What: Skiing Near Atlanta at Beech Mountain, NC
Where: Beech Mountain North Carolina
When: Ski Season is officially
Cost: Varies by activity
Last year, my family took a vacation to Beech Mountain Resort. It was the first time my boys had ever been skiing and they loved it. Beech is a great place for kids and adults to try out skiing or get themselves ready for a vacation out west. Here is a guide to a fun filled family ski vacation at Beech Mountain, NC, including plenty of time away from the slopes.
Ski Beech Mountain: Beech Mountain Ski Resort has 16 trails and 95 skiable acres. There are seven lifts including a high-speed quad lift to the top of the mountain. When snow is scare, the resort has 23 ultra high tech snow guns to keep the slopes white. Beech Mtn. is the highest ski area in the Eastern US with a peak elevation of 5,506 ft. It’s also a great place to enjoy some real wintertime fun without having to hop a plane out West. Click here for more information on skiing Beech Mountain, NC.
What to do at Beech Mountain Other than Ski
Community Sledding Hill at Beech Mountain: Next to the Beech Mtn. visitor’s center, tucked behind a split rail fence is the Beech Mtn. community sledding hill for kids 12 and under. Sledding on the hill is free and open Nov. through mid-March, but BYOS – Bring your own sled. If you don’t have a sled, rent one from Beech Meadows Ski Rental (two doors down from the visitors center) rental sleds are $5 a day. If you’d prefer, you can purchase a sled for $10-$20. In addition, Fred’s General Mercantile (short walk) also sells sleds for $10-$20 There are two sides to the hill, one seemed to have more bumps, while the second was a bit smoother. There is a referee who monitors the hill to make sure visitors are adhering to the 12 and under rule and manage crowds if needed. Parents are allowed to go down with their pre-schooler, but otherwise, this is a kid’s domain. There are even clean, warm bathrooms located in the visitor’s center next door.
Hawks Nest Snow Tubing Near Beach Mountain: The Beech Mountain Visitors Center is a great warm up to snow tubing at Hawksnest, the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast and only about 30 minutes from Beech Mtn. This former ski resort offers 20 lanes of snow tubing plus a zip line course. Click here for more on Hawk’s Nest Snow Tubing.
Shopping at Fred’s General Mercantile at Beech Mountain: No visit to Beech Mountain is complete without a stop at Fred’s General Mercantile. Fred Pfohl is an interesting fellow and you’ll find him a short walk from the community sledding hill at Fred’s General Mercantile. His motto is “If you don’t see it, ask for it… If we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” and he’s right. This store has everything from ski equipment (including rental clothes)to groceries and even items literally displayed in a kitchen sink. There are three floors of shopping, so make sure to check it all out. The bottom floor also includes a deli where you can get sandwiches or an awesome bacon, egg and cheese breakfast biscuit – with bacon cooked to perfection. Don’t leave without meeting Fred and his wife Margie. If you have any questions about Beech Mountain, they can help. In addition to his stint as Mayor, Fred was instrumental in bringing a FREE community sledding hill to Beech Mountain. He is also a major player in making Beech a year round vacation destination, having built several hiking trails in the area.
Where to Stay at Beech Mountain: Archer’s Mountainside Inn is located about half-way up Beech Mtn. It’s the perfect central location, close to both Beech and Sugar ski resorts. The Inn offers rooms and 3, 4 and 5 bedroom vacation home rentals. During the ski season, rooms start at $80 weekday and $110 weekends and homes start at $300 for weekday and $450 for weekends. We stayed in one of the vacation homes. The boys enjoyed the novelty of swimming in the hot tub with snow all around and loved having a nighttime snowball fight. The cabin itself was very nice and had three floors with the master on the main, two bedrooms downstairs and a loft on the third floor. A great set up to get away from the kids for a bit if you wanted. The bottom and middle floors have gas fireplaces that were a welcome sight coming in from a day in the snow. I was amazed at how even the heat was in the house too. Even with the freezing temperatures outside, it was toasty inside on all levels. The only improvement I’d suggest is an upgrade to the linens and towels and a few extra blankets, although the house was warm enough that we didn’t really need the extra blankets. The next time we visit, I might consider getting two of the larger Inn rooms, especially if we’re only there for a night or two. The price is about the same (maybe even a bit cheaper) and you could just walk to Jackalope’s for breakfast – which is included with the Inn rooms – but then we’d lose the hot tub and the space to spread out.
Where to Eat at Beech Mountain: If you’re hungry after sledding on the community sledding hill at Beech Mtn., head across the street from the hill to the Brick Oven Pizzera. We’re a pizza loving family and this was pretty darn good pie. Don’t take my word for it though; see all the notes and messages left by former patrons hanging from the walls. For an upscale dinner with a gorgeous view, head back down the mountain less than a mile to Jackalope’s View. This mountainside restaurant is part of Archer’s Mountainside Inn, a group of lodge rooms and vacation homes. The restaurant has won the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator since 1999. The menu offers a tasty selection of fish, chicken, beef or pasta dishes with beautiful views of the mountains. Our waitress recommended the bleu cheese encrusted pork chop, which was exceptional. There is not a kids’ menu at Jackalope’s, however, the chef created a special kids pasta for my youngest who proclaimed it “the best pasta ever.” The restaurant also serves a full breakfast which is included in lodge rooms.
If you enjoy skiing, the North Carolina High Country has other resorts too. See the differences in our post on Comparing North Carolina Ski Resorts.