Kidding Around: Seven Sensational Family-Friendly Suggestions

One of Brevard’s special qualities is its appeal to visitors of every age. This is especially true for
kids. Watching a child discover the many wonders of the outdoors is a gratifying experience to
which any parent can attest. In addition, Brevard’s summer camps have welcomed children for
more than 100 years, introducing them to exciting outdoor adventures like hiking, camping,
rock climbing, paddling and more. But even shorter visits with family to Brevard can yield all
manner of unforgettable joys, from finding a rare specimen at a gem mine to discovering the
secret that explains why we have the largest concentration of waterfalls in North America
(some 250 in all).
Here are seven sensational suggestions for family-friendly experiences in Brevard that will leave
a smile on everyone’s face and memories to last a lifetime.
1. Forest Discovery Center at the Cradle of Forestry
 The Cradle of Forestry is a 6,500-acre site with 3 miles of interactive trails that come alive with
the use of the National Forests Explorer’s “I Spy” app and guide to follow along. These
interpretive trails lead visitors to historic buildings from the Biltmore Forest School (1898-1914),
America’s very first forestry school. The kids can also climb aboard a 1914 Climax logging train
engine. The Forestry Discovery Center is a fascinating learning center dedicated to the history
of forest conservation and management in Pisgah National Forest. It is filled with informative
and interactive displays – including a helicopter simulator that takes you on a firefighting flight.

2. A Walk in The Woods
Brevard and Transylvania County are known for their expansive network of hiking trails found in
Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Forest, Gorges State Park and Headwaters State Forest.
From scenic overlooks to dramatic waterfalls to fascinating flora and fauna, there’s always
something interesting to see along the way. As we celebrate North Carolina’s Year of the Trail,
we’ve compiled a great list of kid-friendly hikes just for you.
3. Focusing on Nature
Before you hit the trail, your entire family can benefit from making a stop at any one of the three
visitor centers associated with Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, and
Gorges State Park.

The Pisgah Forest Ranger Station and Visitor Center is the perfect gateway to enjoying the
treasures of this 500,000-acre national forest, including a fun and fact-filled interpretive center,
nature trails and picnic areas. Kids can check out the Ranger Station’s educational exhibit and
ask for a passport. The Aleen Steinberg Visitor Center at DuPont Recreational Forest features a
large-scale diorama of the entire forest with its many attractions highlighted. Kids can participate
in the Junior Ranger program and receive a free booklet with numerous activities to select from
while on the trails. The reward is earning their own Junior Ranger patch for participating.
DuPont also has the county's only kids bike loop with a section of challenge structures and a
raised wooden loop. The Gorges State Park Visitor Center, with its 7,100 square-foot exhibition
area, makes for a dramatic and engaging introduction to the natural forces that shaped this
jewel of a park. Along with its ample picnic areas and dramatic long-range views, the Gorges
State Park Visitor Center is a must-see experience that will enchant the entire family. Gorges
State Park is the only location where you can receive a stamp in the NC Parks Passport
Program for conquering the French Broad River State Trail. Finally, Earthshine Lodge is known
for its wide variety of outdoor-oriented adventures, including llama hikes, mountain bike rides,
challenge courses and lots more.

Before your family visits any one of these great options, we encourage you to sit down and
learn about Transylvania County Tourism’s “Leave It Better” campaign, which provides easy to
follow tips on how to be a good forest steward. And if your forest explorations include waterfall
hunting, our “Be Waterfall Wise” campaign can help you and your family explore these natural
wonders safely.

4. A Gem of an Idea
Is there rain in the forecast? No worries. We have a wide variety of indoor activities that are
sure to delight on a gray day. Consider a visit to one of our fun and educational gem mines,
Crystal Mountain Gem Mine, Bear Tracks, Little River Mining Company, Pisgah Forest Gem
Mine, and Whitewater Equestrian Center, many of which feature extensive water flumes where
your kids can pan for treasures. Another great indoor option is the full suite of fun and
educational programs at Transylvania County Public Library. If you’re a fan of classic arcade
games, you can introduce your kids to the fun and challenge of foosball, air hockey and 
Pac-Man at the White Squirrel Arcade, located in downtown Brevard. This family-friendly venue is
the perfect way to spend a rainy or not-so-rainy afternoon. For a little more indoor adventure,
you can go to the Brevard Rock Gym.

5. Mother Nature’s Slip n’ Slide
Sliding Rock, located in Pisgah National Forest, is a 60 foot natural water slide that plunges into
a chilly natural pool. This rite of passage for children of all ages is one of Brevard and
Transylvania County’s most popular attractions. Sliding Rock also features a viewing platform
and changing areas. Because of its popularity – especially on summer weekends – we suggest
visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Lifeguards are on duty from Memorial Day
thru Labor Day.

6. Different Strokes
Transylvania County’s gently flowing tributaries make it the perfect spot to introduce your kids
to paddling adventures of every kind – from canoeing or kayaking the French Broad River to
tubing on the Davidson River. You can even rent stand-up paddleboards and explore one of our
scenic mountain lakes. Check out Headwaters Outfitters, Wai Mauna SUP Tours, White Squirrel
Paddleboards, Bear Tracks or Davidson River Rafting for gear, guided and self-supported paddling

7. Other Great Parking Spaces
Brevard and Transylvania County also offer a network of great parks that are open to the public.
From picnic tables to playgrounds to swimming pools to river access, there are lots of options
to choose from. Get Set Transylvania offers a comprehensive list.

For more information about how you and your family can have a memorable vacation in
Brevard and Transylvania County, we invite you to visit, where you will find
lots of additional information on a wide range of accommodations, restaurants and special
events happening throughout the year.

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Brought to you by Transylvania County Tourism

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