Last Updated on September 8, 2021
Last Updated on September 8, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
Inside the county’s wonderful small towns, you’ll find some of the state’s best wineries, accompanying outdoor spaces, unique dishes (sonker), and much more. We’ve discovered some fantastic things to do in Surry County, and our guide shares the best of them all.
Because there’s so much going on in the county, here’s how we’ve organized this guide:
- Where is Surry County?
- Where to Stay
- Annual Events in Surry County, NC
- Yadkin Valley Wine
- Prominent Surry County Towns (and Pilot Mountain State Park)
- Things to Do in Surry County’s Neighbors (Plus Related Posts)
You can skip around to the section you’re seeking or continue reading about Surry County’s location.
This post is part of our series on all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. More than a few of these Surry County attractions appear in our guide that covers the best things to do in North Carolina.
Where is Surry County?
Surry County sits on the Virginia border, west of Stokes County (home to Hanging Rock State Park) and east of Alleghany County (and Sparta). I-77 and US-52 are two major roads that run through Surry County.
The Piedmont of Central North Carolina and the mountains of Western North Carolina meet here, so placing it is so challenging for geographers. The county is about an hour’s drive from Winston-Salem and Greensboro, and some towns (like Elkin) are about an hour from Boone.
We’ve reached out to local tourism officials, consulted various resources, and ultimately decided to classify Surry County as part of Central North Carolina.
Contact us if you’d like to chat about that decision (nicely).
One thing that’s not up for debate is Surry County’s place at the northern end of North Carolina’s Yadkin Valley.
The county is known for hosting some of the state’s best wineries and vineyards.
Where to Stay in Surry County
Other wineries with accommodations include the following:
- Stony Knoll Vineyards (Dobson)
- Elkin Creek Vineyard and Winery (Elkin)
- Round Peak Vineyards (Mount Airy)
- Serre Vineyards (Mount Airy)
- JOLO Winery and Vineyards (Pilot Mountain)
- Pilot Mountain Vineyards (Pilot Mountain)
We’ll remind you of these wineries (and additional ones) when we break down major Surry County towns.
There are also several bed and breakfasts in Mount Airy, including Andy Griffith’s boyhood home. If you are traveling with a large group, the beautiful Beary Cozy Cottage can comfortably fit up to 22 people.
Another fantastic place to stay in the Yadkin Valley is the Hampton Inn & Suites at Shelton Vineyards in Dobson. It is also the only hotel in the chain that has a wine bar!
Annual Events in Surry County
Surry County’s events calendar gets pretty packed each month, but here are a few major annual celebrations:
- NC Trail Days (June) celebrates all of the wonderful outdoor adventures in the Yadkin Valley.
- Budbreak Wine & Craft Beer Festival (August) brings together the best of North Carolina beer, wine, and food with live music along Main Street in Mount Airy.
- Mayberry Days (September) is a celebration for fans of The Andy Griffith Show. Held in Mount Airy, this event lasts all weekend and is a crowd favorite!
- Sonker Festival (October) is hosted by the Surry County Historical Society, allows patrons to sample different recipes of sonker. Admission is free, but costs apply to vendors.
Yadkin Valley Wine
The Yadkin Valley grows mostly European wine varietals, which means you’ll find dry reds and smooth, crisp whites.
It’s often forgotten that the vineyards are essentially farms. That means the owner controls the entire wine-making process, from cultivating the grapes to producing the wine.
Visiting a Yadkin Valley winery offers an opportunity to ask the farmers any questions you may have about their wines and wine-making in general.
With more than 40 wineries in the region, we have an article dedicated entirely to Yadkin Valley wineries and what makes them unique. So whether you desire a place with a laidback kid-friendly vibe or the best Chambourcin, there is undoubtedly a Yadkin Valley winery just for you!
Additional NC Wine Articles:
- North Carolina Wineries
- Kid-Friendly North Carolina Wineries
- North Carolina Wine Trails
- Yadkin Valley Wineries
- Surry County Wine Trail
Surry County Towns
There are more than 20 towns, census-designated places, and townships in Surry County, but here are five of the most prominent ones (including one big-name state park) that we think you should know about:
Dobson is the county seat of Surry County and the site of Surry Community College. Many local winemakers and vineyard farmers have taken a few classes through their remarkable viticulture program.
Here are some Dobson wineries that we love:
Dobson also offers many outdoor activities, the most popular one being fishing on the Mitchell River.
Elkin is an adorable small town located along the southwestern edge of Surry County. Visitors can enjoy delicious restaurants like Southern on Main and The Wisdom Table, a fantastic bottle shop with flights.
Here are some Elkin-area wineries that we love:
- Grassy Creek Vineyard
- Elkin Creek Vineyard
- McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks (Thurmond)
- Jones von Drehle Vineyards & Winery (Thurmond)
Elkin serves as an excellent base for exploring the natural beauty of the Yadkin Valley. The Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail runs through Elkin for about 3.75 miles. In addition, the Elkin and Allegheny Rail Trail is an excellent place for walking or jogging.
Go paddling or floating down the Yadkin River with a rental from Rocky Forest River Run. Reserve your boat or tube ahead of time, and they’ll shuttle you to a relaxing day on the water.
Carter Falls is a beautiful waterfall that has only recently officially opened to the public. You can reach the falls via an easy 1-mile loop or extend your hike from other trailheads, including Grassy Creek Vineyard.
There are two great breweries in Elkin, Angry Troll Brewery and Skull Camp Brewery. Angry Troll, located on Main Street and the Mountain to Sea Trail, is known for its wood-fired pizzas, delicious craft beer, and arcade games.
Meanwhile, Skull Camp serves up the most delicious smoked wings we’ve ever tasted to go with a welcoming outdoor area. The best part? Skull Camp is also on the Sonker Trail!
Mount Airy is one of the most interesting historic towns in North Carolina, known as the “Granite City” because of its open-face granite quarry, which is the largest in the world.
Another interesting piece of Mount Airy history is the famous Siamese twins, Eng & Chang Bunker. The brothers retired to Surry County until they passed away, before being buried at White Plains Baptist Church, only six miles away from Mount Airy.
Of course, Mount Airy is more recently known as Mayberry; the welcoming town featured on The Andy Griffith Show.
While the TV show was filmed in California, Andy Griffith grew up in Mount Airy. So many of the town’s shops and restaurants are nostalgic reminders of that fictional town we all know and love.
While in Mount Airy, be sure to check out White Elephant Beer Company for a pint! If you’re riding the Sonker Trail, you must stop at Miss Angels Heavenly Pies, where the glaze is prepared with moonshine!
Check out our article on sonker and the Surry County Sonker Trail for more info!
Many people know Pilot Mountain for the state park that we’ll mention in this section. However, there’s a town that got its name from the peak.
Many believe Pilot Mountain was the inspiration for Mount Pilot, the fictional town in The Andy Griffith Show.
Pilot Mountain State Park
Anyone can quickly identify Pilot Mountain State Park by its rocky round peak. It’s part of the Sauratown Mountains, an isolated group of mountains that includes those found in Hanging Rock State Park.
Many people refer to these as the “mountains away from the mountains.” You can see Big Pinnacle for miles, especially when traveling on I-77 or US-52.
Hiking to this peak is a great experience. You can also drive (or shuttle) near the top of the mountain to walk to Big Pinnacle Overlook.
However, there’s a flatter Yadkin River section at the Bean Shoals Access in Pinnacle, an unincorporated town in Stokes County. Hikes include the easy Bean Shoals Canal Trail (0.5 miles) and the moderate Horne Creek Trail (2.5 miles one way).
Horne Creek Farm is a beautiful historic spot near the Bean Shoals Access. The farm and adjoining house is a protected spot that serves as an educational center preserving North Carolina’s rural heritage.
The last Surry County town we’ll mention is the Village of Rockford, just south of Dobson. This historic town has been standing since the 1800s.
Many of the buildings in this village are original, including The Rockford General Store. The unassuming exterior of Rockford General opens up to a vintage store and eatery that will knock your socks off.
Browse around and sit down for a relaxing meal. The store’s small menu includes made-to-order burgers and hot dogs held together by fresh homemade buns.
The Rockford General Store is also on the Sonker Trail; Marshella makes some of the best sonker in Surry County!
Ready to Explore Surry County?
Whether you are coming to Surry County for the wineries, Pilot Mountain State Park, or to explore its wonderful small towns, there is plenty that awaits.
We’ve taken you back in time to Mount Airy, wined, dined, and hiked in Elkin, eaten sonker in Dobson, and enjoyed the views at Pilot Mountain. If you’re familiar with this area, we’d love to know what you love about Surry County!
If you haven’t visited yet, please feel free to share your first experiences with us here in the comments section or our Facebook group!
If you need further convincing, here are even more things to do in Surry County’s neighboring counties.
More Things to Do Nearby
Here are some things to do near Surry County, in Wilkes, Alleghany, and Stokes counties:
Stone Mountain State Park
Wilkes and Alleghany counties share Stone Mountain State Park, which is a short drive from Elkin. It’s also not too far from the Blue Ridge Parkway, and you can see its granite dome from an overlook at Milepost 232.5.
To explore this park, though, you need to hop off the parkway and drive for a bit on US 21. Stone Mountain is an excellent and sometimes overlooked state park, but we love hiking and spending extended periods here.
Wilkes County and Wilkesboro are home to the popular MerleFest, mountain bike trails at W Kerr Scott Reservoir, and more Yadkin Valley wineries. While in downtown Wilkesboro, check out TwoBoros Brewery and the Blue Ridge Artisan Center.
Don’t leave Wilkes County without stopping by Call Family Distillers for an authentic moonshine history experience.
Hanging Rock State Park
Moore’s Wall and Indian Creek are a couple of great longer trails, but we also love the short hike that leads to Lower Cascades Falls. The latter is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina!