In the quiet shadows of layers of mountains, Lake Santeetlah's 76 miles of shoreline are mostly protected as national forest. Enjoy the silence via canoe, sea kayak or stand up paddleboard. Afterward, head to the lakeside bar and dock at Blue Waters Mountain Lodge. Editor's tip: For lakeside camping with a few amenities--hot showers and flush toilets--Cheoah Point Campground has car campsites for $20 a night.
Boat rentals: santeetlahmarina.com
Blue Waters Mountain Lodge: bluewatersmtnl.com
Cheoah Point Campground: 828/479-6431