Family Trip Idea: Go Chasing Waterfalls

If you’re looking for adventure, a trip to the NC mountains to see waterfalls always makes for a great day or weekend trip. Especially since there are more than 300 waterfalls to choose from within our state!

A few years ago, our family planned an overnight camping trip at Stone Mountain State Park (just up Interstate 77 towards Virginia). As soon as we set up camp, we discovered a trail nearby and hiked it for close to an hour. At the end of our hike, we were unexpectedly greeted by a beautiful, pristine little waterfall. My kids were overjoyed and could not stop talking about it. They acted like they had uncovered one of the earth’s greatest mysteries. It was at that moment our simple camping trip became an all-out waterfall-seeking expedition, and we did just that.

Stone Mountain State Park has four waterfalls, and I think we found all of them, including little ones that are not officially mentioned on the park’s website. The next morning we set out on another hike from right behind our tent and discovered another little waterfall. After that, we got in the car and drove down the access road to find the biggest, best fall we could find…and landed at Widow’s Creek Falls.

Not only were these falls beautiful, but the kids got to slide down them as well. The falls are actually 25′ high, but the bigger falls work their way down to smaller falls, which feed to a pool that’s the perfect depth for sliders to splash into. Some older kids actually braved the bigger falls, but we corralled our kids in the lower falls, which are completely safe and actually don’t bruise your rear after a trip down! Our kids rode the falls for over an hour and had a blast. This is a must-stop if you ever find yourself at Stone Mountain.

If you want to plan a weekend or week-long waterfall adventure, I recommend you visit It’s literally a step-by-step guide to help you locate waterfalls in our area, and around NC. All you have to do is choose your adventure, and it will tell you how to get there, as well as what to look for and any changes or updates to the falls.

According to this website, the closest falls to the Triad are those found at Hanging Rock State Park. You can also find such falls at Stone Mountain (as we did), or in the Wilson Creek area north of Morganton, as well as at South Mountain State Park, south of Morganton.

Another must-see is Sliding Rock near Hendersonville, NC. According to the website, Sliding Rock is a 50-foot natural water slide that drops you into a 7-foot deep pool of water. There are two observation platforms and lifeguards on duty during the season. We’ve made this trip once before, and we’re planning to go back!

The NC Waterfalls website remarks that the majority of North Carolina waterfalls are concentrated in Transylvania, Jackson, Macon, Swain, and Haywood counties, but there is another big grouping of falls where the Blue Ridge Parkway runs near Mitchell, McDowell, Avery, and Burke counties. If you are planning a trip to this area to visit waterfalls, the site recommends staying in or near Brevard in Transylvania County and exploring from there. It states that there are more waterfalls in this area than you could visit in a week’s time, and you’ll be only a few miles from upstate South Carolina, where you will find even more waterfalls.

Visit and click By Topic > Recreation & Travel to find more fun day and weekend trip ideas!


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