Discovering Murphy, North Carolina : A Family-Friendly Vacation Destination

by Major League Mommy
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Picture this: misty mountains, rolling rivers, and a small-town charm that’s hard to beat. Welcome to Murphy, North Carolina! Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Murphy is more than just a scenic escape—it’s a haven for those seeking adventure, relaxation, and genuine Southern hospitality.

If you’re planning a trip to this town (whether it be a couple’s trip, a solo trip, or a family vacation), here are some must-dos that ensure you’ll make the most of your Murphy vacation.

Let’s get to it.

a river running through a forest filled with lots of trees
Photo credit: Unsplash

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1. Dive into the Rich Cherokee Heritage

Murphy has a deep-rooted connection with the Cherokee tribe. This history isn’t just found in textbooks – you’ll feel it around throughout the town.

  • Visit the Cherokee County Historical Museum: Here, you can find many artifacts, including over 1,000 arrowheads, pottery, and ancient tools. Interactive displays make it an engaging experience for all ages.
  • Murphy’s Trail of Tears: One of the most poignant chapters in American history, the forced removal of the Cherokee from their homeland, passed through Murphy. Walking this trail is a profound way to pay respects and learn about this tragic event.

2. Revel in Mother Nature’s Playground

Murphy’s natural beauty is arguably its biggest draw. The options to enjoy the outdoors are abundant.

  • Go Whitewater Rafting on the Ocoee River: For the thrill-seekers, the Ocoee River offers rapids that promise an adrenaline rush like no other.
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail: Murphy North Carolina is no stranger to hiking trails. Stretching over 2,000 miles, this iconic trail offers a serene hiking experience. You don’t need to cover its entire length; even a short hike can provide stunning vistas.

3. Explore the Artistic Side of Murphy

For a town of its size, Murphy boasts a surprisingly rich arts scene.

  • Visit the Valley River Arts Guild: Located downtown, this artist co-op showcases local talent. From paintings and pottery to jewelry and woodworking, there’s something for every art enthusiast.
  • Murphy Art Walk: Held on the first Friday of every month, the streets of Murphy come alive with music, dance, and art displays. Join in the festivities and experience the town’s creative pulse firsthand.

4. A Culinary Journey through Murphy

What better way to get to know a place than through its food? Murphy offers a palette of flavors that reflect its diverse heritage and the richness of North Carolina’s culinary landscape.

  • Savor Southern Comfort Food: Dive into mouthwatering dishes like pulled pork barbecue, grits, and fried green tomatoes at local diners and restaurants. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a tall glass of sweet iced tea.

5. A Shopper’s Delight

No vacation is complete without a bit of shopping. And in Murphy, you’ll find plenty of unique items to fill your bags.

  • Downtown Murphy: A hub for antique lovers, browse through stores that house treasures from yesteryears. It’s not just about antiques, though. You’ll find boutiques selling handcrafted items, apparel, and more.
  • Murphy Farmer’s Market: Held every Tuesday and Saturday, the market is the best place to grab fresh produce, homemade jams, and baked goods. Plus, shopping here supports local farmers and artisans.

6. Bask in the Magic of Local Festivities

Murphy’s calendar is peppered with various events that showcase its vibrant community spirit and rich traditions. These events are the heartbeats of the town and offer visitors a unique glimpse into local life.

  • Murphy Spring Festival: Celebrate the bloom of spring with arts and crafts, food vendors, and lively music. It’s a great way to see the community come together in a vibrant display of local talent and creativity.
  • The British Car Show: Held annually, this event showcases classic British cars in pristine condition. Car enthusiasts and curious visitors alike will enjoy the stunning display of automotive craftsmanship.

7. Immerse Yourself in Mountain Music

The sounds of the Appalachians are a blend of old-world charm and contemporary tunes, echoing the hills’ soulful vibes.

  • Attend a Bluegrass Jam Session: Local spots often host these sessions, allowing visitors to tap their feet to lively, authentic mountain music.
  • Murphy’s Music Venues: Spend an evening at any of the local venues that regularly feature live bands playing a range of genres, from country to contemporary.

8. Retreat to Relaxation Spots

Sometimes, the best way to enjoy a place is to pause and rejuvenate. Murphy offers several spots for those seeking a moment of tranquility.

  • River Walk Trail: A gentle trail by the Hiwassee River, perfect for a quiet, reflective walk or a peaceful bike ride.
  • Local Spas: Indulge in a therapeutic massage or spa treatment to soothe your senses and refresh your spirit.

9. Discover Hidden Gems on Day Trips

Murphy’s location makes it an ideal base for exploring nearby attractions that showcase the region’s diverse offerings.

  • Fields of the Wood: A short drive from Murphy, this park offers a spiritual experience with its giant Ten Commandments displayed on a mountainside.
  • John C. Campbell Folk School: Delve into the world of traditional crafts and folk arts. Take a class, tour the campus, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings.

10. Engage in Water Adventures

The waters around Murphy beckon with various activities for all ages and skill levels.

  • Fishing in the Hiwassee River: Known for its trout, this river is a paradise for anglers. Local outfitters can gear you up and even provide guided fishing trips.
  • Canoeing and Kayaking: Explore the serene waters of local lakes and rivers at your own pace. Rentals and guided tours are available to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Final Thoughts

Murphy, North Carolina, is a blend of history, adventure, culture, and culinary delights. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an action-packed holiday, Murphy promises an unforgettable experience. You can also check out our list of even more family-friendly vacation ideas in The US!

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