67 Things to do in Boone and Blowing Rock, NC

Downtown Boone

1. Have a tall margarita on the deck at Canyons and watch the sunset - best view in the "High Country".

2. Walk downtown Blowing Rock and check out all of the unique shops. While you're there spring for some ice cream at Kilwin's.

3. Catch a play by the Blowing Rock Stage Company at the Hayes Performing Arts Center. Many times they have traveling acts as well (music, comedy, dance etc.) Always worthwhile and the venue is beautiful.

4. Go fishing at Grandfather Trout Farm. Rods are provided and bait and tackle are free! You only pay for what you catch... and they'll even clean 'em for ya. Can't beat that!

5. Go tubing. There are several local outfitters that will set you up, drop you off and pick you up. It's a great way to relax on a sunny day. We always put in on the New River in Todd but there are several other runs as well...depending on how high the water is.

6. Hike around Bass Lake. There's a nice flat walking loop around the lake that's .8 miles. There are also other trails to take once you get there.

7. If you want to make it a nice half day trip. Hike from Bass Lake up to Moses Cone Manor. You can tour the 13,000 square foot estate and check out the Parkway Craft Center that has found its home there. (Moses Cone was a "prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist"...in a nutshell). If you want to drive up to the home instead of walking it's mile post 194.1 off of the Parkway.

8. Go to the original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis.

9. Grab lunch at the Ham Shoppe on the way there or back on the corner of 105 and Broadstone Road. Great sandwich shop with no frills overlooking the Watauga River.

10. Tweetsie Railroad - If you have kids it's a no brainer. What's more fun than a "wild west" theme park? Tweetsie is open May-October.

11. After that, you'll want someone to watch the kids while you go out to eat at the Gamekeeper, a local and visitor favorite tucked away between Boone and Blowing Rock on Shulls Mill road. The eclectic mountain cuisine on their seasonal menu has just about any kind of wild game you can think of. There are vegetarian selections as well. It's sure to be a dining experience that you will remember.

12. Scream Time Zip Line in Vilas...this one speaks for itself?

13. Go gem mining.

14. Check out Mystery Hill if you have kids...it's hard to explain so just go and see for yourself what the mystery is.

15. "The Blowing Rock" is definitely worth seeing. You pay six dollars for adults and one dollar for kids. They have trails and an observation deck...the view is really something to behold; I don't know where a better one is except maybe the top of Mt. Mitchell (highest peak east of the Mississippi).

16. The Dragonfly Theatre has movies for cheap, it's laid back seating, and you can order beer and food. They sometimes have kid’s movies during the day.

17. If you're really getting desperate and it's a rainy day, we do have a TJ Maxx in Boone now (behind the mall). You could browse around there for deals or hit up Shoppes on the Parkway outlet mall located on 321 as you're coming into Blowing Rock (from Boone).

18. On the other hand if it's a nice day just cruise the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are plenty of places to pull off and have a picnic. Go to the Blowing Rock Market for a deli sandwich and a bottle of wine.

19. Take the Parkway North towards Sparta and tour the Omni Cattle farm located between mile markers 264 and 265. These Highland Cattle are so awesome. Go to their site and click on their pictures. They would be more than happy to give you a tour if you call ahead.

20. Another no brainer is Grandfather Mountain. The famous Mile High Bridge, Hiking Trails, and small zoo make this a perfect way to spend a day. If you go in April (with someone who lives here) it's only one dollar.

21. Walk dogs at the Watauga County Humane Society. Fun for the kids, fun for the dogs.

22. Buy a cheap fishing rod and go throw a line in one of our many streams. You can also plan a guided tour. Make sure you check the regulations on the NC Wildlife Website and have a current fishing license.

23. Appalachian State always has cultural events going on as well from student concerts and plays to acts that they bring in like symphony's and dance concerts.

24. If it's football season, definitely go see a football game. ASU fell short this past season the 3 years before, they were the National champs!

25. If you want to play golf, the Boone Golf Club is open to the public.

26. Boone Bowling

27. Bo's right down the mountain in Lenoir has food, an arcade, bowling, pool...and drinks. Brand new nice clean facility, I highly recommend it. (20 or 25 minutes from Blowing Rock).

28. The Library and the Children's Playhouse in Boone always have fun things to do with kids.

29. Art in the Park in the summers is always fun in Blowing Rock if you don't mind the crowd.

30. I know I'm writing a lot about food and drinks, but my absolute favorite place to eat in Blowing Rock is Bistro Roca. It's tucked away on a side street...get directions, but you can't beat the atmosphere. They have a unique menu with a wide range of selections and pricing. You can go all out with their unique entrees or just get a personal wood fired oven pizza and a salad. Whatever is on special is always good.

31. There's a disc golf course in West Jefferson. If you don't have discs of your own, you really just need a putter, mid-range and driver to get started. Get them new or used at Play it Again Sports in Boone off of Howard Street.

32. In the winter go skiing or snowboarding at Sugar, Beech or Appalachian Ski Mountain. If you're clumsy like me you might be better off snow tubing at Hawksnest snow tubing park in Seven Devils.

33. Go horseback riding.

34. If you aren't scared of heights climb the Footsloggers Tower outside of their store in Boone. If you don't like heights, get some coffee at Espresso News next door and watch your friends climb...best coffee in town in my opinion.

35. My favorite place for lunch in Boone - Reid's Cafe. It's a small, intimate gourmet deli with local/organic fare. It's reasonably priced with great cappuccinos and an even better beer and wine selections. I'm not much of a desert person but their home made deserts are to die for! The historic building formerly known as the "Old Jailhouse" is located on Water Street downtown.

36. Watauga Lake is located about 40 minutes from Boone just over the Tennessee line. There are a wide range of water activities to choose from at one of their many marinas.

37. In the summer's there's free music on the lawn of the Jones House downtown Boone.

38. Horn in the West - (an outdoor drama put on by locals and equity talent in the summer).

39. Daniel Boone Inn... It's like dinner at your Grandma's house on a Sunday. I'm not going to say any more about it, just go eat there!

40. Woodlands BBQ. Picnic tables, live music, good BBQ also a kids menu. Try the house wings! For an entree I never get anything other than the chop pork plate with double slaw, fries and fried okra. (Full bar as well).

41. I hear the Tapas bar (Zudza's) in Banner Elk is absolutely amazing.

42. Another fine dining option in Banner Elk is the Louisiana Purchase. Cajun/Americana theme dishes and one of the largest wine lists in North Carolina. Seasonal menu and lots of local food included in the dishes (at least the last time I went).

43. The Lee's McRae Performing Arts Department does fantastic summer stock musicals. Check their site to see what's coming up.

44. Canoeing or Kayaking is a great way to spend a day in the summer. Wahoo's does guided tours for this as well as white water rafting.

45. Boone Saloon and Canyons are great places to see live music on the weekends. Stick to Canyons if you want a slightly older crowd.

46. Can't forget to mention "Taco Tuesdays" at Boone Saloon. $1.25 beef, chicken or veggie burger tacos and a great beer selection.

47. Go caving at Linville Caverns.

48. Westglow spa if you want to relax and get a facial/massage etc.

49. Drive up to Howard's Knob in Boone. (If you go past Earthfare on King Street make a right onto Cherry Street and you should see signs. Amazing view of the city.

50. Browse around at the local Subaru dealership on 105 extension to find your mountain dream car...everybody has one... lol.

51. The general store in Todd (out hwy 194 from Boone) has live Bluegrass music on Saturdays in the summer.

52. On a hot day, jump in a swimming hole. There are two good ones, the first is down from the 105 Dam and the other is called "Snake Pit" out towards Tennessee.

53. I almost forgot, my favorite place for gifts and fun home accessories is Neaco's in Downtown Blowing Rock.

54. The Glen Burney Fall's trail is definitely a moderate to strenuous but there's a big payoff at the end. The trail starts downtown Blowing Rock.

55. Jimmy Smith Park in Boone...watch this video on it.

56. For a night in, you can get movies for a dollar at any of the Red Boxes in town. (Lowe's Food, Ingle's and Harris Teeter all have them).

57. Julian Price Park has trails, camping and canoeing and it's just outside of Blowing Rock down hwy 221.

58. Linville Gorge has mountain biking, camping, hiking and backpacking trails and waterfalls.

60. Grandfather mountain profile trail. From what I understand if you do the whole trail it's moderate to strenuous and takes about 5 hours but you can also just do the beginning section if you want a more leisurely hike.

61. If you don't mind getting really far off the beaten path there's a state off roading park in Collettesville.

62. Fun N' Wheels off of 105 in Boone has go carts, bumper cars and an arcade.

63. Boone has several different city parks each with different amenities.

64. See a concert at the Convocation Center at ASU. They bring in big names such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Willie Nelson and Charlie Daniels.

65. The park in downtown Blowing Rock also has tennis and basketball courts and a mini rock wall, jungle gym and swing sets for the kids.

66. Paint your own pottery at Paint Your Wings in Boone at New Market Center.

67. Finally, just stay at home at Deerwood Retreat.

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