1. Experience life on the edge of the Pisgah Forest — figuratively and literally — by zipping your way through tree canopies along the East Fork and French Broad rivers. Z-Z-Zip! offers several zip-line tours each day that promise mild to medium thrills that the whole family will enjoy.
2. Head into town for a bite to eat at Mayberry’s, which prides itself on consistently good comfort food, namely soup and sandwiches. For a real treat, try Mayberry’s take on the peanut butter and banana sandwich, which is topped with — wait for it — chocolate-covered bacon.
3. You’ll want to let all the food you’ve eaten settle before going swimming, so stroll around downtown for some shopping after lunch. Right around the corner from Mayberry’s is Crystal Mountain Gem Mine, a rock shop that features an indoor water flume where you can pan for your own gemstones. Another store, The White Squirrel Shoppe, pays homage to Brevard’s fluffiest and most curious critter: the white squirrel. Pop in for all of your squirrel-themed product needs. (Because who wouldn’t want a squirrel-shaped candle?)
4. Head north and travel up U.S. Highway 276 to see two of the state’s greatest natural wonders within a short distance of each other. The roadside Looking Glass Falls is picturesque and interactive. Wade in the natural pool at the waterfall’s base, and be sure to bring an extra fuzzy towel; that water is chilly, even on the hottest of days. Just two miles beyond Looking Glass is Sliding Rock. Wait in line for your turn to slide down this smooth, sloping boulder, only to get in line all over again … and again.
5. For an artful dining experience without the pretense, make reservations at The Square Root. Dishes like sweet tea-brined pork rib eye and duck confit quesadillas add a bit of flair to familiar favorites.