At Haywood Christian Academy, we are fortunate and blessed to have been able to maintain in-person classes during the school year. Nevertheless, parents are searching for activities for their children to do now that the winter is upon us. In this article, we are providing tips for family fun in Western North Carolina during the winter season.
This list includes mostly outdoor activities. When you venture outside in the cold, it’s essential to make sure you are prepared. Dress in layers, bring hats and gloves for the kids, spare socks and shoes, more water than you think you would need, and plenty of snacks.
7 Activities for Families During Winter in Western North Carolina
1) Take a winter hike.
Winter may not seem like the best season for hiking, but there are surprising advantages to hiking during the cold months. Since trees have shed their leaves, typically obstructed views open up magnificently. Here are a few of the best winter hikes in and around Haywood County:
- Graveyard Fields | 3.2 miles
- Devil’s Courthouse | 1 Mile
- Max Patch | 1 Mile
- Cataloochee Valley | Various Distances
- Dupont State Forest | Various Distances
2) Play in the snow.
Whether you’re a kid or a child at heart, there is something magical about seeing the snow fall quietly from the sky. We do not experience as much snowfall as people up north, but Waynesville and Lake Junaluska typically see about a foot of snow throughout each winter. When you get a chance, go play in the snow. Build a snowman, have snowball fights, go sledding, build tunnels, and generally get out and enjoy it with your family.
If you want to play in the snow, but cannot find any, one of the advantages to living in western North Carolina is that it may be snowing a few miles down the road in the higher elevations. There are several places throughout our area that you may find accumulating snow. When there is no snow near Waynesville, Beech Mountain, North Carolina, in Avery County, has a public sledding hill that is open throughout the season. As long as it is cold enough, they will make snow, so you are almost always guaranteed a great experience. Call ahead before you make the drive.
3) Go skiing.
Here in Haywood County, we are fortunate to be just a short drive from Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley and Wolf Laurel Ski Resort in Madison County. You can take the kids on a ski adventure almost any time during the winter.
4) Go downtown.
Visit downtown Waynesville, enjoy the festive atmosphere, and support local shops during what is often the slowest time of year. If you have been everywhere there is to go in Haywood County, try nearby towns such as Bryson City and Cherokee.
5) Visit Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Located just a short drive into Tennessee, there is always something for the kids to do in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. This area is ripe with entertainment options and there is something available for everyone, no matter what your family enjoys.
6) Drive through Great Smoky National Park.
A winter drive through the Smokies can be magical. There is a good chance you will see elk in places you typically would not due to the lack of leaf coverage and a slow down in traffic. Be careful and stay aware of changing weather conditions. Portions of the park might close due to winter weather. Check the forecast before you embark on this activity.
7) Look at the stars.
During winter, the sky is often clear and crisp. It is the perfect time of year to get out a chart of constellations or study the universe through a telescope. Stargazing at the stars can help instill a sense of wonder in your child. If there are too many lights in your neighborhood, try viewing the sky from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Haywood County is a wonderful place to live during the winter. There is plenty to do inside and outdoors. While many parents are scrambling to find ways to get their kids out of the house, parents of students at Haywood Christian Academy have been fortunate to enjoy in-person classes throughout the school year. We have worked hard to make sure we can maintain a safe and healthy environment for our students. Our small class sizes make it easier to maintain cleanliness and social distancing when necessary. If you were searching for alternatives to traditional public education, we would be happy to provide more information about our private Christian school in Haywood County. Contact us for more information or to schedule a tour today.