Day trips from Boone

Charleston (West Virginia)

Blacksburg (Virginia)

Blue Ridge Parkway

Durham (North Carolina)

Winston Salem

Chapel Hill

Greenville (South Carolina)

Hendersonville (North Carolina)

Biltmore Estate

Wicked Weed Brewing

Cherokee (North Carolina)

Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Pigeon Forge

Johnson City (Tennessee)

State park day trips from Boone

Kanawha State Forest

Pinnacle Rock State Park

Babcock State Park

Calvin Price State Forest

Jefferson National Forest

Douthat State Park

Claytor Lake State Park

Eno River State Park

Uwharrie National Forest

Morrow Mountain State Park

Chester State Park

Dreher Island State Park

Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site

Ninety Six National Historic Site

Bobby Brown State Outdoor Recreation Area

Paris Mountain State Park

Smithgall Woods State Park

Moccasin Creek State Park

Nantahala National Forest

Big Ridge State Park

Indian Mountain State Park

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park

Jenny Wiley State Resort Park

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Travel time from Boone, NC

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Distance from Boone, NC

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Boone, North Carolina is located at latitude/longitude coordinates 36° 12' 59" N  /  81° 40' 28" W

NC Mountains Day Trips Itineraries

One of the great things about the NC High Country is the chance to visit small towns tucked in the mountains.  Each town is unique and the best way to experience each one during your stay is with a day trip! Check out our favorite NC Mountains Day Trip Itineraries below:

Ashe County Art Day Trip

Ashe County NC Art Day Trip

Beech Mountain NC Day Trip

Beech Mountain NC Day Trip Things to Do

Crossnore NC Day Trip Things to Do

Crossnore NC Day Trip Things to Do

day trips from boone nc

Downtown Boone NC Day Trip Itinerary

NC High Country Frescoe Trail

NC High Country Frescoe Trail

High Country Wine Trail

NC High Country Wine Trail

Valle Crucis Day Trip

Valle Crucis NC Day Trip Things to D0

West Jefferson NC Day Trip

West Jefferson NC Day Trip Things to Do

Wilkesboro NC Top Things to Do Day Trip

Wilkesboro NC Top Things to Do Day Trip

Sparta NC Barn Quilt Trail

Sparta NC Barn Quilt Trail

day trips from boone nc

Blowing Rock NC Art & History Day Trip

Lenoir NC Top Things to Do

Lenoir NC Top Things to Do

day trips from boone nc

Seven Devils NC Day Trip

Sculpture Tour NC Mountains High Country

NC Mountains Sculpture Tour

Little Switzerland Day Trip Things to DO

Little Switzerland Day Trip Things to Do

Sparta NC Day Trip Things to Do

Sparta NC Day Trip Things to Do

day trips from boone nc

Lansing NC Things to Do Daytrip

Top Trips

Top 14 road trips from Boone (North Carolina)

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THE BEST Day Trips from Boone

Day trips from boone.

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

day trips from boone nc

1. Inspire EdVentures

day trips from boone nc

2. Wilderness Yoga Company

Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide

25 Best Things to Do in Boone NC (Blue Ridge Parkway MM 291.8)

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. All hosted affiliate links follow our editorial & privacy policies .

[Updated January 9, 2023]

Located just a couple of hours north of downtown Asheville , the town of Boone NC is the county seat for Watauga County.

This hub of North Carolina’s High Country is a slice of the Blue Ridge Mountains that’s choc-a-block with outdoor activities and other attractions.

Boone was named for American pioneer/explorer Daniel Boone , who is said to have camped within what is now the city limits on several occasions.

The town of some 20,000 residents is deeply steeped in bluegrass music and other aspects of Appalachian culture and history .

Boone is home to Appalachian State University, the headquarters of disaster relief NGO Samaritan’s Purse, and the Junalaska community , a free black community just north of downtown that has been in existence since before the Civil War.

For those seeking for a sort of Asheville feel, but with a closer connection to small town mountain roots, Boone might just be an ideal place to get away. 

It’s got a lot of modern creature comforts, yet still maintains that pioneering spirit of old.

Read on for our in-depth guide to the best things to do in Boone NC, from hiking trails and ski slopes to restaurants, museums, and other attractions.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Boone NC

Best Things to Do in Boone NC Guide

  • Daniel Boone Native Gardens
  • Hickory Ridge Living History Museum 
  • Ski the Slopes
  • Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway
  • Hike the Cascades Trail
  • The Boone Greenway
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Tweetsie Railroad
  • Sample Boone NC Restaurants
  • Shopping on King Street
  • Explore Boone’s Best Breweries
  • Grandfather Mountain
  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Park 
  • See the Blowing Rock
  • Boone Christmas Tree Farms
  • Visit Banner Elk
  • Elk Knob State Park 
  • Mountain Biking at Rocky Knob
  • Price Lake Memorial Park
  • Hike to Rough Ridge
  • Swim at Elk River Falls
  • Explore Mount Jefferson Natural Area
  • Paddle the Waters of New River State Park
  • Peruse Boone’s Farmers Market
  • Jam at a Music Festival

Things to Do in Boone Guide - The Blowing Rock

1. Daniel Boone Native Gardens

Created in 1957, Daniel Boone Native Gardens is an 8-acre tract in the town of Boone that’s dedicated to conserving native species and educating visitors about them.

Designed by Doan Ogden of Asheville and constructed in the early 1960s, the garden has lovely stone walls and walkways, a pond, and a rockery, as well as Squire Boone Cabin.

All of this sits amongst some 200-plus species of native flora, including a stunning array of North Carolina wildflowers in the Spring. 

This Boone botanical garden is open daily during the warmer months– May through October– and asks for a $2.00 donation from visitors.

Picnics and instrument picking are encouraged, but all flowers should remain untouched.

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Boone NC Hiking Trails to Explore

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Hickory Ridge Living Museum

2. Hickory Ridge Living History Museum

The Hickory Ridge Living History Museum in Boone provides visitors with a sense of what life was like for early North Carolina colonists in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

During those times, this small North Carolina mountain town was diverse, largely self-sufficient, and content with sparse luxuries.

Along with “ Horn in the West ,” a play set during the War for Independence, the Hickory Ridge History Museum is the work of the Southern Appalachian Historical Association . The organization strives to “explore, preserve, and share the region’s rich cultural heritage.”

The museum has six mountain   cabins dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Museum tours provide insight into classic crafts such as spinning, candle making, and cooking on open hearths.

READ MORE:  The 10 Best Campgrounds In Boone NC

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Ski

3. Ski the Slopes

North Carolina may not be the first location that comes to mind for skiing the slopes. But there are many great ski resorts in NC , the best of which are all located within 30 minutes of downtown Boone.

From late November through March, Boone (and the surrounding High Country) turns into one of the most popular snow skiing destinations on the Eastern seaboard.

There are three of the state’s top ski resorts nearby–  Appalachian Ski Mountain , Beech Mountain Resort , and Sugar Mountain Resort . Skiing their slopes easily ranks high among the best things to do in Boone NC in winter .

All of these places offer ski lessons for beginners. They also have snow tubing slopes for those who aren’t inclined to try skiing or snowboarding.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Places for Snow-Skiing in North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway - Linn Viaduct

4. Drive The Blue Ridge Parkway

It’s kind of a no-brainer to say that taking a spin on the Blue Ridge Parkway is truly a must when you’re exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The stretches of the BRP near Boone are among the best, offering fantastic vistas of the North Carolina Piedmont to the east and the classic Blue Ridges to the west.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was actually started near Boone (at Cumberland Knob) in 1935, and finally completed near Boone (at Grandfather Mountain) in 1987, when the awesome Linn Cove Viaduct opened.

There are over 50 noteworthy  Blue Ridge Parkway hiking trails near Boone, 20-plus overlooks , and several of the area’s most spectacular waterfalls, including Crabtree Falls , Linville Falls , and the Cascades.

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hotels & Cabin Rentals in NC & VA

Cascades Trail

5. Hike The Cascades Trail

Though it’s not particularly challenging for hikers, the Cascades Trail is a loop that stretches about one mile.

Its highlight is Falls Creek, and that moment when Falls Creek swan-dives from a cliff into a wonderful waterfall .

The paths of the Cascades Trail are very tourist friendly. They make an amiable switch from paved to gravel but remain easy to traverse throughout. In my opinion, it’s one of the best hikes near Boone NC!

The flora surrounding the trail is a mix of local hardwoods (including black locust, white oak, and chestnut oak) with a magical mix of flowering plants , such as serviceberry, mountain laurel, dogwood, flame azalea, and highbush blueberry.

Near the Tompkins Knob Parking area, you’ll find a dirt path that leads to a late-19th century cabin once owned by Jesse Brown. From there, the hike to Cascades can be extended by a mile or more.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Waynesville NC

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Greenway

6. The Boone Greenway

While most Boone hiking trails require driving out of town and disappearing into the woods, The Greenway in Boone is a flat, paved/gravel trail that is accessible to walkers, joggers, cyclists, and wheelchairs alike.

The Greenway has several routes that can be combined to provide a few miles worth of entertainment, including several bridges across the South Fork New River and Winkler’s Creek, recreational parks with picnic shelters, and highly regarded sites to watch North Carolina birds .

Along the Greenway trails, you can see the remains of an historic dam that provided electricity for the Appalachian Training School (now Appalachian State University) in the early 1900s.

The Boone Greenway can be accessed from Downtown Boone, near Clawson-Barnley Park and Southgate Shopping Complex, and takes travelers into more natural, riparian buffers along the river.

All of this adds up to make the Greenway one of the best hikes in Boone NC.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails in North Carolina

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Whitewater Raft

7. Whitewater Rafting

The NC High Country offers lots of snow-based activities in the winter . But once it has melted away and the air has warmed a little, the white water rafting here is fantastic.

With so many creeks and rivers cascading down the Blue Ridge Mountains, there are options for every skill level, and plenty of outfitters to help you access them.

High Mountain Expeditions has decades of experience, offering rafting tours on the Nolichucky River, Watauga River, and Wilsons Creek, as well as tubing , hiking, and caving adventures.

River & Earth Adventures hosts tours with an eye towards environmental awareness, and Wahoo’s Adventures  is an award-winning outfitter that offers water-based activities, land explorations, cabin rentals , and camping options.

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Things to Do in Cherokee NC & the Qualla Boundary

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Tweetsie

8. Tweetsie Railroad

For a mixture of family fun and historical context, the Tweetsie Railroad is a Wild West theme park with a steam-driven locomotive, shows, rides, a zoo of sorts, and experiential activities such as gold panning.

The rides at Tweetsie tend to be more of the fairground variety, such as Ferris Wheels and Free Falls as opposed to roller coasters.

Their live shows steer towards the Wild West theme, with bandits, dancers, and magic acts.

But the railroad itself is a major highlight here. Engine #12 is an actual narrow-gauge locomotive that historically ran between Johnson City TN , and Boone NC.

It operated from 1919 to 1940 and is the last remaining engine from that local rail line.

There’s also another narrow-gauge steam engine here, #190, which was transferred from Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon Railroad.

READ MORE:  The 10 Best Restaurants in Blowing Rock NC for Foodies

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Eat Well

9. Sample Boone NC Restaurants

The Boone restaurant scene offers a fantastic mix of the down-home cooking of the Appalachia Mountains with new-age foodie cuisine, leaning locally on fresh ingredients that celebrate the seasonal flavor.

Here are some of our picks for the best restaurants in Boone:

  • Coyote Kitchen takes Boone to the Caribbean, with soul food that includes jerk chicken tacos, coconut rice, and fried plantains. The staff is great about adjusting the menu to meet special gluten-free or vegan diets.
  • Daniel Boone Inn Restaurant has been around for more than 50 years, serving up Southern comfort food such as buttermilk biscuits, black cherry preserves, and fresh stewed apples .
  • F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Café taps into Boone’s socially conscious and youthfully hip scene. The menu is created daily based on available ingredients, includes vegetarian and vegan options, and comes with soup and desert.
  • Gamekeeper Restaurant has received the AAA Four Diamond Award for 10 consecutive years now. It focuses on humanely raised meats, local organic produce, and a wood-fired grill to create upscale dishes.

READ MORE:  The 10 Best Restaurants in Boone NC

Things to Do in Boone Guide - King Street

10. Shopping on King Street

Downtown Boone is a walkable city center with lots of restaurants, shops, and art galleries to explore. But none are quite so inviting as the ones you’ll find on King Street.

King Street is flush with the sort of specialty shops and Western NC small town character that willfully defy the big-box homogeny of the suburbs.

Antiques, collectable vinyl, Appalachian State gear, mountain bikes, handmade arts and crafts, and used books are amongst the many items to be found here.

There’s also the ubiquitous small town Mast General Store , which are impossible not to browse.

READ MORE:  3 Great Places for Ziplining in Boone NC (and Other Aerial Adventures)

Things to Do in Boone Guide - Drink Beer

11. Explore Boone’s Best Breweries

Asheville NC Breweries are the undisputed Mecca of craft beer on the East Coast. But that’s not to suggest that craft brewers aren’t finding other homes in the North Carolina mountains .

Boone has some of the best breweries in North Carolina, many of which offer inviting tasting rooms, outdoor seating, and good stuff to eat (in other words, they’re also the best bars in Boone).

Appalachian Mountain Brewery (and Cidery) offers great libations and has built their businesses with an eye on sustainability, community, and philanthropy.

The Farm 2 Flame food truck churns out wood-fired pizzas here from locally sourced ingredients.

Other popular Boone NC breweries include the Booneshine Brewing Company and Lost Province Brewing Company . There are also local microbreweries in nearby Blowing Rock, Banner Elk, and Beech Mountain.

READ MORE:  The 10 Best North Carolina Distilleries to Visit

Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain

12. Grandfather Mountain

An icon of the North Carolina High Country, Grandfather Mountain is a signature landmark of the Boone landscape and a top destination for enjoying the area’s wilderness.

Grandfather Mountain State Park spans nearly 2500 acres. It offers a multitude of challenging trails, with cliffs and ladders and rocky crags, not to mention insane biodiversity.

In addition to the park, the  Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation offers paid access to the trail system, with the bonus of a mile-high swinging bridge providing the best views.

Additionally, the park offers backpack camping sites for those looking to do overnight hikes. But for those seeking a comfy bed, the best Boone hotels are just 20 miles away.

READ MORE: Little Switzerland, NC: Cutest Mountain Town on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Flat Top Manor in Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

13. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 294, the 3500-acre Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is part of the US National Park Service.

Among the expansive area to explore, there’s a 16-acre trout lake , a larger bass lake, and over 25 miles of horse and carriage trails to enjoy.

Visitors can hike, fish, go horseback riding (rentals available), and even cross-country ski in winter. There’s also a crafty souvenir shop and amazing vistas for photography enthusiasts.

The centerpiece of “Cone Park” is the Flat Top Estate, which was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 2013. It’s well over 100 years old!

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Things to Do in Bryson City NC & Swain County

Sunset at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC - what to do in Boone NC in summer

14. See the Blowing Rock

It’s hard to imagine visiting Boone for any amount of time without taking a quick trip over to Blowing Rock, which is just under 8 miles south of town.

The town of Blowing Rock and Boone share many similar features– a centralized shopping area (Main St.), microbreweries, quality restaurants , plenty of cabin rentals , and ample nature nearby.

However, it also has one thing Boone doesn’t: The Blowing Rock . This iconic rock formation hangs above the town of Blowing Rock and is one of the oldest attractions in the area.

The Blowing Rock offers amazing scenic vistas and is famed (and named) for the unusual updraft that occurs due to its location.

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock NC

Choose the Family Tree, , courtesy Explore Boone : Watauga Co. TDA

15. Boone Christmas Tree Farms

Boone is best known for its top-notch Christmas tree farms. There are loads of Western NC Christmas Tree Farms , but the Christmas tree farms in Boone are arguably the best.

Buying a Christmas tree in Boone is far more than the typical supermarket experience. Many of the tree farms here offer the choose-and-cut selection method.

Additionally, some farms offer hot chocolate in the barn, hayrides, and/or craft shops, turning tree-shopping into a memorable Christmas event  for the whole family.

If a rousing dose of Christmas spirit is what your family is after, check out the  Cornett and Deal Tree Farm , Circle C Tree Farms , Panoramic View Christmas Tree Farm , or C&J Christmas Tree Farm .  

READ MORE:  The 10 Best Christmas Towns in North Carolina

Banner Elk, NC

16. Visit Banner Elk NC

North Carolina’s High Country has a plethora of notable Blue Ridge Mountain towns that warrant a visit, whether for a weekend, a week, or more.

Banner Elk is one of our favorite towns near Boone. It’s close to Grandfather Mountain, Otter Falls , and Elk River Falls, not to mention Beech Mountain’s ski slopes.

Consequently, the little town (with a population peaking just over a thousand) offers some great restaurants , NC wineries , and shopping for the tourists that pass through.

Banner Elk is also home to Lees-McRae College and a handful of registered historical sites , and the Elk River passes right through the heart of it! 

READ MORE:   The 10 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk NC

Scenery in Elk Knob State Park in Boone NC

17. Elk Knob State Park

Around 10 miles from Downtown Boone, Elk Knob State Park provides a wonderful day out, with the hike to the summit of Elk Knob being the showstopper.

Elk Knob State Park is one of the newest state parks in the North Carolina mountains , and it is centered around Elk Knob, which is a 5500-foot giant of a rock to climb.

The hike up to Elk Knob is challenging in that it’s a lot of elevation. But the trail itself is fantastic and demonstrates the effort of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours of labor.

Aside from the Summit Trail, there are other fun trails in the park. One is part of the NC TRACK trails for kids, and there’s another long hike that drops into the valley beside Elk Knob.

READ MORE: The 15 Best Treehouse Rentals in the North Carolina Mountains

day trips from boone nc

18. Mountain Biking at Rocky Knob

A huge investment in money and volunteer hours have been put into making Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park a fantastic facility for cyclists and hikers alike to enjoy.

The trails in the park are primarily for experienced riders, with the easiest trail —the 1.6-mile Rocky Branch Trail— being rated as a moderate ride.

The park at Rocky Knob is located right off of US-421 en route to Wilkesboro.

For mountain biking enthusiasts, a trip to Boone can combine Rocky Knob with a trip to Dark Mountain at the Kerr Scott Reservoir, just outside of Wilkesboro, for two fantastic places to ride.

READ MORE:  The Mysterious Brown Mountain Lights of Morganton NC

Lake Price in Julian Price Memorial Park, North Carolina

19. Price Lake Memorial Park 

As long as you’re in Boone NC, it seems almost a given that the Blue Ridge Parkway (particularly the section south of town) is going to feature prominently in your travel plans.

Grandfather Mountain State Park is down there. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is down there.

So is Julian Price Memorial Park, with its stunning 47-acre Price Lake– one of the most beautiful lakes in North Carolina– cozying right up alongside the Parkway.

Price Lake has a fantastic NC hiking trail that loops it, as well as on-site boat, kayak and canoe rentals. It’s also open to fishing with a valid Virginia or NC fishing license.

The Jullian Price Campground has 197 camp sites. The park also offers a 100-site picnic area for visitors to enjoy.

READ MORE:  The 15 Best Lakes in the North Carolina Mountains to Visit

Rough Ridge Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

20. Hike to Rough Ridge

Accessed via the Rough Ridge overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway , the summit can be reached via a boardwalk and hiking trail.

Note that its sharp climb in elevation can be a little challenging for those who aren’t regular hikers.

But Rough Ridge has sweeping views of the North Carolina Piedmont stretching out from the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains .

It also offers great shots of Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct.

This is one of the premier spots around Boone for catching the famous fall colors in North Carolina .

For those taking a trip to Grandfather Mountain State Park, Julian Price Memorial Park, Beacon Heights, or Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Rough Ridge makes a worthy stop along the way.  

READ MORE:  The Best Hiking in Asheville NC Bucket List (Top 25 Hiking Trails)

Couple at Elk River Falls in Banner Elk NC

21. Swim at Elk River Falls

Looking for what to do in Boone NC in summer: There is a gluttony of North Carolina waterfalls that rank amongst the most remarkable in the Blue Ridge Mountains, but few offer the swimming hole that the magnificent Elk River Falls does.

Elk River Falls is just beyond the boundaries of the tiny town of Elk Park, and it is a beauty: a 50-foot plunge that splashes down into an enormous pool surrounded by boulders that look as if they were strewn about for the purpose of sunning oneself.

The falls are about 30 miles from Downtown Boone by way of Banner Elk and Grandfather Mountain State Park.

Once in the vicinity, the waterfalls are less than a hike from the parking area, and the pool in front of them is a true NC swimming hole , i.e. whole body is submerged and has room to do laps.

READ MORE:  The 10 Best Waterfalls Near Boone NC

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, NC via

22. Explore Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

Rough and rustic, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area has several short trails to enjoy and vistas that are worth writing home about.

Mount Jefferson shoots up over 1600 feet above the valleys and countryside surrounding it, and reaching the summit requires less than a mile of hiking, round-trip.

Near the top of Mount Jefferson is a designated picnic area with 19 tables, eight grills, and a picnic shelter.

This is a newer addition to the NC State Parks collection, which means it still has a lot of the wild left in. If that sounds like a good thing…

READ MORE:  Camping and Hiking in Grayson Highlands State Park, VA

New River State Park near Boone NC

23. Paddle the Waters of New River State Park

The New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world, potentially dating back some 360 million years.

The headwaters begin near Blowing Rock before the river flows through Boone and meanders north to West Virginia .

New River State Park is one of North Carolina’s best places for enjoying the river, including fishing, paddling a canoe or kayak , and dipping in the designated beach area.

There are several access points to New River State Park: US 221, Wagoner, Kings Creek, and Elk Shoals. The official visitor center is at the US 221 access.

READ MORE:  Non-Venomous vs Venomous Snakes in North Carolina (ID Guide)

King Street Farmers Market - shopping in Boone North Carolina

24. Peruse the Boone Farmers’ Markets

Boone is the hub of Watauga County and the NC Highlands, so it is a great place to get a feel for the local produce, meats, and artisanal treats.

There are four markets to check out :

  • Watauga County Farmers’ Market (April-Nov, Saturdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm),
  • King Street Farmers’ Market (May-Oct, Tuesdays 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm),
  • Boone’s Winter Farmers’ Market (Dec-March, Saturdays 9:00 am – 12:00 pm),
  • and High Country Food Hub, an online outfit that has several pick-up points.

Not only is this a good place for getting some grub, but it’s some of the best craft shopping in Boone, North Carolina .

READ MORE:  The 20 Best Pumpkin Patches in the NC Mountains

NC Music Festivals - Merlefest via Facebook

25. Jam at a Music Festival

There are a ton of music events in Boone NC, so much so that there are likely events in Boone NC this weekend.

Among the top festivals in town and in cities close to Boone NC are

  • Appalachian Old Time Fiddlers Convention (Boone, February),
  • MerleFest (Wilkesboro, April-May),
  • Boonerang Music and Arts Festival (Downtown Boone, June),
  • An Appalachian Summer Festival (Boone, July)
  • Reevestock Music Festival (Elkin, August)
  • Antlers and Acorns: The Boone Songwriters Festival (Boone, September)
  • Spruce Pine BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival (Spruce Pine, October)

For those not coming at these particular times, fear not, music in Boone NC dances on the mountain breeze.

There are loads of local venues and performances to enjoy throughout the year.  –by Jonathon Engels; lead image by Dawson Tozier

The Best Things to Do in Boone NC including Hiking Trails, Restaurants, and other Attractions. | boone north carolina | things to do boone north carolina | best restaurants in boone nc | boone nc things to do | attractions boone nc | things to do near boone nc | best places to eat in boone nc | best restaurants in boone | best hikes near boone nc | boone nc activities | best hikes in boone nc | fun things to do in boone nc | boone things to do | things to do in boone nc in winter |

We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the  Leave No Trace   principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

Jonathon Engels

After visiting North Carolina for the first time, Senior Writer Jonathon Engels and wife Emma spent 2 years exploring Western NC in search of a homestead property. They first lived in Brevard, where Jonathon taught writing at Blue Ridge Community College and extensively explored the Blue Ridge Parkway and Pisgah National Forest. For the last several years they have lived just off the BRP near Elkin, Southwest Virginia, and the NC High Country. The couple also volunteers with the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, the Elkin Valley Trail Association, and Reeves Downtown School of Music.

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How To Spend A Long Weekend In Boone, North Carolina, According To A Local

Playing tourist in my North Carolina hometown.

Sheri Castle is an award-winning professional food writer, recipe developer, and cooking teacher with over 25 years of experience.

day trips from boone nc

  • Explore Downtown
  • Where to Eat
  • Get Outside

Cameron Reynolds

There’s a specific spot as I cruise up U.S. 421 that lets me know I’m nearly there. The road that ribbons through the foothills rises and twists like the tail of a cat. My car shifts into a lower gear, what my daddy would call “granny gear,” to dig into the climb. As the elevation increases, the temperature drops about 5 degrees for every 1,000 feet. The sweeping skyline narrows and then gives way to the Blue Ridge Mountains —I’m almost home.

I grew up in Boone, North Carolina. Both sides of my family have lived in the high mountains and deep hollers of Watauga County for over 150 years. I moved away decades ago, but it will always be the homeplace that beckons and recalibrates me. When I visit my parents, I rarely venture beyond their serene backyard, where I’m content to hang out in a metal-framed lawn chair under the sprawling maples and listen to the creek burble. Not long ago, whenever anyone asked me what to see and do in Boone, I had to sheepishly confess that I didn’t know. Their questions implied I was missing out, so I figured it was high time for me to reacquaint myself with my hometown, a place that I was once so familiar with but hardly knew at all anymore.

People have vacationed in Boone for decades, returning time and again due to what some call the “Boonerang Effect.” Tourists come in droves to enjoy the scenery and embrace the four distinct seasons. I love taking in the fall color, playing in the snow, and marveling at the spring blooms, but nothing beats the summer. So I planned my vacation for when Boone’s cooler temps feel like mercy from the shimmering heat that broils most of the South.

There are hundreds of things to see in this part of northwest North Carolina, known as the High Country. But over my four-day trip, I stayed within the city limits , starting with a stroll through the downtown business district, which is about three square blocks and abuts the campus of Appalachian State University ( App State ). When I was a kid, Boone was a rural place with a small school. Now it’s a college-football town with nearly as many students passing through each year as there are permanent residents. As businesses that appeal to locals have left the downtown area, restaurants and shops that attract scholars and sightseers have moved into original brick buildings featuring beautiful facades—with some structures dating to the late 1800s and none more than two stories tall. About 20,000 university students, throngs of enthusiastic visiting alumni, and the bustling tourist traffic ensure Boone has no slow season.

Downtown Charm

A smart first stop on a self-guided (or simply meandering) poke around Boone is the Jones House community center, a welcoming source of information and brochures. It’s in a pretty white house with a manicured lawn that hosts live music and art shows on the weekends. Old pictures and maps that show the Boone of yore hang in the front parlor, serving as nostalgic reminders for those of us who still refer to streets and landmarks by what they were once called and also as helpful background for visitors.

History permeates all of Boone, where American pioneers first homesteaded in the 1700s. It’s named for Daniel Boone, who used the area as a hunting camp. A bronze statue of Boone and his hounds sits in Tomlinson Park at the corner of Rivers Street and Stadium Drive.

Next door to the Jones House is the Mast General Store, which occupies the former Hunt’s Department Store and features a curious Y-shaped staircase and original wooden floors that creak in the best ways. It’s filled with apparel, kitchenware, and outdoor-adventure gear, and the merchandise displays are like time capsules. Down the back stairs is the Candy Barrel, a room with toys and containers full of bulk sweets (including old-timey kinds like Mary Janes and Ice Cubes) to scoop into little paper sacks.

Across the street and down a bit is the 1938 Appalachian Theatre, where I always begged to sit in the balcony. After a long battle to save it from demolition and then an extensive restoration, it is now a venue for music and dance performances, film festivals , and classic-movie nights.

A block away is another impressively repurposed and revitalized building, The Horton Hotel , Boone’s only boutique stay. Housed in a former Studebaker dealership that also served as a department store, the 15 rooms (some pet friendly) can book up weeks in advance, but the lobby and rooftop bars are open to the public. The views up high are incomparable at night, when lights in the surrounding hills twinkle like fireflies. I marvel at the fact that I can now order a craft cocktail in Boone, a town that was dry from 1949 to 1986.

Downtown is full of stores and galleries highlighting area artists. Doe Ridge Pottery specializes in unique but functional ceramics and is a stop on the official Blue Ridge Craft Trails . There are also places to pick up black-and-gold App State clothing and memorabilia.

Take a break at Lost Province Brewing Co. , a microbrewery and gastropub that is part of the Neck of the Woods Flavor Trail—a nod to the High Country’s efforts to showcase local products. There are a dozen or so beers on tap that are brewed on-site. I sat upstairs along the windows that overlook the vats to watch the brewers work, pretty much in the same spot where my mother’s desk sat back when she was a bookkeeper for the Chevrolet dealership that once operated out of this building.

Benchmark Provisions is a specialty-foods store that's located in the basement of a former bank, as evidenced by the massive stone walls that once held up the vault. The market describes itself as a “downtown purveyor of necessities and the delectable,” including snacks ideal for picnicking and tailgating.

Come dinnertime—or perhaps more appropriately, suppertime—people often suggest Proper . This cozy restaurant occupies the oldest building downtown, which was constructed in 1889 and once held the local jail. Guests rave about the fried chicken and collards in particular. It’s one of the few places in Boone still cooking up what most folks would instantly recognize as homestyle seasonal Southern fare , both traditional and contemporary.

Not all of the excellent food and drink destinations are located downtown. Take Stick Boy Bread Co. , for example. Just across from the main entrance to App State, the small parking lot has cars darting in and out all day. This place is awash with the sweet, yeasty aromas of fresh baked goods and also has great coffee from local roasters and stocks to-go items like pizza kits and homemade soups. Restaurants and artisanal-food shops across the High Country boast that Stick Boy is the source for their bread.

Local Flavor

With so many students here, it’s not surprising to find a growing list of places dedicated to caffeine. My newest discovery is Hatchet Coffee Roasters . You can choose from espresso- and tea-based beverages or pull something chilled (such as kombucha) out of the cooler. They have a light menu and offer plenty of gifts to browse while waiting in line. Pick up a bag of their Blue Ridge Blend to take home.

I can’t resist a good produce market, especially one in Boone. On Saturday mornings, the Watauga County Farmers’ Market is filled with beautiful displays of seasonal produce, plants, baked goods, and crafts like pottery and handmade jewelry. I always stumble upon culinary treasures such as heirloom apples, half-runner beans, and candy roaster pumpkins. You’ll also find tinctures and potions reminiscent of Boone’s history as a place where mountain wildcrafters brought foraged “yarbs” (herbs) to the wholesale market in the old Wilcox warehouse, which is now home to a snazzy sushi restaurant and lofts. Parked along the side are food trucks, including Bald Guy Brewing and Betty’s Biscuits , ready to hand out hot coffee and breakfast sandwiches with all the fixings.

The folks behind Betty’s Biscuits also run The Beacon Butcher Bar , a restaurant melding Italian and Appalachian flavors. As the name implies, it has wonderful smoked and grilled meats and fish—as well as pastas and pizzas. I can’t stop thinking about the Neapolitan-style pie with apple butter, roasted squash, and blue cheese.

If it’s true that you can gauge an eatery by the number of cars lined up to get in, then the backup that can spill onto Blowing Rock Road is a rousing endorsement for the Come Back Shack . It’s known for burgers with a long list of toppings, hand-cut fries, massive milkshakes, and other treats. There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but most people choose the drive-through and roll on to their next activity.

Craft breweries keep the drinks flowing in Boone, to the delight of students and tourists alike. I got a kick out of Booneshine Brewing Co. , on the eastern edge of town near Brookshire Park. There’s a tasting room, a restaurant, a beer garden, and a food truck serving barbecue. Another popular watering hole is Appalachian Mountain Brewery , thanks to its large indoor taproom and an even bigger beer garden. They offer around 30 beverages, including small-batch brews, hard ciders, and seltzers.

Adventures For All

Ah, yes, Boone is outdoorsy, to say the least. You’ll discover breathtaking scenery and mountain vistas everywhere you turn. Try gazing up at Howard Knob, one of the highest peaks in the city. Or enjoy it from the small park at the top, which at an elevation of 4,396 feet, offers panoramic views of much of Watauga County.

One thing I love about this town is that you don’t have to venture far afield for a solid hike or a casual walk. The Greenway Trail system crosses meadows, soars over bridges, ducks under roads, and meanders streamside with ample benches and picnic spots along the way. It’s just right for those who are looking for a taste of Boone’s natural beauty but want to stick to wearing sneakers or comfy sandals.

For a more serious hike , lace up sturdy shoes and head to the Appalachian State University Nature Preserve, a 67-acre sanctuary that’s the largest contiguous forest still standing in town. App State uses it for classes and research, but well-behaved visitors can enjoy it too.

The 185-acre grounds of Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park contain five main trails of various lengths and difficulty levels plus four separate skills areas, not to mention gorgeous vistas. It draws biking enthusiasts from all over the country, though intermediate hikers can trek in designated zones.

Despite all I did, saw, ate, and sipped during my jam-packed four-day excursion, I realize that I’ve only scratched the surface of my hometown and could easily stay occupied and entertained for many more days. I’ll be back, like a Boonerang.

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Travel Itineraries

Wondering what to do in boone start with one of these itineraries.  .

Family Biking on Railroad Grade Road


With plenty of activities and attractions younger visitors love, Boone is all about family fun!

Make a family weekend in Boone even more fantastic and take three days or longer! This energetic itinerary can also be the core of a relaxed week-long vacation in the Boone Area.

Make a visit to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain . Then keep the fun on track at Tweetsie Railroad theme park. Either day, the action can continue with a memorable evening under the stars enjoying the summertime pageantry and historical insights of the Horn in the West outdoor drama.

On day three, sample any number of great family-centric, easily accessible outdoor adventures - or spread them out over a longer visit.

Grandfather Vineyards | Boone, NC


Explore three award-winning wineries in the Appalachian High Country American Viticultural Area. 

Our High Country wineries are already winning awards and attracting fine wine aficionados. Explore the loftiest vineyards in the East as you enjoy three sophisticated viticultural experiences on the Boone Area Wine Trail.

Take this spectacular scenic loop through the NC High Country to visit the Grandfather Vineyard & Winery in Foscoe, the Linville Falls Winery in Linville Falls, and the Banner Elk Winery in Banner Elk.

Meet the vintners, tour the wineries, sample the wines - and take home a souvenir glass and a few bottles or more for later. There's nothing like great wine and memories of the mountains to make a special meal even more so.

A woman browses in front of shelves at Common Good Co.


It's artsy, artisanal, authentic and it's all here in the Boone area. 

There's no need to wade through the crowds for mundane gifts - nowhere is the "buy local" trend more evident than in the Boone Area. Handcrafted items, one-of-a-kind works of art, and quirkily curated collections of unique products are a staple of local galleries and specialty shops. The range of distinctive finds is astounding. Surprise someone with a fresh Christmas tree, a succulent country ham, or an award-winning local wine. 

Best of all, a shopping spree in the High Country is so much more than a slog through endless parking lots and bumper-to-bumper traffic. The mountains are everywhere around you, so your shopping excursion is also a tour of one of the East's most scenic spots.

A couple toasts with wine glasses in white robes on a wicker couch outdoors.


Escape to Boone and remind yourselves what togetherness is all about.

The Boone Area's romantic options offer a distinctive atmosphere and ambiance - and it doesn't matter that Valentine's Day is only one day a year. There's still spring, summer, winter and glorious fall for your weekend escape. You can always plan ahead because any season is prime time for romance in the mountains.   

A wooden shelf is filled with colorful pottery; hanging mugs, bowls, and plates.


Find inspiration at the same sites that have influenced countless works of art.

Take a three-day weekend and explore nearly a dozen working craft galleries around Boone highlighted by Blue Ridge Craft Trails. All of these exhibit heritage crafts created using skills passed down from one generation to the next, preserving Appalachian culture within beautiful, functional art. 

Stop in the galleries, say "Hello!" to the artists, revel in the majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and try out some of the area's best restaurants along the way.

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Gather the girlfriends for an unforgettable mountain getaway.

Enjoy the finer things in life with best friends using our Girls' Getaway Itinerary. Treat yourselves to the area's best spas, tastiest restaurants, awesome live performances, and award-winning wineries. Spend time together in the crisp mountain air, all while taking in the incredible surrounding vistas. 

App State Women's Basketball

App state men's basketball, the gibson brothers, climate change on canada’s highest peak with alison criscitiello, global good conference and awards luncheon: revisioning tourism for good, 2023 veterans day commemoration, football & food trucks at lost province hardin creek, spooky duke race, watauga county farmers' market, yoga & lunch on the mountain.

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17+ Best Things to Do in Boone NC (2023)

Mountain Towns , Things To Do

Boone NC is a charming Blue Ridge Mountain town with a lot to offer visitors. From hiking and biking to wine tasting, shopping, dining and more there are endless things to do in Boone NC.

Boone is home to Appalachian State University , making it a vibrant and youthful college town. Boone is also a great place to get outdoors and enjoy the scenic beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In this article, we'll explore many of the very best things to do in Boone NC.  We have visited Boone many times over the years, but most recently during the late summer of 2023, where we spent a long weekend. We not only had an amazing time, we experienced all the things to do in Boone NC highlighted below.  

So let's discover together all the amazing and fun things to do in Boone NC!

About Boone NC

Boone, NC is a beautiful mountain town in the "High Country" of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Boone has a wonderful mix of shops, restaurants, galleries, museums, theaters and outdoor activities that make it a great place to live or visit.

From skiing to hiking to waterfalls and scenic drives, Boone is a great destination for anyone looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation.

The history of Boone NC dates back to the early 1800s. They named the town in 1872, in honor of Daniel Boone, who explored the area and influenced the history and establishment of the area in the 1760s.  

Today, Boone is a thriving mountain town with a population of over 17,000 people. The town is home to Appalachian State University, as well as several other colleges and universities. Boone is a popular tourist destination with lots of attractions like Horn in the West, hiking trails, waterfalls, shopping, breweries, and wineries..

Our Picks for the Top 17+ Things to do in Boone NC

Horn in the West

Boone NC is full of fun and amazing things do and see. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing, skiing, and more.. 

Boone has plenty of options for those who want to unwind. You can shop, listen to live music, attend events, dine in cafes, restaurants, breweries, and wineries, or take a scenic drive..

Boone literally has it all, with tons of charm, great places to stay, and modern conveniences as well.

Experience Horn in the West Outdoor Drama

Since 1952, they have been performing Horn in the West, an outdoor drama in Boone. The show depicts the hardy mountain settlers of the Blue Ridge Mountains and their fight for freedom before and during the War for Independence..

They set the drama in the 18th century and features a cast of local actors. They performed the show in a historic outdoor amphitheater in town. The costumes, set design, and music take the audiences back to the 18th century, before the town was formed, creating an immersive experience. Daniel Boone is a prominent figure in the show.

Horn in the West is a family-friendly show that is enjoyed by people of all ages. The show is approximately two hours long with an intermission. They hold performances Tuesday through Saturday evenings from June through August.

Besides the show, there are several other activities to enjoy at Horn in the West. Visitors can explore the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, which features exhibits on the history of the area. There is also a gift shop on site where visitors can purchase souvenirs and memorabilia and a snack bar with drinks and various items to eat.

Horn in the West is a fantastic way to learn about the history of Boone NC and these mountains. If you are planning a trip to the Boone, be sure to check out Horn in the West - you won't want to miss this wonderful show.

We're a little ashamed to admit that we didn't even know this existed until recently and we were kicking ourselves for not finding out about it sooner. The show was amazing. The actors and performers did a fantastic job, and the musical numbers were just stunning. We enjoyed the story, the history, the actors, and the various scenes. The production team really put together a wonderful show..

The story is very informative, entertaining, and moving. We left the show, not only entertained, but with a genuine appreciation for the sacrifice that the pioneers of these mountain communities made to be where we are today.   

Here are some tips for planning your trip to see Horn in the West:

  • Book your tickets in advance, especially if you are planning to see a show on a weekend.
  • Arrive early so you can explore the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum and see the various live exhibits.
  • Be prepared for the weather, as they perform the show, rain or shine.
  • Bring bug spray - It's an outdoor show and there are mosquitos.
  • Hang around after to meet the cast, they are wonderful folks.
  • No flash photography is allowed.

Go back in time at a vintage motel

The Blue Ridge Tourist Court Motel is a charming 1950s-style motel located just over a mile from downtown Boone, North Carolina. Guests can experience a unique and nostalgic stay after its loving restoration to its former glory.

The Blue Ridge Tourist Court Motel has 12 rooms, each of which is decorated in a different retro style and color. All the rooms have been updated with modern amenities, but they still keep their vintage charm.

The Blue Ridge Tourist Court Motel is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for a unique and affordable place to stay in Boone. The motel is close to everything that Boone offers, and it is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Plus, it's just pure fun staying at the Blue Ridge Tourist Court. You'll feel you're back in the 50s.

We stayed for the weekend in a family suite which offered a queen size bed in one room, and two bunks in the other connecting room. This makes for the perfect suite for a family.  

Both rooms have plenty of space, the beds are super comfortable. Bathrooms are retro, yet very comfortable and offer all the modern amenities.

The Blue Ridge Tourist Court is only minutes from all the action as well, as downtown Boone is less than 5 minutes away.

If you are looking for a unique and very memorable stay in Boone, North Carolina, then the Blue Ridge Tourist Court Motel is the perfect place for you. We really enjoyed our stay, and look forward to staying there again when we visit!

Visit Waterfalls near Boone

The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to many beautiful waterfalls and there are several that are near Boone NC . We visited both falls during our recent visit to Boone NC, and enjoyed them both.

Crab Orchard Falls

This waterfall is located just outside of Boone NC, in Valle Crucis NC and it is a popular destination for hikers and photographers. The hike is about a 1-mile round trip, and moderate in difficulty. There are a few short sections with very steep inclines.

Parking can be a bit of a challenge here, so get to the falls early.  The parking area is shared with a church and wedding/event venue. Pay attention to the signs to be sure you park in the right area.

When we were there, the trail was very muddy and wet as well, which made getting good footing a challenge.  We would definitely recommend a good pair of hiking boots for this trail.

The falls are pretty tall and feature several cascades down over large rocks. As you approach the falls, there is a nice wooden walkway to the base that was built by some eagle scouts. The walkway makes getting the falls much easier.  

We really enjoyed the waterfall and climbed around the large boulders and exploring.

Pro Tip - If you want to get wonderful photos, you'll need to arrive early in the morning. I took the photo above around 10:00am, and the lighting was far too harsh.

Otter Falls

Otter Falls is in Seven Devils, close to Boone and right off the main curvy and steep road up to Seven Devils. The trail to otter falls is a bit more challenging than Crab Orchard Falls, but still moderate.

Otter Falls is about 40 feet high and plunges down a large rock and cliff into a rocky stream blow with lots of small cascades. Otter Falls is really pretty and well worth the hike. It also has a very nice observation deck, and that provides excellent views of the falls.

Other Waterfalls Near Boone NC

Crabtree Falls off the Blue Ridge Parkway

These are a few of our favorite waterfalls near Boone NC, but there are more in the area, like Crabtree Falls..

Read More: See our 12+ Waterfalls Near Boone NC

Here are some tips for visiting waterfalls near Boone NC:

  • Arrive early to get good parking, the best lighting for photos, and to avoid the crowds
  • Be sure to wear footwear. You should wear hiking boots or trail runners while hiking to many waterfalls, as the trails can be slippery and muddy..
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. Hiking to waterfalls can be thirsty work, so be sure to stay hydrated.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Waterfalls can be dangerous, so be sure to stay back from the edge and watch your step.
  • Leave no trace. Be sure to pack out all of your trash and leave the waterfalls pristine for others to enjoy.

Go Hiking in Boone NC

Boone NC is surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests, making it a great place for hiking. Here are a few of the best hiking trails near Boone NC:

Elk Knob State Park

This park is home to several hiking trails, including the most popular, the Elk Knob Summit Trail, which is a 3.8-mile loop trail with an elevation gain of 1,500 feet.

Because of its length and elevation gains, the trail is challenging. The summit trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Besides the incredible views, we really enjoyed the trail's excellent maintenance.The trail is relatively new, as far as hiking trails go, and the team that built the trail put in lots of natural rock stairs, switchbacks, and scenic views. One of the best maintained trails we've hiked on.

Other Hiking Trails near Boone NC

Photo by Helga Kleinert

There are many hiking trails in and around Boone NC, so many, in fact, that we created a dedicated page for hiking trails near Boone.

Learn More: See our guide to Top Hikes Near Boone NC

Here are some tips for hiking near Boone NC:

  • Be sure to wear good footwear. It is advisable to wear hiking boots or trail runners as appropriate footwear..
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. Hiking can be thirsty work, so be sure to stay hydrated.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Hiking trails can be dangerous, so be sure to stay back from the edge and watch your step.
  • Leave no trace . Be sure to pack out all of your trash and leave the trails pristine for others to enjoy.
  • Dress in layers and temperature and weather can often vary while hiking.

Walk along Middlefork Greenway Trail

The Middlefork Greenway Trail links Boone and Blowing Rock for pedestrians and cyclists using the Middle Fork River and US 321 corridor.. Once complete, Middlefork Greenway will be 6.5 miles long and will connect with the existing Boone Greenway, creating over 15 miles of contiguous trail.

The Middlefork Greenway Trail is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. The trail has forests, meadows, and wetlands to spot wildlife.

While the trail follows along US 321, it's far enough away in most spots, so that you don't see the road, or hear it too loudly.

There are several access points to the Middlefork Greenway Trail, including:

  • Payne Branch Park - This park is in Boone and has a parking lot, restrooms, and picnic tables.
  • Sterling Creek Park -This park is in Blowing Rock and has a parking lot, restrooms, and a playground.
  • Whitener Mountain Road - This access point is between Boone and Blowing Rock and has a small parking area. This is near Mystery Hill .
  • 321 Middlefork Greenway Trail Access - There is a nice parking lot here with trail access in both directions, and a nice bridge crossing over the Middle Fork River.   

The Middlefork Greenway Trail is a great place to go for a walk, run, or a bike ride. It is also a popular spot for birdwatching and fishing. The trail is a great way to explore nature and the mountains without having to travel far at all. 

Enjoy incredible food

Vidalia of Boone

Boone NC is a definitely a foodie town given the number of outstanding restaurants that visitors have to choose from. 

There are many options, many offer delicious and unique cuisine. There are also many cultural food options to experience as well, which we enjoy.

Boone has restaurants to fit many tastes, from super casual to fine dining. Since Boone is home to Appalachian State University, there are also many restaurants that cater to students and young people on a budget, but still delivering excellent food.

Can you say, Come Back Shack ? One of our favorites.

Besides the variety of restaurants, Boone also has a strong focus on locally sourced ingredients. This means that many of the restaurants in Boone use fresh, seasonal ingredients that are grown or raised in the surrounding area. This focus on local ingredients helps to ensure that much of the food in Boone is always fresh and flavorful.

Shrimp and Grits from Vidalia

Boone is a foodie town with a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Vidalia - Our Top Pick! -  This unique restaurant locally sources many ingredients for their unique menu, with a mix of modern southern dishes and unique Asian items. The food and service were excellent!
  • Coyote Kitchen & Cantina  -  This Southwestern restaurant offers a unique mix of Mexican and Caribbean cuisine with both indoor and outdoor seating options.  
  • Melanie's -  This traditional American restaurant offers a wide variety of excellent breakfast items, burgers and sandwiches. They are in the heart of downtown Boone.
  • Dan'l Boone Inn -  This historic inn features a restaurant that serves up classic American fare with family style dining.  The food and atmosphere are wonderful.  
  • Come Back Shack  - This unique eatery serves up tasty burgers and fries.  You order online, pickup your food, and enjoy. Simple, delicious, and inexpensive. 

Read More: See our personal picks for the best restaurants in Boone NC

Grab a local brew at Booneshine Brewing Company

Booneshine Brewing Company is a craft brewery in Boone North Carolina. Booneshine Brewing Company offers a variety of craft beers, as well as a full food menu.

The brewery has both indoor and outdoor seating. The indoor seating area is spacious, with plenty of seating at the bar and tables, and is on two different levels. The outdoor seating area is smaller, making it a great place to enjoy a cold beer on a summer evening.

Booneshine Brewing Company offers a variety of craft beers, including IPAs, stouts, porters, sours, and more. The brewery also offers a variety of seasonal beers and wines as well for those who may not prefer beer.

They also have a full food menu. The menu features pub fare favorites, as well as more creative dishes. We enjoyed snacking on their pretzel, served with beer cheese, and had a couple of desserts as well. The beer and food were delicious.

When we visited, there was live music, and we really enjoyed hanging out and listening to the live music and drinking some cold local craft beers.

Explore and Shop in historic Downtown Boone

Downtown Boone is a charming historic district with a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions. Downtown Boone is also home to the Mast General Store, a well known, historic and popular general store that has pretty much everything.

Downtown Boone is a great place to find unique and locally made gifts. There are many shops selling clothing, jewelry, home goods, and souvenirs. Some of our favorite shops in downtown Boone include:

  • Mast General Store  - This iconic store has been selling outdoor gear and apparel since 1883.
  • Lucky Penny - This trendy boutique offers unique clothing and accessories for all occasions.
  • Common Good Company - This shop sells handmade pottery, jewelry, and other local craft items.
  • Appalachian Antique Mall -  This shop offers vintage and antique items ranging from furniture to collectibles.

Be sure to explore Howard Street as well, just one block off main.

In addition to shopping, there are many other things to do in downtown Boone:

  • Jones House Cultural Center -  This historic house was built in 1875 and serves as an interactive cultural center with changing exhibitions, live music, workshops and classes. 
  • See the historic Boone Post Office -   This historic post office was built in 1938 and is a fascinating piece of Boone`s history.
  • Enjoy Live Music - Downtown Boone is full of very talented street musicians.  Stop and enjoy some great tunes!
  • Doc Watson Mural and Statue -  An iconic statue and mural of legendary folk musician Doc Watson can be found in downtown Boone.  Doc Watson was a frequent visitors to Boone NC and Jones House.

There are many great cafes in downtown Boone where you can relax and enjoy a coffee or snack. Here are a few of the best:

  • Hatchet Coffee - Stop in for a hot cup of coffee or tea and stay for some freshly baked pastries and other items. They roast their own coffee, have a wonderful shop and seating/dining are.  Our favorite!
  • Venture Chocolate and Wine -  Enjoy artisanal chocolates, excellent coffee and a wide selection of locally-made wines. They make the chocolates in-house and are exceptional.
  • Wildwood Community Market -  Wildwood is a local favorite for coffee, pastries and delicious sandwiches, salads, fresh produce, and much more.  We loved this super cool open air market.
  • The Local   - This cafe has a full breakfast and lunch menu, as well as a selection of pastries and desserts.
  • The Lost Province Brewing Company - This brewery has a taproom with a full food menu.

Overall, Downtown Boone is a great place to visit for shopping, dining, and entertainment. It has a charming and vibrant atmosphere and a variety of things to see and do.

Explore Price Lake in a Canoe or Kayak

Price Lake is a gorgeous lake, near Boone NC and just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The lake is a popular spot for locals and tourists, and a great place to go canoeing, kayaking and paddle boarding. 

We rented our canoe from Price Lake Boat Rentals , at a very low cost, and thoroughly enjoyed paddling around this incredibly scenic lake. The views of Grandfather Mountain over the water are incredible.  

Once you have rented a canoe, you can paddle around the lake at your own pace. There are several interesting things to see at Price Lake, including:

  • The dam:  The dam is at the north end of the lake, and it is a popular spot for fishing and swimming.
  • The boathouse:  The boathouse is on the west side of the lake, and it is a great place to take a break and enjoy the scenery.
  • The wildlife:  Price Lake is home to a variety of wildlife, including ducks, geese, and turtles. You may even see a deer or two!

Paddling around Price Lake is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise. It is a fun activity for people of all ages, and it is a great way to see some of the beautiful scenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Wine Tasting at Grandfather Vineyard

Grandfather Vineyard is a family-owned and operated winery located just outside of Boone NC off Highway 105 between Boone and Banner Elk. The vineyard is home to over 20 grape varieties, and they produce a variety of wines, including reds, whites, and rosés.

Grandfather Vineyard is a great place to visit for a wine tasting. They offer a variety of tastings, including flights and by-the-glass pours. They also have a beautiful outdoor patio and seating area where you can enjoy your wine and the incredibly beautiful scenery.

Grandfather Vineyard is a great place to visit for a day trip or a weekend getaway. It is a beautiful setting, and the wine is excellent.

We really enjoyed sitting up on the hill, immediately next to the grapevines, and quietly enjoying our white and red wine tastings. It was raining the day we visited, and the quiet sound of the rain falling really adding to the charm and experience.

Visit Mast General Store

No mention of Boone NC shopping would be complete without mentioning the Mast General Store location in downtown Boone NC.   Mast General store has a number of locations, with the original being in Valle Crucis NC.

A visit to Mast General Store is a wonderful trip back in time, to the old general stores many of us remember as children. You'll even find the creaky old floors!

In Mast General, you can find canned goods, candy in a barrel, old-fashioned candies, clothing, sodas, home decor items, toys, and much more.  You'll even find several more modern items, including clothing and outdoor gear.  They even have the classic ice-cold RC cola and moon-pies!

We love visiting the various Mast General Stores, and the one in Boone NC is one of our favorites!

Visit the Wild West at Tweetsie Railroad

No visit to the Boone or  Blowing Rock  areas would be complete without a visit to  Tweetsie Railroad , especially if you have kids.  

Tweetsie is an Old West themed amusement park combining classic family fun with old West nostalgia. Tweetsie is located just to the south of Boone NC, near Blowing Rock.  

The Park has a lot to offer, including a historic steam locomotive train ride, live shows, amusement rides, a zoo, a chair lift, food, and shopping.!

Uncover Mysteries at Mystery Hill

Located between Boone and  Blowing Rock NC , this popular and fun attraction is well known as one of North Carolina's most "unique attractions" and for good reason.  

The main  Mystery Hill  attraction is the Natural Gravitational Anomaly ... yea, that's a mouth-full. See,  Mystery Hill  was once an old Apple Orchard, but the workers began noticing that strange things were happening, like things rolling uphill, and people feeling funny or out of balance.  Turns out, Mystery Hill is the only naturally occurring gravitational anomaly in North Carolina.

Mystery Hill provides guided tours that are fun, educational, and well ... a bit of a Mystery. You'll explore the Anomaly itself in a room where balls roll uphill, water flows uphill, you have trouble walking, and gravity just seems to be a bit off. You'll also explore the Hall of Mystery, full of hands on science experiments, and encase your family and friends in bubbles at Bubblerama.

In addition, Mystery Hill offers mechanical bull riding, axe throwing, gem mining, Appalachian and Native American museums, old time photos, food, and nature trails.   

We were skeptical about visiting, but went anyway, and really enjoyed it! Highly recommended for everyone, and especially those with kids.  Tickets prices vary by package, based on the attractions you want to visit.

Skiing and Snow Tubing at Appalachian Ski Mountain

Grab your snow gear, skis and poles, as a visit to Boone NC offers some of the best skiing and snow tubing in the state of NC, and the southeast.

Boone is well known for its winter sports action, and specifically skiing and snow tubing. There are a few nearby options, but Appalachian Ski Mountain is the closest, and the best.  

Appalachian Ski Mountain  is the first Ski Area in the "High Country", opening in 1962.  The resort features 12 different slopes for both beginners to more advanced skiers.  At a peak elevation of over 4,000 feet, Appalachian Ski Mountain offers 3 beginning courses, 6 intermediate courses, and 3 advanced courses.  Regardless of your skill level, you will find a trail that you'll enjoy.

Additionally, Appalachian Ski Mountain offers an ice rink, and  snow tubing .

Visit Grandfather Mountain

One of the most popular attractions in North Carolina is just a short drive from Boone NC, and offers incredible scenic views, a wildlife preserve, hiking, picnic areas, and the famous Mile-high Swinging Bridge.   Grandfather Mountain , at 5,946 feet in elevation, with its rocky and jagged peaks, really delivers on the full mountain experience.

Visit Grandfather Mountain, and drive up to the top summit parking area, where you can explore and walk across the famous swinging bridge.  For more adventure, visit Grandfather Mountain State Park, for some of the best and most challenging hiking on the east coast.

Grandfather Mountain is fun and an adventure for the whole family, and something you won't want to miss.

Drive the Scenic Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most famous scenic drives in the world, the   Blue Ridge Parkway  runs through Boone NC.  Boone is also a very popular access point for those wishing to drive and explore this amazing and scenic road. 

Along the parkway, near Boone NC, you can explore:

  • Moses H.  Cone Memorial Park
  • Julian Price Lake
  • Drive across Linn Cove Viaduct , and beautiful engineering marvel
  • Hike up to the top of Rough Ridge for incredible long distance views

Go Mountain Biking at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park

If you are looking to mountain bike, look no further than Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park , just a short distance from Boone NC.  This award-winning park really delivers.

Rocky Knob Park has 5 different trails:

  • 1.6-mile Rocky Branch Trail loop
  • 1-mile Middle Earth Trail
  • 4-mile Boat Rock Loop
  • A Downhill PBJ Trail, which comes off the Middle Earth Trail -  It's a exciting ride, named for its pumps, berms, and jumps.
  • Ol' Hoss - the highest elevation trail at Rocky Knob, and rated very advanced.

Besides the mountain trails, the Sunset Skills Area "pump track", on the right as you drive into the facility, provides a scenic area to warm up. Trails are open to both Mountain Bikers and hikers, just be sure to follow the recommended direction of travel for safety. Helmets are required.

Rocky Knob Park has paved parking areas, bathroom facilities, a large picnic pavilion and a playground for kids. They built the playground equipment from natural wood and ropes.  

Final Thoughts on Things to do in Boone NC

The city of Boone and the surrounding areas have plenty of activities to keep you entertained. From outdoor adventures like biking, skiing, and hiking, to shopping, dining, and museums; there is something for everyone in Boone!

We really enjoyed our visit, from the Horn in the West drama, to restaurants, to paddling price like, and everything in between.    

Whether you are looking for a day trip or an entire weekend getaway, be sure to check out all the amazing things that Boone offers.

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Larry Deane

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home. Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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25 Best Things to Do in Boone, NC

By VacationIdea Staff on July 9, 2023

 Boone, North Carolina

  • 1. Daniel Boone Native Gardens

Daniel Boone Native Gardens

651 Horn in the W Dr, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-264-6390

  • 2. Foggy Mountain Gem Mine

Foggy Mountain Gem Mine

4416 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-963-4367

  • 3. Hickory Ridge Living History Museum

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum

591 Horn in the W Dr, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-264-2120

  • 4. Appalachian Ski Mountain

Appalachian Ski Mountain

940 Ski Mountain Rd, Blowing Rock, NC 28605

  • 5. Turtle Island Preserve

Turtle Island Preserve

2683 Little Laurel Rd, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-265-2267

  • 6. The Art of Living Retreat Center

The Art of Living Retreat Center

639 Whispering Hills Rd, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-263-4910

  • 7. Howard's Knob

Howard's Knob

The magnificent views of the city and the beauty of the mountain prompted the High Country Conservancy and a number of local residents to sign a conservation easement that protects 46 acres as a natural forested area with provisions for hiking trails and a small shelter.

  • 8. Watauga County Farmer's Market

Watauga County Farmer's Market

591 Horn in the W Dr, Boone, NC 28607

  • 9. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, NC

  • 10. North Carolina Daniel Boone Heritage Trail

North Carolina Daniel Boone Heritage Trail

126 W Church St, Mocksville, NC 27028

  • 11. Booneshine Brewing Company

Booneshine Brewing Company

465 Industrial Park Drive, Boone, North Carolina 28607; Phone: 828-278-8006

  • 12. River and Earth Adventures

River and Earth Adventures

1655 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 866-411-7238

  • 13. Rock Dimensions

Rock Dimensions

131B Depot St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-265-3544

  • 14. The Cascades Trail

The Cascades Trail

Turn right at the beginning of the loop to see great views of the valley below. There are a few benches on the way. Enjoy the profusion of local plants such as dogwood, pignut, tulip tree, serviceberry, black locust, mountain laurel, flame azalea, white oak, highbush blueberry, minnie bush, and chestnut oak. As you cross the bridge over Falls Creek, the steps will lead you to two great overlooks protected by a wall. Stay behind the wall as the area can be very dangerous.

  • 15. The Greenway Trail

The Greenway Trail

You will pass a historical ruin and find many resting benches, shelters, and picnic tables as well as a number of interpretive signs on human and natural history. There are two easy loops you should not miss – one with great bird-watching opportunities and one with fabulous flower viewing. You might consider the trail a bit too tame for serious hiking, but it's perfect for families or those who prefer to simply enjoy the beauty of the Boone Area in peace and without rushing.

  • 16. Turchin Center

Turchin Center

Appalachian State University, 423 West King Street Boone, Boone, NC 28608, Phone: 828-262-3017

  • 17. High Mountain Expeditions

High Mountain Expeditions

1380 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-264-7368

  • 18. Tweetsie Railroad

Tweetsie Railroad

300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock, NC 28605

  • 19. Coyote Kitchen

Coyote Kitchen

200 Southgate Dr, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-265-4041

  • 20. Melanie’s Food Fantasy

Melanie’s Food Fantasy

664 W King St, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-263-0300

  • 21. Two Worlds Divers

Two Worlds Divers

2482 US-421, Vilas, NC 28692, Phone: 828-265-2255

  • 22. Wahoo's Adventures

Wahoo's Adventures

3385 US-321, Blowing Rock, NC 28605, Phone: 828-262-5774

  • 23. Elk Creek Outfitters

Elk Creek Outfitters

1560 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607, Phone: 828-264-6497

  • 24. Horn in the West

Horn in the West

591 Horn in the West Dr, Boone, NC 28607-4283, Phone: 828-264-2120

The top attractions to visit in Boone, NC near me today according to local experts:

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This is Raleigh

23 Unmissable Things To Do In Boone, North Carolina

If you want to check out the mountains in North Carolina on a getaway from Raleigh, then I suggest you put Boone near the top of your list. This mountain town is only 3 hour’s drive from Raleigh and is perfect for a weekend getaway (or longer).

Mural on a brick wall that says downtown Boone

Well known for its charming downtown, stunning natural beauty, rich history, adventurous mountain sports, hiking trails, and Appalachian State University we experienced a lovely five-day visit during Thanksgiving in 2021.

Despite being popular for skiing in the winter, you will find there are many things to do in Boone all year round , from the hiking trails to getting a feel for the thriving arts scene – we loved our visit there during Thanksgiving in 2021 and it’s one of our favorite places in the North Carolina mountains.

Mom and daughter walking a nature trail in the mountains of Boone, NC

If you’re planning a trip to Boone but not sure what to do, in this guide I’ve shared some top attractions in Boone, places to eat and drink, and options on where to stay!

Where Is Boone?

Cars driving down the main street of a mountain town

Boone is located in Watauga County, North Carolina. It’s situated in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, in the Northwestern side of NC.

  • From Raleigh , it’s approx a 3 hour 10 minute drive via US 421 and Highway 421. 
  • From Charlotte , it takes approx 2 hours via the US-321 N and US-321 N
  • From Asheville , it’s approx a 1 hour 50-minute drive via US-221 N
  • From Knoxville , it’s approx a 2 hour 50-minute drive via I-81 N

Top Things to Do in Boone

1. wake up with coffee at hatchet.

People sitting in a coffee shop surrounded by plant murals on the wall

If you’re like me and coffee always comes first, then head to East Boone where you’ll find the best coffee in Boone to kick start your day!

Boone has several good options, my favorite was Hatchet Coffee , a 5-minute drive east of downtown who has a roasting lab, slow bar, and coffee lounge. I like their coffee and their chill space, with plenty of seating to hang out for a while or simply grab a brew to go and explore Boone with a quality cup of Joe!

Mom and two daughters sitting at a table drinking coffee and looking at their phones

Also good is the The Local Lion , who not only specialize in organic, fair-trade coffee but homemade doughnuts made from scratch daily. Their coffee is named after the local mountain lion that crossed the owner’s path on a mountain camping trip.

Hand holding a white paper cup of coffee

2. Walk the Brookshire Park Trail

Person walking a trail in the mountains

Close to Hatchet Coffee and downtown Boone, The Brookshire Park Trail is an easy 45-minute hike in East Boone to start your day and work up an appetite for breakfast. The hike takes you to see stunning views over the South Fork of the New River and East Boone.

Girl walking a nature trail in the woods

Beginning at Brookshire Park , you walk along a path next to the river, before going through a forest and up into the mountain. It then does a little loop around the mountain before heading back down. You could do this anytime of day, of course.

3. Grab Breakfast at Melanie’s Food Fantasy

Eggs Benedict with potatos

Probably the most popular breakfast spot in Boone is Melanie’s Food Fantasy in the heart of downtown. Here you can indulge in good old Southern style food and hospitality that fits in the culture and landscape of Boone.

Eating here is like experiencing a traditional diner with homemade hearty goodness and friendly service but food that goes beyond your typical greasy sausage and grits. Items such as breakfast burritos, pimento cheese grits, tempeh with your scramble, and stuffed French toast are popular.

Eggs on top of a potato hash

We ordered the Potato Madness and Bacon Avocado Benedict, both served with home fries.

The inside interior is small and cozy  with local art adorning the walls and colorful cloth tablecloths. On good weather days consider a meal in the outside patio area.

Note: Melanie’s also serves lunch and has plenty of gluten free options for those with dietary restrictions!

  • Address:   664 W King St, Boone
  • Website:

4. Explore Downtown Boone

Two shop fonts in a mountain town

Downtown Boone is very walkable and a vibrant place with several restaurants, art galleries, vintage shops, and antique and boutique stores with local products and produce.

If you want to bring back some souvenirs, then we recommend checking out the Common Good Co, Mast General Store (see below), and the Shoppes at Farmers Hardware which offers a unique shopping experience in the heart of historic downtown.

5. Visit the Mast General Store

Cars parked out the front of an old white general store

The Mast General Store is a historic landmark in downtown Boone, and a must-visit for anyone interested in history or shopping. It’s not the original store in downtown, that would be their other store in nearby Valle Crucis, 15-minutes away!

The original store was founded in 1883 and still features many of its original fixtures and furnishings. Although you might be thinking it’s just a store, this creaky wooden shop is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Buckets of candy in a store

You can browse through clothing, outdoor gear, and food items, and learn about the history of the store through interactive exhibits. If you can’t drive out to the original, the downtown store is a fine alternative!

6. Taste a Craft Beer at The Boone Breweries

People sitting at tables in a brewery

Boone has a solid craft beer scene for those who like to enjoy a cold, refreshing brew at the end of a day’s hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Boone has three breweries that offer delicious craft beers you can pair with hearty meals.

Lumberjack Hipster was the word that came to mind when I walked into the Lost Province brewery in downtown with beer names such as  Up Schitt’s Kriek, What’s Up Bro?, Kiss My grits and Hipster Juice.

Located just off King Street, Lost Province pairs innovative brews with excellent wood-fired pizza. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch here!

Hand holding a glass of beer

The Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB) is located just out of downtown and is one of the most famous breweries in Boone. They not only serve beers but innovative ciders, and it’s one of the few East Cast cider brands Caroline likes – she usually drinks their mystic dragon but was delighted to try a pint of their mimosa cider and give it a double thumbs up! I enjoyed their stout.

People sitting at tables in a brewery

Finally, there’s the Booneshine Brewery in East Boone. It has a more communal feel with a lovely outdoor area we enjoyed where you can sip beer under a warm summer sun. alternatively, they have a large indoor restaurant area.

People sitting on tables outside at a brewery

7. Visit the Daniel Boone Native Gardens

The Daniel Boone Native Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden located in downtown Boone. The gardens feature over 200 species of native plants and are a peaceful oasis in the middle of town. 

Consider packing a picnic to enjoy the gardens on your own, or pop into the reception to enquire about one of their group tours to learn more about the plants and their history.

8. Dinner at The Local

Steak, asparagus and potatos

From the attentive service to the ambiance, food, and drink selections I loved everything about our dining experience at The Local  in downtown Boone.

As the name suggests, at the Local they use local ingredients (and beers) with a focus on creating a space where family and friends can gather. On display you’ll find local art decorating the walls, and live music on the weekends.

The menu is quite diverse with seafood, burgers, tacos, and specialty dishes that will take you on a journey through Asia and the Americas with plenty of gluten free options.

Salmon and vegetables on a plate

We started with an appetizer of Thai beef tidbits – sliced NY strip in soy, curry, and butter sauce and the Roasted Salmon over Caesar Brussel sprouts with applewood smoked bacon and turmeric roasted cauliflower.

For entree, I absolutely loved my Brazilian char-grilled steak with sweet plantains, roasted asparagus, ancho chile black beans topped with homemade chimichurri. And Kalyra enjoyed a Margherita Flatbread.

And for dessert, a fabulous Mississippi Mud Pie and Carolina Beignets for the kids!

Dessert on a plate

They also serve up expertly crafted cocktails, and I find the prices here very reasonable for the quality, and it’s definitely one of the best places to eat in Boone!

There is a covered and heated patio if you just want a drink outside or while you wait for your table.

  • Address:  179 Howard St, Boone
  • Website:

9. Visit the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

People looking at art in a museum

The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is a vibrant cultural center located on the Appalachian State University campus. The center features a variety of exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works by local and national artists. 

You can also attend workshops, lectures, and other events hosted by the center, or simply rock up to admire some of the incredible pieces in the gallery.

10. Treat yourself at Hole Lotta Doughnuts

Maple bacon donuts

This is one for the kids, or us big kids, and if you love oversized handcrafted yeast doughnuts then head to Whole Lotta Doughnuts in downtown Boone.

Girl with two donuts in a box

Take your pick from flavors like peanut butter dream, maple, and seasonal doughnut delights. They also have fritters, pastries, sweet breads, cookies, gourmet popcorn, gourmet coffee, ice cream, and shakes.

  • Address:   494 W King St, Boone
  • Website:

11. Rooftop drinks at the Horton Hotel

Rooftop lounge

The popular Horton Hotel rooftop bar has 360-degree views of Howard’s Knob, Appalachian State University, and downtown Boone which you can admire over shared plates, craft beverages and specialty beers and wines.  Why not stay at this boutique hotel .

12. Check out the Watauga Farmers Market

If you’re looking for things to do in Boone on the weekend, head over to The Watauga Farmers Market on a Saturday morning for a buzzing vibe!

The market features over 60 vendors, selling everything from fresh produce and baked goods to handmade crafts and jewelry. Spend a morning browsing through the stalls, sample local food, and enjoy live music and other entertainment.

13. Feast on a burger at The Cardinal

People sitting at tables in a restaurant

If you like mouthwatering burgers, be sure to add The Cardinal to your list of places to eat in Boone. With its eclectic, laid back vibe it’s the perfect casual place to eat after a day of fun exploring Boone (or to fuel up before you go).

You’ll find exotic burgers, crafty beverages, and classic American food (with vegan surprises like tempeh tenders and beet burgers).

Burger with cheese

I went with their rotating  Wild Game burger , and Caroline could not resist the  50/50 burger  – Amaroo Hills Emu, Chorizo, Queso, Grilled Jalapeños & Onions, Greens, Tomato, and Cilantro Sour Cream – we’ve never had a burger quite like it and it was exploding with flavors in our mouths.

  • Address:   1711 NC-105, Boone
  • Website:

14. Take a Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Rolling mountain scenery

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic drive that winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

The whole drive is 469-miles in length , but ¼ of this is in the High Country, which is arguably the most scenic section.

Many of Boone’s top attractions are along the Blue Ridge Parkway , so you will likely find yourself driving on it without realizing it but do make sure you stop at overlooks along the way to take in the views and explore nearby hiking trails and other attractions.

15. See The Mile High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain

Mom and two daughters standing on a rock ledge with a bridge behind them

The highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Grandfather Mountain , which is a 300-million-year-old mountain that stands at a whopping 6,000 feet.

At the top of the mountain is a mile high swinging bridge, which connects the two peaks. It’s only a short 228 foot bridge, but it’s a marvel of engineering made with steel and reinforced cables.

Man standing on a bridge with a mountain view

From the bridge, you get a 360-degree view of the Blue Mountain and Appalachian Mountain Ranges.

Mom and two daughters sitting on rock ledge with view of a valley

Despite being named a swinging bridge, it doesn’t swing like it used to, but there are signs telling visitors to be careful. It’s one of the top attractions in Boone, but we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re afraid of heights; there is an 80-foot drop below.

Three people standing on a rock ledge with arms raised

You can drive all the way to the top of Grandfather Mountain, so you don’t have to hike, though there are many trails up to the peak.

16. Hike the Blue Ridge Mountains

Family of four standing on rock ledge in the mountains

If you’re looking for fun outdoor things to do in Boone, then you can’t visit without doing a bit of hiking. Hiking is the most popular activity in Boone , thanks to its location in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains that surround the town. 

With miles of hiking trails, there’s something for every level of hiker. Here are some of the hikes we enjoyed near Boone:

The Rough Ridge Trail (Milepost 302.8)

Mom and daughter standing on rock ledge in the mountains

If you’re looking for a hike that doesn’t take more than a couple of hours, then this is the best trail for you. It’s a 1.5-mile return hike with an elevation of around 480 ft.

Woman sitting on rock boulder in the mountains

It takes you towards the top of Grandfather Mountain which has stunning views overlooking the famous Linn Cove Viaduct, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest.

Woman sitting on rock ledge in the mountains

You can find the trailhead from the Rough Ridge Overlook, park at the Parkway overlook at Milepost 302.8 (just before the Viaduct when traveling from Boone. It’s one of the best hikes to do in Fall in NC because of the stunning fall colors of the forest.

Linville Falls (Milepost 316)

Waterfall from a rock ledge

Another hike just off the Blue Ridge Parkway is Linville Falls , known as “Eloseeoh” or River of Cliffs in Cherokee.

The waterfall is made by the Linville River which begins at Grandfather Mountain and travels to the three-tiered cascading Linville Falls, before winding through the forested Linville Gorge and ending at Lake James and the Catawba River.

The hiking trail is a 1.6-mile loop walk which takes you to four of the overlooks. My favorite viewpoint was Chimney View as it was the closest to the falls. 

Mom and two daughters walking a nature trail

The Upper Falls view is also a great spot to see the river flowing through the narrow canyon before the water plunges 45 feet over to lower falls. For views of the lower basin, head over to the Plunge Basin overlook.

Hike Crab Orchard Falls

Family in front of a waterfall

The Crab Orchard Falls hike is a 1.5-mile return hike that takes you out to the cascading Crab Orchard Falls in Valle Crucis, at the Valle Crucis Conference Center.

Man taking a photo of a waterfall.

The trail is short, but it’s quite steep, so we recommend you wear sturdy hiking boots and pack a lot of energy!

17. Go Skiing or Snowboarding

beach mountain nc

If you’re visiting Boone in the winter, then you will soon learn that it’s one of the top places in North Carolina for skiing.

Boone is home to several ski resorts, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Some popular resorts in the area include:

  • Appalachian Ski Mountain : This is one of the first ski resorts in NC and has been open since the early 1960s. The resort features 13 slopes of various difficulty and four terrain parks.
  • Beech Mountain Resort : This resort is a large ski resort with 17 trails for skiing and snowboarding. It’s also the highest ski resort in Eastern America.
  • Sugar Mountain Resort : This resort features 21 slopes and trails, with 15 of them featuring lighting for night skiing. There’s also a tubing park and ice skating rink.

18. Visit the Tweetsie Railroad Theme Park

Steam train at a station in the mountains

The Tweetsie Railroad is a family-friendly attraction in Boone that’s been entertaining visitors for over 60 years, making it the first theme park in North Carolina. 

The park features a variety of rides and attractions, including a train ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains, a petting zoo, and a variety of shows and entertainment.

Two kids sitting in a sleigh pulled by two reindeer

You can relive your Wild West fantasies and ride a historic narrow-gauge steam locomotive through the mountains.

If you’re visiting in the winter around Thanksgiving or Christmas, then we highly recommend the  Tweetsie Christmas event . 

Dad and two daughters in front of a Christmas tree

The locomotive turns into a Polar Express, and there’s also a live Christmas Show and a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus. It’s a Christmas experience not to miss.

19. Visit Trash Can Falls (Laurel Creek Falls)

Waterfall in the mountains

Laurel Creek Falls , nicknamed Trash Can Falls, is somewhat of a hidden gem in Boone. 

Don’t let the nickname put you off, it received its nickname because it used to have a dumpster site in the parking lot, but the waterfall is actually beautiful, clean and the perfect spot for a swim. 

The falls has a lawn area at the top where you can unpack a picnic or hang out. Below the falls is a refreshing pool that you can swim in and cool off on a hot summer’s day.

20. Admire the Linn Cove Viaduct (Milepost 304)

Car driving a mountain road

One of the most iconic landmarks along the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Linn Cove Viaduct , which sits between Rough Ridge and Grandfather Mountain.

This marvel of engineering was created to preserve the slopes of Grandfather Mountain while also allowing cars to enjoy a scenic road trip.

Rather than drive straight over the viaduct, pull in on the left before you reach it (when driving from the north) and you get a really great view of the structure. There is also a Visitor Center on the south side of the viaduct which has some information about its construction.

21. Go Wine Tasting at Linville Falls Winery

People sitting at a table in a winery in the mountains

If you’re looking for a delightful and memorable experience, wine tasting at Linville Falls Winery should be at the top of your list. 

Nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming winery offers much more than just great wines – the picturesque setting alone is worth the visit. 

Lady sitting in chair overlooking pond drinking wine

Linville Falls Winery also boasts an impressive selection of handcrafted wines, from crisp whites to bold reds, their diverse range of varieties caters to every taste preference. 

Lady drinking wine with view of a pond

The knowledgeable staff members are there to share information on each wine and enhance your tasting experience.

22. Marvel at The Blowing Rock

Man standing on a rock ledge in the mountains

For photographer lovers, a popular thing to do in Boone is visit The Blowing Rock , which is a natural viewpoint of an outcropped rock sitting 4090 feet above John’s River Gorge.

There’s a Native American myth of the rock, which tells of how a brave Cherokee resident who was torn between duty and love.

Mom and daughters looking out over the mountains

He leapt from the rock and into the chasm below, leaving his lover broken hearted. She visited the rock and prayed, and the Great Spirit blew her lover back onto the rock on a gust of wind. 

Mom and daughter taking a selfie in the mountains

The rock has since been known for its windy climate, which is why it is so named, Blowing Rock. Watch your step and be careful.

23. Wander Around The Village of Blowing Rock

Young girl outside a store in the mountains

Just below the Blowing Rock is the village of Blowing Rock, which is a cute and charming town that looks like something out of a fairy tale.

You can stroll around the main street and dip into boutique stores full of antiques, home décor, outdoor gear and clothes. 

Fired fish burger with fries

If you’re driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is pretty much the halfway point and is the perfect place to stop for lunch – we recommend The Speckled Trout. The trout burger is particularly good!

Where to Stay in Boone

A log cabin in the mountains

We stayed in a cabin 15-minutes northwest of Boone in Fleetwood. Because we were on a six-night getaway from Raleigh we wanted some space and nature with views without being too isolated. And our cabin was perfect.

Husband and wife sitting on a deck of a cabin

It had two bedrooms with a bed in the loft space and a downstairs area that was set up as a game room. It also had its own deck, a firepit, and a well-stocked kitchen. We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving lunch in the cabin.

Mom and daughter playing cards on a coffee table

Search for cabin rentals in Fleetwood on VRBO. For vacation rentals in Boone search here . And for hotels in Boone we would start by looking on

Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Boone

Boone is a beautiful mountain town with so much to see and do, it will mesmerize you no matter what time of year you visit. Whether you’re interested in hiking, skiing, shopping, or simply relaxing in the outdoors, there’s something for everyone in Boone. 

We hope this guide helped you plan your trip and gave you some inspiration about what to do in this incredible mountain town.

About The Author

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Craig Makepeace

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  • Boone Tourism
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Boone Itinerary 1 Day

Popular day trips to boone.

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Things to Do in Boone, NC - Boone Attractions

Things to do in boone.

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  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

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1. Foggy Mountain Gem Mine

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2. Appalachian Mountain Brewery

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3. The Greenway Trail

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4. The Cascades Trail

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5. Sunrise Mountain Mini Golf

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6. Hickory Ridge Living History Museum

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7. Watauga County Farmer's Market

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8. Mountain View Speedway

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9. Turchin Center

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10. Turtle Island Preserve

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11. Fun 'n' Wheels

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12. Booneshine Brewing Company

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13. Boone Fork Trail

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14. The Jones House Cultural and Community Center

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15. Rocky Knob Park

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16. Appalachian Antique Mall

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17. Howard Knob

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18. Boone Golf Club

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19. Laurel Creek Falls

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20. Boonies Old Country Store

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21. Appalachian Theatre

22. yancey ridge, 23. antiques on howard.

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24. Boone Mall

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25. Boone Blown

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26. Daniel Boone Native Gardens

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27. Hound Ears Golf Club

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28. Mast General Store Old Boone Mercantile

29. appalachian cultural museum.

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30. Holmes Convocation Center

What travelers are saying.

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    Elk Creek Rainbow. My friend and I who are amateur fly fishermen spent a half-day with Tyler of Due South Outfitters on Elk Creek. Awesome catch-release experience with about a dozen hooked rainbow of which a few were more than 15 inches. Gorgeous setting. Review of: Due South Outfitters. Written April 8, 2023.

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    Hickory Ridge Living Museum, courtesy Craig Distl. 2. Hickory Ridge Living History Museum. The Hickory Ridge Living History Museum in Boone provides visitors with a sense of what life was like for early North Carolina colonists in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

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    There are hundreds of things to see in this part of northwest North Carolina, known as the High Country. But over my four-day trip, I stayed within the city limits, starting with a stroll through the downtown business district, which is about three square blocks and abuts the campus of Appalachian State University ().When I was a kid, Boone was a rural place with a small school.

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    465 Industrial Park Drive, Boone, North Carolina 28607; Phone: 828-278-8006 12. River and Earth Adventures ... River and Earth Adventures organizes whitewater rafting, canoeing, caving, hiking, kayaking, and climbing trips as well as guided day trips and they also have a paddling school with ACA-certified instructors.

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    2. Walk the Brookshire Park Trail Close to Hatchet Coffee and downtown Boone, The Brookshire Park Trail is an easy 45-minute hike in East Boone to start your day and work up an appetite for breakfast. The hike takes you to see stunning views over the South Fork of the New River and East Boone. Kid-friendly trail

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