sunrise over the mountains in jackson county

10 Reasons to Visit Jackson County This Labor Day

Labor Day is the only US holiday dedicated to celebrating the working people, so take advantage of the holiday weekend and treat yourself to a trip to the North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson County! Not only is it conveniently located in the Great Smoky Mountains just a short drive from the Southeast’s major cities, but Jackson County also provides visitors the chance to try many different activities throughout their stay in the area.

From enjoying mouthwatering North Carolina BBQ and the cooler mountain temperatures to biking some of Western North Carolina’s finest trails and relaxing at the spa, Jackson County offers a variety of ways for guests to getaway, relax and enjoy the perfect Labor Day Weekend. Jackson County also has a number of affordable accommodation options ranging from vacation rental properties and inns to hotels and resorts, making this weekend escape stress-free and easy on the wallet.


1. Mouthwatering BBQ

Photo Credit: @giavos

Work up an appetite instead of working the grill, and head over to one of Jackson County’s incredible BBQ restaurants. A favorite amongst locals, Haywood Smokehouse is known for the best brisket, ribs and other specialty meats in the area. Diners can even take a taste home with one of their homemade sauces with unique flavors, such as Strawberry Chipotle and Chipotle Ranch. Another not-to-be missed BBQ joint in the area is Cashiers Valley Smokehouse, located at the heart of the crossroads.


2. Get Crafty

Head to Cashiers and get crafty with your family on September 2 and 3 from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair. Featuring over 90 of some of the finest artisans from the Southeast, the Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair provides something for every artistic palate and taste. From the hand-stitched textiles and unique ironwork to homemade cakes, pies, and jellies, stock up on artisan goods from some of the region’s talented craftspeople at the Village Green this Labor Day Weekend.


3. Go Flying

This Labor Day, experience an exhilarating zip across Sapphire Valley on the Vordach Zip Line. This zip canopy tour includes 16 platforms, two bridges and 12 zip lines. Enjoy viewing the rich history of the Sapphire Valley Resort from a unique perspective during this two-hour tour. Only minutes from Cashiers, this excursion is great for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies looking to just let go this holiday weekend.


4. Recharge and Relax

This is your vacation, so enjoy it by relaxing and recharging at one of Jackson County’s fabulous spas. Conveniently located in downtown Sylva, Fusions Spa is the best way to treat yourself and relax over Labor Day Weekend. Raindrop oil treatments, halotherapy and contour wraps are just a few of the services offered to help you de-stress at this inviting and nurturing day spa. Fusions offers massages, facials, body treatments, makeup, fitness and wellness options, allowing you to customize your experience to your personal needs.

Head to Sapphire, NC where Lonesome Valley’s Canyon Spa offers a full array of natural body and facial treatments, therapies and products – all promoting wellness and total relaxation. Many of Canyon Spa’s handcrafted, nurturing treatments use farm-fresh ingredients from the garden of Canyon Kitchen.


5. Fly Fishing and Whitewater

Photo Credit: @lex_harris

Jackson County’s four whitewater rivers range from Class I to Class IV, so you can race down the Chattooga River or explore the older, most bio-diverse mountains in the temperate world on the 50-mile path of the Tuckasegee – perfect for fishing, paddling and more. Local companies have rafts, canoes, kayaks, tubes and fishing equipment to meet everyone’s needs, including guides to lead you on a grand adventure.

Photo Credit: @lelandshockley

The county is also home of the Western North Carolina Fly Fishing Trail, which maps out 15 prime spots in the crystal-clear streams of the Great Smoky Mountains. The heart of the trail, the Tuckasegee River, is the county’s largest body of water, flowing some 40 miles. With more than 4,600 miles of streams, Jackson County has the state’s longest contiguous stretch of Mountain Heritage Trout Waters.


6. Lake Glenville

Photo Credit: @masifoto

Known for its spectacular fishing and jaw-dropping waterfalls, Lake Glenville is a stunning landmark in Jackson County. With seven islands, three waterfalls and 26 miles of shoreline, Lake Glenville offers plenty to explore. As one of the highest-elevation lakes east of the Mississippi, the lake is perfect for swimming, water skiing, boating, hiking surrounding trails, and more for fun family adventures. Stop by  Signal Ridge Marina and rent either a pontoon boat, tube, paddleboard, skis, wakeboard, or Ski-Doo. Or if you prefer to just lounge, grab a book and sprawl out on the lake’s sand beach.


7. Hit The Trails

Photo Credit: @colin_cumbo

Hit the ground running (or walking, or biking) on some of the best trails in Western North Carolina. Whether you’re looking for a short hike to a waterfall to capture some photographs or a longer trek along the Mountains to the Sea Trail, Jackson County has something for everyone. Enjoy the highest vertical cliffs in the eastern United States at Whiteside Mountain or see the Yellow Mountain fire tower that was originally built in 1934 ­– choose the trail that best fits your needs. When you are done with the hiking and biking trails, give your feet a rest and experience a trail with brews instead of views. Sylva boasts three breweries within one mile of each other, creating the Jackson County Ale Trail.


8. Practice your Swing

Photo Credit: @nick.russe11

Whether you’re a pro-golfer or are just playing for leisure, Jackson County’s signature golf courses were designed by gold masters like Robert Trent Jones II and are great for any level. Looking to challenge your skills? Hit the links at Bear Lake Reserve Golf Club with picturesque views of the mountains. Looking for a fun course for the whole family? Check out Sapphire National Golf Course, which is tucked away in the mountains and includes a waterfall hole and an island green.


9. Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Photo Credit: @nationalparkgeek

Jackson County is surrounded by natural beauty and visitors can experience it at every turn. America’s most scenic motoring route, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the first road in the world designed for leisure travel, this 469-mile scenic highway hugs Jackson County’s northwest border. Passing through 29 counties and 180 miles of national forest, Blue Ridge Parkway is a year-round sight to behold. The ride-awhile, stop-awhile adventure offers panoramic views of Jackson County and numerous day-hiking opportunities. Great Smoky Mountain National Park, which hosts more visitors each year than any other national park, is a 520,000-acre oasis known for bio-diversity, beauty, and remnants of Southern Appalachian culture. Nearly 850 miles of trails and free entrance help make Great Smoky Mountain National Park a popular choice for hiking, waterfalls, camping and more.


10. Short drive for a weekend

Jackson County is just a short drive from some of the Southeast’s largest cities. Just a little over an hour away from Asheville, NC, and a short two-hour drive south from Gatlinburg, TN provide the perfect scenic drive and relaxing spot for a weekend getaway. You will feel miles away from home without the drivetime!

To begin planning your Labor Day Weekend getaway to Jackson County, visit