Literally, the coolest town in North Carolina is Beech Mountain. At an elevation of 5,506 feet, it's the highest town in the eastern USA. So summers are cool with prime hiking and mountain biking. Winters bring a wonderland for skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, snowshoeing and sledding. And don't forget the brilliant fall colors that extend for weeks. In the village center, find a variety of restaurants and the beloved Fred's General Store.
If you love to ski and snowboard, explore 95 acres with 15 slopes and trails with a vertical drop of 830 feet. Their longest run is one mile. A snow tubing park is adjacent to the Alpine Village at the base of the slopes. Plus, you can snowshoe and hike on the 20-mile trail system maintained by the town of Beech Mountain (when there is natural snow cover on the ground). Read more about Beech Mountain Winter Fun.
Since temperatures seldom top 75 degrees (about 15 degrees cooler than the city of Asheville), Beech Mountain is a wonderful place for hiking, mountain biking and golf. In fact, you can hike from your rental condo or inn. The town's 20 miles of trails are perfect for all skill levels. In addition to shopping and dining, there is plenty of see and do near Beech Mountain, including Banner Elk and Grandfather Mountain. In June through September, the ski resort operates its chairlift to provide lift access for mountain bikers. Load up your bikes and ride to the top, then ride around and down the mountain.
For golfers, Beech Mountain not only promises comfortable playing temperatures, it guarantees them as part of its Summer of 79° package. If the temperature exceeds 79 degrees any day that a stay-and-play golfer tees it up at Beech Mountain Club, the club refunds all golf fees. You also find a 18-hole disc golf course.
Beech Mountain is one of the earliest locations to find fall foliage color, usually peaking the first week of October. Stop at roadside farm stands, hike or drive the scenic roads. The very popular Autumn at Oz weekend takes place on the mountaintop along the yellow brick road at the former Land of Oz park. Read more about Autumn at Oz.
You won't find all the typical hotel chains in this town. You'll find a big variety of lodging options, from inns, condos and mountaintop homes. Plus, find some of the best deals and packages in the mountains. See the current Beech Mountain Lodging Specials.
The town of Beech Mountain only has a full time population of 350 people, but the population increases to as high as 10,000 during the winter and 5,000 in the summer. There are more than 2,300 homes and condos on the mountain, so there are plenty of second homes and vacation rentals. The town began as a resort development in the 1960s. It's about 80 miles north of Asheville. Nearby is the town of Banner Elk.