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Note: This is part of a history series on popular tourism activities in Transylvania County. A corresponding display is on the second floor of the Transylvania County Library through July 2024.

Rockbrook campers ready for a field trip

People engage in new experiences and meet friends by venturing out of their comfort zone and into the outdoors. Transylvania County has a high concentration of summer camps; for over one hundred years 34 camps have come and gone – with some remaining for the duration and still going strong.

According to a 1920s tourism brochure, Transylvania County was an ideal destination for families, because children could attend camp whilst their parents enjoyed their own leisure time, seeing their children on weekends.

Eagle’s Nest Camp bus, 1946

Advertisements extolled the fresh air, educational opportunities, and amenities of the camps to convince parents to sign up their children for a summertime adventure in the forests, fields, rivers, and lakes of Transylvania County.

Campers could ride horseback, canoe, swim, make crafts, play games, sing songs, and learn more about living in the outdoors during their camp sessions.

Generations of campers return to the same places their parents and even grandparents attended, building relationships that last across timelines and distance. Many locals find employment with these camps – both during the summer and throughout the year as they prepare for the new season of attendees.

Camp Transylvania, which became Brevard Music Center

Camps have been an important part of the tourism industry since Transylvania County’s foundation and will likely continue to do so as long as kids love summer camp.

Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. This article was written by Local History Librarian Laura Sperry. Sources available upon request. For more information, comments, or suggestions, contact NC Room staff at [email protected] or 828-884-1820. 

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212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712