Last Updated on October 11, 2021
Last Updated on October 11, 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.
Brevard, North Carolina is nestled in the heart of Transylvania County and is an amazing mountain town. There are plenty of fun things to do in Brevard, including waterfalls, downtown shopping and 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?
- What is Brevard Known For Today?
- Seasonal Events in Brevard (White Squirrel Festival and More!)
- Things to Do in Brevard ALL Year (Downtown and More!)
- Things to Do in Brevard’s Surroundings (Waterfalls and More!)
- Where to Stay
This post covering things to do in Brevard is part of our series on all the awesome places to visit in Western North Carolina.
Where is Brevard, North Carolina?
Brevard is in Transylvania County, in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It borders 4 counties in North Carolina and 3 in South Carolina.
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 to the west
What is Brevard Known For Today?
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.
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, Silvermont Park, 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 is home to thriving arts and music scenes, small businesses catering to all ages, especially families.
Seasonal Events in Brevard
Speaking of activities the town is known for, here are some of the coolest festivals and seasonal things to do in Brevard.
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’s honoring 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.
Year-Round Things to Do in Brevard
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 Waterfalls
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.
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!
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!
This amazing collection of waterfalls is just a few minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, in case you’re seeking a fun place to stop!
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 (Transylvania County) and runs all the way to Murphy, near our westernmost border with Tennessee.
Keep Chasing Brevard Waterfalls
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. It claims to be the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River (fun fact!), though there seems to be some controversy surrounding that.
Silver Run Falls is another cool waterfall near Upper Whitewater Falls, north of the latter on NC 107. It is easy to reach and has a fantastic pool for swimming that is shallow enough for young children.
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 Shopping, Eating, and More!
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 compliment the town’s art scene and businesses.
Explore Restaurants in Brevard
Another must-stop culinary experience is Downtown Chocolates. With a wonderful array of truffles at reasonable prices, even the smells are decadent!
But our favorite place to eat in downtown Brevard is The Square Root. 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.
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
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!
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
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.
Things to Do in Brevard’s Surroundings
We love downtown Brevard, but we all know there are some wonderful things to do in Brevard’s surroundings. Here are a few of our favorites!
Attend an Event at PARI
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 specializing the 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!
Where to Stay (Cozy, Close, and Away from It All)
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!
Ready for These Lovely Things to Do in Brevard?
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!