Cool Day Trips from Mooresville NC

How to Beat the Heat

Has the heat gotten to you in the last week or so?  On my deck here in Mooresville on June 21 at 8:40 AM, it’s already 77 degrees with a predicted high of 91 degrees for the day.  According to Accucast the humidity is now 95%.  I don’t want to think about how it will feel this afternoon. The heat is about to beat us so we looked around for some cool place for day trips from Mooresville to escape for a day. Take a look at the places we found.

Cool Day Trips from Mooresville, NC

Grandfather Mountain

As I write this on Saturday morning at 8:40 I checked the weather at Grandfather Mountain. It’s a pleasant 63 degrees there. The predicted high for today is only 79 degrees.  It’s a pleasant two hour drive so let’s gas up the car and go!

The highest temperature ever recorded there is 83 degrees. Average high temps in June are 66 degrees, in July 69 degrees and in August 68 degrees. If you are new to the area and don’t have a clue what there is to do at Grandfather Mountain, here is the scoop.

Walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge. I remember my first walk there as a child.  Scary but exhilarating. Here’s a photo from a more recent trip.

Take a hike on one of the 11 trails. You can find wildflowers in bloom from March until September. Visit one of the wildlife habitats.  This is nothing like a man made zoo in the middle of the city. The viewing areas have been built around the natural habitats of black bears, river otters, cougars AKA panthers, eagles and white-tailed deer.

English: A white-tailed deer

English: A white-tailed deer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When you are ready to go indoors, visit the Nature Museum. Enjoy lunch in Mildred’s Grill. You can finish your day with a tasty treat from the Fudge Shop. My two memories of my first visit to Grandfather Mountain included the mile high swinging bridge and a view of Mildred the Bear. They’ve come a long way with preservation of this God given land. The late Hugh Morton made a lasting gift with his dedication to conservation.  Trips to “Grandpappy” as the mountaineers call it could be a series of units for home schoolers and a great summer educational trip for children of all ages.

Banner Elk

If whitewater rafting doesn’t cool you off, nothing will. Although we have never been to the Edge of the World we have rafted with Nantahala Outdoor Center in Bryson City lots of times. We love NOC but it’s too far for a day trip from Mooresville. I drove up and back from Conover in the same day one time and this rafting driver was exhausted. So it looks like we need to check out the Edge of the World. They’re in Banner Elk, just a hop, skip and jump from Beech Mountain.whitewaterdoedeo-1024x683 If you just want to be cool, but don’t want high adventure, Banner Elk offers concerts too.  Check out the schedule here. There’s a museum to visit too. The local winery and brewery offer unique tastes. Elk River Falls Trail  is one of my favorite short hikes.  The view is great and I always get a kick out of watching crazy folks jump from the top of the falls.


There is no Mayberry, NC, but there is Mount Airy and that is the town Mayberry was based on. Take a trip back in time and visit Andy Griffith’s home town. You can visit Snappy Lunch, take a squad car tour and visit Floyd’s Barber Shop. Pilot Mountain State Park is nearby and you can enjoy hiking, fishing and all the activities common to a state park. Hanging Rock State Park is nearby too and swimming is available during the warm season.


Anyone who ever watched the Andy Griffith Show knows that it was a big deal to go to Raleigh. Well, it still is. Maybe you prefer to visit indoor attractions when you go on a day trip.  If so, the NC Museum of Art is a must see and do.  In addition to the permanent collection, there are rotating exhibits.  One of the more unusual exhibits is the Park Exhibit.  Three billboards in the museum park are on display throough October.  The billboards feature a statewide college outreach project.

An interesting tidbit is that the permanent collection was establshed in 1947 when the NC Legislature appropriated $1 million dollars to begin the collection. NC was the first state in the nation to use public funds to purchase works of art.

The museum has a sweet restaurant with good food and equally wonderful views.  If you are going during a busy time be sure to make a reservation for the Iris Restaurant so you will not be disappointed.