For our fifth of fifteen summer trips to fill your 15 Summer Weekends, we’re headed up (in elevation that is) and off of the beaten path.
There’s something about the increasing humidity and temperatures of Charlotte summers that make us crave cooler mountain air. That’s why an often overlooked destination just 2.5 hours west of our Queen City fits the bill for our fifth weekend getaway. At an elevation of 2,231 feet above sea level (for comparison Charlotte sits at 761 feet above sea level), this land of waterfalls, national forests, world-class fly fishing, craft breweries, and mountain biking is our fifth destination. Can you guess where we’re going?
For a long time, Brevard flew under the radar as many mountain goers flocked to more well known destinations like nearby Asheville and Hendersonville. Within recent years, more people around the globe have discovered what makes Brevard so special: it’s a mountain biker’s paradise with over 200 miles of singletrack within a 20-30 mile radius, a fly fisher’s dream with some of the best streams to fish in the US, and it has over 250 waterfalls to explore. This is Brevard, North Carolina and we’ll give you the scoop on how to explore this hidden gem before the cat’s totally out of the bag.
First thing’s first, let’s chat about the best places to stay nearby. As always, the best place to stay depends on how you’d like to spend your vacation. With that in mind, we’ve broken down the best options in Brevard tailored to your particular preferences.
In the Forest
For those looking to drop off of the grid and sleep under the stars, Brevard offers ample opportunities to camp. Davidson River Campground, located just inside Pisgah National Forest and only 3-miles from Downtown Brevard, offers campsites for both tents and RVs plus fire rings, picnic tables, hot showers, flush toilets, river access, and more. For a map of the campground visit this link and to book click here.
If sleeping under the stars is exactly what you have in mind but you’d rather be a little further off of the beaten path, backpacking to your campsite might be for you. For trail inspiration to fuel your backpacking adventures, checkout AllTrails and filter for “backpacking.” We love John Rock Trail Loop for its beautiful views and easy water access. For something a little longer and slightly more difficult, Butter Gap is wonderful too!
In the Forest But Not in a Tent
If you’d love to be as close to the forest as possible but prefer not to sleep in a tent or in an RV, Pilot Cove is an excellent choice. In fact, it’s our founder’s favorite place to stay in all of Brevard.
What makes it so great? Location and lodging. Pilot Cove is located right at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest so you literally have hundreds of hiking and biking trails right outside your door. Want to take a break from exploring the forest? Downtown Brevard is just an 11-minute drive (or 34-minute bike ride) away. In terms of lodging, Pilot Cove offers fully-appointed studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom cabins complete with a washer/dryer, covered deck, mudroom, bike storage, and private parking. Don’t let the word “cabin” deter you – these cabins are sleek, clean, and serene.
In An Elevated B&B With a Deep Soaker Tub
If the idea of unwinding in a local inn sounds wonderful to you, you’ll love both The Bromfield Inn and the Bed & Breakfast on Tiffany Hill. Both locations feature gourmet three-course breakfasts, beautifully appointed rooms, and outdoor space to stretch your legs. If being within walking distance of Downtown Brevard is important to you, stay at The Bromfield Inn. If you’d like to experience a B&B recognized by Southern Living and Select Registry, stay at Tiffany Hill.
In a Wellness Retreat
Perhaps you’re feeling like your healthy routines fell to the wayside during the COVID-19 pandemic? Rest assured, that’s not uncommon. If a trip to reignite your healthy habits and get your wellness back on track sounds like just what the doctor ordered, stay at Skyterra. This wellness retreat has consistently been ranked one of the top three in the nation by USA Today. During your stay, you’ll have access to fun activities like rowing in a treehouse, guided hiking, restorative spa services, and more.
Once you’re there and ready to explore things outside of your home base, we recommend enjoying the below restaurants, shops, and more.
For Craft Beer Lovers
Let’s start with Oskar Blues. Founded in Lyons, Colorado in 1998 Oskar Blues was the first American craft brewery to can beer. Today, their East Coast outpost is located in Brevard and it’s an awesome place to listen to live music, play trivia, enjoy food from their on-site food truck (the CHUBwagon), and sip their beers while soaking in some sun. As you plan your visit, make sure to check their events page and plan to go when the CHUBwagon will be open if you want food!
Part bike shop, part outdoors equipment store, part food truck destination, and part tavern The Hub & Pisgah Tavern truly is a hub for all things that represent Brevard. Our recommendation? Because this is located right outside the entrance to Pisgah National Forest, plan to enjoy time here either before or after your time in the forest. If you need last minute gear or are feeling hungry, head to The Hub before your hike in Pisgah. If hiking or biking after a beer doesn’t sound like fun, hit the trails in the morning and then enjoy a celebratory beer here post-hike while you explore the gear. To see what’s on tap and to peruse the food truck schedule, visit this link.
Finally, you probably know that Sierra Nevada has its East Coast outpost in Mills River, North Carolina. What you might not know is that their location in Mills River is just a 27-minute drive from Downtown Brevard. If you haven’t been yet, it truly is a fun place to checkout – their taproom menu is yummy and they stay busy so be sure to reserve a table in advance. Right now their brewery tours are still suspended due to COVID-19 but keep an eye on their website as that could change.
For Upscale Dining
You can’t go wrong with The Square Root – it’s a long-time favorite that’s been voted #1 Best Restaurant in Brevard for 11 years in a row! If the weather’s nice, enjoy their outdoor patio or grab a seat at the bar to view their locally hand-crafted wood bar top.
Newer to the Brevard food scene is Vescovo – head here for Italian dishes like cacio e pepe pasta, calamari, gnocchi, and more.
For Exploring Downtown
After you’ve eaten your way through Downtown Brevard, plan to stroll the streets as the town is quite charming. Our favorite shop in all of Brevard is Theophilus – it has clothing, home accessories, footwear, and more.
While you walk around town you may wonder what’s going on with all of the squirrel references. Trust us, you’ll notice. It turns out Brevard is actually a sanctuary for white squirrels and there’s even an event to celebrate them – the White Squirrel Festival that happens over Memorial Day Weekend. For more information about how white squirrels got to Brevard, checkout the last FAQ on this web page.
We’ll be back next week with more handpicked destinations to fill 15 incredible summer weekends. Want to see your favorite summer destination featured? Email us at [email protected] and let us know. Until then, follow us @adventuredesigned for more travel tips and inspiration.