30+ Great Things to Do in Boone (Hikes, Eats, and More!)

Last Updated on September 28, 2022

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Spend at least a weekend in App Town, exploring all the things to do in Boone (and nearby!) and you’ll be as hooked as we are on this place.

We can vouch for that after many visits to the mountain town, digging into its awesome restaurant scene, and becoming familiar with many spots around it in the High Country of North Carolina.

If you follow us on social media, you’ll know we have a lot of love for Boone. And that’s what we’re going to share here, mixing food, outdoor fun, and attractions beyond the town’s limits.

Here are all the ways you can enjoy a weekend in Boone and beyond:

Read More: Winter Getaways in North Carolina

Where is Boone, North Carolina?

Watauga County Map Created by Wikimedia

Boone is a town in Watauga County, in Northwestern North Carolina. It’s part of an area known as the High Country in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Watauga County borders one county in Tennessee (Johnson County) and four NC counties, including the following:

  • Ashe County (northeast)
  • Avery County (southwest)
  • Caldwell County (south)
  • Wilkes County (east)

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through here and parts of Pisgah National Forest lie within the county lines.

Read More: 100+ Places to Visit in Western North Carolina

Where to Stay in Boone

The Horton Hotel Boone NC
The Horton Hotel.
  • If you’re looking for a great base for the best things to do in Boone, start with the Horton Hotel (611 W King St). It’s the only downtown Boone hotel, right on King St and surrounded by all the shopping and some of the best places to eat, as we’ll mention shortly.
  • You’ll find more hotels in and near Boone along US Highways 221 and 321, just a short drive from downtown.
  • Boone Watauga County Tourism Development Authority hosted us at the Holiday Inn Express (1943 Blowing Rock Rd) and we loved the convenience of getting into Boone and out for exploring more of the High Country. The staff also went above and beyond to make sure our stay was a great one!
  • If you’re seeking an even more intimate place to stay, check out these Airbnbs in Boone and nearby towns!
Rentals in Boone Cabin on the Cascades
Cabin on the Cascades
  • One of our favorite new rentals in Boone is Firefly Luxury Rentals. Their Cabin on the Cascades sits along a waterfall and offers comfortable and beautiful accommodations.

Read More: The Coolest Airbnbs in North Carolina

Annual Events and Seasonal Things to Do in Boone

Before we dig into things to do in Boone throughout the year, here are some specific events that you really keep on your calendar.

Boone’s Easter Eggstravaganza (March or April)

Downtown Boone

This family-friendly event is typically held on a Saturday the week before Easter (March or April), with fun for all ages. Egg hunts start at the Watauga County Library at 2:00 pm and a scavenger hunt will take over downtown, too.

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum (Mid-April to November)

591 Horn in the West Dr

Things to Do in Boone NC Hickory Ridge Living History Museum

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is a Revolutionary War-era recreation of a small mountain community that shares the grounds and sits next to Daniel Boone Native Gardens.

It typically opens for tours from mid-April through November. Visitors can also experience demos of hearthside cooking, blacksmithing, and more period-focused crafts.

Read More: Great Things to Do in Hickory

Tweetsie Railroad (April to December)

300 Tweetsie Railroad Ln, Blowing Rock

If you visit Tweetsie during any regular day, you’ll quickly see why this is one of the most fun things to do in North Carolina. Start with a Wild West Train Adventure, with a mix of comedy and suspense that’ll get a laugh out of both the parents and kids.

The rest of your day can be spent walking around the massive park, enjoying a carousel ride, or playing arcade games. Take a chair lift to and from Miner’s Mountain, admiring the views.

From its yearly opening in April to December, it seems like there’s always a special event happening at Tweetsie Railroad.

  • Fireworks Extravaganza in July
  • Tweetsie Ghost Train (September to October)
  • Christmas at Tweetsie

You can learn more about special Tweetsie events here.

Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do In North Carolina (Your NC Bucket List)

Watauga County Farmers’ Market (Saturdays, May to November)

591 Horn in the West Dr

Things to Do in Boone NC Watauga County Farmers Market

Open from May to November, the Watauga County Farmers’ Market is the perfect place to start your Saturday morning. Stroll around, pick up something fresh and local, and don’t forget to get in line for Everybody’s Loaded Biscuits!

Howard’s Knob County Park (May to October)

604 Howards Knob Rd

Howard’s Knob County Park is a famous spot in Boone that overlooks the town of Boone and Appalachian State University. The park (open May 1 to October 20) has short trails, picnic tables, and a picnic shelter.

Daniel Boone Native Gardens (May to October)

651 Horn in the W Dr

Things to Do in Boone NC Daniel Boone Native Plant Gardens

The Daniel Boone Native Gardens is open every day from May to October and hosts over 200 species of plants, including various native trees and wildflowers. Admission is free, though a donation is encouraged for visitors ages 16 and older.

Whitewater Sports (Summer)

Whitewater is just a short drive from the High Country, and more than a few outfitters can shuttle you out to navigate those rivers and waterways.

They’ll set you up with a kayak, canoe, or raft throughout the warmer months, but you can also reach out at any time of year to see if conditions are cooperating.

Here are a few outfitters in Boone and nearby who can take you out on the water:

Read More: 13 Amazing Restaurants in Banner Elk and Nearby (+ Where to Drink!)

Horn in the West (June to August)

591 Horn in the West Dr

  • Horn in the West is the oldest Revolutionary War drama (June to August), premiering in 1952 at the Daniel Boone Amphitheater (591 Horn in the West Dr).

Doc Watson Day (June)

604 W King St

Doc Watson Statue Boone NC

Celebrating Doc Watson Day is one of the best things to do in Boone during June. This is a free concert that celebrates the late great area resident and 7-time Grammy winner.

The Jones House (604 W King St) usually invites musicians who played with him and those inspired by his influence to come and play.

Boonerang (June)

Boonerang Music Art Festival Boone NC

Of course, don’t forget about Boonerang (June), a festival that started with the sesquicentennial celebration of Boone! This free event brings musicians, local artists, and everyone who either lived in Boone or who calls it home now!

High Country Beer Fest (August)

748 Roby Green Rd

High Country Beer Fest brings together about 50 regional and national breweries, music, and food to the High Country Fairgrounds each August.

Appalachian State University Football (Late Summer, Fall, and Winter)

270 Stadium Dr

Things to Do in Boone NC Appalachian State University Football Stadium Image

Kidd Brewer Stadium fills up on Saturdays from August to December when the App State Mountaineers are in town.

Games here are more than an event. They’re a tradition that alumni return for and students enjoy.

Choose and Cut Christmas Trees (November and December)

Boone is home to some of our favorite Christmas tree farms and their “Choose and Cut” season begins in November.

Here are a few in Boone:

Read More: Winter in Boone (20 Great Activities, Snow Tubing, and More!)

Ski Season (Winter)

Winter in North Carolina Skiing at Beech Mountain
Beech Mountain.

There are a few great places to go skiing near Boone. Depending on the weather, the season typically runs from early- to mid-November to the end of March. Each of these places is within 30 minutes of downtown Boone.

In addition to these ski resorts in North Carolina, Boone is also a great place to go snow tubing! Head to Hawksnest Snow Tubing where they have 30 lanes and a wintery zipline to make memories in the winter.

Read More: How to Visit Land of Oz (10 Essential Tips Before You Go!)

New Year’s Eve at the Horton Hotel (December)

Things to Do in Boone NC Horton Hotel Rooftop

The Horton Hotel isn’t just one of the most awesome places to stay in Boone, it’s THE place to be for New Year’s Eve. The fun begins in the Horton’s rooftop lounge, followed by a midnight ball drop and a complimentary bubbly toast.

Read More: Christmas in North Carolina

Things to Do in Boone ALL Year

You may be thinking there’s a specific time to visit, but there are quite a few things to do in Boone throughout the year, too!

Downtown Shops (King Street and More!)

Boone NC Shopping Image

We mentioned the shopping on King St but have to give it another shoutout here.

  • Start with the Shoppes at Farmers Hardware (661 W King St), family-owned since 1924 and home to just about anything you can think of buying.
  • Another great place to shop in Boone is Foggy Pine Books (471 W King St), one of our favorite bookstores in North Carolina. They go above and beyond to serve customers, with a great selection and dedication to the community through their “Free Books for Boone” program.

There are more shops on King, Howard, and Depot Streets to fill out any Friday or Saturday afternoon.

Things to Do in Boone NC Footsloggers Rock Climbing Wall
  • Another one of our favorite shops includes Footsloggers (139 Depot St), an awesome outdoor and travel gear store. They also have a rock-climbing wall outside, facilitated by Rock Dimensions!
  • Mountaineer Mania (497 W King St) for my next App State shirt purchase after jumping on the bandwagon.

Read More: Why and How to Support Our Local Businesses

The Boone Greenway Trail

The Boone Greenway Trail follows the New River and takes you to spots that feel far away from everything, not just town. The trail is made up of pavement and some gravel, accessible for hikers, strollers, and wheelchairs.

Boone Saloon

489 W King St

Things to Do in Boone NC Boone Saloon

Boone Saloon is the watering hole that Boone will always need. There’s a huge bar that sits in front of a small stage, where you can watch live music throughout the year with the drink of your choice.

A tasty food menu complements a huge selection of drinks, and you can also come to Boone Saloon and chill outside on their deck. Don’t forget about the arcade games that await—yet another reason to love Boone Saloon!

Mast General Store

630 W King St

Valle Crucis NC Original Mast General Store Image

Of course, we can’t leave out Mast General Store while talking about things to do in Boone. This location is absolutely worth a visit if you need some hiking gear, or need to find a gift for your friends or family at App or elsewhere.

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park

285 Mountain Bike Wy

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park as we know it today is the product of hours of volunteer labor and funds from local organizations—Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (WCTDA) and the nonprofit Boone Area Cyclists.

The park has five trails that range in difficulty and a playground that’s perfect for kids to explore!

Blue Ridge Parkway Stops near Boone (Hikes, Overlooks, and More!)

Blue Ridge Parkway Linn Cove Viaduct Near Crabtree Falls NC

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the best things to do in Boone.

The Parkway is packed with our favorite hikes, the most beautiful overlooks, epic waterfalls, beautiful spring flowers, and amazing fall foliage.

Access from Boone to the Blue Ridge Parkway is about five miles via US 321. A few of the hikes we’ll mention shortly require getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is no problem in my book. Some of the Parkway’s most iconic stops are within 30 minutes of driving from Boone.

Here are a few of them:

You can visually travel to these spots on our Western North Carolina map. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of each one:

Moses Cone Memorial Park (MP 294.1)

20 minutes away from Boone

Hikes near Boone

At 3,500 acres, Moses H Cone Memorial Park is the largest dedicated space for hiking and horseback riding. The beautiful Flat Top Manor was once home to the namesake North Carolina textile mogul and philanthropist.

We highly recommend looking up at it while strolling around Bass Lake. This is one of the most beautiful scenes in the High Country.

The Flat Top Tower Trail is a great hike and starts from the manor. You’ll walk nearly 3 miles up to an old fire tower, where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding mountains.

Read More: Day Trips from Boone

EB Jeffress Park (MP 272.5)

25 minutes away from Boone

Day Trips from Greensboro NC Cascades Jeffress Park Blue Ridge Parkway
The Cascades at EB Jeffress.

EB Jeffress Park is named after one of the men responsible for the Blue Ridge Parkway being a toll-free road. Aside from a pretty awesome picnic spot, this park has one of the best hiking trails near Boone.

Read More: Excellent Day Trips from Greensboro (Within a 2-Hour Drive)

Boone Fork Trail (296.5)

25 minutes away from Boone

Places to Hike near Boone NC Boone Fork Trail Image

Boone Fork Trail is an almost 5-mile loop that starts at Julian Price Memorial Park, about 25 minutes away from Boone. It takes you through diverse terrain, crossing its namesake Boone Fork River at many turns.

From Julian Price Campground, Hebron Falls (Boone Fork Falls) is about 1.5 miles into the hike and is one of our favorites to watch!

Summer and early fall hikers come for swimming spots, flowers, and eventual foliage but it’s a gorgeous hike throughout much of the year.

Rough Ridge Overlook Trail (MP 302.8)

30 minutes away from Boone

Winter Hikes in North Carolina Rough Ridge Trail Boone NC Blue Ridge Parkway

Rough Ridge Trail is about 30 minutes away from Boone. It’s a quick hike to the first overlook (1/3 of a mile) and absolutely beautiful if you can get there for sunrise. You can keep going another half-mile to the summit, which stands at 4,773 ft.

Read More: Colorful Fall Hikes in North Carolina (+ 20 Beautiful Places to Explore!)

Linn Cove Viaduct (MP 304.4)

30 minutes away from Boone

Linn Cove Viaduct Blue Ridge Parkway NC

Linn Cove Viaduct is just over 30 minutes away from Boone, and is one of the most iconic Blue Ridge Parkway attractions.

Note: Some sections of the Parkway are closed during winter due to weather and construction. More info is available here.

Read More: 25 of the Most Amazing Winter Hikes in North Carolina

Linville Falls (MP 316.8)

45 minutes away from Boone

Things to Do near Boone NC Linville Falls Image

There are a lot of places with Linville in their name that we love. The scenic Linville Falls Winery and the super interesting Linville Caverns jam-pack this area with fun.

Favorites not named Linville include Famous Louise’s Rockhouse Restaurant, which sits on three county lines (McDowell, Avery, and Burke).

Come here for a delicious breakfast or lunch before or after you’ve hiked around Linville Falls, which is off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There is a way to hike to Linville Falls from another entrance (toward Wiseman’s View), but the Visitor Center is near MP 316.8 on the Parkway.

There are a few trails at the park, including the easier Erwin’s View Trail. It’s a fairly simple 1.6 miles round trip, with multiple views of Linville Falls from above.

The moderate 1.4-mile-long Plunge Basin Trail takes you to a view from the river’s opposite side.

There is also a Gorge Trail that branches off from the Plunge and ends up at the foot of the falls. However, some parts are inaccessible when the water is too high.

Read More: Hiking Table Rock Mountain

More Hiking Near Boone

We’ve discovered tons of hiking trails near Boone and here are a few of our favorites.

Read More: 100+ Hiking Trails in North Carolina

Glen Burney Trail

20 minutes away from Boone

The Cascades on Glen Burney Trail
Looking down at Christina who is looking up at the Cascades.

The entrance to the Glen Burney Trail (3.1 or 3.2 miles) sits off Main St in Blowing Rock. This awesome trail takes you away from everything and toward three beautiful falls—Glen Burney, Cascades, and Glen Mary.

Each is so awesome that we included them among our favorite waterfalls in the Blowing Rock area.

You’ll descend about 800 feet so get those legs and knees ready for a workout on the way back up! Also, beware of roots and occasional muddy areas, especially if it’s recently rained.

Read More: 50+ Great Things to Do in Asheville (Downtown, Biltmore, and More!)

Elk Knob State Park

20 minutes away from Boone

Things to do in Boone Elk Knob State Park

Elk Knob State Park is one of our newer state parks, opened in 2002, but full of fun things to do in Boone’s surroundings. Much of it is still developing, but you have to drive out to Elk Knob and check it out.

We love the Summit Trail (1.8 miles), which leads to beautiful views throughout the year. As long as the conditions aren’t too icy, Elk Knob is one of the few area hikes that are accessible in the winter.

NC State Parks Elk Knob

One great thing about this park is that if there is snow on the ground, Elk Knob is the only state park where you can go cross-country skiing.

Read More: Winter in North Carolina

Otter Falls Trail

25 minutes away from Boone

Otter Falls in the Winter

Otter Falls is an awesome High Country waterfall hike that sits inside the resort community of Seven Devils. The Otter Falls Trail that we know today has only been around since 2015, and it dips about 230 feet in elevation via two loops.

You’ll find plenty of benches along the way, in case you’d like to kick back and relax along this path.

The trails aren’t marked all that clearly, but you’ll find the falls as long as you follow the sound of water. One of our favorite kid-friendly waterfalls awaits!

Read More: The Most Beautiful Waterfalls in North Carolina

Mount Jefferson State Natural Area

35 minutes away from Boone

Hikes near Boone NC Mount Jefferson State Recreation Area

You can see Mount Jefferson from the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 266.8), but visit Mount Jefferson State Natural Area for a closer look. There a multiple viewpoints where you can look down at West Jefferson and its Ashe County surroundings.

Of course, you should hop on one of the park’s five fairly short yet difficult hiking trails. Here are a couple of them:

  • Stare out toward Virginia and Tennessee from the Jefferson Overlook.
  • The kid-friendly TRACK trail (1.1 miles) runs from Mount Jefferson’s summit to Luther Rock. From Luther Rock, you can see the New River to the east on clear days.

Grandfather Mountain

  • The Private Attraction is 40 minutes away from Boone
  • Grandfather Mountain State Park is 35 minutes away from Boone
Grandfather Mountain NC

When you say “Grandfather Mountain” to someone, you might be referring to just the mountain, the non-profit tourist attraction with the mile-high swinging bridge, or the NC State Parks side.

You can reach the NC State Parks side of Grandfather Mountain from the bridge, where some difficult hiking trails and rewarding views await.

The Grandfather Trail (2.4 miles) is reachable via the Underwood Trail (0.5 miles). The Grandfather Trail is advanced-level and will take you to the Calloway Peak, the highest of Grandfather Mountain’s four summits.

The Grandfather Trail also connects with the Profile Trail (3.6 miles), another popular yet tough hike in this state park. The Profile Trail leads to both the Profile View and Foscoe View.

Every year, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games brings colors to Macrae Meadows with pageantry, athletic competitions, and more to celebrate North Carolina’s Scots-Irish heritage.

There are so many more trails beyond these, though. If you’ve explored the area before, do you have a favorite to share with us? Let us know in the comments!

Read More: How to See Elk River Falls (Trail and Safety Tips)

Restaurants in Boone

Peppers Boone Restaurants
Burgers from Pepper’s

Before or after you dig into all the fun things to do in Boone, remember that there are some great restaurants here.

  • For a quick breakfast, a cinnamon bun from Stick Boy (two locations) is the only worthy start, unless you’re stopping by Espresso News (267 Howard St) or Hatchet (150A Den Mac Dr) for coffee first.
  • If you’re sitting down though, the Sunrise Grill (1675 Highway 105 S) is hard to beat. Just get there as early as possible because I’ve seen it fill up shortly after they open.
  • Go beyond both and enjoy a meal at Melanie’s Food Fantasy (664 W King St), also owned under the Stick Boy umbrella.
  • A burger from The Cardinal (1711 Highway 105) is a must for lunch, especially if you like bison or enjoy casual pub fare from Pepper’s (240 Shadowline Dr).
Best Restaurants in Boone NC The Local Dish Image
The Local.
  • The Local (179 Howard St, Boone) is THE place for great drinks to accompany delicious bites and a fun atmosphere. Live music on Friday and Saturday nights keeps it one of the area’s most popular spots.
  • Ribs from Howard Station (268 Howard St) are also hard to beat.

It’s so tough to choose our favorite restaurant in Boone. We think you’ll be interested in reading more.

Read More: 20+ Delicious Restaurants in Boone for Your Next Meal Out!

Drink (and Eat) at ALL the Breweries in Boone

You can easily pace yourself and visit every brewery in Boone, as there are currently three in town.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Things to Do in Boone NC Appalachian Mountain Brewery Image

Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB) is the largest, sitting just off US 321 near Boone Mall. An on-site food truck du jour accompanies a great selection of beers.

Seasonal creations and taproom exclusives join forces with flagships like Long Leaf IPA to keep AMB visits among the best things to do in Boone.

Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville

Lost Province Brewing Company

Walk or drive up the hill on Depot St to Lost Province Brewing Company and enjoy wood-fired pizzas with your pint.

Depending on how I’m feeling, a Fat Bastard Oatmeal Stout or Hipster Juice IPA absolutely hit the spot before I have to descend back down the hill.

Booneshine Brewing Co.

Booneshine Brewing Boone NC

For the latter, we recommend caution, proper footwear, and tires on your car to get out. The entrance is a steep slope and hard to get out if there’s enough snow cover.

The winner of “Most Beautiful Taproom Ever” should go to Booneshine Brewing Co. You might not care as much as me about these things, so let’s talk about the important stuff.

Ales and pilsners dominate the board and they also have a nice food menu. The place gets pretty busy in the evenings, so plan accordingly. We never leave Boone without bringing some home with us!

More Beer to Come?

Since Appalachian State is cool enough to offer Fermentation Sciences as a major, I suspect more breweries in Boone to come over the years.

Ready for These Things to Do in Boone?

I know that we’ve listed too many things to do in Boone for one weekend, which means you’ll just have to come back. And after your experience in this fun town, trust me in confidently knowing that you’ll want to come back.

Boone and its surroundings have the power of making you want to be there when you’re sitting somewhere far away. At least, that’s how I feel when I’m not there.

And while we wait for our next trip to Boone, I want to know. What would you do during your first trip here? If you’ve been before, what do you love about this area, and is there anything we left out?

Feel free to let us know in the comments or by email. Also, don’t forget to share your Boone travel adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!

More Things to Do in Boone’s Surroundings (Day Trips)

Before you connect with us, here are some more things to do in Boone’s surroundings.

Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map

Banner Elk NC Apple Hill Farm Image

Any description of the High Country without mentioning Banner Elk would be incomplete. This town of 1,500-plus has incredible restaurants, with Banner Elk Cafe & Tavern one of many you should visit.

Grandfather Vineyard is one of our favorite things to do in Banner Elk. We enjoyed sitting by the creek with our glass in hand, not sure if we admired the scenery or the wine more.

Either way, we’re convinced that this is one of the best North Carolina wineries and vineyards.

We’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time here, even venturing out to Apple Hill Farm. There’s no apple picking available; just special people and an atmosphere that can cure anyone’s ill mood or feelings.

It’s a place where the beautiful animals do the talking, as you’ll see after hanging out with the farm’s alpacas, goats, and horses. And if meet owner Lee Rankin, some time talking with her (as we did here) will show you that our world is what we make of it.

Read More: How to See Waterfalls Park in Newland (near Banner Elk)

Blowing Rock

20 minutes away from Boone

Downtown Blowing Rock NC Image

It’s hard to write about Boone without its close neighbor Blowing Rock coming up. The town is home to amazing restaurants, an awesome shopping scene, and the famed Blowing Rock—North Carolina’s oldest tourist attraction.

It’s also home to a couple of our favorite hikes—Flat Top Tower Hike and Glen Burney Trail.

Read More: Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock

Original Mast General Store (Valle Crucis)

20 minutes away from Boone

The original Mast General Store location in Valle Crucis is fun to walk through, too. It’s well-known for its collection of just about everything, moon pies, and an inviting back porch.

Outside, you’ll see two connected buildings with an interesting history. And inside, you’ll find outdoor gear, toys, clothes, and so much more.

Read More: Day Trips from Asheville

Ski Resorts

Beech Mountain Ski Resort summer chair lift

We mentioned ski season earlier but wanted to point out that Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain have fun things to do throughout much of the year. You can ride the ski lift for epic views of the surrounding mountains.

At Sugar Mountain, you can ride to the top and either go back down via the ski lift or ride down with your mountain bike.

In Beech Mountain’s case, the lift will take you up to the 5506′ Sky Bar, where you can hop off for mountain biking or a pint of tasty beer from their brewery.

There are just a ton of things to do in Boone’s surroundings, most of which are in the High Country of North Carolina. These NC travel guides cover the Boone attractions mentioned above and more!

1 thought on “30+ Great Things to Do in Boone (Hikes, Eats, and More!)”

  1. Love this article. Seems like a place that would be a good place to escape and establish a place to live, especially if you love the mountains like myself.

    Reply

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