Things to Do in Highlands, NC

Discover Activities & Attractions in Highlands, NC

2022 update: There is MUCH to do about something in Highlands, NC. Please visit our Chamber of Commerce online to get the latest by checking the calendar for updates.

Highlands offers a wide array of things to do while you’re here (Of course, many folks come here to do nothing and that’s all right too). The climate in Highlands is cooler because of our high elevation (average town limits elevation is 4118 ft), and the fact that we are in a temperate rainforest means there is a large amount of rainfall received each year (usually between 80-100 inches), which keeps the forest lands that surround us lush and green.

We are in the Nantahala National Forest which is surrounded by The Chattahoochee, Cherokee, Great Smoky Mountains, and Pisgah National Forest. Our mountains are some of the oldest in the world, and having the Forest lands so near makes it easy for hiking, backpacking, or driving through to see its beauty. We are close to the Appalachian Trail, and The Blue Ridge Parkway. Other attractions within a 2 to 4-hour drive are: Great Smoky Mountain Railway, Cherokee Indian Reservation, Harrah’s Casino, Biltmore House & Gardens, Sliding Rock, Trail of Tears Outdoor Drama, Dollywood, Skiing, Hot Springs, Park Seed Co., and Trial Gardens, Santa Land, Carowinds, Six Flags over Georgia, and the list goes on and on. Let Highlands be your destination- the others are just side trips.

More locally: Golf at one of the close-by public golf courses- all within 45 minutes of town. (Even though there are four very nice golf club communities in Highlands, all of them are private.) Tennis anyone? There are public and private tennis courts sprinkled around town, as well as Pickleball courts and Croquet. We have a domed year-round heated pool available for adult and family swimming, water aerobics, and lap swimming. In winter, there’s ice skating in the park and snow tubing at the Scaly Mountain outdoor center, and the recently added Alpine Scaly Screamer, a roller coaster type ride. Another popular attraction is the zip line course, also open year-round along with that venue’s ATV rides and giant swing There are guided tours of the area which will take you to many destinations Shopping- The Shopping experience in Highlands is hard to match. We have upscale clothing stores (cashmere and furs) down to Tee shirt shops and everything in between. Shopping for outdoor gear for hiking, or fishing? We have those, and guides for hire to help you along your way as well.

As for the cultural scene, we have live theatre that boasts some of the best entertainment in the Smoky Mountains as well as first-run movies at Highlands Playhouse. There are performances of all kinds at the Performing Arts Center and the artworks on display at The Bascom, our local gallery is second to none

Shopping for antiques? Highlands has some of the best antique stores in the Blue Ridge Mountain region. So you see, whether you come to the mountains of Western North Carolina for its shopping, dining, golf, tennis, fishing, hiking, or just to relax and spend some memory-making time on your next family vacation, Chambers Realty & Vacation Rentals is here to guide you.

Highlands has some of the best medical care around, thanks to the many physicians that are affiliated with our Highlands-Cashiers Hospital. We have physicians and surgeons trained and/or affiliated with Emory University, Duke University, John Hopkins Hospital, Mayo Clinic, as well as other fine hospital teaching schools. While on your vacation, should a need for medical care arise you’ll be in good hands at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital.

We love our town and want you to love it too. We don’t have any of the chain restaurants or shopping malls or outlet stores- but all are within a 30 minute to 2 hour drive- so we don’t need them here. The natural beauty of these hills is what we need and crave. We want to share it all with you- so you will feel its tranquility and will want to love and protect it as much as we do. Highlands NC Highlands NC