The Great Outdoors might not seem so great at 2 am, when rain starts leaking through your pup tent. There are those who relish braving the elements. For everyone else, there’s Falling Waters Adventure Resort in Bryson City.
Sure, camping options abound in the Upstate and WNC, but Falling Waters’ Yurt Village, a modest two-hour drive from the Upstate, is truly unique to the region, occupied by eight yurts spread over a three-acre area that encompasses a waterfall and two scenic ponds. The resort’s main allure, aside from scenery, is that it has all the charms of camping with very few of the sacrificed comforts.
A plug for your cell-phone charger? Check. A mini-fridge for your water canteens and perishables? Check. Coffee maker, box fan, CD player? Triple check. Falling Waters has thought of everything: from supplying a pile of rags (for cleaning bikes and grills) to a large wicker basket filled with neatly stacked bath towels.
Falling Waters’ yurts are not that different in design from ancient Mongol huts wrapped in animal skins—circular in shape with tall, domed ceilings. But that’s where the similarity ends. Each structure sleeps a family of four, complete with full-size pullout futon and a queen-size bed, both dressed with crisp, cotton linens. A variety of hotel-like accoutrements await—of the outdoor variety, of course.(Think bug spray and flashlights instead of sleep masks and shower caps.)
The yurts’ outer walls and roofs are wrapped in a high-tech weatherproof material. Inside, wood-beamed ceilings are draped in white fabric with ceiling fans and small skylights that crank open on nice days and blessedly seal tight on rainy ones. Lattice walls rise up from tongue-and-groove floors; French doors framed by colorful curtains open up to a sizeable deck and patio area, complete with bistro table and chairs.
The short hike to the bathhouse and laundry facility (where shampoo, soap, and even more towels await in individual showers and toilet rooms) almost feels like a penance given all the other comforts of setting up “camp” here. But just when you start to feel you’re really roughing it, that’s when you discover the hot tub.
So, bring a good book, some groceries, and hair conditioner. And, even though there’s a plug for it, leave the sound machine at home. Fall asleep, instead, to the cadence of bullfrogs and crickets. It’ll feel just like camping—at least, that’s what you’ll tell yourself.
Falling Waters Resort, Bryson City, NC. Book one of their packages that features the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, horseback riding, whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, hiking, fly fishing, mountain biking, zipline canopy tours, Jeep tours, and more. For more information, fallingwatersresort.com or (800) 451-9972.