5 Reasons Why Balsam Is Awesome

Natural Retreats Balsam Hiking (1)

5 Reasons Why Balsam Is Awesome

Natural Retreats’ Newest Destination In North Carolina Makes A Perfect Family Vacation


Nestled in the blue ridge mountains, Natural Retreats’ Balsam Mountain Preserve is a private retreat, entirely contained within a 4,400-acre nature sanctuary. Choose from one of the 10 luxurious Handpicked Homes that Natural Retreats offers, all within walking distance of the incredible amount of outdoor and recreational activities on-site. Natural Retreats Balsam Home (1)


What makes Natural Retreats different? The Xplore team (aka travel agents who climb mountains on their lunch breaks) will help you plan your entire trip with suggestions based on your needs. They’ve actually been to the destination you are traveling to, and so they can make recommendations that you can trust.


Natural Retreats Balsam Thistle Cabin Need a highchair or safety gate? Want to rent a kayak or bikes for the whole family without all of the hassle your first day there? Simply let your Xplore team agent know and they will have everything waiting for you when you arrive at your personal mountain cabin for the week.

Natural Retreats Balsam House Exterior (1)

We’ve gathered our five favorite things to do at Balsam, so read along to learn all about what makes Balsam awesome!


  1. Take a Hike: Balsam Mountain Preserve has hiking and mountain biking trails. There are over 30 miles of scenic trails on the preserve meandering along mountain streams and waterfalls all the way to the top of mountains offering spectacular views. Stop in at the Nature Center for an up to date trail map. We’ll be glad to give you guidance based on the type of experience you are looking for. Free guided hikes are available on over 30 miles of groomed hiking trails meandering through the preserve, accessing deep forests and stunning mountain views. Backpack lunches are available.


  1. Workout and Swim at the Ruby Valley Sports Complex: Natural Retreats guests have access to the all of the preserve amenities, including a swimming pool, 24-hour fitness center, yoga studio, and tennis courts.

Natural Retreats Balsam Horseback Riding (1)

  1. Horseback Ride Through Historical Trails: The Equestrian Center is also available for private lessons or guided trail rides, most under the cool forest canopy. Horseback riding trails through old logging roads and fields filled with historical cabins make this an experience to remember.


  1. Take a Guided Fishing Trip: Guided fishing trips are available along the 38 miles of spring-fed streams filled with native brook trout on the property. Kids will love a day on the river, complete with lessons if needed!


  1. Visit the Nature Center: The Nature Center hosts a variety of activities led by full time, on-site naturalists variety of activities include guided nature hikes, bird watching classes, botanical walks, as well as family focused programs. We suggest a day trip to the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a true North Carolina gem.


  1. **Bonus: A little something for Dad…Golf the Arnold Palmer Signature Course: The Arnold Palmer Signature course was named the “Best New Course in North Carolina” and is a true mountain course, reaching elevations of 3,700 feet. Walk to the Balsam Boarding House for an exquisite meal and enjoy a cocktail on the covered, wrap around porch where every vantage point offers breathtaking vistas.

Natural Retreats Balsam Equestrian Center (1)

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Kathy Dalton
Go Adventure Mom’s found, Kathy Dalton, launched Go Adventure Mom in 2012 in an effort to bring women together that love travel and the outdoors. As a former ski instructor, Kathy has taken her love for outdoor recreation and through the power of social media has created a platform to share her passion with the world. As a mom of three, Kathy loves to share her family adventures in Utah, cross-country skiing up Millcreek Canyon, skiing in the Wasatch Mountains, camping in Grand Teton National Park and camping in the Uintas. Kathy has been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Parents and Parenting magazine. Kathy is a regular contributor to Visit Salt Lake and is a tip contributor on TripAdvisor.
Kathy Dalton
Kathy Dalton

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