Charlotte, NC header

Posts Tagged ‘WNC’

Lots of Winter Family Fun at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC

Posted on |

Are you thinking about snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC? Western North Carolina has great snow tubing and Black Bear Snow Tubing is a stellar option for families! They have a huge mountain to get your winter in high gear with a fun snow tubing trip for the whole family! We took a trip up to try out that snow-tubing mountain and it was so much fun! Now we have all the details to share so you can plan your trip!

Media tickets were provided for this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.

Snow tubing at Black Bear in Hendersonville, NC

While there aren’t any places to snow tube in the Upstate, SC, there are definitely options nearby and one of them is Black Bear Snow Tubing in nearby Hendersonville, NC, just over an hour from Greenville, SC. The snow tubing family-owned operation has been in business for over seven years and they really have a good thing going there, which I’m going to tell you all about in this story.

Scenes From the Slope

Take a sneak peek at this video at Black Bear Snow Tubing.

Snow Tubing at Black Bear

The slope at Black Bear Snow Tubing is 600 feet long with an 80-foot drop and it’s pretty fast. They make their own snow (unless they get a big snowstorm, which doesn’t happen too often) and the hill is well-maintained by their attentive staff.

How it works is that when you get to Black Bear, you go to a little shed to watch a short safety video, where you learn how to get out of your tube on the run and not to start snowball fights, sign a waiver, and head inside the cozy lodge to pay. Then you get your tubes and head to the hill.

They have a pulley system to get you to the top of the hill, which works by slipping the handle of your tube on a cable that takes you, while sitting inside your tube, right up the hill to the top. Once at the top, you’ll wait for a few minutes before being situated into your group by the staff and then sliding down the hill.

On the snow tube pully at Black Bear in Hendersonville, NC
Black Bear Snow Tubing Pulley System

Why Black Bear is Different

I’ve snow tubed at many places in our area and I think Black Bear Snow Tubing is pretty fantastic. Here’s why:

  • You can (and should) make a reservation ahead of time, which is crucial for us in Greenville who need to travel out of state to go snow tubing. It’s quite a bummer to get to our snow tubing place and either find out that they are sold out or having to wait hours for an open slot.
  • The staff is attentive and efficient. They were always around watching the hill to make sure things were running smoothly and safely. When there was a slight backup at the top of the hill, they figured out how to manage to get us all down the hill and back up to keep snow tubing without interruption.
  • The lodge is super cozy and warm and has reasonable concessions. I got a $2 hot chocolate and it was amazing. Plus, they have food, including apple cider donuts, that is affordable and you can get warm by the wood-burning stove inside or watch on the deck if you don’t want to go tubing.
  • The setup takes into account smaller kids. There is playground next to the place where you wait in line to go up the hill so smaller kids can get out their energy and there is a big fire pit also near the waiting area where you can warm up.
  • If you forgot a hat or gloves, they have them for sale inside the lodge. I feel like us parents can relate when our kid gets out of the car to go snow tubing and forgot his or her winter hat.
  • The check-in is fast. This is important because you want to get on the hill and start having fun as soon as possible!
  • Black Bear has excellent communication. They post daily on their Facebook page about current snow conditions, which is super helpful when you’re unsure about the weather.
  • The snow is real. They don’t have any synthetic chemicals in the snow – it’s the real deal.

My kids, ages 11 and 8, and I had such a blast snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing. We went down the hill about 10 times (maybe more, I lost count honestly) and had so much fun together. I really love places where adults can carelessly be kids again. My kids are already asking to go back. The hill was super fast and seeing my kids faces light up with joy was special. I love those moments.

Tips on How to Enjoy Snow Tubing at Black Bear

Winter being winter, it’s usually cold when you go snow tubing. I’ve found that bringing hand and foot warmers is a really good trick to keeping everyone warm and comfortable. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Amazon, or most drug stores and they stay warm for hours.

Sliding down in a tube at Black Bear Tubing

It’s also really important to make a reservation when you know you want to go snow tubing. This is especially true during school breaks and holidays. Snow tubing is an awesome family activity on a day off but a lot of people also have the same thought. Don’t forget to make a reservation.

You don’t need to wear snow bibs or snow pants. I had on fleece leggings, hiking boots, and a couple layers of tops with a heavy coat (it was really cold when we went!) and I was fine. I saw people wearing all kinds of clothes that worked for them like pants, leggings, jeans, and sweatpants. The snow wasn’t wet at all when we went but if you go on a warmer day, you may want to bring a change of pants in case they get wet.

There are port-a-potties outside the lodge to use and no bathrooms indoors.

Double-check Black Bear’s Facebook page before heading out. Snow tubing is very dependent on weather, which changes often in the mountains. They will post current conditions and if they are open or closed most days.

Ticket Prices and Policies at Black Bear Snow Tubing

Tickets are $30/hour or $40/two hours for snow tubing. Kids must be 4 years old in order to go snow tubing. You can either sign a waiver when you get to Black Bear Snow Tubing or print one out online ahead of time. Either is fine.

While Black Bear Snow Tubing does take walk-ups, it is much better to make a reservation ahead of time instead of getting there and finding out they are full. Online reservations are fantastic for this very reason so definitely make use of them.

And be sure to check Black Bear Snow Tubing’s Facebook page before heading out to double check they are open and running. Winter tubing runs mid-December through February usually depending on the weather, of course.

And if you want to tube during other times of the year, you totally can! They have warm-weather tubing in the fall.

Black Bear Snow Tubing
373 Kerr Road, Hendersonville, NC
828.685.1155

Want to spend the day in Hendersonville? We’ve got lots of ideas on what to do in this fun town!

Things to Do in Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville is full of family fun.
Check it out!

Kidding Around Guide to Hendersonville

Visit Bryson City, NC for the Holidays

Posted on |

Are you searching for Bryson City holiday things to do? Most known for the Polar Express, there is so much more than just the train ride to do and explore in this friendly mountain town. Bryson City, NC also has a drive-thru light show, outdoor ice skating, delicious food, and much more! 

Looking for more holiday day trip ideas? Be sure to check out our festive guide!

Bryson City: A Real-Life Christmas Wonderland 

Bryson City is a quaint, peaceful mountain town along the Great Smoky Mountains. Just a quick 3 to 4 hour drive from Columbia, SC, this makes for the perfect weekend getaway. During winter each year, Bryson City transforms into a real-life Christmas wonderland with beautiful decor, twinkling lights, and Christmas magic all around. My family took a quick 1-night trip to the mountains and we spent one of our evenings exploring Bryson City. I left wishing we would have had more time to spend and know we will definitely be returning! 

Tree farms in Bryson City, NC

Things to do in Bryson City, NC for the Holidays

Take a Ride on the Polar Express 

One of the most popular things to do in Bryson City over the holidays is the Polar Express Train Ride! My family recently got to experience this magical event and both of my kids (ages 4 and 1) absolutely loved it. Be sure to check out the Kidding Around Pplar Express review for more tips and info! 

Bryson City Polar Express

Explore the Smoky Mountain Train Museum 

The train museum sits right next to the railroad tracks and is a great place to pass the time while waiting to board a train ride! Inside the museum, there is a huge display of model trains that are so fascinating to watch! My son loved pointing out all of the detailed features he saw. With a train ticket, entrance into the museum is free! 

Along with the model train display, the museum also offers a large gift shop area with plenty of trinkets and souvenirs. 

Smoky Mountain Train Museum

Smoky Mountain Rail

Go Outdoor Ice Skating

Outdoor ice skating is such a fun, classic winter activity! Unfortunately, on the evening we were there, the ice rink was not open, but now that I know it’s there we will be sure to plan accordingly for future visits. Along with ice skating, there is also a food truck and full-time bar. For $20 per person you will get 1 hour of skating time, skate rentals (smallest size is youth size 9), and 1 hot chocolate! Hours are as follows:

  • Thursdays and Fridays from 4 pm to 8 pm beginning November 17th, 2023
  • Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 8 pm beginning November 19th, 2023

The Yard Ice Skating

Bryson City shops

Visit the Local Shops 

With so many locally-owned shops and businesses to choose from, picking a favorite would be hard! We popped into a few and really enjoyed all of the Christmas shops. We purchased an ornament from Uncle Bunky’s Christmas Cottage where they also had tons of holiday decor, small toys, sweet treats, etc. Loose Moose is another great gift store with lots of unique items to choose from. 

Madison’s on Main and Humanite Boutique are both great options for trendy women’s clothing! There are also several antique stores around that are always fun to browse through – you never know what you might find! 

Enjoy a Tasty Sweet Treat 

If you’re anything like me, the sweet tooth is at an all-time high throughout the holidays. The good news is, Bryson City has so many opportunities for delicious treats! After our ride on the Polar Express we stopped into the Heavenly Fudge Depot and let me just say, it lived up to its name! The peanut butter fudge from here was divine. They also had several festive sweet treats for kids – chocolate “believe” tickets and trains, cookies, bite-sized sweets, and more! 

The Chocolate Shoppe, Soda Pop’s Ice Cream, and Pop-N-Jacks Gourmet Popcorn are also great options to cure the sweet tooth! The popcorn from Pop-N-Jacks can even be brought onto the Polar Express with you and smells so good. I’m a little upset we didn’t stop in and give them a try, too! 

Take Festive Pictures 

Still need a family pic for this year’s Christmas card? There are tons of great holiday photo-ops everywhere you look in Bryson City! From the large, lit-up Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza to stationary train carts, a tractor, and more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for family photos. 

Get Your Live Christmas Tree 

While there are no Christmas tree farms in Bryson City, there are several to choose from nearby. During our trip, we chose to get our tree at Smoky Mountain Tree Farm. They had a large variety of trees to choose from and even some that you could cut down yourself. The big red barn and beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery made for great pictures as well! 

There are two other tree farms within a few minutes of Smoky Mountain Tree Farm: Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm and Mehaffey Tree Farm. Boyd Mountain Farm has several log cabins available for families to stay in as well as stocked fishing ponds, 4 miles of hiking trails, biking, and more!  

Christmas Tree Farm

Have you ever been to Bryson City during the holidays? What is your favorite thing to do?

Huge Catawba Science Center is a Fun Day Trip in Hickory, NC

Posted on |

The Catawba Science Center in Hickory, NC has so much to explore! See animals, build, learn about physics, space, gardens and more! We checked it out and have all the information you need to enjoy a fun day here as a day trip from Greenville, SC, or Charlotte, NC, or anywhere in between!

Catawba Science Center

Ever since I got my Roper Mountain Science Center membership, I’ve started planning day trips and homeschool field trips according to where my family can get in for free or half-price using the reciprocal membership benefits. The Catawba Science Center in Hickory, NC was on the list so that’s where we went. 

(more…)

Take a Boat Ride on the Highest Lake East of the Mississippi River at Lake Glenville, NC

Posted on |

You can explore Lake Glenville, the highest elevation lake in the Eastern US, in Jackson County, North Carolina by boat with Lake Glenville Scenic Scenic Waterfall Cruises. We did the beautiful boat tour and will tell you all you need to know to enjoy the scenic lake.
We have information about Lake Glenville, including:
What you’ll see on the waterfall tour
Tips for your boat trip
How to book your waterfall tour

Lake Glenville in Jackson County, North Carolina

Thanks to Jackson County, North Carolina for hosting us and providing the opportunity to take the boat tour.

There’s something really special about mountain lakes. Maybe it’s that crisp mountain air, the ancient hills that loom in the distance, that clear water – whatever it is, that’s where I want to be. So when I had the opportunity to take a boat tour with Captain Mark and his scenic boat cruise on Lake Glenville – the only boat tour company that operates on the lake – I was all in. We got to see waterfalls, a bald eagle nest, and enjoy the beauty of the lake. Plus, it’s only a short drive from Cashiers, so you can add it to your itinerary when visiting the area.

Man fishing on Lake Glenville
(more…)

The Lake Lure Beach and Water Park Is Surrounded by Beautiful Mountain Views

Posted on | No Comments

Have you visited the Lake Lure beach and water park? The combination of a mountain lake with a sandy beach along with waterslides that run right into the cool mountain water is spectacular! Plus, you only have to pay one admission fee at this famous lake in North Carolina.

A local mom visited Lake Lure with her family. They had a blast! Read about their trip and catch all the tips so you’ll know just what to expect when you visit.

Hanging out in the water in tubes on Lake Lure.

Find a place to stay in Lake Lure, NC. This article contains Stay22 affiliate links.

Getting to Lake Lure

After reading all about Lake Lure and its nostalgic filming of the movie “Dirty Dancing”, I was intrigued to make a day visit. From Greenville, Lake Lure is a little over an hour but well worth the beautiful scenic drive up into Chimney Rock State Park. From Greenville, you will use 25 North to I26 West to 2724 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure, NC 28746 (I also recommend using Google Maps for directions).

Also, don’t forget to bring a packed lunch as well as buckets and shovels for the kids, as the sand beach is ideal for sandcastle building. Once you get close to the Chimney Rock area, you will drive through a quaint little town and see an array of restaurants, shops, and gem mine stores for the kids. It has an old Western-type feel with the picturesque backdrop of Chimney Rock in the background. 

The Lake Lure Inn.

Having arrived at the lake around noon, we noticed that parking was filling up quickly but luckily there seemed to be several spots across the street in front of the historic Lake Lure Inn. Once we parked and gathered our beach gear, we headed through the main entrance where we were banded after paying the daily fee.

The admission for adults is $10 and kids 4 to 12 was $8, with under 4 free. You can find pricing and information on the Lake Lure website. The price of admission includes the water park and beach access.

Waterslides at the Lake Lure beach and water park.

Lake Lure: Beach and Water Park!

The kids spotted the water slides right as we entered and sped off. I noticed a lifeguard at the bottom of the slides in the water as well as a lifeguard standing by the swimming area in the lake. In addition to the slides and swimming is a splash pad, as well as a water balloon zone. You can purchase water balloons for an additional cost at the ticket counter. There are also restroom facilities and showers.

The water is roped for designated swimming and there were many people with rafts and water toys. You can easily spend all day at the beach with plenty to do for kids and adults. And of course, no trip to Lake Lure is complete without doing “the lift” from the movie Dirty Dancing, which was filmed here.

Lake Lure Boat Rentals

If you’d like to cruise around the lake in a kayak, paddleboard, or hydro bike, you can rent one on site. Stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and two-person kayaks are $20/hour or $85/all day while single kayaks are $18/hour or $70/all day. Hydro bikes are $12/hour. Rentals are available at the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

If you want to bring your own non-motorized watercraft, you will have to pay a daily fee of $25, a weekly fee of $50, or a yearly fee of $100.

The Flowering Bridge at Lake Lure

Having swam, slid, and sunned our day away, it was time to head back, but not before uncovering an enchanting (and free) roadside attraction. 

The flowering bridge near Lake Lure in Western North Carolina.

On the way out from the resort area, there was a nice little surprise awaiting us, called The Flowering Bridge. It is free to walk the bridge and is filled with gardens of all types of flowers, plants, and scenery. We all enjoyed reading about the bridge’s history and learning about the various flowers.

There were little cutouts of secret gardens and sitting areas. Each section of the garden has cute facts pertaining to plant life with a list of every type of plant and flower. You may even spot a few butterflies! It was the perfect ending to a perfect day trip from Greenville.

Have you ever been to Lake Lure?

Sandy Mountain Beaches

Love a great mountain beach? Check out our list of Upstate mountain beaches for an excellent time with your family!

Kidding Around WNC: things to do in Western North Carolina towns

There’s more to love in WNC.

Find it all in our Kidding Around Guide to Western North Carolina.

See Minerals Glow in the Dark at the Emerald Village Mine in Little Switzerland, NC

Posted on |

Did you know Emerald Village Mine has a cave where you can see minerals glow in the dark? If you’re looking for a bucket list adventure in Western North Carolina, the Black Light Tour at the Emerald Village mine near Little Switzerland, NC is it. Kidding Around’s Kristina took her kids for this unique experience and tells us about it. 

I thought Geology was a pretty boring subject until we studied it for a homeschool science unit. I was completely taken with the cool rocks, how the cycle of minerals, magma, and sedimentary rocks form. I loved learning about the chemical makeup of minerals. And when I took my kids to the Geology Museum at Clemson, the fluorescent black light room was a favorite. So when I heard that the Emerald Village Mine near Little Switzerland, North Carolina, was offering a very limited Black Light Mine Tour, I was in. I didn’t hesitate to get tickets when they went on sale back in the early spring and good thing, because they immediately sold out. 

So start planning your 2023 adventure right now! As of January 29, 2023, tickets are now on sale for the 2023 season.

Glowing minerals
(more…)

Pick Your Pumpkin Off the Vine at Nix Pumpkin Patch in Hendersonville, NC

Posted on |

Looking forward to picking a pumpkin at The Nix Pumpkin Patch in Hendersonville, NC? This u-pick pumpkin patch allows you to cut the pumpkin right off the vine. We visited The Nix Pumpkin Patch and had so much fun searching for the perfect pumpkin, visiting their market, drinking apple cider, and making a lot of memories! 

The Pumpkin Patch is open from September 9th, 2023 until late November.

Nix Pumpkin Patch sign

The Nix Pumpkin Patch is a family-owned and operated pick-your-own pumpkin patch. Situated amongst a plethora of orchards and farms, you’ll find one of the only u-pick patches in the Hendersonville area. There is just something about cutting your pumpkin right off that vine that makes it so much better! 

(more…)
×