Highlands North Carolina

Boasting an elevation of 4,118 feet above sea level, Highlands, NC has long been a favorite mountain destination for vacationers and seasonal residents looking to escape the summer heat of the Southeast. With an average daily high temperature of 74º F during the summertime – families and retirees have sought refuge here from the high temps and humidity of the South. While the annual population is estimated at 3,200 people – Highlands population expands to over 20,000 in the summer. This noted, Highlands offers a four season environment.  While winters cans be cold and snowy – the natural beauty of spring and fall are very difficult to beat.


Highlands Information

Geographically speaking – this resort town is located in a rainforest – albeit a temperate one – and is considered one of the highest elevated towns east of the Mississippi River. The nearby Nantahala National Rain Forest contributes to the lush mountain greenery and many streams and waterfalls found in the Highlands area. 

Much of Highlands orients along US Highway 64 – and is a short drive that includes scenic overlooks to the quaint village of Cashiers, NC.  The distance from Highlands to Cashiers is approximately 10 miles. Highlands, North Carolina is located in Macon County and is considered to be a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town is within a days drive of 60% of the eastern United States. 

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Things to Do in Highlands

Downtown Highlands serves as a hub of activity and things to do on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. One will discover a picturesque town that offers upscale boutiques, art galleries, antique shopping, along with casual & fine dining.

For those looking for outdoor activities and adventure, there’s a multitude of outdoor activities including:

Horseback Riding
Whitewater Rafting

There are a variety of lodging options and places to stay from quaint inns or bed and breakfasts to  elegant hotels. Individually owned cabins and residential homes are also available for rent in Highlands. From rustic to luxurious – the options are numerous for vacationers looking to enjoy the casually, relaxed atmosphere found in Highlands.

Culturally speaking, the Highlands Playhouse offers a professional summer stock theater and is the focal point for theatrical productions, first run movies, and live performances throughout the year. 


Directions to Highlands

Directions to Highlands from Asheville NC: I-26 to exit 40/Highway 280/Airport exit to Brevard. Next follow US Highway 64 to Cashiers. It’s a scenic drive, but there are curves between Brevard and Cashiers. Highlands is 10 miles past Cashiers. Allow two hours. Approximately 73 miles.

Directions to Highlands from Knoxville TN: Take I-40 East to route 23/74 W towards Waynesville NC. Take 23/74W to 23/441 towards Dillsboro, Sylva and Franklin. At Franklin stay on the bypass and take U.S. Highway 64 East to Highlands. This will take you through the Cullasaja Gorge into Highlands. This route does have a few curves also but some travelers and vacationers prefer traveling this route. 

Shopping, Dining, Hotels, & Activities in Highlands

Highlands Real Estate

Live the Highlands Lifestyle

Looking for a cabin by a stream, golf course villa, mountain home with a big view, or an exclusive estate with waterfall? Learn more about real estate in Highlands, North Carolina . Whether buying, selling, or renting, you’re sure to find the perfect property solution for your real estate needs.