Chapel Hill may be considered “The Southern Part of Heaven,” but it’s just a few hours away from winter activities the entire family can enjoy. Whether you have a multi-day break or just want to switch up your usual weekend routine, check out these destinations that are well worth the drive.
Under 3 Hours
In Blowing Rock, Appalachian Ski Mountain keeps the winter sports fun going all day and into the night, with its lighted slopes and outdoor ice rink. After shredding the mountain, head back into town and refuel at one of the acclaimed restaurants and treat yourself to a massage at a local spa.
The weekend of January 23-26, Blowing Rock Winterfest brings locals and guests out of hibernation to enjoy a Polar Bear Plunge in Chetola Lake, a winter fashion show, ice carvings, the Rotary Chili Cookoff & Tasting, winter art events, a winter beer garden and more.
Experience the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains while zipping down the East Coast’s largest snow tubing park at Hawksnest, or get a bird’s eye view from above on a Snowbird Zipline Tour, featuring the state’s longest ziplines.
Cross country skiers and snow shoers can find dedicated trails with breathtaking views at Elk Knob State Park. Located just outside of Boone, trail users must bring their own cross country and snowshoe equipment.
For a relaxing weekend, explore the Yadkin Valley wineries nestled in the heart of the foothills. Enjoy a tasting, a tour or sit back with a glass around a roaring fire at one of the dozens of local wineries.
If cold weather isn’t your thing, head towards the coast for the 40th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival in Wilmington. The indoor festival takes place on January 23-25 and will feature an impressive lineup of renowned jazz musicians and rising stars.
Under 4 Hours
Beech Mountain Ski Resort offers slopes for skiing and snowboarding, as well as two freestyle terrain parks for the dare devils in your group. There’s also an outdoor ice rink and a state-of-the art tubing park with chutes up to 700 feet in length.
Winter months are also the perfect time to rent a cozy cabin where you curl up with a good book or share laughs over board games. Go “glamping” in a rustic cabin around Asheville and relax in an outdoor hot tub while soaking in the views.
Under 5 Hours
If your family is new to skiing, Sapphire Valley Ski Area is a great place for everyone to learn together. With one learning slope and one intermediate, it’s easy for your group to stay together and practice the fundamentals. Off the slopes, you can enjoy snow tubing at Frozen Falls Tube Park which features a 500-foot run with a 60-foot vertical drop and winter zip line tours on the Vordach Zip Line Experience.
And before you hit the road for your winter getaway, take advantage of local equipment rentals at Alpine Ski Center in Raleigh so you can skip the lines and hit the slopes sooner. Safe travels!