The three best things about Chattanooga, Tennessee, are location, location, location. If you ever manage to tire of all the wonderful things that the city itself has to offer, Chattanooga is nestled right along the foothills of the Appalachians, which means that any number of magical mountain getaways are not far away.
Since choosing one of these destinations is half the battle, allow us to present you with a few of our favorites. These mountainous beauties are a sure win, all within a couple of hours of Chattanooga.
1. MORGANTON, GEORGIA
2 hours via US-64 E and US-74 E
With a population of just over 300 people in 2010, this tiny mountain town is the solitary escape any introvert will love. Besides having scenery that’s hard to beat and mountain air to fill your lungs, Morganton, Georgia is located within the Chattahoochee National Forest and is nestled right along the shores of Lake Blue Ridge. Whether you’re looking to splash around in the lake and cool off during the summer or get in a good cross-country ski or snowshoe hike over the winter, this is the perfect spot. English Manor Bed and Breakfast is a cozy place to stay, as is Above the Rest Luxury Cabins.
2. BLUE RIDGE, GEORGIA
2 hours via US-76 E
If you’re looking for a place that has that mountains and lake combo that Morgantown has but with a higher population, Blue Ridge, Georgia is ideal. It’s the same distance from Chattanooga, but will offer you a different experience. The town is described, according to Explore Georgia, as a place “where city sophistication meets small town charm.”
Whitewater rafting is big in these parts, so it’s easy to add a bit of an adrenaline rush to your vacay here, if that’s what you’re looking for. Fishing is an option for a more relaxed retreat. As far as accommodations go, Blue Ridge Inn Bed and Breakfast is adorable and Reid Ridge Lodgeis bursting at the seams with character.
3. ROBBINSVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA
2.5 hours via US-74 E
For picture perfect mountain scenery, Robbinsville, North Carolina, has it. While it’s a killer weekend retreat from Chattanooga any time of the year, the foliage really lights up in the fall. You can get carried away in the town’s nature offerings, like exploring Santeetlah Lake and hiking Tail of the Dragon. Or you can go the small-town charm route by touring Wehrloom Honey or the Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center. You’ll have time to do it all if you stay for the whole weekend, perhaps in awesome places like Rivers Edge Treehouse Resort or the Historic Tapoco Lodge Resort.
4. DILLSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
3 hours via US-64 E
Dillsboro is so sweet and quaint that even the Los Angeles Times wrote about it. The article describes the town’s few residents as “craftsmen, potters, glassblowers, silversmiths, and leather workers.” Consequently, there’s plenty to see and lots of studios to visit if you’re into local arts and crafts, and who isn’t?
Found in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, this spot is rich with history in the form of centuries-old stores alongside a plethora of mom and pop shops. When it’s time to rest your head, the Dillsboro Inn is a local favorite and the Reed House is a pet-friendly beauty.
5. LITTLE SWITZERLAND, NORTH CAROLINA
4.5 hours via I-75 N and I-40 E
With a name like Little Switzerland, it’s not hard to imagine this place being exactly as quaint and mountainous as it is is. It got its name from the views that bring to mind the Swiss Alps. A prime destination for weddings and motorcycle trips because of its beauty, the specialness of Little Switzerland is widely recognized. You can pick up artisanal jewelry crafted from local gems. And you’re almost guaranteed to encounter live music somewhere almost every night of the week. When looking to schedule a stay, Switzerland Inn and Big Lynn Lodge are both lovely choices.
Originally written by RootsRated for Rock/Creek.