in laid-back and charming Ashe County.
THE NEW RIVER: WHITEWATER FOR WHIPPERSNAPPERS
Despite its name, The New River is old — ancient, actually — which means its time-worn rapids are perfect for pint-sized explorers.
Zaloo’s Canoes in Jefferson provides all the canoes, kayaks, inner tubes, safety gear and shuttle service you’ll need for a 5- or 10-mile day on the water.
“The South Fork of the New River that Zaloo’s recommends for families contains some of the most scenic and peaceful parts of the river, making it especially fun and safe for kids to canoe, kayak and tube on,” says Kathy Hudspeth of Zaloo’s Canoes.
NEW RIVER STATE PARK: HIKING AND