Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Sapphire Valley, NC

  • Published 2023/03/19

Sapphire Valley began as a golfing community in 1954.

Today, it’s a picture-perfect resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Smoky Mountains.

The mountainous landscape provides the perfect playground for skiing adventures and breathtaking views.

You can find the large and quiet Fairfield Lake here; enjoy water activities there.

Book a room in one of the many fantastic vacation rentals, ranging from a lakefront home to a cozy, luxurious lodge.

Check out the best things to do in Sapphire Valley, North Carolina.

Try the Water Activities at Fairfield Lake

Boat on the Fairfield Lake.

Sara Kendall /

For a peaceful, relaxing afternoon, visit Fairfield Lake, a 55-acre lake with excellent facilities.

Have a pleasant swim in its waters from the beach.

Bring a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat and explore the area at your own pace.

Grab your fishing gear and launch your boat for a scenic fishing trip.

Boat dock at Fairfield Lake.

Sara Kendall /

You can catch different kinds of fish here, including bass, trout, and crappie.

You might also spot the occasional deer on Dobson Mountain.

Don’t worry if you forgot to bring gear, since you can rent some here.

The boat dock also offers cold drinks and snacks, perfect for lounging after going around the area.

A small rowing boat beside the dock at Fairfield Lake.

Steve Heap /

Engage in Family-Friendly Activities in the Sapphire Valley Recreation Center

Head to the Sapphire Valley Recreation Center for a day full of activities with the whole family.

Jump in any of the two outdoor pools for a refreshing time.

You can also try swimming in the indoor pool, where you will have beautiful nature views and abundant natural light because of the large windows.

There’s also a wading pool where kids can splash around.

You can also bring your kids to the game room and blast playing arcade games.

For a light but equally entertaining activity, take a swing at the mini-golf course, with various obstacles and décor.

You can also try playing Cornhole.

If you’re the sporty type, there are also sports facilities here.

Test your skills with a round of basketball, soccer, or volleyball.

Or, you can also go around the track.

Get Your Adrenaline Pumping with the Winter Activities at Ski Sapphire Valley

Avid skiers have slid down Ski Sapphire Valley’s slopes since 1964, and the resort even has a picture to prove it.

Great for snow sports experts and beginners alike, the resort offers many fantastic facilities.

Ride the lift and descend a 1,600-feet main run on your skis, enjoying a cool breeze.

Slide down with your snowboard and get your adrenaline pumping.

If you’re looking for an exciting activity for the whole family aside from winter sports, head to Frozen Falls Tube Park.

Feel the rush as you swoosh down 60 feet on an inflated donut tube.

You can book lessons here to learn how to traverse the slopes.

They offer one-on-one lessons for kids below four years old and group lessons for older students.

If you’re confident in your skills or want to join the festivities, you can attend the Great Outhouse Races.

You can even grill some food near the firepit and have a good drink with family and friends while listening to music and watching the contenders.

Discover the City at the Sapphire Valley Community Center

If you want to know more about the area, or if you want to purchase tickets for some of the attractions, stop by the Community Center.

In addition, you can also lounge here while watching TV.

Head to the gift shop for some great local finds.

Read your favorite book at the library, play some games, or solve a puzzle with your friends.

There’s even a space for rent that’s great for group events.

There are also occasional events here, so check those out.

You can attend their Welcome Social every Monday if you want a detailed orientation.

Check Out the Recreational Facilities at Sapphire Valley Activity Field

The Sapphire Valley Activity Field is where you can enjoy a wide variety of activities.

Go around the quarter-mile track for an excellent exercise.

Take a scenic walk around the woods, following the walking trail equipped with exercise stations.

Have some friendly competition at the soccer field or basketball courts.

Bring the kids along and let them enjoy the playground, or take them to the park for a picnic amidst nature.

Go for a hike to further explore the natural surroundings.

If you prefer water activities, you can go fishing or canoeing.

You can also practice your swing at the mini-golf course.

Invite Your Friends for a Match at the Foot Golf Course

For a truly unique experience, you can try playing Foot Golf.

It’s a perfect mix of soccer and golf.

You use a soccer ball, and your goal is to get it to land inside a 21-inch cup.

The point system is similar to golf, and the person with the least number of kicks wins.

The Foot Golf course offers nine holes adorned by trees and bodies of water.

You can rent a soccer ball here for a fee, or you can also bring your own.

Take Your Kids to Kid’s Camp

Your kids will have the time of their lives in the resort’s Kid’s Camp, with activities, games, and much more.

They can have a peaceful time during nature walks and learn about the Earth’s treasures during gem mining sessions.

The scavenger hunts provide a great way to socialize, and the water balloon games are a refreshing way to spend their afternoons.

There are sports facilities here, including soccer, tennis, basketball, and golf.

Or, your kids can jump in the swimming pool and splash around with their friends.

They can enjoy delicious food during the cook-out and munch on snacks during some activities.

Moreover, they can improve their skills and creativity with the arts and crafts activities here.

Have Some Friendly Competition at the Tennis and Pickleball Center

If you’re looking for a friendly match or fierce competition, visit the Tennis and Pickleball Center.

Make some friends when participating in the weekly round robins if you want to socialize.

There are games for men and women, so you’re sure to find someone at the same level as you.

If you want to learn how to play or polish your strokes, you can avail yourself of the lessons.

You can also have a group lesson for a livelier experience.

Check out the Pro Shop for various sports equipment and rentals.

For perks and discounts, you can get the season package.

Appreciate the Natural Sceneries along the River Walk

If you want to immerse yourself in nature, you can explore the River Walk, a scenic walking path.

Even if it spans just 0.8 miles, it offers a world of greens and picturesque landscapes.

Feel the breeze as you walk through the path adorned with trees.

The path along the Horsepasture River is lined with beautiful native plants, creating gorgeous sceneries.

It’s an easy walk, without sudden and steep elevations, perfect for the old and children alike.

Zoom through Majestic Landscapes on the Vordach Zip Line

For fantastic views overlooking vast landscapes and a thrilling experience, try out The Vordach Zip Line.

You’ll be almost as high as the treetops after climbing to your starting point.

Zoom down from station to station, admiring the views and enjoying the cool breeze.

You can also try rappelling down, which is optional if you want to go slow and admire natural scenery.

Kids are also allowed here.

Sway and Sing to the Music at the Concerts on the Slopes!

Have a night of entertainment by visiting the Concerts on the Slopes!

Groove or sing along to the music as you get serenaded by singing groups and bands.

If you want to get a great deal, avail of the Season Pass, which affords you entry to all the concerts.

Have an unforgettable moment outdoors, relaxing on your chair.

You can also drive a golf cart to the event space for a more comfortable and convenient experience.

While you enjoy the shows, grab a few bites or have a cold drink, perfect for a day of family bonding.

Bring the Whole Family to the Arts and Crafts Festivals

Enjoy the lively atmosphere and peaceful natural setting during the Arts and Crafts Festivals.

Listen to great music as you appreciate and observe the artworks on display, including folk art and local handmade crafts.

You’ll also find fine jewelry here, and you can get one for your significant other.

It’s also a fantastic opportunity to bond with the whole family, as the venue is closed to the resort playground.

To add to that, you and the kids can play Cornhole and Kerplunk and use the Buckets of Bubble Mix.

You can also bring your furry friends to the event.

Get a few snacks and drinks from the vendor tents to replenish your energy after a day of exploration.

You can enjoy this fabulous event in June, August, and October.

Enjoy a Day of Activities during the Yankee Doodle Dandy Day

The Yankee Doodle Dandy Day is a day of festivities held on July 4th.

Your kids can have a wonderful time at all the inflatables, where they can bounce around and engage in fun activities, like shooting some hoops.

Live music also plays during the event, augmenting the vibrant atmosphere.

If your kids have always wanted to ride a pony, they can do that here.

Get a lot of popcorn or some snow cones for a light snack while exploring the facilities.

There are hamburgers and hot dogs if you want more filling food.

The event is in the activity center, and you can try some of its facilities.

Other resort locations include the Tennis and Pickleball Center, the outdoor pool, the Recreation Center, and more.

Additional activities you can try include playing with horseshoes, mini-golf, gem mining, and more during the event.

Also, you can park your car in the free parking area.

Savor Delicious Dishes at the Library Kitchen and Bar

Serving drool-inducing bites in a historic location, the Library Kitchen and Bar hosts the oldest structure in Sapphire Valley – its original farmhouse.

Each dish strives to meet a high standard.

The restaurant also offers a packed menu of culinary masterpieces created by Michelin-starred Chef Johannes Klapdohr.

Combine that with the spectacular art installations by renowned artist Marvin Gralnick, and you get a truly fantastic dining location.

You can learn more about the restaurant’s history and menu on its website.

This restaurant is also an excellent place for events, with a warm, picture-perfect setting.

If you want your loved ones to enjoy the food here, you can also get them a gift card.

Take Home Goodies from the Gift Shop

Before you leave the resort, stop by the Gift Shop.

Get yourself an eco-friendly candle and spice up your living spaces.

There are also holiday candles, perfect for creating that festive setting.

The candles also come in different scents and designs, so you’re sure to find one to your liking.

If you purchase their water bottle, you’re also helping to save the environment, as it is BPA-free.

Take Your Beloved Dogs for a Walk at the Bark Parks

Sapphire Valley Resort has a wide range of pet-friendly amenities.

But nothing brings your furry companions together quite like the Bark Parks.

This newest park amenity addition is a huge hit among many visitors and resort members.

It has separate fences for small breeds—or those below 40 pounds–and large breeds—those larger than 40 pounds.

It features large grassy areas with waste stations.

Pack your dog’s leash and get them ready for a round of outdoor fun in the afternoon ahead.

You can find the Bark Parks at the eastern corner of the resort’s Activity Field.

Spot Black Bears in the Distance

Interested in bears?

Then, you might be glad to know that Sapphire Valley has had a few black bear spottings since its establishment and up to the present.

In fact, the resort is a relatively common natural habitat for these bears.

Many black bears litter around areas of the resort with plenty of trash bins and the like.

These North Carolina native animals naturally find refuge in unoccupied woodlands and swamplands.

But they can easily adapt to newer surroundings, especially those with an abundance of food supply.

So, if you happen to stumble into a timid black bear while on your way to the Community Center, you might just be lucky.

But always remember to keep your distance!

Come by Fairfield Lake Trail During Fall

Fairfield Lake Trail is a seasonally-open trail that passes by the lake of the same name.

This trail also offers iconic vistas of Bald Rock Mountain and the surrounding area’s charming foliage.

Though this trail is open for most of the fall up until winter, nothing beats the beauty of this trail during harvest season.

Watch as the leaves of dense trees turn varying shades of orange.

Along the route, you may even spot a few birds and other wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled.

To get to Fairfield Lake Trail, head over to Sapphire Valley Boat and Beach.

Practice Your Swing at Red Bird Golf Links

Not a Sapphire Valley Resort member?

Don’t worry because, at Red Bird Golf Links, you are free to tee up.

This public golf course and Sapphire Valley Master Association Amenity features an 8-hole layout within an extensive 32-acre property.

It takes pride in its practice putting green and three tee placements, making it an ideal practice area for casual and first-time golfers.

The facility also comes with a Pro Shop.

Red Bird Golf Links is on the Cherokee Trail, offering scenic views of the Horsepasture River.

Marvel at the Dramatic Landscapes at Sapphire National Golf Club

Dramatic and challenging—Sapphire National Golf Club is every competing golfer’s paradise.

With premier elevation changes and stunning mountain views all around, it’s hard not to see why.

This course is the only 18-hole championship golf layout within Sapphire, Cashier, and Highlands region, too!

Its course design came from world-renowned designer Ron Garl.

All around the course, you’ll find serene waterfalls and natural terrain.

But don’t let the challenging bunkers and intimidating slopes scare you into having a good time, though.

Nestled within the Sapphire Valley Resort area, Sapphire National Golf Club is on Slicers Avenue.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning a ski trip or fishing vacation, Sapphire is an ideal location, offering majestic mountains and a picturesque lake.

For a memorable stay here, check out the best things to do in Sapphire Valley, North Carolina.

© All rights reserved.