Macon County, North Carolina Vacations (NC)

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A Smoky Mountain Gem

Nestled in the southern mountains of North Carolina you'll find Macon County, part of what the Cherokee called “Nikwasi” or “center of activity”.

Nearly half of Macon County lies within the Nantahala National Forest, the largest of the four national forests in North Carolina. If you're an outdoor enthusiast- there are miles of hiking trails to explore, some of which cross over the Appalachian Trail, along with breathtaking waterfalls and scenic cycling routes.

The U.S. Forest Service has even designated part of the roadway that runs through Cullasaja Gorge a National Scenic Byway because of the river, and its numerous waterfalls.

Macon County is a mecca for "rockhounds". Known as the "Gem Capital of the World", it boasts numerous native gems such as Rubies, Sapphires, Garnets, Moonstones, Rhodolite, Rutile and Sillimanite. Visit one of the local Gem Mines and experience your very own treasure hunt. You never know what you'll find! The Cherokee Chief Ruby, which had a total weight of 1070 carats, was found in Franklin in 1993.

For the history buff, the Macon County Historical Museum is a must see. It's located in one of the oldest and most historical buildings in Macon County - the 100+-year-old Pendergrass Store. For those wishing to explore their Scottish hertitage, plan a trip to Scottish Tartans Museum. It's the only American extension of the Scottish Tartans Museum in Keith, Scotland.

Finally, your family vacation wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Fun Factory. Kids can ride go-carts, play laser tag, video games and miniature golf. There's even a special play area for yourger kids. Whether you're looking for a bit of leisure, a hidden treasure or just want a walk in the woods, visitors will remember Macon County as their special gem.

For more information on this mountain county, go to the Highlands Chamber of Commerce or Franklin Chamber of Commerce.