FBRA’s Top Five Family- Friendly Summer Outdoor Spots

Step outside of Asheville With These Five Family-Friendly SUmmer Outdoor Destinations

We all know that Asheville is a mecca for outdoor adventure. It’s easy to pack up the gear and be in the woods in no time. However, if you’re seeking some fresh territory, then check out these five family-friendly summer outdoor spots just an hour or two away from home: 

1. Jackrabbit Mountain Recreation Area

First up is Jackrabbit Mountain Rec Area on Lake Chatuge. It’s near Hayesville, NC, approximately a 2 hour drive from Asheville. This rec area has it all: a large campground with several lakefront sites, miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, and a designated swimming area and beach. Bring your bikes and boats and play for the weekend.

Lakeside picnic area at Jackrabbit Mountain

2. Grayson Highlands State Park

Wild horse grazing at Grayson Highlands

A popular location for FBRA’s summer backpacking program, Grayson Highlands State Park is near Damascus VA, a 2 hour and 45 minute drive from Asheville. Grayson Highlands offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks at 5,000′ plus elevations. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. The park provides year-round access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail. Pro tip: make sure to check with the ranger station to find out the location of the most recent sightings of the wild horses while visiting the park.

3. Devil’s Fork State Park

Next up on our top five family-friendly summer outdoor spots is Devil’s Fork State Park, SC. Nestled on a cove on beautiful Lake Jocassee, it’s a mere hour and a half away from Asheville. The area remains mostly undeveloped, and the only public access point to the lake is through the state park. Four mountain streams and several waterfalls feed into the lake, making it cooler than others during the summer heat. And it’s a great trout fishing spot to boot. Visitors can stay in the campground, rent a villa, or paddle to the primitive boat-In campground.

One of Devil’s Fork’s stunning lakefront campsites

4. South Mountains State Park

High Shoals Falls in South Mountains State Park

South Mountains State Park is about 70 miles east of Asheville near Morganton. The park boasts elevations up to 3,000 feet, an 80-foot waterfall, and over 40 miles of trail for hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers. The campground offers 18 reservable sites. There are also several primitive backcountry sites, making the park a great destination for beginning backpackers or families with younger children.

5. Oconee State Park

Oconee State Park – This gem of a park is about a 2 hour drive south west of Asheville in Mountain Rest, SC. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, this park opened in 1937. Much of the CCC’s handiwork is visible today. You can even stay in a cabins that they built. The park has a lake with a swimming area, large campground, cabins, boat rentals, fishing, mini-golf, Friday night square dancing, and miles of hiking trails including access to the Foothills Trail and Palmetto Trail. The Chattooga River is close by, as well as the Stumphouse Park.

One of the 19 cabins available to rent at Oconee State Park