5 Things to do at Sugar Mountain in North Carolina

Things to do at Sugar Mountain: Go skiing!

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As a born and raised Florida Girl, I have spent dozens of Spring Breaks on the beautiful white sandy beaches and in natural turquoise spring waters. Which is gorgeous and fun, but it’s also CROWDED.

This year, for Spring Break, we decided to change things up and head to the mountains for a long weekend. We ended up at Sugar Mountain and we loved every minute of this mini vacation!

Here are 5 things to do at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina:

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Snow Fun at Sugar Mountain

We don’t get much snow at Fort Liberty, so my kids were so excited to play in the snow. I was afraid that there wouldn’t be much snow in mid-March and warned my kids not to get their hopes up.

Little did I know, that Sugar Mountain manufactures their snow when they can’t get it the old-fashioned way. So, even though it was in the 40s and 50s while we were there, the kids were still able to go snow tubing!

We took them to the tubing park at Sugar Mountain Resort and they had a blast!

Sugar Mountain really caters to skiers and snowboarders, which we have no experience with and did not even attempt. But we loved watching them from our room and during our lunch at the Sugar Mountain Cafeteria. Even at night, we could watch them glide down the hill from our balcony.

And if skiing, snowboarding, and tubing aren’t enough winter fun, you can also go ice skating. My kids were in heaven with all of the snow fun!

Things to do at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina: Go snow tubing!
(Before tubing at Sugar Mountain.)
The view of the ski slopes from our condo at Sugar Mountain Resort.
(The view from our balcony – we could watch the skiers.)
Things to do at Sugar Mountain: Go skiing!
(We weren’t brave enough to try skiing, but we liked watching them!)

Shop at Mast General Store

You can’t stay at Sugar Mountain without a visit to the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis.

Just a short drive from the resort, this place has everything you can think of. Clothes, candles, dishes, shoes, knives, candy, axes, cookware, old-fashioned toys, Christmas ornaments, a coffin, coffee for 5 cents a cup, and even live music! We spent 2 hours wandering around on the creaky floorboards.

Mast General Store is also home to a station of the Banner Elk Post Office. They use the old-fashioned P.O Boxes with combination locks and glass panes so that you can see the letters inside. Which I just thought was the coolest thing.

Before heading back to Sugar Mountain, we stopped at the General Store’s Annex down the road. The Annex contains a HUGE selection of candy for sale by the pound. Our kids were thrilled!

Things to do at Sugar Mountain, North Carolina: Visit Mast General Store
(Giving all the old-timey vibes.)
Post Office boxes at Mast General Store in Valle Crucis.
(The post office was at the General Store back in the day.)
Upstairs at Mast General Store.
(This store sells a little bit of everything.)
You can't visit Sugar Mountain, North Carolina without getting some candy at Mast General Store!
(The kids were so excited to pick out some candy!)

Visit Mystery Hill

On our way home, we stopped at Mystery Hill in Boone. A quick 30-minute drive from Sugar Mountain, it’s worth the trip!

The gravitational anomaly at Mystery Hill is an optical illusion that is hard to explain. Strangely, your body is forced to a 45-degree angle instead of upright, water flows uphill, and balls roll uphill. “Scientists can’t explain what happens at this strange place in the mountains of North Carolina, but it has been long documented at this site and several others across the U.S.” at least according to the internet.

Although Mystery Hill is known for its natural gravitational anomaly, there are many other attractions to see here. Included in our ticket price, the kids did an old-time photo and played in the Hall of Mystery and Bubblerama. We also visited the Native American Artifact collection, looked through the Dougherty house, and experienced the optical illusion on the Old Cider Mill platform.

We didn’t take the time to visit the fossil museum, Greenway Park, play near the river, do the tomahawk throwing, or try gem mining. But we still had a great time!

**Pro-Tip** If you have issues with vertigo, I recommend saving The Mystery House for last. We felt a little queasy for a while after walking through it and wish that we hadn’t done it first.

Things to do at Sugar Mountain: Visit Mystery Hill in Boone, NC.
(Defying gravity at Mystery Hill.)
Playing at Bubblerama at Mystery Hill.
(Inside a giant bubble!)
The Native American Artifacts at Mystery Hill.
(One of the largest arrowhead collections in the world!)
Old Time photos at Mystery Hill in Boone, NC.
(They laughed way too hard getting ready for these pictures!)

Hike to Otter Falls

Initially, when we drove over to Seven Devils (just 15 minutes from Sugar Mountain), we were headed to Hawksnest Snow Tubing and Ziplining. However, it had already closed for the season. Instead, we went on a waterfall hike to see Otter Falls.

This sign in the parking lot warns that this is a ‘moderately strenuous’ hike and we were definitely not dressed for hiking, but we did it anyway. The trail was steep and narrow. Which was a little sketchy for us, since it was slippery from days of rain and we didn’t have proper footwear.

But we all made it down to the falls safely and had fun exploring the falls and the creek. It would be a great summer hike when you could play in the creek and get behind the falls.

Valley Creek near Sugar Mountain, NC.
(The mountains are beautiful even in the winter when the trees are bare.)
Seeing Otter Falls near Sugar Mountain.
(We weren’t prepared for a hike, but Otter Falls was too beautiful to resist!)
Playing in Valley Creek in Seven Devils, NC.
(These girls are hiking pros!)
Things to do in Sugar Mountain: Take a hike to see Otter Falls.
(Otter Falls was definitely worth the hike!)

All the Things We Missed at Sugar Mountain

Unfortunately, our trip was cut short by the spread of Covid. On Friday, when we left Fort Liberty, I had to check my kids out of school early. Life was completely normal. By Sunday businesses were closing and grocery stores were selling out of food.

We made the decision to cut the trip short and left on Monday morning. But that meant that there were so many plans that we didn’t get to. Here are all the things we wish we could have done during our trip to Sugar Mountain:

  • visit Grandfather Mountain State Park
  • try gem mining
  • go trout fishing
  • explore Linville Caverns
  • visit Apple Hill Farm – Alpaca Farm
  • Daniel Boone Heritage Trail

Our trip to Sugar Mountain was a LOT of fun! It was especially nice before we began our ‘quarantine’ and weeks of no travel.

I wish we could have done more during this trip, but it just gives us more reason to go back during the summer!

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