Make no mistake, North Carolina is exceptionally beautiful all year around, but there’s something particular about its Blue Ridge Mountains during the fall months. Especially when you’re a Floridian who sees nothing of fall unless you wander.
I’ve been taking the North Carolina ‘destination fall’ road trip with my son for years. Not only has it become a tradition, but a necessity. After months of long summer heat, we’re ready for that crisp cool air at autumn first crack. So, like clockwork, every second to third week of October, we pack up and head for the mountains in search of much needed quality time, adventure and of course, those amazing fall colors. Our final destination: Linville Falls, North Carolina to the Linville Falls Trailer Lodge & Campground.
Linville Falls Trailer Lodge & Campground
When you want to get away, unplug and just get yourself a little dirtier than usual, Linville Falls is the place to do it.
We stumbled upon this gem about four years ago on a misadventure from Charleston, SC. It was just one of those things where we decided to head to the mountains late afternoon, no plan in sight. When we came to the mountainside campground we were immediately charmed. Still, we had only one day. So, we vowed to make it back to this perfect little campground, this time with marshmallows in tow. And that’s just what we did.
This time it was mid day. The cool crisp air was met by the bright sun which seemed to make the yellow leaves brighter than usual. Winding mountain roads led us through sleepy mountain towns to the sound of our favorite music. It was a twelve hour drive from the 85 degree heat we left in Florida. The windows were down, the wind blew the dog’s hair back and I thought to myself,
We made our way into the campground and met with the owner who patiently sits in the little check-in cabin at the front. This campground is very much like arriving to your favorite aunt’s house. Very laid back with the sense that you belong there.
There were towering trees all boasting a different vibrant fall color. It’s uncanny how beautiful the brights reds, yellows and oranges look against a crystal clear blue sky.
I could hear the leaves crunch beneath my feet as I approached our cabin, the ‘Locust Loft”. While it’s not the most inviting of names, it is by far, one of the most inviting cabins I’ve ever been to.
The Locust Loft is just as it states, a loft. With nothing but a wooden ladder which leads you to a full sized bed. Below there’s a futon (for extra sleeping), a small bathroom with shower and a vanity. A back door leads you to a deck built around an old oak tree, and a tin roof lets you hear the chipmunks as they pass by with their winter bounty.
One of my favorite parts about this cabin is the kitchen which is outdoors. Just in front of the little front porch and barn door the kitchen is built into a double door half-shed. No doubt this is a custom build, complete with sink, microwave and gas stove for all your cooking needs. The campsite is complete with a firepit and picnic table. It’s literally your own perfect little slice of fall.
For kids there’s a small park with basketball, tetherball, and various yard games leaving you plenty to do in the afternoons after you’ve spent the day exploring the Blue Ridge Mountain Region.
Things to do in Linville Falls, NC
Don’t let looks deceive you. There’s plenty to do in Linville Falls which will easily keep you busy all day long. Here are some favorites of mine which have served me well over the years:
- Grandfather Mountain – This state park opens the mountain’s 2,456-acre backcountry to spectacular hiking and backpacking. Home to the mile-high swinging bridge, its terrain is a site and reminds me of the Rockies.
- Linville Falls – The most popular waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is a spectacular three-tiered waterfall plunging into Linville Gorge, the “Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians.” The Gorge is the largest in the Eastern United States.
- Linville Caverns – Courteous and experienced guides take you into the subterranean world, giving you the history of the caverns and allowing you to view the grand work of nature.
Whether you are in need of a city-break away or you just want to get refreshed with the vibrant colors of fall, Linville Falls, NC and the Linville Falls Campground is a perfect way to spend a few days in October.
Tips: Booking in October can fill up quick for the cabins. They are equip for RVs too. It is advised that you book in advance as this is a very popular time of year in the North Carolina Mountains. Weather can be in the 40’s at night at 60’s during the day so plan for light layers and good hiking shoes. You can bring your own food so a trip to the market may be ideal for you. You can get data on your phone at the Locust Loft by the campfire but service is hit or miss. Maybe bring a game of Yahtzee or a deck of cards for campfire nights. For more information about Linville Falls, NC go here.
Special thanks goes to Jim and Dot of Linville Falls Trailer Lodge and Campground. While they sponsored our visit, it in no way shapes my opinion of this trip. I sought them out after having such a wonderful experience the first time.
By Christa Thompson, Senior Travel Writer at The Hotel Guide and Editor in Chief at www.TheFairytaleTraveler.com.