Highlands, NC

Highlands NC is located in Macon County...

2018 Best Guide to Highlands, NC

November 10, 2015

Highlands NC is located in Macon County, in the Nantahala National Forest of the Southern Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina. It is near Franklin, NC and Cherokee NC. Situated on a plateau, Highlands is located in a remote part of the mountains for one interesting reason... two guys and a map.


In 1875, two founders - namely Samuel Kelsey and Clinton Hutchinson - drew intersecting lines on the map from New Orleans to New York and Chicago to Savannah. They felt that where the lines crossed, namely Highlands, a future trading center of great importance would evolve. They clearly didn't take into consideration the rugged terrain of the area nor the fact that the horse and buggy would no longer be around. The result is Highlands grew into a health spa and summer resort.

By the early 1880's, Highlands was home to 8 country stores, offering groceries, general merchandise and hardware. It also had a post office, library, several churches, and a school.

When the Cullasaja River was dammed in the late 1920s, forming Lake Sequoyah, providing hydro-electric power, a beautiful road was built within the Cullasaja Gorge. As a result, the population increased to about 500 and the summer visiting population increased to about 2,500 - 3,000.

In the 1930's a man named Bobby Jones created a very distinct golf course that in its time, and still today, a golfing sensation. That very same golf district today is to the south of Highlands on the 106 North Carolina Highway.

Highlands is the highest incorporated settlement east of the Rockies.


Today, about 960 people live in the 6 square miles of Highlands NC, all at a comfortably cool summer elevation of 4,118 feet. The population swells to beyond 15,000 during the summer. 


Though snowfall is minimal - what with the Southern and eastern positioning from the Appalachians Mountain chain proper - there is nearly 100 inches of rainfall each year in Highlands, producing an abundant greenery effect on the landscape. Because of it's location and elevation, the average temperature in July is just 78 degrees.

Things to Do

What can you do in Highlands, you ask? Well, this little main street community offers plenty of antique shops, art galleries, a popular auction house, several noted and respected restaurants, inns, cabin rentals, hotels, bed and breakfast, and a couple of National Historic Places. Performing arts is well-seated in Highlands NC as there are a number of theaters: Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center, Highlands Community Players, Instant Theatre Company, and the Highlands Playhouse. In visual arts, there are the Bascom - A Center for the Visual Arts, and the Louise Rand Bascom Barratt playhouse.


Hiking is one of the most popular attractions in Highlands, North Carolina. With the steep mountainous terrain and vast waterfalls, backpackers will find plenty to discover during their hike.


Waterfalls, such as the 45-foot high Bridal Veils Falls (the only waterfall in America where you can drive your car under - and the Quarry Falls that's popular with swimmers because of the nice swimming hole at the bottom.
Several lakes can be found in the Highlands area, so fishing is another popular pastime. The Cullasaja and Chattooga Rivers are hot spots for trout fishing.

Cabins in Highlands NC

If you are coming to Highlands NC, then you are going to need a place to stay. Check out the many cabin rentals the area has to offer.

Highlands NC Bed and Breakfast

There are a number of bed and breakfast locations in Highlands NC. See which ones are the best and which bed & breakfast where you may want to stay.

Lodging in Highlands NC

Whether you are looking for a cabin rental, bed and breakfast, hotel, or inn, there is plenty of lodging in Highlands NC. Here is your directory of places to stay during your visit to Highlands North Carolina.

Highlands NC Inns

If you are looking to stay at one of the many inns while in Highlands NC there are plenty to choose from. Browse our listings and reviews of the most popular Highlands North Carolina inns.

Rentals Highlands NC

During your stay at Highlands North Carolina be sure to enjoy your time spent with us in one of the many rental homes. There are a lot of rentals to choose from in our listing of Highlands NC Rentals so there is definitely one for you.

Highlands NC Real Estate

Planning to move to Highlands NC? Then you will be in the market for a home. Below is our Highlands NC Real Estate directory. In it you will find a list of our local real estate agencies. You will find plenty of homes and land for sale in Highlands.


Whether you want a steak house, sandwich shop, bar & grill, Chinese, Italian or just some good ole Southern cuisine, there are plenty of restaurants in Highlands NC to please your pallet. Here is a listing of restaurants you will find during your visit to Highlands North Carolina.


Highlands NC is located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. There are basically four seasons of weather here. Here is some general information about the weather in Highlands NC.

Hotels Highlands NC

Everyone visiting this town needs a place to stay. Therefore there are a number of hotels in Highlands NC. Each of which are great places to spend time with family, friends, or relatives. Also every hotel in Highlands North Carolina has a splendid view of the landscape, and is situated within a minute of down town.

Highland Games NC

While your stay in Highlands North Carolina you will be able to witness the Highland Games. These games are a spectacular set of events that you will certainly enjoy. So come out and participate in the great atmosphere at the Highland Games in NC.

Highlands NC Country Club

If golfing and good food is part of your agenda during your visit to Highlands, then check out the Highlands NC Country Club.


Planning on tying the knot? Then, come to Highlands NC for your wedding. There are plenty of wedding packages to choose from that include cabins, event organization, and caterers. Many happy couples have had their wedding here!


Highlands NC has some of the greatest sights and sounds in the southeast. Some of the Attractions in Highlands NC include an abundance of waterfalls, Center for Visual Arts, Nantahala Outdoor Center, nearby Glenville Lake, Dry Falls, Bridal Veil falls, Summit One Gallery, Whiteside Mountain, Highlands Playhouse, Highlands Biological Station, Nature Center and Botanical Gardens, and Highlands Country Club.


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