Last Updated on December 7, 2023
There are so many amazing activities to try in Waynesville, NC! From brewery tours and hiking trails to museums and outdoor events, you’d be hard pressed to find a day when there isn’t something great to do. But, it’s true, some activities are much less interesting (or unavailable) to the younger members of the family. Luckily, Waynesville also offers a variety of kid-friendly opportunities for adventure.
Whether you’re gearing up for a long holiday break, or you’re reading this post at another time in the year, there are always fun things to do in and around Waynesville! Here are five easy ways to get your kids engaged—and keep them engaged—that you can do around Waynesville, NC.
If your kids have some energy to expend, there are a variety of great activities to fill a whole day—and then some! The Waynesville Recreation Center has a pool and water park. And just down the road is the town’s free public skate park. Nearby Canton also has a town recreation park, featuring a playground area, horseshoe pits, basketball, a sand volleyball court, and shuffleboard. Their new Berm Park has everything to capture the attention of mountain bike enthusiasts of all ages.
While you’re feeling competitive, check out a couple of our favorite mini golf spots in the region. Fantasy Golf & Game Room is an 18-hole masterpiece featuring waterfalls, a lighthouse, and a great view from the 18th hole tower. And Maggie Valley Carpet Golf has been a family favorite since 1963. You’ll want to invest in their 10-game ticket. It offers a 25% discount and never expires!
When the weather is nice, it’s always a great idea to enjoy the beautiful outdoors surrounding Waynesville. We’d be hard pressed to mention every single outdoor activity. But this time of year, we always enjoy the 18 slopes and trails of the Cataloochee Ski Area and nearby Tube World. If you make it an overnight trip (at a participating Haywood County accommodation), note that children 17 and under can ski free when accompanied by a paying adult.
In warmer months, check out the many hiking and biking trails in the area. Pink Beds Trail Loop is an easy hike that kids of any age will enjoy. And older kids will love reaching the waterfalls along the more moderate Graveyard Fields trail.
Get on track
Looking for day trips around Waynesville, NC, for your kids that are full of adventure, all in one stop? The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers family-friendly diesel or steam train excursions from their historic depot. No matter the season, you’re sure to find great options for traveling by train in style through our mountains. And your kids will be enchanted by THE POLAR EXPRESS™ journey available through winter months. Sit back and enjoy the views while they enjoy warm cocoa and a treat and listen or read along with the magical story. It’s an experience everyone in the family is sure to love!
Get a little dirty
A great way to get to know our mountains is from the ground up. Or from the ground down, in this case. Try your hand at gem mining at the Maggie Valley Rock Shop and Gem Mine. Kids will love sifting through the dirt to find minerals and precious stones. And the shop itself has a great selection of fossils that are sure to inspire the imagination.
While you’re out, try the Panther Creek Outfitters trail rides. Their gentle horses and ponies welcome children with curious minds. Choose from a one, two, or more hours for your adventure ride—or make it a full weekend of fun!
Get close to nature
Let your kids explore their wild side by interacting with the local wildlife. Our mountains and rivers are full of fascinating creatures, great and small. The Cataloochee Valley alone is steeped in history, blanketed with wildflowers, and rich with wildlife. Take an afternoon and see if you can spot some of the valley’s eye-catching critters, including black bears, elk, salamanders, white-tailed deer, and many species of birds. Located in nearby Bryson City, the Appalachian Rivers Aquarium houses a variety of aquatic or semi-aquatic species native to the region, including a “living wall” exhibit of frogs, toads, turtles, salamanders, lizards, small snakes, and other critters.
If you’d prefer something a little more tame, visit a local farm. Winchester Creek Farm offers 45-minute educational tours where you can meet their adorable alpacas and their variety of miniature farm animals: cows, donkeys, horses, and even a pig.
Find what feels like home in Waynesville, NC!
In Waynesville, NC, keeping your kids engaged doesn’t require gallons of gas. It’s easy to spend an entire day just enjoying your back yard! Waynesville’s proximity to Asheville offers residents the best amenities of a larger city while still holding on to its small-town atmosphere. From mountaintop adventures to cozy spots downtown, Waynesville welcomes people from many different backgrounds to visit and stay for life.
Does that sound like the perfect lifestyle for you? Find a great home in Waynesville now!