19 Best Day Trips from Boone (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Last Updated on June 10, 2021

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We know there are plenty of fun things to do in and around the High Country. However, you should also know about these awesome day trips from Boone that are within a two-hour drive, on the North Carolina side of the border (sorry, Tennessee and Virginia!).

Each offers tons of unique adventures and a variety of activities, like hiking the tallest mountain in the East, sipping moonshine, and watching cheese being made.

Buckle up for a fun ride to our favorite day trips from Boone that will come in handy when you’re looking for some alternatives away from that amazing mountain town.

This post is part of our series on day trips in North Carolina. If you’re still new to the Boone area, check out our guide covering things to do, the awesome restaurants you’ll find there, wonderful hiking trails nearby, and more.

Day Trips from Boone (Things to Do and Note on Distance)

When you’re ready to venture out to these day trips from Boone, we’ve ordered these by time, by the fastest route to reach each place. If two or more places take the same amount of time, we will use distance in miles as a tiebreaker before then utilizing our ABC skills.

Looking for a place to make your home base? Check out this list of beautiful Airbnbs near Boone!

Blowing Rock 

8 miles (14 minutes)

Blowing Rock is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Boone and one of the best day places to visit on your day trip!

Main Street is absolutely adorable and filled with delicious restaurants and shopping. Spend some time outdoors by visiting Moses Cone Manor or hiking to one of the many waterfalls nearby.

We recommend hiking Glen Burney Trail to see three waterfalls or heading up to The Blowing Rock for some epic views.

Banner Elk

18 miles (28 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Banner Elk Apple Hill Farm

Banner Elk, like Blowing Rock, is so close to Boone that we aren’t even sure that it qualifies as a full day trip. But if you love to ski, then Banner Elk is most certainly the destination for you.

Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort are two of NC’s most popular ski resorts, welcoming both families and couples looking to enhance their romantic weekends. While in Banner Elk, make sure to check out Apple Hill Farm and say hello to their alpacas!

Not far away in the rest of Avery County, you’ll find the aforementioned skiing hotspots and the community of Linville. It’s where many people shuttle from to reach the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, a huge celebration of Scottish culture each July.

West Jefferson

24 miles (31 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Ashe County Christmas Tree Farms

West Jefferson is in the next county over (Ashe) and one of the easiest day trips from Boone. Filled with art galleries, shops, and murals, it’s easy to spend a day wandering up and down the town.

You can look down on the town from one of Mount Jefferson‘s overlooks, as you drive toward the summit which also offers impeccable views.

While in West Jefferson, make sure to stop by the Ashe County Cheese factory and watch them make cheese! Ashe County is also well known for its Fraser Firs, so visit one of their Christmas Tree farms and take one home with you for the holidays. 

Wilkesboro

32 miles (39 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Doc Watson Stage Wilkesboro

Known for moonshine, fast cars, and Merlefest, the Wilkes County seat of Wilkesboro is one of the most unique day trips from Boone! Its Wilkesboro Heritage Museum is unlike any other small town museum thanks to the area’s fascinating history.

If you’re searching for moonshine, then Call Family Distillery will take you back to a time of fast cars and evading the law. After getting some ‘shine, check out the hikes around Stone Mountain State Park (to Stone Mountain Falls and Widow’s Creek Falls) and soak up the natural beauty of North Carolina’s mountains. 

Linville Falls

29 miles (42 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Linville Falls

Linville Falls straddles three county lines (Avery, McDowell, and Burke) and while the town is fairly small, the adventures awaiting here make this one of the best day trips from Boone.

The multi-tiered Linville Falls trail provides stunning views without much difficulty. The 1.6-mile round trip hike provides three different vantage points for the falls.

Just around the corner from Linville Falls is Wiseman’s View, one of the most beautiful viewpoints in North Carolina.

After hiking, make sure to stop by Famous Louise’s for some down-home grub and Linville Falls Winery for beautiful views and excellent wine. The latter is one of the best wineries in North Carolina, in case you need further convincing.

Morganton

42 miles (1 hour)

Day Trips from Boone NC Henry River Mill Village Hildebran
May the odds be ever in your favor that you visit Henry River Mill Village.

Sitting high above the sky, downtown Morganton feels like the top of a mountain. Epic views of Table Rock Mountain add a special touch to your trip. If you fancy a beer, Morganton has some great breweries, each one home to a unique and different vibe.

Soak up the beautiful views from Silver Fork Winery or head out to Henry River Mill Village for some history and insight into the filming of the first Hunger Games film!

We really could talk about Burke County forever but will leave you with South Mountains State Park, home to beautiful hikes including the one that ends up at the 80-foot High Shoals Falls. We think this park is a hidden gem, with plenty of streams to enjoy as your hike, and quite a few picnic spots inside the park.

You can also stick closer to downtown with a ride or walk on the Catawba River Greenway. It’s a lovely scenic path and one you won’t regret spending time on!

Hickory

44 miles (1 hour)

Day Trips from Boone NC Olde Hickory Brewing

Parts of Hickory sit in Burke County but most of it is next door in Catawba County.

Looking for some peaceful fishing? Lake Hickory is a man-made freshwater lake that is a great place to cast a reel. Afterward, check out the Hickory Furniture Mart, known for its beautiful craftsmanship, and examine the one-of-a-kind pieces.

The six miles of trails at Baker’s Mountain are perfect, especially for a picnic with some sandwiches from the Hatch Sandwich Bar afterward.

We also fancy Olde Hickory for either pint or flight inside their beautiful taproom. The food at their restaurant is pretty popular, too, so why not go all in?

Little Switzerland

45 miles (1 hour 7 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Switzerland Inn

Little Switzerland is a North Carolina gem! A small mountain town, it’s still very deserving of many day trips from Boone! Stop by the Little Switzerland General Store for some wood-smoked NC barbecue and then browse the titles at the bookstore.

Afterward, lace up your hiking boots and head to Grassy Creek Falls. The views are not to be missed at Switzerland Inn, so book a room and enjoy their restaurant if you decide to make it an overnight trip!

Elkin

57 miles (1 hour 7 minutes)

Elkin sits in the heart of the Yadkin Valley wine region and hosts some impressive vineyards. That’s why you may have already been one of its many visitors but we think it’s ideal for day trips from Boone, too!

Adagio and Slightly Askew are two of many wineries you should visit in the area. Both are kid-friendly, in case you brought the whole family with you.

They’re also featured on the Surry County Wine Trail, in case you’re up for a challenge. Drink responsibly.

We think Skull Camp is a cool spot to enjoy some wine, too, but also some NC beer and yummy smoked food.

When you want to walk it all off, check out Elkin Municipal Park or Carter Falls (0.4 miles round trip).

Burnsville

52 miles (1 hour 13 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Mount Mitchell Summit

Located in the heart of our Black Mountains, the Yancey County seat of Burnsville is surrounded by several peaks that make for excellent and challenging hikes. One of them is Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi.

Additional Black Mountain hikes include Roaring Fork Falls and Setrock Creek Falls. We also can’t leave out the epic Crabtree Falls, among the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina!

It’s also home to a wonderful arts scene spearheaded by the Toe River Arts. When you’re in the area, you’ll feel like there’s a studio around just about every corner.

Statesville

67 miles (1 hour 21 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Statesville Balloons

Do you fancy a hot air balloon ride? If so, then Statesville is the perfect destination for you! With a long history of ballooning, Statesville has so many cool opportunities for you to fly high in the sky.

Beyond balloons, there are some iconic things to do that further assert Statesville’s place among our favorite day trips from Boone. Spend time exploring downtown breweries Red Buffalo and Fourth Creek.

You can also drive out to a local farm like Hazy Red and pick your own muscadine grapes. Check out our map of them and more farms if you’d like to plug them into your phone or GPS.

Of course, you’ll want to stop by and sip some whiskey at Southern Distilling Company, one of the largest craft distilleries in the Southeast.

Winston-Salem

86 miles (1 hour 28 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Winston Salem Reynolda
Reynolda.

Winston-Salem sits just an hour and a half away from Boone off US-421. It’s the only hyphenated city on our list and you can learn more about why when exploring all the things to do there, including outdoor activities.

Start with a visit to the Moravian settlement also known as Old Salem. We think you’ll be hooked soon after crossing over that picturesque bridge and you might even feel like time has turned back a couple of centuries. It’s definitely one of our favorite museums in the city and a great starting point.

On the historically Winston side of town, explore the Big Tobacco era’s icons with a stay at historic hotels such as The Cardinal. We think you’ll love eating and drinking in this town, as there are plenty of amazing restaurants in Winston-Salem (and breweries, too!) to dig into.

We’ll move onto the next place eventually (we promise!) but think you ought to know about Reynolda, a fabulous female-led art museum that was built by Katharine and RJ Reynolds.

These are just a few of the reasons we love Dash City and why we know it belongs on your list of day trips from Boone.

Mount Airy

87 miles (1 hour 31 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Pilot Mountain

Many folks know Mount Airy as “Mayberry” and after checking out Downtown and the Andy Griffith Museum, you’ll see why. We think there’s more to this area beyond that beloved TV show, though.

There’s great food all around, especially downtown. The Snappy Lunch and Walker’s Soda Fountain are a couple of great lunch spots to start. If you like spirits or dry wines, Mayberry Spirits Distillery and Round Peak Vineyard are fun Mount Airy spots, too.

We can’t leave Mount Airy without mentioning the amazing and iconic Pilot Mountain State Park nearby, too. Jolo Winery & Vineyards offers a lovely view of the mountain, in case you’re not feeling a hike.

Keep driving about 45 minutes from Mount Airy and 30 minutes from Pilot Mountain and you’ll arrive at Hanging Rock State Park, our favorite collection of mountains away from the mountains.

Black Mountain

69 miles (1 hour 36 minutes)

Black Mountain is likely going to entice you to become a new resident and we understand that, after our times there. Start around Town Square before heading over to Lake Tomahawk Park, a great spot for outdoor days.

Black Mountain is also not too far from Catawba Falls, a little 10 miles away from town! Oak and Grist makes spirits found in ABC stores throughout the state, but it’s one of our favorite distilleries in North Carolina to visit in person!

Lexington

105 miles (1 hour 43 minutes)

Lexington is largely known for its signature barbecue style and it’s certainly a great place to investigate further into the tomato-based sauce and red slaw. Visit Barbecue Center for all that and their epic banana splits, too!

If you’re around in October, an annual festival commemorates Lexington-style barbecue with tons of food, festivities, and more fun.

Of course, we think you should visit any time of year, especially if wine is on your mind. Stop by and sip some wine at Childress Vineyards and just admire the scenery that surrounds you.

We think you’ll enjoy this and more things to do in Lexington whenever you make your way here.

Asheville

85 miles (1 hour 51 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Asheville

Asheville might be one of the coolest cities in North Carolina and it’s just within two hours’ drive from Boone. We love spending time downtown eating at local restaurants but also use Asheville as a base for all the hikes nearby.

Many folks (including us!) know Asheville for the famed Biltmore Estate. This is a place you can truly enjoy inside the home, outside around the gardens, at the winery, and beyond.

Any conversation about things to do in Asheville must include the breweries in and around the South Slope. Some of our favorites include Wedge (awesome vibes!) and Bhamari (great food!), but there are so many more breweries to explore here.

Another spot we love is Asheville’s River Arts District, with a huge collection of artists in one block. Asheville is also a great place to hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway (one of our favorite National Parks units), regardless of your intentions to drive north or south.

The city is wonderful all year but we also consider it one of North Carolina’s most perfect winter getaways, too!

Shelby

77 miles (1 hour 47 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Shelby Cafe Livermush

We know about Doc Watson‘s connection and Merlefest’s footprint in Wilkesboro. However, we think Shelby might have the biggest musical claim to fame among day trips from Boone.

Much of it starts with Bluegrass pioneer and icon Earl Scruggs, who grew up in the area. You can learn all about him at the Earl Scruggs Center in town, housed in the former Cleveland County Courthouse.

The area is also home to a great restaurant scene and also that famous North Carolina food known as livermush. Walk or cycle it all off via one of the Broad River Greenway‘s access points. It’s part of the growing Carolina Thread Trail network.

Greensboro

114 miles (1 hour 50 minutes)

Day Trips from Boone NC Woolworths International Civil Rights Center

I don’t want Asheville to get all the “cool city” credit because we really like Greensboro, too. The beautiful Carolina Theatre is here (another is in Durham) and worth visit for a show or just to stare at its beautiful exterior.

Stroll down Elm Street and pop into Scuppernong, one of our favorite bookstores in North Carolina. Many of Greensboro’s great restaurants are nearby, but more than a few are scattered around elsewhere in the city.

Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (one of our favorite National Parks sites) and Bur-Mil Park are a couple of great places to get outside for a walk.

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, the indoor sections of the Greensboro Science Center and Greensboro Children’s Museum are both nice for the kids and even yourself. They both featured in our guide to children’s museums throughout the state!

Also, some important events are remembered at the International Civil Rights Center (pictured above), so please do yourself a favor and stop by there, too.

We reciprocated the love for Boone in our guide to day trips from Greensboro!

Lake Lure

80 miles (1 hour 55 minutes)

Lake Lure is one place to not avoid movie references because here, you really can have the time of your life. Any Dirty Dancing fans in the house?

Visit in September when the Dirty Dancing Festival is going on and you’ll see all the hype in person. Tons of dancing and music with greet you, along with arts and attempts at that famous lake lift.

Anyway, beyond Lake Lure’s claim to Swayze and Grey, the water here is alluring, charming, and worth multiple day trips from Boone.

Hop on a boat tour for a close-up view of the water of if you really want to chill, you can just relax on the beach.

More outdoor fun awaits near Lake Lure, as Chimney Rock State Park is nearby, too!

Ready for These Day Trips from Boone?

Knowing about all these fun day trips from Boone is further confirmation that Western North Carolina is so special. We’ve long since fallen in love with North Carolina’s High Country and imagine you will, too, if you haven’t already!

If you’ve had a chance to explore Boone’s surroundings, we’d love to know about your favorite things to do in the area. Let us know here in the comments section or by email. Either way, let’s keep the fun conversation going!

More High Country Fun (Including Boone)

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