Updated: Sep 11
Sometimes a group trip consists of baggy sweatshirts, day-long bonfires, and attempting to move from your camping chair as little as possible. But other times, you have a big group and want to get out and explore - if your group is the latter, we've got you covered! From state parks to local hikes, first adventures or history, Marion, NC has something for every group's interest.
We are a local family who loves to spend our free time exploring all that the surrounding cities have to offer so we can pass the best suggestions off to you.
Updated in February 2023, here is my current favorite obsession when it comes to packing a weekend full of activities in when staying Marion, NC. If you're looking for something a little different, just ask - I'm sure I have a suggestion that's just perfect for you :)
We also began offering curated excursions, local and on-site. Visit our Curated Experiences + Activities page for more inspiration.
Brackettown Farms - Have kiddos in the group? This is a no-brainer...although it does require a bit of thinking ahead - BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. A private, non-profit petting zoo, just 8-miles from camp. You don't want to miss the opportunity for this up-close-and-personal tour with Miss Nicole and all her furry friends! Your family will be talking about the close encounters for days!
Brackettown Farms - for reservations: 828-925-1070
Learn a little local history with a visit to the Historic Carson House. Built in the late 1700's, the two-story mansion offers a delightful walk through the Carson family's experience in the Revolutionary War, Native American struggles, the Civil War, the North Carolina Gold Rush, the political/economic climate of the times, slavery and plantation life. Tickets are $10.
Or take the local history a step further and experience a Historical Walking Pub Crawl with a local historian from the McDowell County Historical society. Send us an email to help you book a reservation!
Take a Honeybee Tour - Local Roadside Farm, Sweet Betsy, offers private bee tours, by schedule. For more information, reach out to Karen at Sweet Betsy Farm.
Mica Town Brewing - Wind down and grab a beer at Marion’s local Brewery before popping down the street for a classic fried chix dinner.
Todd’s Golden Fried Chicken - Serving family bundles of all sizes, bring a big ole’ bucket o’ chicken (or fried fish) back to camp, take over a picnic table and enjoy! Visit their website here.
In a hurry? Swing the Bantam Chef, a local eatery with delicious breakfast options and a drive-thru!
Ask us about helping you cater a breakfast on site!
Go Tubing - Catawba River Outdoors - Take a two hour relaxing tubing ride down the Catawba River. Reservations not required for groups of 9 or less.
Offer Variety at Lake James State Park - There’s something for everyone here. Stay together and split up and do your thing. The state park offers excellent: public beaches, hiking and biking trails, picnic shelters, paddle board and kayak rentals. State Park Website
Hillman Beer - Located in Old Fort, Hillman Beer is a great local brewery for large groups. You'll order your food at the bar so you won't have to worry about large table reservations. Seating is first-come-first-serve and the large, industrial building provides ample seating for larger groups. Here you'll find sandwiches, Wings, and local craft beer.
Grill at camp - we've got two propane grills, two charcoal grills, or go old-school and cook straight over the fire!
Historic Orchard at Altapass. Little Switzerland - Take home unforgettable memories of bluegrass music, hay rides, clogging, mountain cooking, area artists and craftsmen, original plays, storytelling and much more. May Open Sat/Sun. June 1st through October 31st - Hours are Wednesday through Sunday! Featuring apple picking in the fall, the views are something you don't want to miss! Visit the Orchard website for updated event calendars.
Read more about the Orchard at RomanticAsheville.com
Some other honorable mentions, these may be a bit farther than you're looking for, but on the chance you're in the area anyway, here are some of our other absolute favs:
The Fiesty Goldfish - Retro Arcade, Bar, Spot. $10 all-you-can-play retro games.
Heathens Den Axe Throwing - Located in the renovated, downtown Mill, you'll find drinks, food, pool and axe throwing! website
Lake Lure Beach - Public beach surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Admission: Adults $10, Kids 4-12 $8. Kids under 4 - free. More info here.
WNC Nature Center, Asheville - daily animal programs, interactive Nature Play areas, and hands-on learning activities.
WhistleHop Brewery - Located in Fairview, just south of Asheville, you can actually take a very scenic 1-hour drive through back roads to get here. Located amongst a couple old train cabooses, this is the brewery of all breweries when it comes to family entertainment. There is a rotating food truck, but more importantly your kids will stay entertained for hours with: a soccer field, corrugated pipe slide, mini putt putt course, giant yard games, and so much more. It's our go-to when we want to relax and the littles need to get our the wiggles!
Linville Caverns - Courtesour 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. They invite you to experience the beauty of these age-old mountains from the inside!Read about the experience on Kidding Around Greenville's Website
If you make it there, it's worth the drive over to Linville Falls as well!
If you're looking for a family friendly camping or glamping vacation, look no further than Gold River camp + cabins. Located in Marion, NC, at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just 45-minutes from Asheville, we are not short of activities. If you need additional suggestions, don't hesitate to reach out, I have activities to recommend in Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, Hendersonville, Burnsville, Asheville, Morganton and Hickory - all within an hours drive!