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TRAVELING WITH KIDS: Snow Tubing & Zip-Lining in the North Carolina Mountains!

Every year when winter rolls around, I start dreaming about taking a ski trip, but with two young children at home, I just picture ultimate chaos unless we bring along at least 1 nanny per child (and let’s face it, some days I want a nanny for myself as well, can someone just take care of ME for a change? But who can afford a nanny anyway?!)

But then a friend of mine mentioned she was going on a trip to the mountains and taking her daughter snow-tubing. Now that seemed like the perfect compromise! A winter vacay with a fun outdoor snow activity that the whole family can enjoy! They went to Hawksnest Snow Tubing in Seven Devils, NC and had a blast!

The more I read about Hawksnest Snow Tubing, the more I was convinced it was the place to go! Located in Seven Devils, NC, it is very close to Boone, Blowing Rock, and Banner Elk, which are some of the best little mountain towns in North Carolina.

In the mountains of NC, you often have real snow, but even if there’s a dry spell, Hawksnest makes its own snow. It is the largest snow-tubing center on the East Coast, offering 4 different tubing areas and up to 30 lanes, so a lot of reviewers said that even on busy days, you don’t have to wait long because of the number of lanes they have.

Here’s an idea of what it’s like (this isn’t us, it’s from the YouTube channel “What’s next with Noah“)…

It’s only $35 for 1 hour and 45 minutes of snow tubing ($45 on Saturdays and holidays). And it has a magic carpet (basically a moving ramp that takes you up the mountain, which is a MUST if you have young kids). And kids do have to be 3 years and older.

Oh and while they didn’t get a chance to do it, they do offer some zip-lining too!

Why Snow Tubing is Better than Skiing for young kids:

-It requires little skill, all you have to do is sit down in a tube and let the slope, gravity, and snow do the rest!

-It’s a bit easier to bring younger children snow-tubing than skiing

-You don’t need real snow to have a good time

-You have less gear to haul up the mountain

-It’s more affordable than skiing

-You can wear any kind of snow boots and don’t have to worry about those uncomfortable, rigid ski boots that are so hard to walk in!

Tips for Snow-Tubing with Kids

  1. Check the age restrictions, many tubing centers require kids to be at least 3 years old so it’s not for the VERY young children
  2. Check the height requirements, some kids need to ride in an adult’s lap depending on their height
  3. Make your reservations ahead of time: You would hate to plan your whole trip around this fun activity only to have it sold out before you even get there!
  4. Dress appropriately: make sure to where waterproof, well-insulated clothing, and always a good idea to have snow boots, hat and gloves (might even be a good idea to have long-underwear underneath for that extra layer of warmth!)
  5. Wear a helmet: this is highly advised to protect against head trauma
  6. If your child is scared of tubing, see if he or she wants to ride in your lap first or you can hook your tubes together in a chain, which would help them feel safer and add an extra fun factor
  7. Pack some dry clothes to change into afterward: this goes without saying, it’s always easier to warm up after a day on the slopes if you have some dry clothes to change into!

So if I’ve convinced you and you’re ready to book your trip, here are a few great Airbnbs I found close to Hawksnest:

Where to Stay

The Cozy Cabin –

This quaint little cabin is located between Banner Elk and Blowing Rock so it’s the perfect starting off point for tubing or enjoying other mountain activities. There is a lot of outdoor space to explore on the property as well, including hiking trails, a fire pit, and a rhododendron tunnel with beautiful views of the mountains.

The Rustic Cottage –

That stone fireplace sold me on this one! I love the rustic 70s vibe of this house and could definitely see myself relaxing in front of that fireplace after a long day of snow-tubing!

I’ve found that some of my most memorable meals have occurred after a day of outdoor exhilaration, like skiing, hiking, or canoeing and I’m sure snow-tubing is no different! Here are some delicious food options I discovered not far from Hawksnest:

Where to Eat

Booneshine Brewing Company – delicious beer, delicious food, spacious restaurant seating, and a beautiful outdoor Beer Garden makes this place super kid-friendly and pet-friendly

The Cardinal – head over here for some delicious burgers in a laidback atmosphere, try the Wild Game Burger or one of their vegan options like their Beet Burger

So now that I’ve basically planned out your entire trip, it would be silly not to book it, right?!