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Secret Season: The best time to plan a crowd-free escape to Jackson County, NC

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A seasonal escape is just a ~3+ drive away in Jackson County, NC

Photo provided by Jackson County TDA

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How does a front row seat to frost-covered mountains, frozen waterfall hikes, and the best seats at award-winning restaurants sound? Some may say it sounds like a dream, but it’s actually the charming reality of Jackson County, NC’s Secret Season — the time of year when the crowds thin out in January to March.

In addition to offering great lodging specials (read: a very affordable time to visit), Secret Season transforms the North Carolina county into the perfect place for a winter getaway with family, a significant other, or friends.

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From shopping to outdoor activities, buzzing breweries, and more.

Photo provided by Jackson County TDA

Here’s what there is to see and do:

🛍️ Hit the Town

Less crowds in the mountain towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, and Sylva mean more time to freely explore all that the picturesque streets have to offer, including:

  • Shopping experiences that abound, with everything from clothing boutiques to upscale antiques to one-of-a-kind mountain goods, like pottery by local artisans and Appalachian-inspired handmade crafts.
  • World-class, luxury spa options for those needing some R+R.
  • Restaurants with little to no wait times. (Read: Trying the local eats just got better.)

🏔️ Experience the great (winter) outdoors

See the scenic views open up as the leaves fall from trees and reveal the landscapes around them. Some must-see natural wonders + winter activities include:

  • The beautiful spectacle of frozen waterfalls.
  • A naturally-occurring phenomenon known as Shadow of the Bear, which will return mid-February to March.
  • Outdoor sports for tubing-loving families and beginner skiers and snowboarders, who will love hitting the slopes at Sapphire Valley Ski Resort.
  • Winter fly fishing, which is oft considered to be the best time to go fly fishing.

Ready to escape the crowds and take in the clean mountain air and long-range mountain views? Get more travel tips (and start planning).*

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