For a family-friendly resort feel year-round, the tiny town of Sapphire, N.C., is the spot to be. Home to world-class golf courses, miles of hiking, thrilling ziplining and even a small ski resort, Sapphire encapsulates all the enticing features for which Western North Carolina is famed.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains 55 miles southwest of Asheville, Sapphire, named for the gemstone once plentiful in the area, features a range of mountain homes, many set amid rolling hills and boasting stunning vistas. Everything from quaint cottages to low-maintenance townhomes to gated-community estates is available.
From ski slopes to summer ziplines
A unique feature of Sapphire is the Sapphire Valley Ski Resort, a compact and easily accessible ski area complete with a 1,600-foot main run, a learning slope, and a multi-lane tube park. The resort offers a ski school as well as equipment rentals. During warmer months, the resort switches gears to host such activities as ziplining, outdoor concerts, and arts festivals.
Visitors to Sapphire can also enjoy activities such as tennis, summer tubing, pickleball and foot golf. Sapphire National Golf Club, set against a stunning mountain backdrop, is popular for its premier playing conditions and dramatic elevation changes.
Flowing with waterfalls, hiking and biking
The Sapphire area is also home to plenty of hiking, mountain biking and waterfall trails. Popular nearby destinations include Whitewater Falls, at 811 feet the highest waterfall east of the Rockies; Gorges State Park and Lake Toxaway; Whitewater Equestrian Center, for an afternoon of horseback riding in the Cashiers plateau; and Panthertown Valley, which is part of Nantahala National Forest and boasts more than 30 miles of trails for hiking and biking.
Nearby Lake Glenville serves up 26 miles of shoreline, a high-elevation lake perfect for boating and water-skiing, and great bass fishing. There’s also a sand beach and swimming area, as well as a forest-shrouded trail leading to picturesque High Falls.
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