Last Updated on October 22, 2021
Last Updated on October 22, 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.
Spend at least a weekend in App Town, exploring all the things to do in Boone and you’ll be as hooked as we are on this place.
Read More: Unique Things to Do in North Carolina
Here are all the ways you can enjoy a weekend in Boone and beyond:
- Where is Boone?
- Where to Stay
- Seasonal and Monthly Events in Boone
- Things to Do in Boone ALL Year
- Blue Ridge Parkway Stops near Boone
- Hikes near Boone
- Skiing near Boone
- More Things to Do in Boone’s Surroundings (The High Country)
- More Things to Do in Boone (Related Posts)
Read More: Winter Getaways in North Carolina
Where is Boone, North Carolina?
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.
Where to Stay in Boone
If you’re looking for a great base for all this guide’s things to do in Boone, start with the Horton Hotel. 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. If you’re seeking an even more intimate place to stay, check out these Airbnbs in Boone and nearby towns!
Boone Watauga County Tourism Development Authority hosted us at the Holiday Inn Express 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!
Read More: The Coolest Airbnbs in North Carolina
Seasonal and Monthly Events 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.
- March: The Daniel Boone Rail Jam brings the snow to Boone on March 16, 2020, with $4,000 total up for grabs. Skiiers and snowboarders will come for the prizes and the guaranteed snow, but you should also stop by Daniel Boone Amphitheater to watch.
- April: Boone’s Easter Eggstravaganza is held on a Saturday the week before Easter, 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.
- June to August: Horn in the West is the oldest Revolutionary War drama, premiering in 1952 at the Daniel Boone Amphitheater. Check here for tickets and times.
- June: One of the best things to do in Boone during June is to celebrate Doc Watson Day. This is a free concert that celebrates the late great area resident and 7-time Grammy winner. The Jones House usually invites musicians who played with him and those inspired by his influence to come and play.
- August: High Country Beer Fest brings together about 50 regional and national breweries, music, and food to the High Country Fairgrounds. Tickets are limited so check here for more info.
- November: Boone is home to some of our favorite Christmas tree farms and their “Choose and Cut” season begins in November. Check here for more info.
- December: Starting in 2019, 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 at 6:00 pm in Horton Hotel’s lounges, followed by a midnight ball drop and a complimentary bubbly toast.
We’ll be sharing more seasonal events throughout the rest of this post. A few specific places keep the people of Boone and the High Country very busy throughout much of the year.
Read More: Day Trips from Asheville
Things to Do in Boone ALL Year
Downtown Shops (King Street and More!)
We mentioned the shopping on King St but have to give it another shoutout here. Start with the Shoppes at Farmers Hardware, 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, 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.
Read More: Why and How to Support Our Local Businesses
Mast General Store
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 to some hiking gear, or need to find a gift for your friends or family at App or elsewhere.
The original 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.
The Boone Greenway Trail
Boone’s 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.
More info about the Greenway Trail and Boone’s parks can be found here.
Cheer on the App State Mountaineers
From August to December, Appalachian State football games are more than an event. They’re a tradition that alumni return for and students enjoy. And the players?
The Mountaineers usually dominate whatever opposition comes to town, whether it’s a conference game or not.
Ride ’em All at Tweetsie Railroad
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.
Special Events at Tweetsie
And from its yearly opening in April to December, it seems like there’s always a special event happening at Tweetsie Railroad.
You can learn more about special Tweetsie events here.
Daniel Boone Native Gardens
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 a $2 donation for visitors ages 16 and older.
Hickory Ridge Living History Museum
We mentioned Horn in the West earlier but thought you should also know about Hickory Ridge Living History Museum. It shares the grounds and sits next to Daniel Boone Native Gardens.
This Revolutionary War-era recreation of a small mountain community is open for tours from April through November. Visitors can also experience demos of hearthside cooking, blacksmithing, and more period-focused crafts.
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.
Eat at these Awesome Restaurants
Before or after you dig into all the fun things to do in Boone, remember that there are some great restaurants here.
For breakfast, a cinnamon bun from Stick Boy (two locations) is the only worthy start, unless you’re stopping by Hatchet for coffee first. Go beyond both and enjoy a meal at Melanie’s Food Fantasy, also owned under the Stick Boy umbrella.
A burger from The Cardinal is a must for lunch, especially if you like bison or enjoy casual pub fare from Pepper’s.
The Local 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.
For more of our favorite places to eat, check out this guide to restaurants in Boone!
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
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.
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.
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.
More Beer to Come?
Blue Ridge Parkway Stops near Boone
The Parkway is packed with our favorite hikes, the most beautiful overlooks, 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 (including Linn Cove Viaduct) are within 30 minutes of driving from Boone.
Note: Some sections of the Parkway are closed during winter due to weather and construction. More info is available here.
Read More: Day Trips from Asheville
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
Otter Falls Trail
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.
Rough Ridge Trail
Rough Ridge Trail is one of a few that we’ll share that’s just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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.
Boone Fork Trail
Boone Fork Trail is an almost 5-mile loop that starts at Julian Price Memorial Park (MM 296.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway). It takes you through diverse terrain, crossing its namesake Boone Fork River at many turns.
Summer and early fall hikers come for swimming spots, flowers, and eventual foliage but it’s a gorgeous hike throughout much of the year.
Elk Knob State Park
Elk Knob State Park is a newer park, opening 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.
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 cross country skiing.
Flat Top Tower
For epic views from the top of an old aero motor tower, the 2.7-mile up-and-back Flat Top Tower hike is perfect. Inside Moses H Cone Memorial Park and just off the Blue Ridge Parkway (MM 294), Flat Top Manor is where you start. Take a minute there and enjoy the beautiful views of Bass Lake below.
You’ll start to notice beautiful views of Blowing Rock about two miles in, but keep going and you’ll reach the 40-foot steel tower.
For this sometimes acrophobic person, walking up and down can seem like an eternity. However, the views from the top were totally worth the anxiety for me. I just count my steps and try to focus on putting one foot in front of the other to keep moving.
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!
Skiing near Boone
We mentioned skiing already when talking about Banner Elk, but we just wanted you to know about all of the best skiing near Boone.
Along with Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain, Appalachian Ski Resort is also 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.
Hawksnest is just up the road from Otter Falls in Seven Devils. We’ve hiked down there in the warmer months and when it’s snowing.
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.
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?
More Things to Do in Boone’s High Country Surroundings
There are just a ton of things to do in Boone’s surroundings, most of which are in the High Country of North Carolina.
Read More: Day Trips from Boone
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. We’ll mention the first one in more detail shortly.
Read More: Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock
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.
Banner Elk is also a great base for folks who want to ski at either Sugar Mountain or Beech Mountain. That’s because it’s sandwiched between them, just 10 minutes away from both.
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.
Read More: Hiking Table Rock Mountain