Organized outdoor pursuits available along the Blue Ridge Parkway include whitewater rafting and canoeing, most of it on the Nolichucky River near the Tennessee border, south of Johnson City, Tennessee, but also on the Watauga River and Wilson Creek. Companies running trips include Nantahala Outdoor Center (888 905 7238, noc.com) and High Mountain Expeditions (800 262 9036, highmountainexpeditions.com), who also offer biking, hiking and tubing trips. Expect to pay around $85 per person for a full day of rafting.

Winter sees skiing at a number of slopes and resorts, particularly around Banner Elk, sixteen miles southwest of Boone. Resort accommodation is expensive, ski passes less so. Appalachian Ski Mountain (appskimtn.com) is near Blowing Rock and Ski Beech (beechmountainresort.com); the highest ski area in the east, is at Beech Mountain. You can pick up full listings at visitor centres, or check highcountryhost.com.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

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