Usually when something is described as a “best kept secret,” red flags pop up. Rocky Bluff, though, is a well-concealed gem, just three miles down NC 209 from Hot Springs. Again, the no reservations policy is a contributing factor, as is its location in an area that’s not exactly on the way to anything — except Hot Springs, which too few people have an appreciation of. For one, there are the hot springs. But there’s also a great trail-down downtown with good burger joints, a great outfitter (Bluff Mountain) and a vibe that invites you to just hang. But there’s also white-water rafting on the French Broad (Hot Springs Rafting) and the Appalachian Trail runs through town, heading north over Rich Mountain, south to Max Patch.


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