Maggie Valley, North Carolina
Words by Ashley Locke
The first time I’d ever heard of Maggie Valley, I had just hit double digits: the big 1-0. My grandparents had an old RV, and they were packing it up to take my younger sister on a mini road trip. A four-hour drive from our home in middle Tennessee, it was a far journey for her first long trip away from my parents—and from me. We waved good-bye, worried about how she would feel being far from home. It turned out that not only was there no time for homesickness, Maggie Valley was the town that gave her the travel bug.
Maggie Valley, North Carolina, is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountain range. Just west of Asheville, it’s a scenic getaway that’s a little less crowded than your typical mountain vacation town. There’s a lot to explore on the quieter side of the Smokies—art galleries and craft stores, hiking trails and scenic drives, skiing and tubing. It’s the type of town where you can explore aimlessly, and no matter where you end up, there will be something fun to do.
Though beautiful at all times of year—Maggie Valley gets the true four seasons—there’s an extra magic that settles over the town each winter. With the cooler temperatures and glistening snow comes lower lodging rates, and the rental cabins are the perfect cozy retreat. The stunning sunrises and sunsets aren’t obscured by foliage, and the restaurants typically don’t have a wait during the off-season. If you’re looking for a low-stress high-reward vacation, this is it.
Explore in a little piece of history by staying in one of the eight Boyd Mountain Log Cabins. The cabins, ranging from 150 to 200 years old, have been carefully restored with antique relics and modern conveniences.
Step into luxury by staying at Maggie Valley Club & Resort, a golf and country club. Take advantage of one of the Stay & Play packages if you’re interested in playing a few rounds of golf during your visit.
Keep close to nature at Stonebridge RV Resort, where you can hook up your RV creekside. The grounds also have planned activities, picnic tables, and rentals available.
Hit the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area. Private lessons or group classes are available, and there is even a Cat Trackers Ski and Snowboard program for young kids so they can learn to ski at their own pace. If skiing isn’t your thing, Tube World is a fun onsite alternative. Race down the snow-covered hills on tubes—a thrill for all ages.
Soak in the scenic views with a leisurely drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway, or hike one of the many beautiful trails such as the Rough Fork Trail—you might even see some elk roaming around.
Explore the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Museum, a collection of rare motorcycles and unique automobiles.
If there’s a one-stop shop for checking items off your Christmas list, it’s Cabbage Rose. The 10,000 square-foot shop features gifts, clothing, Christmas decorations, and more.
Bring home a piece of Maggie Valley at Maggie Mountaineer Crafts. Local jam, blue ribbon honey, and homemade fudge are just a few of the items you’ll find inside.
Grab breakfast at Pop’s Place, where you can often find Pop himself serving up corned beef hash, biscuits, and fried grits with a smile.
A local staple, Maggie Valley Restaurant has been open since 1952. While the lunch is delicious, the real draw is the desserts—homemade cobblers, pies, and cakes that you’ll never forget.
Stop by J. Arthur’s Restaurant for a mouth-watering dinner. Menu items such as Bourbon Pecan Encrusted Chicken and Center Cut Filet Mignon will make you start planning your next meal there before you finish your first.