The Carolinas in October sounds just about perfect, right? For Dave and I who live in Florida, we were excited for a welcomed change of scenery and temperatures.
From door to door, we were looking at a 602-mile trip to our destination of Pride RV Resort in Maggie Valley, NC, 30 miles southwest of Asheville between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
PRIDE RV RESORT
Pride RV has much to offer the nature-loving RVer seeking a location with a scenic backdrop, peaceful surroundings and more than enough to do in the great outdoors. Better yet, there’s also plenty to see and do for those who wish to view waterfalls and observation points without taking a hike, visit a winery or distillery, take a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, dine with the locals or visit many other quaint, nearby towns with history, sights and shopping.
There are 150 full-service pull through sites to accommodate any size RV; some have 30 amp; others have 50 amp. RV sites are available on or off Jonathan’s Creek. Pets are welcomed. Fire rings, while not allowed at the campsite, are located along the creek so campers can bring their chairs and tables to enjoy a meal or an evening in a beautiful setting. We did see several RVers with electric fire pits at their site which is acceptable here at Pride RV.
Tent and pop-up sites are also available on the creek with restrooms and showers close-by.
Pride RV offers park models or cabins for rent. There are one or two-bedroom units to choose from, with a fully equipped kitchen and linen service. You’ll enjoy a deck or screened room with any of these models to enjoy the splendid outdoors.
The weekly rates (although you can rent by the day if staying less time) run between $276 to $354 depending on the RV site and its location. You will pay a bit more during the month of October. Tents sites are only $20/night. You’ll receive a discount if you are a Passport America member, military veteran or Coast to Coast member. Cabins and park models range weekly $390 to $630 depending on which you prefer and lodge size.
This RV Park has more to offer than outlined here, but to name a few you’ll find a camp store, cable TV hookup, on-site wifi, a laundromat, dump station, playground, shuffleboard court, 18-hole miniature golf and even a swimming pool.
The park was extremely RV-friendly with a courteous and helpful staff to answer any questions you may have. Check-in was prompt and efficient, and the camp store was stocked with items you may have forgotten or easily run out of. Ice and firewood can be purchased at the camp store. Their wifi worked perfectly for us with no interruption of service. We also received a multitude of cable TV channels.
Our pup, Maxwell Smart, enjoyed his walks along the creek and through the park each evening, while passers-by waved and exchanged hellos.
FOR NATURE ENTHUSIASTS
Maggie Valley is the closest civilization to Cataloochee Valley, considered the most remote area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Fifty elk were released into the Valley in 2001 and 2002 which now number around 200. We visited Cataloochee and hiked to a few old settlement homes (a lengthy, moderately difficult hike). We were also able to view many pioneer settlements by car. It’s a very interesting piece of history in one of the prettiest areas I’ve seen of the Great Smokies. We were rewarded in the afternoon by several elk meandering into the pasturelands to graze.
Cherokee and its Qualla Indian Reservation is a short drive from Maggie Valley. There are numerous hiking trails in this area along with waterfalls that are less than ½ mile’s walking distance from the parking area. Mingo Falls will provide you a drop-dead gorgeous view of a 200’ waterfall in less than a ½ mile walk from your vehicle.
The Oconaluftee Visitor Center within the National Park boundary, close to Cherokee, is a busy and informative Center to provide you with a multitude of things to see and do. Mingus Grist Mill and Mountain Farm Museum, a collection of historic log buildings gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved on a single site, is a ½ mile drive from the Center. Mingus Mill is an 1886 grist mill restored by the National Park in 1968 and still working today.
The Mingus Creek Trailhead starts at the end of the parking lot. It provides several end points. My husband and I hiked to the pioneer cemetery, 2.5 miles one-way, and thoroughly enjoyed this moderately easy, magnificent hike. There are several footbridges taking you over Mingus Creek that follows you along your hike. The small pioneer cemetery was in a peaceful setting where we took the time to enjoy our lunch and the sunny, clear day.
Remember, pets are not allowed in any part of the Great Smoky National Park. We were able to find several dog-friendly hikes adjacent to the boundary of the park and did take our dog to Graveyard Fields one day for a 3-mile round trip hike to view one of the two waterfalls in this area.
The French Broad River and Nantahala River are within reasonable proximity to Maggie Valley. Both rivers afford an awesome whitewater rafting experience for any level. You are able to choose the Class rapids you prefer, and age 8 and above are approved for whitewater on both of these rivers. We have whitewater rafted several rivers, and the scenery and thrills are something you’ll always gladly remember you were able to experience. There are several kayaking tours available as well on tranquil rivers in the area.
There is more than you can imagine to see and do in the Great Smoky Mountains, along the Blue Ridge Parkway and throughout many of the charming towns in this area of the country. There are several informative maps and websites online. Google away to your heart’s content.
OTHER FUN AND INTERESTING THINGS TO DO
There’s plenty to keep everyone busy on days where the weather may not provide you the sunshine you’d hoped for, your body needs that day of rest or you yearn for sightseeing in the area. Maggie Valley and Waynesville (right next door) offer shopping opportunities for the farmer’s market or antique enthusiasts. Downtown Waynesville is a historic, quaint area with restaurants, several artsy-type shops, gift stores, breweries, a winery, great coffee cafes and the popular Mast General Store.
There are several events and festivals that take place in Maggie Valley and Waynesville throughout the year depending on your time of travel.
Close-by Cherokee provides an education into the history and lives of the Cherokee Indian. You can visit the Cherokee Indian Museum, the Indian Village, take in a play performed by and about the Cherokee Indians at the Outdoor Drama Center, or try your hand at gambling at the Cherokee Reservation Casino and Resort.
If fishing is your thing, you’re in luck. Stocked trout streams and ponds provide the fisherman a great chance to snag a rainbow, brown or brook trout. Jonathan’s Creek (Pride RV sits on a portion of this creek) is one of the many locations known for trout. While Dave and I were walking along Jonathan’s Creek one day, we watched as a fisherman pulled in 2 trout for his dinner.
Fly fishing is another popular sport in the area. There are many guides available to show you the ropes and take you to the most hospitable places for trout. Many are catch and release; others allow you take your catch home.
The Lake Junaluska area began in 1913 to serve the United Methodist Church and community. Today it hosts groups of all types offering hotels or vacation homes. There are 15 gardens located at Lake Junaluska, as well as a 3-mile walking path around this 200-acre lake. We walked our dog here one day and found the beauty of this area very appealing and serene. Everyone we encountered along the path was friendly and happily enjoying their day.
Lake Junaluska also has an 18-hole on-site golf course. If interested, you may wish to contact them as to the particulars of using this course.
Asheville, with its eclectic downtown, home to many breweries and the infamous Biltmore is only a 30-mile drive away. You can easily spend a long day exploring the many sights and fun things Asheville has to offer.
We found Pride RV Resort to be a compliment to our Great Smoky Mountains vacation. It was easily accessible from numerous locations that we planned to visit, the staff were all friendly and helpful and the campground itself was clean, relaxing and quiet.
Our only disappointment was that Pride RV does not participate in recycling. We did learn there was a recycling center in the area. We did not have time to seek out the center so chose instead to store our recycle material and take it back home to put in our own recycle bin. While this may be a bit of a hassle for many, we are avid recyclers so we chose this alternative.
Pride RV Resort is in a prime location to take in the mountain scenery, streams, waterfalls, hiking, recreation and relaxation this area has to offer. If RVing in the Maggie Valley area, we recommend checking out Pride RV.