There’s nothing quite like a day spent exploring the beauty of a national forest with your family.

Whether you’re planning a picnic, hiking adventure, or simply a day of relaxation, the national forests near Brevard, NC, and the Smoky Mountains offer the perfect backdrop for unforgettable family memories.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to plan the perfect family day in the great outdoors, including some free downloadable activities to make your trip even more fun!

Choosing Your Destination

While there are many beautiful National Parks across the country, here are two that are local to the North Carolina and Tennessee areas.

Whether you're planning a picnic, hiking adventure, or simply a day of relaxation, the national forests near Brevard, NC, and the Smoky Mountains offer the perfect backdrop for unforgettable family memories.

Pisgah National Forest

Nestled near the charming mountain town of Brevard, NC, Pisgah National Forest is a treasure trove of natural wonders.

Known for its lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and diverse wildlife, this forest offers a variety of family-friendly activities.

Whether you’re hiking to Looking Glass Falls, enjoying a picnic by the Davidson River, or exploring the numerous trails, Pisgah provides endless opportunities for adventure and exploration.

Smoky Mountains National Park

Just a short drive away, the Smoky Mountains National Park is another fantastic destination for a family day out.

Famous for its misty peaks, rich biodiversity, and historic landmarks, the Smokies are perfect for families who love to explore.

With easy-to-access trails, scenic drives, and plenty of spots to stop for a picnic, this park is ideal for a day filled with fun and learning.

Free Downloadable Activities

To make your family day even more enjoyable, we’ve created some fun and educational freebies that you can download and bring along:

Free Nature Coloring Sheets

Keep the little ones entertained during downtime with our free nature-themed coloring sheets.

Featuring local wildlife and plants, these coloring sheets are perfect for quiet moments and help foster creativity and learning.

Free Nature Scavenger Hunt

Download our free nature scavenger hunt and turn your forest adventure into a fun, interactive game.

Kids will love searching for different types of leaves, insects, and wildlife. It’s a great way to keep them engaged and curious about nature.

Free Hiking Checklist

Ensure you’re well-prepared for your family hike with our free hiking checklist.

This free printable checklist includes everything you need for a safe and enjoyable hike, from must-have gear to essential safety tips.

Planning Your Day

1. Prepare Your Picnic Essentials

  • Blankets and Chairs: Bring a sturdy picnic blanket and a few foldable chairs for comfort.

  • Cooler and Food: Pack a cooler with sandwiches, fresh fruits, snacks, and plenty of water.
  • Don’t forget to include some treats like cookies or trail mix for an energy boost.

  • Utensils and Supplies: Make sure you have reusable plates, cups, napkins, and trash bags for cleanup. Keeping the environment clean is essential!

2. Dress for Success

  • Weather-Appropriate Clothing: Check the weather forecast and dress in layers. Bring along hats, sunglasses, and rain gear just in case.

  • Comfortable Shoes: Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes suitable for walking or hiking.
Whether you're planning a picnic, hiking adventure, or simply a day of relaxation, the national forests near Brevard, NC, and the Smoky Mountains offer the perfect backdrop for unforgettable family memories.

3. Plan Fun Activities

  • Hiking: Choose a family-friendly trail that suits all ages and fitness levels. Both Pisgah and the Smokies offer a range of trails from easy walks to more challenging hikes.

  • Games and Exploration: Bring along a frisbee, a ball, or a kite. Encourage kids to explore their surroundings safely.

  • Tubing: Check to see if your destination allows visitors to bring tubes to float down the river.

  • Fishing: Some National Parks have a catch-and-release policy for fishing, whereas some may restrict it entirely. Be sure to check before heading into the forest.

Making the Most of Your Trip

1. Timing and Safety

  • Best Times to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon are great times to visit, as the weather is cooler and the wildlife is more active.

  • Safety First: Always keep an eye on your children, stick to marked trails, and be aware of your surroundings. Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit and insect repellent.

2. Environmental Responsibility

  • Leave No Trace: Teach your children the importance of leaving no trace. Always clean up your picnic area and take all trash with you.

  • Respect Wildlife: Observe animals from a distance and do not feed them.

Conclusion

Spending a day in a National Park is a fantastic way to bond with your family while enjoying the beauty of nature.

With a little preparation and the right activities, your family day will be filled with adventure, learning, and fun.

Don’t forget to download our free nature scavenger hunt and coloring sheets to add an extra layer of excitement to your trip. Happy exploring!

Before you go, here are more posts you’ll enjoy:

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