Boone, North Carolina is a charming town located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town is home to Appalachian State University, and its vibrant community offers plenty of things to do, from hiking and camping to shopping and dining.
If you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Boone is the perfect destination. Here are 24 things to do in Boone NC that you can’t miss.
Grandfather Mountain consists of two parks: part nature center, managed by Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation and part state park.
The backcountry state park is home to various wildlife, including black bears, deer, river otters, and bald eagles. Visitors can hike, bike, and drive the winding roads that traverse the park, but there are several trails for those interested in getting closer to nature. If you’re interested in camping, this is the section of the mountain where that’s possible.
The big draw here, though, is the Nature Center side of the mountain and its mile-high swinging bridge! This iconic attraction spans a narrow gap in the mountains and offers incredible views of the surrounding landscape. It used to swing, but after being rebuilt, it’s known more for its singing as the wind blows than for the swinging…but it’s still as magnificent as ever.
Don’t skip the Nature Museum and gift shops. The Grandfather Mountain Wildlife Habitats are just outside the Museum. You’ll find cougars, black bears, deer and otters playing in the water. Don’t forget to also pick up a Junior Ranger booklet. The activities include a scavenger hunt through the nature museum and questions about the animals in the wildlife habitats. Finish the activities and get an official Grandfather Mountain NC button at the Entrance Gate.
Mystery Hill is a unique attraction that offers visitors the chance to experience the laws of physics in a fun and hands-on way. The property features several optical illusions, gravity-defying hills, and even an ax-throwing range. Mystery Hill is perfect for families with kids of all ages.
You’ll also find three museums on the property, including a museum of Native American artifacts, a museum of local history, and a historic farmyard.
Details: 129 Mystery Hill Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | Website
THE CASCADE TRAIL
Conveniently located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Cascade Trail is a popular spot for hikers and mountain bikers. The trail winds its way through the forest, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The hike to the summit is moderate, making it the perfect activity for weekend warriors.
The highlight of this trail, as the name implies, is a series of ten waterfalls that cascade down the mountain. Be sure to bring your camera!
Details: Purlear, NC 28665 | Website
SNOW MUCH FUN
The previous entries on this list have been focused on all-season activities, but Boone is also a great place to enjoy the winter months. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the town has a number of other activities to keep you busy.
Snow tubing is a popular activity at Sugar Mountain Resort, and the town also offers ice skating and snowshoeing. If you’re looking for something a little more low-key, why not take a scenic sleigh ride through the mountains?
Playing in the snow is one of the best things to do in Boone NC!
APPALACHIAN SKI MOUNTAIN
Appalachian Ski Mountain is the largest ski resort in North Carolina, and it offers something for everyone. The novice slopes are perfect for those just starting out, while the more experienced skiers will enjoy the black diamond runs. There’s also a terrain park for those who want to test their skills on obstacles and jumps.
The site has been operating for over 50 years, and its historic charm is part of what makes it so special. When you’re not hitting the slopes, check out the on-site restaurant, which gained a reputation for serving up hearty mountain fares.
Details: 940 Ski Mountain Rd, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | Website
BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT
Similar to Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain Resort is a great place to enjoy the winter months. This option has a more alpine feel, with a European-style village located at the mountain’s base.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore, or you can take a scenic chairlift ride to the top of the mountain. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even go for a hike!
Details: 1007 Beech Mountain Pkwy, Beech Mountain, NC 28604 | Website
Sugar Mountain is a crowd-favorite in Banner Elk. The mountain is home to some of the best downhill and cross-country skiing in the state and a terrain park.
The conditions here are usually better than at other resorts, thanks to the high country elevation and the slopes facing north. This means that you’ll have access to fresh powder all season long.
Details: 1009 Sugar Mountain Dr., Sugar Mountain, NC 28604 | Website
DANIEL BOONE NATIVE GARDENS
If you’re looking for a more educational activity, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens is a great option. This botanical garden is home to various plants and trees from the Appalachian region, and it offers visitors the chance to learn about their natural history.
Daniel Boone was a pioneer explorer and noted frontiersman, so it’s fitting that the garden is named after him.
The gated garden located in downtown Boone is open year-round and makes for an excellent place to take a stroll on a sunny day. If you’re in town during butterfly season, check out the butterfly garden!
Details: 651 Horn in the W Dr., Boone, NC 28607 | Website
HICKORY RIDGE LIVING HISTORY MUSEUM
The Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. The museum tells the story of the early settlers in the Appalachian Mountains, and it features many interactive exhibits.
You can try your hand at tasks like making candles and butter, or you can explore the on-site cabin. The museum also hosts events throughout the year, like “Horn in the West.” The outdoor drama is produced every summer and tells the story of Daniel Boone and the early settlers.
Details: 591 Horn in the W Dr., Boone, NC 28607 | Website
Summon your inner Indiana Jones and explore the Linville Caverns. These limestone caves are located just a few miles from Boone, and they offer visitors the chance to see some of the most beautiful formations in the state.
The cave system is made up of 12 different levels, and it’s home to various animals like spiders, bats, and salamanders. Be sure to dress warmly, as the temperature inside the caverns is a constant 54 degrees Fahrenheit!
The tour is guided, and it lasts about an hour. You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes, as a fair amount of walking is involved.
Details: 19929 US 221 North, Marion, NC 28752 | Website
Do your children love playing cowboys and Indians? Then they’re going to love the Tweetsie Railroad! This amusement park is located in Blowing Rock, and it offers family-friendly rides and attractions.
Tweetsie Railroad is open from April to October, and the grounds are equipped so that everyone can enjoy a day of fun. Ride a three-mile train ride through the park, explore the Wild West town, or go for a spin in the amusement park. There’s also a petting zoo and a playground for the kids.
Details: 300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | Website
ELK KNOB STATE PARK
If you’re looking for a place to get away from it all, Elk Knob State Park is the perfect spot. This park is located in Todd, one of NC’s highest mountain towns, and it offers visitors the chance to enjoy nature at its finest.
The park allows camping, fishing, horseback riding, or picnicking. It’s also a great place for hiking, with trails that range from easy to strenuous. The views from the summit of Elk Knob are simply breathtaking, so be sure to bring your camera!
Details: 5564 Meat Camp Rd, Todd, NC 28684 | Website
MAST GENERAL STORE
For a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out Mast General Store. This store is located in downtown Boone, and it offers a variety of items, from traditional Appalachian clothing to camping gear.
Their Winkler knives are especially popular, and they offer a wide selection of souvenirs. Mast General Store is the perfect place to find a unique gift for someone back home.
Details: 630 W King St, Boone, NC 28607 | Website
LAUREL CREEK FALLS
Next on the list is Laurel Creek Falls. This waterfall is located about 10 miles from Boone, and it’s an excellent place for a day hike. The trail to the falls is easy to follow, and it’s only about 2 miles long.
The waterfall is prettiest in the spring when the water is running high. Bring your camera and a picnic lunch, as there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view.
Details: US-321, Boone, NC 28607 | Website
TURTLE ISLAND PRESERVE
Turtle Island Preserve is a must-visit for nature lovers. This preserve is located in Watauga County, and it’s home to a variety of plant and animal species.
The preserve offers a number of different programs, like environmental education classes and overnight camping trips. You can also hike or take a canoe out on the river.
Details: 2683 Little Laurel Rd, Boone, NC 28607 | Website
Any adrenaline junkies out there? There’s something unique about rafting down the rapids of the New River. This activity is sure to get your heart racing!
Several different companies offer rafting trips, ranging from beginner to expert level. Be sure to check the safety rating of each company before you book!
BOONESHINE BREWING COMPANY
After a long day of exploring, you’ll need a place to relax. Booneshine Brewing Company is the perfect spot. This brewery is located in downtown Boone, and it offers a variety of beer styles for everyone to enjoy.
They have a tasting room where you can sample their different brews, or you can buy a growler to take home with you. Booneshine Brewing Company also hosts many events, like live music and food trucks.
Details: 465 Industrial Park Dr., Boone, NC 28607 | Website
FOGGY MOUNTAIN GEM MINE
For a little shopping therapy, head on over to Foggy Mountain Gem Mine. This family-owned and operated business offers various gemstones and jewelry for sale. You can either dig through the piles of dirt yourself or have a staff member do it for you. They can cut and polish your stones to turn them into a piece of jewelry that you’ll love.
The final product is elegant and meaningful, and will resonate with its owner for a long time.
Details: 4416 NC-105 S, Boone, NC 28607 | Website
THE GREENWAY TRAIL
If you’re looking for a place to walk or bike, check out the Greenway Trail. This collection of hiking trails is looped together, and it’s a great place to get some exercise.
The trail is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your four-legged friend along. There are multiple different access points, so you can start at any point that’s convenient for you.
Details: Boone, NC 28607 | Website
MOSES H. CONE MEMORIAL PARK
Located just a short drive from Boone is Moses H. Cone Memorial Park. This park is named after the man who created the famous textile mills in the area. The park offers many different activities, like horseback riding, fishing, and hiking.
You’ll also find historic buildings and gardens throughout the park.
Details: Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 294, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 | Website
Another mountain that’s worth hiking is Howard Knob. This mountain is located 30 minutes from Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, and it offers stunning views of the surrounding area.
The trail to the top is pretty challenging, but it’s worth it. So much so that the Appalachian State University hosts a yearly race there for charity.
Details: 604 Howards Knob Rd, Boone, NC 28607 | Website
THE BLOWING ROCK
Dubbed ‘North Carolina’s Oldest Attraction,’ The Blowing Rock is amazing and a must-visit when you’re in the area. This natural wonder is a cliff that juts out over the John’s River Gorge, and when the wind picks up, it causes the water to swirl around the rocks.
Since the 1800s, people have been coming to see The Blowing Rock. There’s a visitor center on-site, as well as a gift shop and a restaurant. You can also hike the trails that lead to the top of the cliff.
From music festivals to a farmers market, there’s always something happening at the Blowing Rock. Visit their website to see what’s happening while you’re in town.
LINVILLE FALLS WINERY
If wine is more your thing, you might want to visit Linville Falls Winery. This Napa-worthy winery is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it offers a variety of wine tastings.
They also have food trucks and live music on the weekends, so it’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine. The nearby waterfalls are also worth a visit.
Details: 9557 Linville Falls Hwy, Newland, NC 28657 | Website
Zoom through the mountain canopy on a zipline! Hawksnest Zipline is one of the longest and fastest ziplines in the area, and it’s definitely a thrill-seeker’s dream.
You’ll fly over the trees and get a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding area. This is a great activity for anyone who wants to feel like they’re a superhero for a day. There are three separate zip lines, all named after birds of prey. The Hawk is the most scenic and features 11 platforms and a sky bridge.
Details: 2058 Skyland Dr., Seven Devils, NC 28604 | Website
BANNER ELK WINERY
The Banner Elk Winery and Villa doubles as a working winery and bed and breakfast. This is the perfect place to stay if you want to experience all that the area has to offer.
The villa offers a variety of amenities, like a luxurious fireplace, a hot tub, and a gourmet kitchen. And if you’re looking for something to do, the winery offers wine tastings and tours. The blueberry orchard on the property is also an excellent place for a walk.
Finally, the veranda is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while taking in the stunning views of the mountains.
Details: 60 Deer Run, Banner Elk, NC 28604 | Website
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO NORTH CAROLINA
- BEST THINGS TO DO IN NORTH CAROLINA: 45+ BEST Things To Do In North Carolina For An Amazing Time
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