North Carolina Family Vacation

Hidden Gems near the Smoky Mountains

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Ah, our North Carolina family vacation...

As we were planning a visit to the Smoky Mountains, a family member who lives in the area told us about something we wouldn't want to miss.

We had been on a Tennessee family vacation, and one of our stops was Chattanooga and Rock City.

We particularly wanted to see the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains on our family vacation (as well as the Tennessee side).

Here are some of the attractions they recommended, and we were so glad we took their advice. There is nothing like having local travel destination advice when planning your best family vacations!

Ocoee Whitewater Center

The Ocoee Whitewater Center was built for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. The Canoe and Kayak Slalom competitions where held here. It was significant because these events were held on a natural river, and a site that was already a popular whitewater river.

The river was changed a bit including making the riverbed was more narrow and using 60,000 tons of rock.

Today, the site is used by those who want to raft on the course.

But the area is so much more, and with young children on our family vacation we weren't interested in whitewater rafting or kayaking.

We found that there are also hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and more. There is a gift shop at the Ocoee Whitewater Center, as well as a cafe and a place for special events.

But the reason this area was recommended to us for as one of our family vacation spots was because of the rocks in the river bed.

At the time we visited, the rocks were exposed.

Our kids spent an entire afternoon climbing over the boulders, one after another.

It made for some great family vacation photo opportunities, and became one of our favorite travel destinations on the trip.

The price is right (free) making it a cheap family vacations spot.

A true fun family vacation hidden gem.

North Carolina Family Vacation, Ocoee Whitewater Center

Playing on the river rocks on a North Carolina Family Vacation

Oconaluftee Indian Village - Cherokee, NC

The Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, NC, is a replica of a 18th century Cherokee community.

There are several demonstrations available, as well as guides.

We found the tour to be very informative and inspirational.

The town of Cherokee has a lot of touristy shops. We even saw a fellow with a teepee that you could get your photo made with (and if you visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village you'll know that the Cherokee did not live in teepees, but actually in houses).

For more information about this family vacation travel destination, visit

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