Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on February 25, 2024.
Brevard, North Carolina is nestled in the heart of Western NC and is an amazing mountain town. There are plenty of fun things to do in Brevard and Transylvania County NC, including waterfalls, downtown shopping, eats, breweries, and more activities!
Here’s how we’ve organized this guide to all the great things to do in Brevard:
- Where is Brevard NC?
- What is Brevard Known For Today?
- Where to Stay
- Seasonal Events in Brevard (White Squirrel Festival and More!)
- Things to Do in Brevard This Weekend (and ALL Year)
- Downtown Brevard
- Craft Breweries
- Things to Do Near Brevard NC (Day Trips)
- The Best Things to Do in Brevard and Nearby (NC Tripping’s Top 5)
Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a Brevard NC local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we know this guide will help you out!
Where is Brevard, North Carolina?
Before we dig into the best Brevard NC things to do, it’s important to understand exactly how to find it on a map.
Here’s a breakdown of the counties and where each borders Transylvania County:
- Buncombe County (and Asheville) to the northeast
- Haywood County (and Maggie Valley) to the northwest
- Henderson County (and Hendersonville) to the east
- Jackson County (and Sylva) to the west
You can visually plan your things to do in Brevard with our Western NC Map.
What is Brevard Known For Today?
- Waterfalls: Brevard is known as a great base for exploring the hundreds of waterfalls nearby. A couple of the best things to do in Brevard include visits to Looking Glass Falls and Sliding Rock, before searching for even more waterfalls in the area.
- White Squirrels: Brevard is also known for white squirrels, which are a white variation of the eastern grey squirrel. They’re believed to have arrived here via an overturned carnival truck. You can find the squirrels around Brevard College (1 Brevard College Dr), Silvermont Park (364 E Main St), and various residential neighborhoods in town. These squirrels have spread to surrounding communities. We can vouch for this, having once spotted a white squirrel near Jump Off Rock in Laurel Park, Henderson County.
- The town is also an excellent fly fishing and biking destination, with rivers and lanes galore. Downtown Brevard is home to thriving arts and music scenes, and small businesses catering to all ages, especially families.
Where to Stay in Brevard
We think it’s best to soak up as much nature as possible and the best way to do that is by staying at a Bed and Breakfast, especially if the weather in Brevard isn’t cooperating.
Our jumping-off point for all these things to do in Brevard is The Pines Country Inn. That place is great and not just for its magnificent views from the main house.
They also offer an incredible breakfast. Honestly, the grits at The Pines are still the best we’ve ever had!
Read More: Hotels in North Carolina
Annual Events in Brevard NC
Speaking of activities the town is known for, here are some of the coolest festivals and seasonal things to do in Brevard.
Read More: Winter in North Carolina
Spring and Summer
- March: To kick off spring, Arts in March takes over Downtown Brevard with open studios and galleries, creator meet-ups, special menus at local restaurants, and more.
- May: Memorial Day Weekend’s White Squirrel Festival is the best-known event in Brevard since it honors some special and cute little creatures. During the weekend, there will be free concerts, a Memorial Day parade, a street festival, and much more.
- July: During the Fourth of July Celebration in Brevard, the fun kicks off early with a 5K and 10K run starting at 8:00 am. A street festival starts at 9:00 am and goes all day long until 5:00 pm. More events during the day include the Community Arts Council-hosted Fine Arts & Crafts Fair, a reading of “The Declaration of Independence,” and of course, the Fireworks Extravaganza that night.
Fall and Winter
- October: Didn’t you know that being in Transylvania County meant that Brevard’s Halloweenfest is the most fun fall celebration? Vampires, zombies, and ghosts disguised as runners will run around town during the Flight of the Vampire 5K and 10K. A costume contest and parade, pumpkin carving, and more round out this awesome event in downtown Brevard.
- December: Christmas in Brevard begins with the town’s Christmas Parade, which is followed by the Twilight Tour and Pictures with Santa. The fun ends at 5:30 pm with the Lighting of the Christmas Tree.
Read More: Christmas in North Carolina
List of Things to Do in Brevard This Weekend (and All Year!)
The first few things to do in Brevard that we’ll mention are all about waterfalls, but keep reading for more activities downtown and beyond.
- Chase Brevard NC Waterfalls
- Search for White Squirrels
- Downtown Brevard NC
- Silvermont Park
- Cycling in Brevard
- Connestee Falls Golf Club
- Craft Breweries
Chase Brevard Waterfalls
Looking Glass Falls
Sliding Rock is a natural waterslide that attracts many tourists during the summer months. Grab your swimsuit and $3 for admission and slide your heart away! While Sliding Rock is the most popular destination, there are plenty of hidden gems to get you out from all the crowds.
Moore Cove Falls
Others like Moore Cove Falls require a bit of a hike. Thankfully it is a kid-friendly hike and offers amazing views. Either way, it’s worth the journey to marvel at the gushing water!
Read More: 100+ Hiking Trails in North Carolina
French Broad Falls (Mill Shoals) and Bird Rock Falls
On the NC 215 side of the byway is the immaculate French Broad Falls (Mill Shoals) and Bird Rock Falls. The latter is also known as Cathedral Falls.
These falls are technically on private property, but the community of Living Waters Ministry allows people to access the falls. Park on the side of the road and just remember to be respectful of the environment as you marvel at the epic view!
The waterfall cascades over multiple tiers before descending into the valley below. It passes through a historic stone bridge dating back to 1937.
Search for White Squirrels
We’ve already mentioned white squirrels in Brevard a couple of times, even touching upon the White Squirrel Festival in our “Events” section. Searching for these squirrels is actually one of the most fun things to do in Brevard throughout the year, too!
Brevard College, Silvermont Park, and various residential neighborhoods are good places to start, but we’ve seen one in Henderson County. Keep your eyes out and believe us—these squirrels are real!
Downtown Brevard NC
Highway 64 cuts right through Brevard, temporarily turning into Broad Street while doing so. Walking around this street and others downtown tops our list of things to do in Brevard for a few reasons.
It’s a cozy place for walking and there are plenty of fun shops to browse. You’ll find a lot of kitschy little spots that complement the town’s art scene and businesses.
Here are a few that we love:
- DD Bullwinkel’s Outdoors (60 E Main St)
- Highland Books (36 W Main St)
- O P Taylor’s Toy Store (16 S Broad St)
Of course, there are many more small businesses to support in Brevard. If you have any favorites to share, we’d love to hear about them!
Address: 364 E Main St, Brevard, NC 28712
If you want to get outside not specifically to see waterfalls, Silvermont Park surrounds the beautiful Silvermont Mansion and is a nice way to spend a morning or afternoon.
Cycling in Brevard
For cycling in Brevard, many folks come for the Parkway Loop, and there’s also the route that runs from Downtown to Pisgah Visitors Center.
Connestee Falls Golf Club
Address: 98 Overlook Clubhouse Dr, Brevard, NC
There are also opportunities for horse riding if that’s something you enjoy! Golfers will look to Connestee Falls Golf Club first, as it’s a pretty highly regarded course to tee off.
Eat at These Restaurants in Brevard NC
Brevard has a nice food scene and here are a few of our favorite restaurants:
- Downtown Chocolates (30 Times Arcade): Another must-stop culinary experience is Downtown Chocolates. With a wonderful array of truffles at reasonable prices, even the smells are decadent!
- The Square Root (33 Times Arcade Aly): But our favorite place to eat in downtown Brevard is The Square Root (33 Times Arcade Aly). The upscale restaurant serves thoughtfully prepared dishes ranging from curry to moonshine peaches and pork tenderloin. Everything on the menu is spectacular, but because it is so popular expect a wait.
- Hawg Wild (91 Pisgah Hwy, Pisgah Forest): If you find yourself outside of the town and are craving some of that traditional western North Carolina barbecue, Hawg Wild has some incredible ribs and pulled pork!
Craft Breweries in Brevard
There are also some nice places to grab a craft beer in Brevard, starting with a family-owned establishment downtown.
- Brevard Brewing Company (63 E Main St): Downtown favorite Brevard Brewing Company has been hand-crafting lagers since 2012 and they don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
- Oskar Blues Brewery (342 Mountain Industrial Dr): Of course, you can’t leave Brevard without a brew from Oskar Blues Brewery! Enjoy a pint of their famed Dale’s Pale Ale or the lesser-known Hotbox Coffee IPA. Sit under their large outdoor carport with a bucket of peanuts, grab a burger, and make friends around you!
- Ecusta Brewing Company (451 Ecusta Rd): Another great Brevard brewery is Ecusta Brewing Company. Our favorite is their Flagship Dead Drift, a light but aromatic pale ale. If you’re hungry while pounding a pint, check out Gordingos Kitchen, which serves Mexican-style comfort food. Not a beer drinker? Ecusta Brewing also serves non-alcoholic brews from Athletic Brewing, fermented tea, hard cider, soda, and wine.
Read More: The Best Breweries in Asheville
Things to Do Near Brevard NC (Day Trips)
We love downtown Brevard, but we all know there are some wonderful things to do near Brevard.
Here are a few of our favorites!
- Transylvania County
- Cedar Mountain
- DuPont State Recreational Forest
- Gorges State Park
- Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
- Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute (PARI)
- Henderson County
- Flat Rock
- Blue Ridge Parkway Stops Nearby
- The NC Waterfall Byway
- Jackson County
- Upper Whitewater Falls
- Haywood County
Read More: 15 of the Best Day Trips in North Carolina
15 Minutes Away
Cedar Mountain is a great community south of Brevard, just before the SC state line and very close to DuPont State Forest. Cedar Mountain Outpost (8431 Greenville Hwy) is a great stop for coffee, gas, beer, wine, and more.
We also love the friendly Cedar Mountain Canteen (10771 Greenville Hwy), a local bottle shop that hosts events throughout the year. Creekside Market and Grill (8960 Greenville Hwy) is another must-stop, with basic groceries, a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and finally, gem mining!
DuPont State Recreational Forest
20 Minutes Away
DuPont State Recreational Forest offers 86 miles of trails for hikers, some available to mountain bikers and horseback riders.
- Seeing three waterfalls in one hike on the Triple Falls hike loop tops most people’s list of “Brevard NC things to do.” That hike starts either from the Hooker Falls or High Falls (Visitor Center) parking lots.
- You can also reach Bridal Veil Falls from the High Falls Parking Lot. The path to it is actually one of our favorite mountain biking trails in NC! The 2.2-mile trail (4.4 miles round trip) ends at a 120-foot waterfall that has also been featured in several movies filmed in North Carolina.
- Reach the 20-foot Wintergreen Falls after a 1.5-mile hike through the quieter side of DuPont.
Gorges State Park
30 Minutes Away
Gorges is part of a temperate rainforest, receiving more than 80 inches of rain per year. Elevation changes so quickly inside the park that it cools the air that moves, raising the humidity and creating clouds and rain.
Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
You’ll pass the Cradle of Forestry and the rhododendron-heavy Pink Beds along this road before running into the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, featured next, is another cool place to visit along the way.
Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute
30 Minutes Away
PARI, or Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, is an observatory located near French Broad Falls in Balsam Grove. What was once home to the birth of modern satellite technology, PARI now specializes in STEM education and remains a world-class research facility.
Stay in their cabins or check out the calendar of events or book a private tour!
You can’t visit PARI without permission, so please call ahead if you’re interested.
30 Minutes Away
If you’re around during Labor Day, the NC Apple Festival is probably one of the best things to do in Hendersonville. Throughout the year, you can enjoy downtown Hendersonville, eat at local restaurants, and drive out to Jump Off Rock in nearby Laurel Park.
35 Minutes Away
Flat Rock sits south of Hendersonville and is where you can explore the Carl Sandburg Home. This National Parks site was the home of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and his wife for the final 22 years of his life.
There are a few trails to explore, too, and we consider the Glassy Mountain Trail among the best hikes in Hendersonville and its surroundings.
Blue Ridge Parkway Stops Nearby
- Devil’s Courthouse (Mile Post 422.4, 45 Minutes Away): Short and strenuous, Devil’s Courthouse is mostly-paved and takes you to a rock overlook at 5,720 feet.
- Richland Balsam Overlook (MP 431.4, 55 Minutes Away): For starters, this stop is the highest point of the Blue Ridge Parkway road at 6,047 feet. From here, you can hike the summit of Richland Balsam (6,292 feet) via a moderate 1.5-mile loop.
- Graveyard Fields (MP 418.8, 50 Minutes Away): Graveyard Fields is one of the few trailheads with a toilet. Beyond that reason to stop, the Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is an easy hike to a spectacular waterfall. Graveyard Fields is also popular in July and August for the wild blueberries!
- Black Balsam Knob (MP 420.2, 50 Minutes Away): Black Balsam Knob is one of our favorite kid-friendly hikes near Asheville. The fact that this 6,000-footer is easily accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway is an added bonus! Black Balsam Knob and Tennent Mountain are part of the longer Art Loeb Trail that winds along luscious mountain balds for scenic views. You can hike a half-mile up to the first balds or see more via a 5-mile loop.
- Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower (MP 409.6, 45 Minutes Away): Built in 1941 by the US Forest Service, Fryingpan Mountain Lookout Tower provides 360-degree views from the stairs. The 1.5-mile roundtrip hike is super easy and the views are epic!
Drive the Waterfall Byway
As if there was just one road full of waterfalls near Brevard, you can also drive the section of US-64 known as the Waterfall Byway! This 98-mile route begins in Rosman (15 Minutes Away) and runs all the way to Murphy, 2-1/2 hours away and near our westernmost border with Tennessee.
45 Minutes Away
Cashiers is the gateway to one of our favorite NC mountain escapes, Bear Lake Reserve. Filled with shops, boutiques, and the beautiful Village Green, there is always something to explore in this lovely town.
We definitely recommend stopping at Whiteside Brewing for a pint and a burger or wings!
There are also some amazing hikes and waterfalls near Cashiers NC, including Silver Run Falls.
Upper Whitewater Falls
40 Minutes Away
If you have some extra time and want to see the most epic waterfall around, head over to Jackson County. That’s where you’ll find Upper Whitewater Falls, just down the road from Silver Run Falls.
Upper Whitewater Falls claims to be the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River (fun fact!), though there seems to be some controversy surrounding that.
Read More: Waterfalls near Asheville
40 Minutes Away
Panthertown Valley is a 6,311-acre backcountry wilderness area in Jackson County, near Cashiers (and Sapphire) about 40 minutes from Brevard.
Panthertown and Panthertown Valley are open throughout the year and you can explore its well-connected network of trails. These paths lead to valleys, gorges, mountain bogs, domes, waterfalls (like Schoolhouse Falls), and more.
50 Minutes Away
Brevard is a perfect day trip from Asheville. Flip it around, and you can use Asheville as a great base to explore Brevard!
Some of our favorite things to do include:
- Walks around Biltmore Estate (especially during Christmas)
- Amazing meals at the city’s restaurants and breweries
- Visits to outdoor spots like the WNC Nature Center and the North Carolina Arboretum
1 Hour Away
About an hour away from Brevard, Waynesville is another fun spot to explore. Whether you’re walking around Main Street or Frog Level, there’s always a great small-town vibe here.
The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts also resides in Waynesville, open from May to October and home to a nice collection of furniture, quilts, and more. From April to October, you can also stay at The Swag, one of NC’s most unique luxury resorts.
Throughout the year, though, Waynesville is home to great local businesses and some of our all-time favorite restaurants! Don’t sleep on this small town near Brevard.
The Best Things to Do in Brevard and Nearby (NC Tripping’s Top 5)
We made some tough decisions when picking the best Hendersonville attractions. Nevertheless, here’s what we think are the best of the best, in alphabetical order:
- Forest Heritage Scenic Byway
- DuPont State Recreational Forest
- O P Taylor’s
- Ecusta Brewing
- Gorges State Park
More Brevard NC Things to Do and Travel Guides
I hope you can visit this wonderful spot in western North Carolina. If you have, what did you think of it? If not, which of these lovely things to do in Brevard would you start with?
Regardless of whether you’ve been or planning to visit Brevard, we’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below or by email!
Don’t forget to share your Brevard NC travels in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!
Also, don’t forget to check out our collection of NC travel guides that cover these Brevard adventures and more! Here are a few of them.