Kidding Around: Seven Sensational Family-Friendly Suggestions - Brevard North Carolina
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Kidding Around: Seven Sensational Family-Friendly Suggestions

 

One of Brevard’s special qualities is its appeal to visitors of every age. This is especially true for kids. Watching a child discover the many wonders of the outdoors is a gratifying experience to which any parent can attest. In addition, Brevard’s summer camps have welcomed children for more than 100 years, introducing them to exciting outdoor adventures like hiking, camping, rock climbing, paddling and more. But even shorter visits with family to Brevard can yield all manner of unforgettable joys, from finding a rare specimen at a gem mine to discovering the secret that explains why we have the largest concentration of waterfalls in North America (some 250 in all). Here are seven sensational suggestions for family-friendly experiences in Brevard that will leave a smile on everyone’s face and memories to last a lifetime.

Kayaking the French Broad

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Forest Discovery Center AT THE CRADLE OF FORESTRY

The Cradle of Forestry is a 6,500-acre site with 3 miles of interactive trails that come alive with the use of the National Forests Explorer’s “I Spy” app and guide to follow along. These interpretive trails lead visitors to historic buildings from the Biltmore Forest School (1898-1914), America’s very first forestry school. The kids can also climb aboard a 1914 Climax logging train
engine. The Forestry Discovery Center is a fascinating learning center dedicated to the history of forest conservation and management in Pisgah National Forest. It is filled with informative and interactive displays – including a helicopter simulator that takes you on a firefighting flight.

Kayaking the French Broad

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A Walk in the Woods

Brevard and Transylvania County are known for their expansive network of hiking trails found in Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, Gorges State Park and Headwaters State Forest. From scenic overlooks to dramatic waterfalls to fascinating flora and fauna, there’s always something interesting to see along the way. As we celebrate North Carolina’s Year of the Trail, we’ve compiled a great list of kid friendly hikes just for you.

Kayaking the French Broad

3

Focusing on Nature

Before you hit the trail, your entire family can benefit from making a stop at any one of the three visitor centers associated with Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, and
Gorges State Park.

The Pisgah Forest Ranger Station and Visitor Center is the perfect gateway to enjoying the treasures of this 500,000-acre national forest, including a fun and fact-filled interpretive center, nature trails and picnic areas. Kids can check out the Ranger Station’s educational exhibit and ask for a passport. The Aleen Steinberg Visitor Center at DuPont Recreational Forest features a large-scale diorama of the entire forest with its many attractions highlighted. Kids can participate in the Junior Ranger program and receive a free booklet with numerous activities to select from while on the trails. The reward is earning their own Junior Ranger patch for participating. DuPont also has the county’s only kids bike loop with a section of challenge structures and a raised wooden loop. The Gorges State Park Visitor Center, with its 7,100 square foot exhibition
area, makes for a dramatic and engaging introduction to the natural forces that shaped this jewel of a park. Along with its ample picnic areas and dramatic long-range views, the Gorges State Park Visitor Center is a must-see experience that will enchant the entire family. Gorges State Park is the only location where you can receive a stamp in the NC Parks Passport Program for conquering the French Broad River State Trail. Finally, Earthshine Lodge is known for its wide variety of outdoor-oriented adventures, including llama hikes, mountain bike rides, challenge courses and lots more.

Kayaking the French Broad

4

A Gem of an Idea

Is there rain in the forecast? No worries. We have a wide variety of indoor activities that are sure to delight on a gray day. Consider a visit to one of our fun and educational gem mines, Crystal Mountain Gem Mine, Bear Tracks, Little River Mining Company, Pisgah Forest Gem Mine, and Whitewater Equestrian Center, many of which feature extensive water flumes where your kids can pan for treasures. Another great indoor option is the full suite of fun and educational programs at Transylvania County Public Library. If you’re a fan of classic arcade games, you can introduce your kids to the fun and challenge of foosball, air hockey and Pac-Man at the White Squirrel Arcade, located in downtown Brevard. This family-friendly venue is the perfect way to spend a rainy or not-so-rainy afternoon. For a little more indoor adventure, you can go to the Brevard Rock Gym.

Kayaking the French Broad

5

Mother Nature’s

Slip n’ Slide

Sliding Rock, located in Pisgah National Forest, is a 60-foot natural water slide that plunges into a chilly natural pool. This rite of passage for children of all ages is one of Brevard and Transylvania County’s most popular attractions. Sliding Rock also features a viewing platform
and changing areas. Because of its popularity – especially on summer weekends – we suggest visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day thru Labor Day.

Kayaking the French Broad

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Different Strokes

Transylvania County’s gently flowing tributaries make it the perfect spot to introduce your kids to paddling adventures of every kind – from canoeing or kayaking the French Broad River to tubing on the Davidson River. You can even rent stand-up paddleboards and explore one of our
scenic mountain lakes. Check out Headwaters Outfitters, Wai Mauna SUP Tours, White Squirrel Paddleboards, Bear Tracks or Davidson River Rafting for gear, guided and self-supported paddling or tubing adventures.

Kayaking the French Broad

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Other Great Parking Spaces

Brevard and Transylvania County also offer a network of great parks that are open to the public. From picnic tables to playgrounds to swimming pools to river access, there are lots of options to choose from. Get Set Transylvania offers a comprehensive list. For more information about how you and your family can have a memorable vacation in Brevard and Transylvania County, we invite you to visit ExploreBrevard.com, where you will find lots of additional information on a wide range of accommodations, restaurants and special events happening throughout the year.