Last Updated on May 5, 2023
Last Updated on May 5, 2023
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 (and more state park adventures), 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.
Read More: 30+ Great Things to Do in Boone (Hikes, Eats, and More in App Town)
Day Trips from Boone (Things to Do and Note on Distance)
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.
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.
Here’s an alphabetic list of Boone day trips:
- Banner Elk
- Black Mountain
- Blowing Rock
- Lake Lure
- Linville Falls
- Little Switzerland
- Mount Airy
- West Jefferson
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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 Memorial Park 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.
Read More: Day Trips in North Carolina
18 miles | 28 minutes
Banner Elk, like Blowing Rock, is so close to Boone that we aren’t even sure that it qualifies as a full-day trip. The town is a great spot to explore, especially for its awesome restaurant scene.
While in Banner Elk, make sure to check out Apple Hill Farm and say hello to their alpacas! Don’t forget about the exhilarating Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, which is one of our favorite day trips from Boone!
Also, if you love to ski, then Banner Elk is most certainly the destination for you.
Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort (also home of the Land of Oz)are two of NC’s most popular ski resorts, welcoming both families and couples looking to enhance their romantic weekends.
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.
Read More: 10+ Great Things to Do at Grandfather Mountain (and Nearby!)
24 miles | 31 minutes
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.
Read More: Christmas in North Carolina
32 miles | 39 minutes
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.
Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)
29 miles | 42 minutes
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.
Read More: Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes
42 miles | 1 hour
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.
Don’t forget about the amazing restaurants in Morganton, either. From downtown Morganton to nearby towns and beyond, there are plenty of great places to eat!
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!
Read More: Day Trips from Asheville
44 miles | 1 hour
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?
Read More: Amazing Restaurants in Hickory
45 miles | 1 hour 7 minutes
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.
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!
Read More: How to See Waterfalls Park in Newland (near Banner Elk)
46 miles | 1 hour 6 minutes
Marion in McDowell County is “Where Main Street Meets the Mountains.” You’ll realize that while strolling around Main St. and after exploring all the fun things to do in and around downtown.
Speaking of the mountains, Tom’s Creek Falls is a wonderful waterfall near downtown Marion. The 80-foot two-tiered waterfall is reachable after a kid-friendly half-mile hike.
The Tom’s Creek Falls hike is one of few with an accessible trail and observation deck!
Read More: 20+ Kid-Friendly Waterfalls In NC (Easy Hikes And Swimming Holes!)
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 this Surry County town. 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.
Downtown Elkin is also worth exploring, thanks to the awesome Reeves Theater, the collection of shops, and great places to eat.
When you want to walk it all off at either the Elkin & Alleghany Rail Trail, the Overmountain Victory Trail, or Carter Falls.
Read More: Day Trips from Greensboro
52 miles | 1 hour 13 minutes
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.
Of course, there are plenty of great restaurants in Burnsville, too. If you leave this town hungry, somebody is doing something wrong!
Read More: Hiking Roan Mountain for Beautiful Appalachian Trail Views
67 miles | 1 hour 21 minutes
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 in Statesville that keep it among the best day trips from Boone. Spend time at the downtown brewery Red Buffalo. It’s a great place to start.
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.
Read More: Day Trips from Raleigh
86 miles | 1 hour 28 minutes
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 wonderful historic town.
On the 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 on to 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.
Read More: Day Trips from Durham
87 miles | 1 hour 31 minutes
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.
Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)
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 many visits.
Start around Town Square and grab food at a local restaurant 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!
Read More: The Asheville Art Museum (How to Visit + 7 Great Things to Do)
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! There are many more restaurants in Lexington to explore but that’s a great start.
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.
Read More: 20 Awesome Wineries near Charlotte (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)
77 miles | 1 hour 47 minutes
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.
Read More: Day Trips from Charlotte
114 miles | 1 hour 50 minutes
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 are 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.
Read More: 7 Fun Museums in Greensboro (Kid-Friendly, Contemporary Art, and More!)
85 miles | 1 hour 51 minutes
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.
Christmas at Biltmore is the perfect holiday season event, which usually kicks off in November and runs through January.
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 in Asheville to explore.
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.
Read More: Winter Getaways in North Carolina
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 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. We also love walking around the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge, a wonderful repurposing of a former roadway.
More outdoor fun awaits near Lake Lure, as Chimney Rock State Park is nearby, too!
Read More: 25+ Great Lakes in North Carolina (+ Our Top 5 Picks)
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. Don’t forget to share your High Country adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!
More Things to Do in the High Country (NC Travel Guides)
Beyond these wonderful Boone day trips, there are plenty of things to do in the High Country! These NC travel guides share more than a few of them, including waterfalls near Boone, the area’s best hikes, and more.
2 thoughts on “20 of the Best Day Trips from Boone (Within a 2-Hour Drive)”
This website was incredible! Helpful in every aspect.
Thank you for your kind words, JoAnn! I hope you have an awesome time in and around Boone!