*Sponsored post by Grandfather Mountain. All the opinions and experiences in this post are authentically ours.*
The state of North Carolina is incredibly diverse from the mountains in the west to the coastline in the east. This year our family is making a special point to explore more areas of our home state. In looking for a great family-friendly way to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, we came across so many recommendations for Grandfather Mountain.
The gorgeous mountain dating back a billion years has been explored for centuries (most notably by Daniel Boone himself!) Although not the highest peak in the mountain chain, it’s perhaps the most famous. Thousands of people flock to the area to hike and cross the mile high suspension bridge. Additionally, Grandfather Mountain was also the backdrop for a famous scene in the movie Forest Gump.
Not that you need a reason to visit Grandfather Mountain, but here are 5:
- Education: Grandfather Mountain has done a fantastic job preserving the history and environment of the area. In addition to the hands on experience you’ll get from exploring the mountain, you can also spend time in the Nature Museum. My children loved the colorful displays and soaked up all the information! Also, be sure to enjoy the complimentary audio tour for your drive through the park. It’s full of great facts and stories about the area.
- Mile High Swinging Bridge: Of course you can’t visit Grandfather Mountain without crossing the bridge! Although we chose to do a bit of hiking, I really appreciated the accessibility of the bridge. You can drive your car all the way the top and even take an elevator to access the bridge. Being on the bridge is a really memorable experience!
- Wildlife Habitats: One of the coolest parts about Grandfather Mountain is being able to get up close to the wildlife while maintaining your safety. While we were hiking I was hoping not to cross paths with a black bear (and we didn’t!) However, we were all thrilled to be able to observe a bear in his natural environment- but from the safety of a platform!
- Family-Friendly: Everything about this park is family-friendly! There are tons of picnic areas and clean restrooms. Some of the trails are very appropriate for young kids. And, as I mentioned, if you choose not to hike, you can drive your car all the way to the top of the mountain. Families are encouraged to keep a close hand on their children while on the bridge and surrounding rock areas. Although this could present danger, the warnings are clear.
- The Fudge Shop: If for NO other reason, you have to visit Grandfather Mountain for the ridiculously good homemade fudge! Our family *might* have sampled everything before deciding on 6 different kinds to take home with us. Unfortunately…we never made it home with the fudge- it was unexpectedly devoured in the car!
A few tips for visiting:
- Jacket: No matter what the weather is like at the base of the mountain, you’ll likely want a jacket for crossing the bridge. The wind is very strong!
- Food: As I mentioned, there are several really nice picnic areas in the park. You can either bring your own food, or they will actually pack a picnic for you at Mildred’s Grill.
- Hours: Unlike a lot of natural areas, this park does actually have hours and admission. Do not plan to arrive too late in the day or you will feel rushed. Allow yourself several hours to explore the mountain!
For more information and to plan your visit, go to Grandfather Mountain’s official website.
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*This post was sponsored by Grandfather Mountain.*