Highlands and Cashiers, North Carolina, are charming mountain towns offering an array of attractions and amenities. Still, they cater to slightly different preferences regarding accommodations, outdoor activities, downtown shopping, food options, and golf opportunities.

Here’s a comparative overview to highlight the differences between the two:


  • Highlands: Known for its luxury accommodations, Highlands boasts a variety of upscale hotels, inns, and resorts that cater to those looking for a refined mountain experience. These accommodations often offer spa services, gourmet dining, and exquisite mountain views, appealing to visitors seeking comfort and elegance.
  • Cashiers: While Cashiers also offers a range of lodging options, the focus here is more on cozy, rustic cabins, family-friendly cottages, and vacation rentals that provide a comfortable base for outdoor adventures. The accommodations in Cashiers tend to be more laid-back, reflecting the town’s casual, nature-centric vibe.

Outdoor Activities

  • Highlands: Highlands is surrounded by waterfalls, hiking trails, and scenic overlooks. The area is particularly famous for its waterfalls, such as Bridal Veil Falls and Dry Falls, and the nearby trails offer everything from easy walks to challenging hikes. Highlands also serves as an excellent base for exploring the Nantahala National Forest.
  • Cashiers: Cashiers is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, thanks to its proximity to Lake Glenville, which offers swimming, fishing, kayaking, and boating. The Panthertown Valley, located nearby, provides a diverse network of trails for hiking and mountain biking, earning it the nickname “Yosemite of the East.”

Downtown Shopping Opportunities

  • Highlands: The downtown area of Highlands is filled with upscale boutiques, art galleries, and specialty shops offering everything from high-end fashion to handcrafted jewelry and fine art. This bustling downtown is ideal for those who appreciate a sophisticated shopping experience.
  • Cashiers: Cashiers features a more laid-back, spread-out downtown area focusing on local crafts, antiques, and home decor. The Cashiers Farmers Market is a highlight, offering local produce, homemade goods, and a taste of community spirit. Shopping here is more about discovering unique finds and supporting local artisans.

Great Food Opportunities

  • Highlands: Highlands is renowned for its dining scene, which includes fine dining restaurants, gourmet eateries, and wine bars. Many restaurants here offer chef-driven menus featuring locally sourced ingredients, sophisticated ambiance, and impressive wine lists.
  • Cashiers: Cashiers also boasts a variety of dining options but with a more casual, family-friendly atmosphere. The food scene here includes cozy cafes, barbecue joints, and farm-to-table restaurants that emphasize fresh, local fare in a relaxed setting.


  • Highlands: The golfing experience in Highlands is characterized by exclusive private clubs and beautifully maintained courses that offer challenging play amidst stunning mountain backdrops. The Highlands Country Club and the Old Edwards Club are just a couple of the premier golfing destinations in the area.
  • Cashiers: Cashiers offers a mix of private and public golf courses that cater to all skill levels. The area is known for its scenic courses, such as the Sapphire National Golf Club, which provides a memorable golfing experience with views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.

While both Highlands and Cashiers offer a delightful mountain retreat with ample opportunities for relaxation and outdoor adventures, Highlands leans more towards luxury and sophistication, with upscale accommodations, fine dining, and exclusive golf clubs. Cashiers, in contrast, offers a more relaxed atmosphere with family-friendly accommodations, a focus on water-based outdoor activities, casual dining, and a mix of golfing options. The choice between the two depends largely on personal preferences regarding the mountain experience one seeks.

Whether you’re drawn to the upscale charm and elegance of Highlands or the laid-back, nature-focused ambiance of Cashiers, both towns offer unique and enriching experiences for visitors and potential residents alike. From luxurious accommodations and fine dining to breathtaking outdoor activities and quaint shopping opportunities, there’s something special waiting for you in these mountain paradises. If you’ve been inspired by the beauty and lifestyle of Highlands and Cashiers and are dreaming of your own custom home in these picturesque settings, now is the perfect time to start that conversation. Contact Brian Horner Custom Homes to discuss how we can bring your vision to life. With a reputation for excellence and a passion for creating beautiful, custom-built homes, Brian Horner Custom Homes is your partner in turning your mountain retreat dream into a reality. Reach out today to begin the journey to your perfect home in the mountains.


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