Fodor's Expert Review Mt. Mitchell State Park
This park—established in 1915 as North Carolina's first state park—includes the 6,684-foot Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain peak east of the Rockies. The summit was named after Elisha Mitchell, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, who died from a fall while trying to prove the mountain's true height. At the 1,946-acre park you can climb an observation tower and also get food (May–October) at a restaurant. You can drive to a parking area about 100 feet from the summit and hike the short distance to the summit. Clouds obscure the views here for at least parts of 8 days out of 10. The park may close in winter due to ice and snow so call ahead if you plan to visit that time of year.