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.

Jackson Hole Gem Mine

This is their chance to dig in and get their hands dirty. Little ones will love the messy process of sifting for treasure as they mine for gem stones. This mine is “salted” with stones including peridots, amethyst, citrine, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, topaz, and tourmaline . After they find their stash, the staff can cut, polish and even set their stones turning their treasures into jewelry on the spot making for a memory to last a lifetime. Their covered flume (that’s the water-trough-thingie for all you newbies) makes this spot an all-weather gem offering protection from sun and rain.
9770 Highlands Road

Highlands, Nc


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