Located in the Western North Carolina mountains, Jackson County overflows with the charm, nostalgia and wonder that help to create wonderful Christmas memories. With the towns of Cashiers, Dillsboro and Sylva decked out in their Christmas decor, visitors and residents alike can enjoy small-town holiday ambience perfect for an intimate, cozy holiday getaway. Teeming with holiday spirit, Jackson County boasts a full schedule of holiday offerings and special events – there’s something fun and entertaining for the entire family.
Perhaps best of all, because of the area’s proximity to nearby major cities, Jackson County is exceptionally easy to get to for a quick mountain getaway. To help plan your itinerary, check out these eight must-do’s for the whole family.
1. Choose and Cut Tree Farms
Thanks to a combination of elevation, location, quality soil conditions and abundant rainfall, Jackson County couldn’t be more perfect for growing Christmas trees. In fact, our regions landscape is ideal for growing the Fraser Fir which is known as the most desirable species of Christmas Tree. The area is home to many locally- and family-owned Christmas tree farms where visitors will find a gorgeous selection of Fraser Firs of all shapes and sizes. With tens of thousands of trees grown in Jackson County, there are plenty of trees to choose from. You’ll find your family’s perfect holiday centerpiece and make memories for generations to come.
2. Lights and Luminaries
Nothing is more wondrous during the holidays than the glow of twinkling Christmas lights. That’s why Lights and Luminaries in Dillsboro was named one of the “Top 20” events in the Southeast for the month of December. With 2,500 luminaries to light your way, downtown Dillsboro transforms into a winter wonderland. Enjoy horse and buggy rides each night, as carolers fill the evening with cheerful songs. Other activities include live music and holiday treats at various shops, visits with Santa, and a live nativity at Jarrett Memorial Baptist Church. This year’s event takes place during the weekends of December 6 and 13.
3. Cashiers Christmas Parade and Lights Initiative
On December 14, gather the family, snag the perfect spot along the parade route in downtown Cashiers and prepare to watch colorful and festive floats from around town as they ride through town. Decked out in holiday magic, local businesses, organizations and school groups ride through town showcasing the best of the best in Cashiers. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Mr. and Mrs. Claus!
4. Holiday Shopping
Escape the mall crowds, and shop instead at a great selection of non-chain boutiques and shops filled with interesting and unique gifts. Ranging from handmade Appalachian treasures and handwoven baskets to pottery, antiques, art galleries, and more, shoppers are sure to find the perfect, one-of-a-kind gifts. For special Christmas ornaments and holiday decor, a stop at Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop is a MUST. This shop is the perfect place to find special mementos that will be treasured for generations. For ideas on where to get started, .
5. Christmas in Sylva
Starting on November 29, Christmas in Sylva: A Holiday Weekend, kicks off on Friday night with the official tree lighting and concert in front of the historical courthouse. After the Friday night tree lighting and concert, the lively event continues into Saturday with a visit from Santa and a Winter Market on Main Street. The weekend is capped off on Sunday with the Sylva Christmas Parade down Main Street. All weekend long, enjoy holiday shopping on Main Street.
6. Tubing at Sapphire Valley
One of the most exciting winter activities in Jackson County is snow tubing. Rent a tube and slip and slide down a 500-foot run and over a 60-foot slope with the whole family. All tubing sessions run 1.75 hours; interested tubers should inquire at least one hour prior to the desired tubing time to ensure they get a spot in the session.
Nothing makes Christmas sweeter than chocolate sweets and treats! To tempt your taste buds, visit the local chocolate factories, where you can indulge in all the seasonal treats. Be sure to take a box home to share with loved ones. Those 21 and older can partake in a chocolate and beer pairing at several of the area’s local breweries for a unique way to satisfy all your sweet cravings.
8. Holiday packages and deals
To help you make the most of your holiday adventure, take advantage of some holiday packages offered by the area’s accommodations. Visitors can find the perfect retreat to fit every family size and budget. For the coziest of Christmas escapes, check out one of the cabins, cottages and vacation rentals that come complete with fireplaces or hot tubs. Select units offer these amenities, so we suggest booking early to secure the perfect home base.
From the cozy accommodations and packages to the full slate of festive events and holiday shopping, there’s something for everyone in the Western North Carolina mountain towns of Jackson County. Download a free visitor guide and book the perfect winter getaway today.