We Go Places: Head to Jackson County for a family getaway

Sapphire Valley Resort
Sapphire Valley Resort Sara Kendall

If you’re looking for a family trip that’s easy to get to, yet far from the ordinary, an excursion to Jackson County, NC is in order. This southwest spot of our state boasts beautiful scenery, a tranquil pace, and family fun. In this 3-part series, get to know this gem tucked in the NC mountains and start planning your trip today!

4 Unique Places to Stay in Jackson County

Ready to trade the summer heat for cool refreshing mountain air? Then make your escape to one, or all, of these four mountain lodges I checked out, just for you! If your summer is already booked, the beautiful colors of fall will be there waiting for you at any one of these four.

Balsam Mountain Inn

Balsam Mt Inn by Sara Kendall
Balsam Mountain Inn Sara Kendall

Perched between two mountain ranges, Balsam Mountain Inn is found, just two miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Dating from 1908, this all-wood construction mountain hotel was originally built with 100 rooms. But, has since been renovated so that there are only 50 rooms. This gives each accommodation more space and an en-suite bathroom, with either a shower or claw-foot tub. Window seats, living rooms, and mountain views are some extra amenities for some – one even has a hammock in the bathroom. Children of all ages are welcomed.

Complimentary breakfast, a study full of over 2,000 charming books, and a lobby full of board games and puzzles are for all guests to enjoy. There are no televisions in the rooms and wi-fi is limited, so it’s a true getaway from the digital world. On the double-decker porch, grab a rocker to take in the mountain views as you get a breather from your daily life.

While in the mountains, for some travelers their GPS works sporadically and Google Maps doesn’t register Balsam, NC, since it’s a very small town. If you choose this as your lodging destination, call the inn and get directions from them directly - they are used to it and have it down pat.

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High Hampton Inn

Charming Cottage at High Hampton Inn by Sara Kendall copy
Charming cottage at High Hampton Inn Sara Kendall

Nestled in Cashiers, the High Hampton Inn has welcomed generations of families to this mountain gem for years. Proudly listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the main lodge boasts 116 guest rooms and suites, in addition to some quite charming cottages located around the 1,400-acre playground. On top of the excellent accommodations, each room includes three meals a day.

The picturesque Hampton Lake will entice your family to hop right into its beautiful mountain waters. Sit on the sandy beach, take a dip in the swimming area, or get out on the water with a canoe, sailboat, or paddleboard. Golfing, tennis, and fly-fishing are other popular activities.

Don’t miss taking a hike with the llamas around the lake trail or up Rock Mountain. If it’s pampering you need, and then book a treatment at the spa. There’s also a nice lakeside childre’s playground for the kids.

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Sapphire Valley Resort

Sapphire Valley Resort by Sara Kendall
Sapphire Valley Resort Sara Kendall

In the southern part of Jackson County, you’ll find Sapphire Valley Resort, a family-friendly choice boasting true affordability, sure to please any budget. Here, you can rent a condo, take advantage of their numerous on-site activities, and enjoy a beautiful mountain lake with a free, hour-long sailing lesson. If golf is your thing, a round will only set you back $20, or you can play as many rounds of miniature golf as you want for no extra charge. There are two pools – one indoor and one outdoor that are just waiting for your family to splash around in.

Sapphire Valley’s own Fairfield Lake is a must see. Here you can go standup paddle boarding, canoeing or swimming, all with a stunning granite mountain backdrop. You can also cruise around the lake in by renting a paddleboat, or taking it easy in a motorboat. Bring your lunch because either the beach or the covered picnic area is perfect for a family picnic.

If it’s high-action adventure you want, then don’t miss their exhilarating zip line canopy tour. Kids must be 8 years old. Participants will receive ground training and zip on two practice runs before going on the tour.

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The Jarrett House

The Jarrett House by Sara Kendall
The Jarrett House Sara Kendall

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Jarrett House was built in 1884 and is one of the oldest operating inns in western North Carolina. This old-fashioned hotel has been updated with modern conveniences offering 16 rooms with en-suite bathrooms and window air conditioning units. Each room is individually furnished with back-in-the-day items, keeping them true to their origins. A full country breakfast is included in the room rate and they accommodate children over the age of 10.

A few staff members and even some guests have experienced ghost-like encounters while being here. Staff has had things disappear and reappear later. The place where most ghost experiences have occurred is in Room 212 where The Jarretts lived.

Just a few steps away from the inn, guests can walk to shops, restaurants, and the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory. It’s a great place to ditch the car and roam around on foot in a quaint mountain town.

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