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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Greenville, SC: Travel With KAG!

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Planning a visit to Greenville, SC? Travel to the area is booming, and we’re so glad you’re here! We love our little city (and so does The New York Times, Forbes, and Southern Living!) because there’s so much for everyone to see, do, and eat.

Art connoisseurs, outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, and history buffs will all find something to enjoy while visiting Greenville. And, of course, families have an incredible amount of opportunities to make memories here. So, since you’re planning to visit, we wanted to make your planning a little easier by giving you a list of our top recommendations for places to eat, places to stay, and things to do in Greenville… as well as a guide to parking in downtown Greenville.

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Amazing Vacation Rental Homes for the Best Family Vacations

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Are you looking for the perfect vacation home to rent for your next family vacation? No matter where you’re headed, whether it’s the mountains, the beach or somewhere in between, we’ve found some truly unique and stellar vacation homes you’ll want to check out. We have lists of homes that feature amenities we know families want. So get planning, and enjoy your next vacation!

Vacation homes throughout the Southeast

Fun Family Vacation Rentals

Whether you’re looking for a unique themed vacation rental or the perfect jumping-off spot for an epic adventure-filled vacation, these lists of family vacation rentals will have something awesome for you. We have rentals in beautiful scenery, rentals near theme parks and attractions, rentals with great hiking, amazing kid-friendly rentals, and lots more. So, make sure to grab a rental with plenty of bunk beds, and load up the kids, you’re going on an adventure!

Check out our vacation rental content below.

Lots of Winter Family Fun at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC

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Are you thinking about snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing in Hendersonville, NC? Western North Carolina has great snow tubing and Black Bear Snow Tubing is a stellar option for families! They have a huge mountain to get your winter in high gear with a fun snow tubing trip for the whole family! We took a trip up to try out that snow-tubing mountain and it was so much fun! Now we have all the details to share so you can plan your trip!

Media tickets were provided for this review and the opinions are solely those of the author.

Snow tubing at Black Bear in Hendersonville, NC

While there aren’t any places to snow tube in the Upstate, SC, there are definitely options nearby and one of them is Black Bear Snow Tubing in nearby Hendersonville, NC, just over an hour from Greenville, SC. The snow tubing family-owned operation has been in business for over seven years and they really have a good thing going there, which I’m going to tell you all about in this story.

Scenes From the Slope

Take a sneak peek at this video at Black Bear Snow Tubing.

Snow Tubing at Black Bear

The slope at Black Bear Snow Tubing is 600 feet long with an 80-foot drop and it’s pretty fast. They make their own snow (unless they get a big snowstorm, which doesn’t happen too often) and the hill is well-maintained by their attentive staff.

How it works is that when you get to Black Bear, you go to a little shed to watch a short safety video, where you learn how to get out of your tube on the run and not to start snowball fights, sign a waiver, and head inside the cozy lodge to pay. Then you get your tubes and head to the hill.

They have a pulley system to get you to the top of the hill, which works by slipping the handle of your tube on a cable that takes you, while sitting inside your tube, right up the hill to the top. Once at the top, you’ll wait for a few minutes before being situated into your group by the staff and then sliding down the hill.

On the snow tube pully at Black Bear in Hendersonville, NC
Black Bear Snow Tubing Pulley System

Why Black Bear is Different

I’ve snow tubed at many places in our area and I think Black Bear Snow Tubing is pretty fantastic. Here’s why:

  • You can (and should) make a reservation ahead of time, which is crucial for us in Greenville who need to travel out of state to go snow tubing. It’s quite a bummer to get to our snow tubing place and either find out that they are sold out or having to wait hours for an open slot.
  • The staff is attentive and efficient. They were always around watching the hill to make sure things were running smoothly and safely. When there was a slight backup at the top of the hill, they figured out how to manage to get us all down the hill and back up to keep snow tubing without interruption.
  • The lodge is super cozy and warm and has reasonable concessions. I got a $2 hot chocolate and it was amazing. Plus, they have food, including apple cider donuts, that is affordable and you can get warm by the wood-burning stove inside or watch on the deck if you don’t want to go tubing.
  • The setup takes into account smaller kids. There is playground next to the place where you wait in line to go up the hill so smaller kids can get out their energy and there is a big fire pit also near the waiting area where you can warm up.
  • If you forgot a hat or gloves, they have them for sale inside the lodge. I feel like us parents can relate when our kid gets out of the car to go snow tubing and forgot his or her winter hat.
  • The check-in is fast. This is important because you want to get on the hill and start having fun as soon as possible!
  • Black Bear has excellent communication. They post daily on their Facebook page about current snow conditions, which is super helpful when you’re unsure about the weather.
  • The snow is real. They don’t have any synthetic chemicals in the snow – it’s the real deal.

My kids, ages 11 and 8, and I had such a blast snow tubing at Black Bear Snow Tubing. We went down the hill about 10 times (maybe more, I lost count honestly) and had so much fun together. I really love places where adults can carelessly be kids again. My kids are already asking to go back. The hill was super fast and seeing my kids faces light up with joy was special. I love those moments.

Tips on How to Enjoy Snow Tubing at Black Bear

Winter being winter, it’s usually cold when you go snow tubing. I’ve found that bringing hand and foot warmers is a really good trick to keeping everyone warm and comfortable. You can get them at Wal-Mart, Amazon, or most drug stores and they stay warm for hours.

Sliding down in a tube at Black Bear Tubing

It’s also really important to make a reservation when you know you want to go snow tubing. This is especially true during school breaks and holidays. Snow tubing is an awesome family activity on a day off but a lot of people also have the same thought. Don’t forget to make a reservation.

You don’t need to wear snow bibs or snow pants. I had on fleece leggings, hiking boots, and a couple layers of tops with a heavy coat (it was really cold when we went!) and I was fine. I saw people wearing all kinds of clothes that worked for them like pants, leggings, jeans, and sweatpants. The snow wasn’t wet at all when we went but if you go on a warmer day, you may want to bring a change of pants in case they get wet.

There are port-a-potties outside the lodge to use and no bathrooms indoors.

Double-check Black Bear’s Facebook page before heading out. Snow tubing is very dependent on weather, which changes often in the mountains. They will post current conditions and if they are open or closed most days.

Ticket Prices and Policies at Black Bear Snow Tubing

Tickets are $30/hour or $40/two hours for snow tubing. Kids must be 4 years old in order to go snow tubing. You can either sign a waiver when you get to Black Bear Snow Tubing or print one out online ahead of time. Either is fine.

While Black Bear Snow Tubing does take walk-ups, it is much better to make a reservation ahead of time instead of getting there and finding out they are full. Online reservations are fantastic for this very reason so definitely make use of them.

And be sure to check Black Bear Snow Tubing’s Facebook page before heading out to double check they are open and running. Winter tubing runs mid-December through February usually depending on the weather, of course.

And if you want to tube during other times of the year, you totally can! They have warm-weather tubing in the fall.

Black Bear Snow Tubing
373 Kerr Road, Hendersonville, NC
828.685.1155

Want to spend the day in Hendersonville? We’ve got lots of ideas on what to do in this fun town!

Things to Do in Hendersonville, North Carolina

Hendersonville is full of family fun.
Check it out!

Kidding Around Guide to Hendersonville

Visit Bryson City, NC for the Holidays

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Are you searching for Bryson City holiday things to do? Most known for the Polar Express, there is so much more than just the train ride to do and explore in this friendly mountain town. Bryson City, NC also has a drive-thru light show, outdoor ice skating, delicious food, and much more! 

Looking for more holiday day trip ideas? Be sure to check out our festive guide!

Bryson City: A Real-Life Christmas Wonderland 

Bryson City is a quaint, peaceful mountain town along the Great Smoky Mountains. Just a quick 3 to 4 hour drive from Columbia, SC, this makes for the perfect weekend getaway. During winter each year, Bryson City transforms into a real-life Christmas wonderland with beautiful decor, twinkling lights, and Christmas magic all around. My family took a quick 1-night trip to the mountains and we spent one of our evenings exploring Bryson City. I left wishing we would have had more time to spend and know we will definitely be returning! 

Tree farms in Bryson City, NC

Things to do in Bryson City, NC for the Holidays

Take a Ride on the Polar Express 

One of the most popular things to do in Bryson City over the holidays is the Polar Express Train Ride! My family recently got to experience this magical event and both of my kids (ages 4 and 1) absolutely loved it. Be sure to check out the Kidding Around Pplar Express review for more tips and info! 

Bryson City Polar Express

Explore the Smoky Mountain Train Museum 

The train museum sits right next to the railroad tracks and is a great place to pass the time while waiting to board a train ride! Inside the museum, there is a huge display of model trains that are so fascinating to watch! My son loved pointing out all of the detailed features he saw. With a train ticket, entrance into the museum is free! 

Along with the model train display, the museum also offers a large gift shop area with plenty of trinkets and souvenirs. 

Smoky Mountain Train Museum

Smoky Mountain Rail

Go Outdoor Ice Skating

Outdoor ice skating is such a fun, classic winter activity! Unfortunately, on the evening we were there, the ice rink was not open, but now that I know it’s there we will be sure to plan accordingly for future visits. Along with ice skating, there is also a food truck and full-time bar. For $20 per person you will get 1 hour of skating time, skate rentals (smallest size is youth size 9), and 1 hot chocolate! Hours are as follows:

  • Thursdays and Fridays from 4 pm to 8 pm beginning November 17th, 2023
  • Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 8 pm beginning November 19th, 2023

The Yard Ice Skating

Bryson City shops

Visit the Local Shops 

With so many locally-owned shops and businesses to choose from, picking a favorite would be hard! We popped into a few and really enjoyed all of the Christmas shops. We purchased an ornament from Uncle Bunky’s Christmas Cottage where they also had tons of holiday decor, small toys, sweet treats, etc. Loose Moose is another great gift store with lots of unique items to choose from. 

Madison’s on Main and Humanite Boutique are both great options for trendy women’s clothing! There are also several antique stores around that are always fun to browse through – you never know what you might find! 

Enjoy a Tasty Sweet Treat 

If you’re anything like me, the sweet tooth is at an all-time high throughout the holidays. The good news is, Bryson City has so many opportunities for delicious treats! After our ride on the Polar Express we stopped into the Heavenly Fudge Depot and let me just say, it lived up to its name! The peanut butter fudge from here was divine. They also had several festive sweet treats for kids – chocolate “believe” tickets and trains, cookies, bite-sized sweets, and more! 

The Chocolate Shoppe, Soda Pop’s Ice Cream, and Pop-N-Jacks Gourmet Popcorn are also great options to cure the sweet tooth! The popcorn from Pop-N-Jacks can even be brought onto the Polar Express with you and smells so good. I’m a little upset we didn’t stop in and give them a try, too! 

Take Festive Pictures 

Still need a family pic for this year’s Christmas card? There are tons of great holiday photo-ops everywhere you look in Bryson City! From the large, lit-up Christmas tree in the middle of the plaza to stationary train carts, a tractor, and more, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for family photos. 

Get Your Live Christmas Tree 

While there are no Christmas tree farms in Bryson City, there are several to choose from nearby. During our trip, we chose to get our tree at Smoky Mountain Tree Farm. They had a large variety of trees to choose from and even some that you could cut down yourself. The big red barn and beautiful Smoky Mountain scenery made for great pictures as well! 

There are two other tree farms within a few minutes of Smoky Mountain Tree Farm: Boyd Mountain Christmas Tree Farm and Mehaffey Tree Farm. Boyd Mountain Farm has several log cabins available for families to stay in as well as stocked fishing ponds, 4 miles of hiking trails, biking, and more!  

Christmas Tree Farm

Have you ever been to Bryson City during the holidays? What is your favorite thing to do?

See Dinosaurs, Critters, Minerals, and More At The Schiele Museum of Natural History In Gastonia, North Carolina

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Have you visited the Schiele Museum of Natural History & Planetarium? Located in Gastonia, North Carolina the museum makes a great day trip. Expect to have a spectacular time exploring exhibits on dinosaurs, minerals, animals, critters, nature and so much more! If you haven’t been yet, you should definitely add it to your museum bucket list.

Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium near Gastonia, North Carolina

Thank you to the Schiele Museum for providing admission to the museum so we could bring this review to our readers! The words and opinions in this article are those of the writer.

Read our Guide to Fun in Gastonia, NC for more fun you can have while visiting the museum.

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Pick apples, explore a corn maze, and eat pumpkin donuts at Stepp’s Orchard in Hendersonville, NC

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Stepp’s Apple Orchard is a family-owned orchard in Hendersonville, NC. They have u-pick apples, lots of fun family activities on weekends, and pretty amazing cider and pumpkin donuts.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is the very first u-pick apple orchard in Henderson County and has been in operation for more than 50 years. They know what they’re doing, and we had to go check it out for ourselves. Honestly, I went for the pumpkin donuts. I love apple cider donuts, but pumpkin? Yes, please!

One thing that stood out to me immediately was just how super nice and helpful everyone at the orchard was. They have u-pick apples, pre-picked apples, a big store that sells homemade soap, t-shirts, and honey, a bakery, corn maze, pumpkin patch, jumping pillow, apple canon, and wagon ride. Some of these activities are only available on weekends, which I’ll tell you about in this review.

Stepps Apple Orchard
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Celebrate Halloween: Travel Ideas for a Spooky Good Time!

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Are you looking for a day trip that is a little more spooky? These Halloween trips are worth the drive! You will find special Halloween-themed events in South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee that will make for a memorable time with your family. These events go all out with spectacular light shows, costumed characters, and out-of-this-world Halloween displays.
Let us know how you’re celebrating Halloween in 2023 in the comments.



Halloween at Stone Mountain on October 18, 2019. Photo by Steven Bridges

Celebrating Halloween In 2023

We found some great day trip activities to celebrate Halloween this year. They are not only entertaining, but they will get you exploring a new town. These festivities make a great day trip or a weekend getaway! We’ve compiled extra info if you decide to make a trip of it! 

Halloween Trips to Georgia

If you’re thinking of making a weekend out of Halloween this year, check out our Guide to Travel in Georgia for ideas to fill out your itinerary.

Photo provided by Stone Mountain
Halloween at Stone Mountain on October 18, 2019. Photo by Steven Bridges

Stone Mountain Pumpkin Festival 

1000 Robert E Lee Blvd, Stone Mountain GA 

The Glow By Night Experience is a journey through a  storybook tale that comes to life with thousands of glowing lights, massive carved pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, bubbles, fog, and plenty of kid-friendly, glow-in-the-dark adventures after dark.

  • September 16th- October 29th, 2023
  • Adult (ages 12+) $39.95 / Child (ages 3-11) $34.95 / Children two years and younger are free.
  • Pumpkin Festival Tickets

Six Flags Over Georgia Frightfest

275 Riverside Parkway SW, Austell GA 

In addition to all of the fun Six Flags Over Georgia normally offers, guests will experience Halloween-themed extras. Live character interactions and shows top off the list of themed things you can expect. Kids Boo Fest is spooky fun for all ages, including trick-or-treating, family-friendly rides, and other fall activities.

  • September 16th – October 29th, 2023 (select dates)
  • general admission prices varies
  • $30 per car parking fee 
  • Purchase Tickets

Check out a local dad’s review of Six Flags Over Georgia.

Walk With The Spirits in Augusta, GA

Downtown Augusta, Georgia

Augusta is hosting its annual historic cemetery tour. Notable “spirits” come to life! This ghost tours aims to increase awareness of Augusta’s past by connecting current residents and visitors with the people and places that still influence us today through their contributions to Augusta’s cultural legacy.

  • 2023 Dates and Ticket Information TBD

Tickets may be purchased on the Explore Historic Augusta website.

Halloween Trips to Tennesee

If you’re thinking of spending Halloween weekend in Tennesee, check out our Ultimate Guide to Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for some excellent lodging options, things to do, and places to eat.

Dollywood Great Pumpkin Luminights

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Dollywood guests will be invited nightly to glow with Great Pumpkin LumiNights. This event was named the “#1 Theme Park Halloween Event in 2019″ by USA Today.

  • Thousands of Jack-O-lanterns, special fall treats and more are waiting for you this Halloween at Dollywood, September 20th – October 30th, 2023
  • Purchase tickets online

Halloween Trips In North Carolina

Carowinds Halloween Events

14523 Carowinds Boulevard Charlotte, NC

  • Select Dates September 15th through October 29th, 2023
  • SCarowinds tickets begin at $45, Great Pumpkin Fest tickets are general admission tickets

SCarowinds

SCarowinds is one of the Carolina’s biggest Halloween events and a top Halloween themed destination, happening September 15, 2023 through October 29th, 2023. The theme park has evening events that contain haunted mazes, scare zones, live entertainment, and more. It is a scary event, not for small children!

SCarowinds scene at Carowinds in North Carolina
SCarowinds Ripper Alley scene, Photo Credit: Carowinds

The Great Pumpkin Fest

Carowinds’ fall and Halloween event for families, the Great Pumpkin Fest has all the regular Carowinds fun, plus great fall and festive Halloween activities with just a tiny bit of spooky. It’s happening Saturdays and Sundays September 16th, 2023 through October 29th, 2023. Enjoy a haybale maze, craft corner, soapy mummy pit, trick-or-treat trail, festive games, live entertainment, and lots more!

Here is more information on Carowinds.

Carowinds Great Pumpkin Fest
Great Pumpkin Fest Show, Photo Credit: Carowinds

Pumpkin Fest at Silvermont

Head to Brevard, North Carolina this October for this annual, family-friendly event! Pumpkin Fest runs from October 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, and 27-28, 2023, and features displays of lighted carved pumpkins, local musicians, fun and games for the entire family, food trucks, storytellers, face painting, a tour of the mansion, and of course, a white squirrel scavenger hunt! The event is sponsored by Friends of Silvermont, and admission is $7 per person ages 13 or older, and $5 for ages 3 – 12. Ages 2 and under are free.

Pumpkin Fest at Silvermont in Brevard, North Carolina

Halloween Trips in South Carolina

South Carolina Railroad Museum: Pumpkin Patch

110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro, SC

Hop aboard for a train ride to the pumpkin patch! When guests arrive at the patch, kids will choose a pumpkin and decorate it with provided supplies. There will also be a maze and games at the patch to enjoy for about 40 minutes before heading back aboard the train to return to the museum.

  • October 21st and October 28th, 2023
  • Purchase tickets in advance. They range from $17 to $120 depending on the seating class purchased.

SC State Museum- Dark History Tours

Visit the SC State Museum for a special kind of history tour full of spooky legendary tales from South Carolina’s history. Tours are self-guided and are available every day, or you can attend an educator-led guided tour any Saturday in October at 10:30 am or 2:30 pm. These tours are included in regular museum admission.

Not So Spooky Halloween Trail at Silva Terra

If you are looking for a fun, family-friendly activity that is great for younger children, then the Silva Terra Not-So-Spooky Halloween Trail in Liberty, South Carolina is perfect! The cost is $9 per person, with games, photo ops, and lots of interactive activities. You can even visit Casper’s barn and visit with the farm animals.

Hours for the Not So Spooky Halloween Trail are:

  • 10/14-10/15 Sat/Sun 9:30-3:30 pm
  • 10/21-10/22 Sat/Sun 10:00-5:00 pm
  • 10/28-10/29 Sat/Sun 10:00-5:00 pm
  • 10/31/2023 Tuesday 11:00-3:00 pm
Silva Terra Nature Park Halloween Trail in Liberty, South Carolina
Not So Spooky Halloween Trail, Silva Terra Nature Park

Haunted hotels, cabins, and rentals in the southeastern United States

If spending the night in haunted hotels or cabins sounds like an excellent way to spend Halloween, don’t miss our list of Haunted Cabins, Hotels, and Tours.


Enjoy A Laid Back Day On The Shores Of Folly Beach, SC

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Have you visited Folly Beach, SC? No matter what kind of beach trip you are looking for, you can find it on the barrier islands of Charleston, South Carolina. Folly Beach is your best bet for the perfect mix of relaxing beaches and spots to dine. Folly Island is 18 square miles of sand and sun and offers a beach town vibe just 20 minutes from the tourist attractions of Charleston. 

This article includes:
Public Beach Access on Folly Island
Folly Island Places to Eat

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Explore the Revolutionary War in Historic Camden, SC

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Are you looking for a South Carolina town day trip packed with Revolutionary War history? We found the perfect spot in nearby Camden, SC just 2 hours from Greenville. As South Carolina’s earliest inland town, Camden provides opportunities to learn about the American Revolution, enjoy a small-town downtown complete with unique shopping and dining, and even kayak through a state park.

A Couple Tips for Camden, SC

  • Parking is easy downtown. There is plenty of free street parking.
  • It’s a friendly town. If you have a question about what to do or eat, just ask. 
  • The City of Camden website is a great place to look for general information on the area and the Classically Camden website is packed with information for visiting.

This article includes:
Things to Do in Camden, SC
Where to Eat in Camden, SC
Where to Shop in Camden, SC
Where to Stay in Camden, SC
Annual Events in Camden, SC

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