Cruising along a quiet road on Kauai’s west side, I’m offered a glimpse into the Hawaiian countryside. Filling my view are green rolling hills, cows grazing, and papaya fields. Sparsely developed, this is what I imagine more of Hawaii used to look like before its booming tourist industry kicked in. It pleases me to see there is a quieter side to this island paradise.

Affordable family fun is only a two-hour drive from Charlotte into North Carolina’s High Country. Two natural wonders are barely four miles apart nestled, quite literally, in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. It is very easy for your family to see an active limestone cavern and the state’s most popular waterfall, making this a perfect day trip from the Queen City.