As summer swelters here in the South, sometimes you got to go up to cool down. Just over a two hour drive from the Atlanta area, the Highlands-Cashiers region of North Carolina is right across the state line—and at an approximate elevation of 4,000 feet, the region offers a real retreat from the heat. With an abundance of family-friendly hikes, waterfalls and other outdoor activities, the mountain-top mecca is the perfect place to chill with children. Here is your guide to where to stop, stay and see in the area.

Highlands Nature Center

Right across the street from the parking area for Sunset Rock is the Highlands’ Nature Center. Chock full of creatures (both live and stuffed), the center is designed to peak the interest of budding naturalists with interactive exhibits. Don’t miss their “Featured Creature” every Saturday at 11:30 am during the Summer months where curious children can get up close and personal with the local wildlife.
930 Horse Cove Road

Highlands, Nc

828-526-2623
Online: www.highlandsbiological.org/nature-center

Where does your family retreat to beat the heat? Tell us below! –Phebe Wahl Photos courtesy of Goats on the Roof via Facebook, The Dillard House via Facebook, Jackson Hole Mine via Facebook, High Hampton Inn via Facebook, and The Old Edward’s Inn via Facebook