Welcome to Fifty Grande’s Best of the U.S. Bucket List series. This is your one-stop travel guide to the best, most unique and quintessential experiences of a city, state or event. Want to know how to “do” the Highlands, North Carolina? We’ve got you covered. Curated by experts, vetted by in-the-know locals, this is all you need to have the best trip ever. If we’ve written a Bucket List, we recommend you go. If it’s on this list, it’s the best the city has to offer right now. Consider this your one-stop answer to “What are the best things to do in North Carolina’s Highlands-Cashiers Plateau?”
With every inch of altitude climbed on your journey to North Carolina’s Highlands-Cashiers Plateau, you’ll get a sense of serenity that permeates your body like the crisp mountain air. The area has two main towns: Highlands, a tiny hamlet that sits on the highest crest of this Western North Carolina plateau in the Southern Appalachians, at 4,100 feet above sea level. And Cashiers, 10 miles to the east, which is slightly lower in elevation but just as charming and rejuvenating.
The two towns and the area between them are packed with majestic mountain scenery that provides a natural high: bubbling streams slicing through serene woodlands, sparkling waterfalls tumbling into glassy pools and multiple stunning vistas from atop mountain summits, plus all the associated outdoor activities. Throw in delicious dining, luxe shopping and a wide range of accommodation options, and you’ve got a restorative escape. And one that is also accessible: the area’s only two hours from Atlanta and about an hour and a half from Asheville.