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25+ Fun Things to Do in Wilkesboro (+ North Wilkesboro and Nearby!)

Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on May 29, 2024.

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If you're looking for the best things to do in Wilkesboro (and nearby), we've covered you with this NC travel guide! 

What do bootleggers, world-class wineries, and NASCAR all have in common? They are all among the best things to do in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, and nearby!

Wilkes County was once known as the Moonshine Capital of the World, but there is so much more than a good “licker” here. We’ll show you exactly what to do in Wilkesboro NC (county seat), the neighboring mountain town of North Wilkesboro, and elsewhere in the county.

You can start by getting in touch with nature at Stone Mountain State Park, hitting the world-renowned mountain bike trails, sipping some moonshine, and even more.

Wilkesboro and its surroundings are perfect for a day trip from many places but give yourself at least a weekend. There’s plenty to dig into, and we’re featuring as much as possible in this travel guide.

Because there is so much to share, here’s how we’ve organized the guide:

  • Where is Wilkesboro?
  • The History of Wilkesboro
  • Where to Stay
  • Annual Events in Wilkesboro
  • Year-Round Things to Do in Wilkesboro
  • More Wilkes County Arts
  • Where to Drink in Wilkesboro
  • Restaurants in Wilkesboro
  • Outdoor Things to Do in Wilkesboro
  • Things to Do in Wilkesboro’s Surroundings
    • North Wilkesboro (Events, Food, and More!)
    • Wilkes County (Ferguson, W. Scott Ker Dam, and More!)
  • More Things to Do in Wilkesboro and Nearby (Related Posts)

Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the Wilkesboro area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!

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

Where is Wilkesboro?

county map of North Carolina with Wilkesboro county highlighted
  • Wilkesboro is located in one of the most beautiful regions in North Carolina.
  • It’s a part of the Yadkin Valley (home to excellent wineries), the High Country, and the Foothills of Western North Carolina.
  • Wilkesboro is the county seat of Wilkes County and shares part of its name with neighbor North Wilkesboro.
  • This town is an easy day trip away from many places in North Carolina, including:
  • Even closer is the town of Elkin (30 minutes), which is shared by Wilkes and Surry counties.
  • Many people travel to Wilkesboro via US-421, but you can also access the town via some beautiful scenic highways, including NC-268.
  • According to the 2020 census, Wilkesboro’s population is about 3,400.

Read More: The NC Tripping North Carolina Travel Map

The History of Wilkesboro

amazing vehicle memorabilia at Call Family Distillers.
This amazing memorabilia can be found at Call Family Distillers.
  • Before it became Wilkesboro, the land that makes up the town today was occupied by Native Americans. Tutelo and Cherokee people were two of the area’s known inhabitants.
  • Wilkes County was formed in 1777 from Surry County and was named for British Parliamentarian turned-American Patriot John Wilkes. It’s too bad he’s not the most famous man named John Wilkes.
  • County seat Wilkesboro was incorporated in 1847.
  • Thanks to Prohibition, Wilkesboro sits in the heart of Moonshine Country. The area’s “Moonshine Capital of the World” isn’t a designation given out lightly. The illegal, untaxed whiskey that was distilled by the “light of the moon” reached its most infamous period in history during Prohibition.
  • Wilkes County moonshiners, in particular, are credited with the steamer still, a technology used in the railroad industry that produces a superior taste. Previously, moonshine was made by putting a heat source directly under the still, resulting in constant stirring and burning.
  • Wilkes County is also where NASCAR was born. NASCAR made its first run on the dirt track of North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1947. The garages and backroads between North Wilkesboro and Charlotte paved the way for both liquor and auto racing.
  • Moonshine and Auto Racing aren’t the only major players in the area. Music has been bringing talented artists to Wilkesboro every year for more than a quarter of a century, with MerleFest heading a packed lineup of the arts in Wilkes County.
  • In the past, musical guests have included Dolly Parton, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, and regular appearances from our favorite North Carolina musicians, The Avett Brothers.

Read More: 100+ Unique Things to Do in North Carolina

Visiting Wilkesboro Today

History is all around Wilkesboro and its neighbors. You’ll notice that whether you live in the area or have a trip planned.

Where to Stay

a rustic cabin in the foreground of Leatherwood Mountains in North Carolina
Leatherwood Mountains.
  • Hotels in Wilkesboro include the Hampton Inn (1300 S Collegiate Dr, Wilkesboro, NC) which is close to Wilkes Community College. The Holiday Inn Express (1700 Winkler St, Wilkesboro, NC) is close to both downtown Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro, just off US-421 Business after the freeway portion ends.
  • There are also some beautiful places to go camping in Wilkesboro and nearby. If you’re in town for MerleFest, Lowe’s Park at Rivers Edge near Call Family Distillers transforms into a campground for that event.
  • Moravian Falls Campground (536 Falls Rd, Moravian Falls, NC) and W. Kerr Scott Dam (499 Reservoir Rd, Wilkesboro, NC) are available throughout the year but do fill up around Merlefest and other busy times. Once you see them in person, you’ll see why!
  • Leatherwood Mountains (512 Meadow Rd, Ferguson, NC) also deserves a mention when thinking of places to stay in the area. This premier resort will take you away from everything, with luxury accommodations, a restaurant, bar, horseback riding, and more await you!

Annual Events in Wilkesboro

MerleFest Wilkesboro NC Doc and Merle Watson Theatre

These annual events are among the best things to do in Wilkesboro.

  • MerleFest (April): Starting as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College (WCC), MerleFest quickly grew into one of the nation’s most iconic music festivals. Every April, the campus of WCC floods with music lovers from all over the world to see iconic performers.
  • Brushy Mountain Peach and Heritage Festival (July): Held the last Saturday in July. The Brushy Mountain Peach and Heritage Festival mixes local peaches, crafts, food, and more!
  • Carolina in the Fall (September): Carolina in the Fall brings bands to Downtown Wilkesboro, typically on the third weekend in September. They’re joined by food trucks, vineyards, breweries, and more!
  • Additional Wilkesboro events include the following:

Do you have any annual events in Wilkesboro to share? We’d love to know about them. Tell us in the comments or send us an email!

Read More: Christmas in North Carolina (the Best Holiday Events)

Things to Do in Wilkesboro This Weekend

Those events certainly belong on your calendar, but these are the things to do near Wilkesboro NC throughout the year!

Downtown Wilkesboro

Downtown Wilkesboro is a nice collection of historic buildings where shops and restaurants await. Main Street is divided into East and West by Bridge Street, and you’ll find the wonderful Doc Watson Mural on the corner of Main and Bridge.

Community Commons Park (102 W Main St, Wilkesboro, NC) is near the West Main St side intersection, next to Cook’s Outfitters (100 W Main St, Wilkesboro, NC). The park has a stage and a concert lawn and connects to the Yadkin River Greenway.

You can rent bicycles from Cook’s and purchase just about anything you need for your own bike.

Cook’s has a larger store in North Wilkesboro, which we’ll mention below. Before we head north, though, there are even more places to stop in, shop, and say hello in Downtown Wilkesboro:

Read More: The NC Museum of History in Raleigh (+7 Things We Love About It!)

Doc Watson Mural

Address: 101 W Main St, Wilkesboro, NC

a colorful picture of Wes Gregory in Wilkesboro

The Doc Watson mural is officially known as “Where the Mountains Begin.” It brightly depicts the North Carolina music legend strumming a guitar.

The late Wes Gregory (1967-2015) designed the mural, which was sponsored by the Town of Wilkesboro. In fact, this was Gregory’s last known artwork.

You can find the mural at the corner of Bridge St and Main St, on the side of the building where the Vintage Corner resides.

Wilkes Heritage Museum

Address: 100 E Main St, Wilkesboro, NC

Wilkes Heritage Museum from the front of the courtyard during Christmas

Even if you’re not there for the summer splash pad, one of the first things to do in Wilkesboro is to check out the Wilkes Heritage Museum. Opening as a non-profit in 1968, the exhibits detail the history of Wilkes County, aka the “Moonshine Capital of the World.” 

Take an in-depth tour of how NASCAR started by moonshining and evading the law. Perhaps you’ll be interested in learning about the Siamese twins who lived in Wilkes County and fathered 21 children.

The Wilkes Heritage Museum is also home to the Olde Wilkes Jail, which held Union prisoners, including the famous escape artist Otto Wood, during the Civil War.

Finally, the Heritage Museum hosts a series of fundraising ghost tours on select dates throughout the year.

Read More: NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte (An Awesome Tribute to Stock Car Racing Legends)

Yadkin River Greenway

a path for pedestrians and bicycles along the Yadkin River

The Yadkin River Greenway stretches 7.5 miles throughout multiple sections along the Yadkin River. You can always bring your own bike but if not, Cook’s Outfitters will set you up with a bike.

They even have e-bikes, which are always super fun to zoom around on! Stop by, pick up your bike, and then head down to the river and enjoy this scenic ride!

Cub Creek Mountain Bike Trails

Address: 206 S Bridge St, Wilkesboro, NC

If you aren’t up for the rock gardens and challenges of the Warrior Creek trail, then Cub Creek is the perfect outdoor activity for you! The trails at Cub Creek Park are smooth with very little elevation change, perfect for beginners and nature lovers.

Don’t forget to visit the suspension bridge and tunnel of trees, arguably the most memorable portion of the trail!

Wilkes Community College

Address: 1328 S Collegiate Dr, Wilkesboro, NC

Wilkes Community College is a huge asset to Wilkesboro and the surrounding area. The public community college was established in 1964 and has satellite campuses in both Ashe and Alleghany counties.

Along with offering classes to a few thousand students, WCC is the site of Merlefest and more events throughout the year.

Merle Watson Garden of the Senses

Address: 1527 S Collegiate Dr, Wilkesboro, NC

a gorgeous tree with a gazebo during sunset in Wilkesboro, NC

The first MerleFest was put on as a way to raise money for the WCC’s Horticulture Department. B Townes, a professor at WCC, connected with Bluegrass legend Doc Watson and asked him to play.

He agreed to do so under the agreement that they would memorialize Watson’s son, Merle, who died in 1985 tragically, with a garden. Today’s garden is filled with beautiful plants and even a wall with Braille plaques.

Read More: Great Things to Do in Boone

W. Kerr Scott Dam

Address: 499 Reservoir Rd, Wilkesboro, NC

W. Kerr Scott Dam during fall with still water and multicolored trees.

Fish, boat, hike, or camp at W. Kerr Scott Dam! This nearly 1,500-acre lake provides a backdrop for plenty of water recreation.

The park is run by the Army Corps of Engineers, and there are an impressive 6 boat launches and 3 campgrounds with over 200 campsites. The 1,000-seat amphitheater often sees theatrical performances by Bleu Moon Productions of Tom Dooley and Junior Johnson plays.

Drop your boat in the water or hit the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail (OVT). If you are seeking recreation rentals at W. Kerr Scott Dam, then Foothills Outdoor Adventures can provide boats at a reasonable cost.

Before you head out, though, stop by the Environmental Education Center. Kid-friendly (and all ages-friendly) exhibits await to educate you on the area’s ecology.

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

Nine Asian & African Grocery Store

Address: 303 S Cherry St, Wilkesboro, NC

Wilkesboro has a significant immigrant population, with many transplants from Myanmar. Nine Asian & African Grocery Store serves them and those hailing from other Asian nations and African nations, too, with groceries and specialty goods.

Restaurants in Wilkesboro

While researching everything to do in Wilkesboro, you’ll be surprised to find so many eclectic and delicious dining options, too! Honorable mention to Nine for offering food along with these great places.

  • Dooley’s Tavern and Grill (102 E Main St Suite 1, Wilkesboro, NC): Across the street from Two Boros (see below) and owned by the same awesome people. They make everything in-house and have the largest gluten-free selection in the area! The Copper Barrel Burger is absolutely delicious and receives a 10/10 from us.
  • Amalfis Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria (1919 US-421 G, Wilkesboro NC): If you’re craving Italian, check out Amalfis, where each dish is carefully and authentically served by true Italians with a love for service.
  • Glenn’s (800 River St, Wilkesboro, NC): Locals will tell you (and us, too!) that Glenn’s is an amazing spot for a classic drive-up diner.
  • Dean’s Southern Bistro (1510 US-421 Business, Wilkesboro, NC): Grab some tasty comfort food at Dean’s, and don’t forget to grab a piece of cake for dessert or to go!
  • Mr. Toro (117 W Main St, Wilkesboro, NC): Just across from the Commons is Mr. Toro, a wonderful Mexican/Salvadorian restaurant. Whether you’re seeking good pupusas, tacos, or pastries, this is one place you NEED to visit in Wilkesboro.
  • Talia’s Drive-Thru (1838 B, US-421) and at Wilkes Community College (Alumni Hall): Talia’s has a Drive-Thru location and one on the campus of WCC. The North Wilkesboro-based (809 Main St, North Wilkesboro, NC) group of coffee locations will win your heart with a couple of shots of espresso automatically added to your cup of brewed coffee. They have pastries, too, which pair nicely for that jolt of caffeine!

Read More: Delicious Restaurants in Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro

Where to Drink in Wilkesboro (Responsibly)

One of the best things to do in Wilkesboro is to sample (responsibly) its alcohol options. Please have a designated driver ready if you plan to imbibe because we want you to continue safely exploring North Carolina!

Call Family Distillers

Address: 1611 Industrial Dr, Wilkesboro, NC

Three jars of Uncatchable Moonshine from Call Family Distillery

As the Moonshine Capital of the World, visiting Call Family Distillers is mandatory. Known for evading the law and smuggling moonshine in fast cars, Willie Clay Call was considered uncatchable by the ATF.

Today, his family legally distills and no longer has to run while creating quality moonshine.

As far as moonshiners go, this family runs what might be one of the most important distilleries in North Carolina. They have the largest direct steam injection, still custom-built to hold 2,100 gallons, producing a smoother and more flavorful moonshine than direct heating. 

The distillery at Call Family serves as a museum, too. From the original outfitted cars of Willie Clay Call that were never caught by the police to the still he used, the memorabilia inside of that building is outstanding.

Clay Call’s son and grandsons are still distilling–because moonshine runs deep in their blood. Ask as many questions as you’d like because Laura Call is simply a delight and a wealth of knowledge and stories.

Stardust Cellars

Address: 4780 Statesville Road, North Wilkesboro, NC

Looking for a unique drinking experience? Stardust Cellars is an off-the-grid winery specializing in ancestral craft wine and mead!

Using sustainable and traditional practices, each bottle is foot-stomped and basket-pressed to retain the fruit’s integrity and fermentation. 

This is an excellent place to start if you haven’t had mead before. Learn about the uniqueness of each drink listed on the tap list and find your new favorite!

Read More: 20 Awesome Wineries near Charlotte (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)

Two Boros Brewery

Address: 111 E Main St, Wilkesboro, NC

a full pint of beer from Two Boros Brewery

Two Boros is the only brewery in Wilkesboro, but it packs a punch for craft beer lovers! Located in the historic 1880s JT Ferguson Building in downtown Wilkesboro, they serve a range of beers guaranteed to please everyone.

Get a hoppy IPA or creamy stout, or try their Good Gold Almighty, a Belgium Strong Golden Ale. Two Boros also has an excellent wood-fired pizza menu for when you get hungry!

Read More: 80+ of the Best North Carolina Breweries

Ready for These Things to Do in Wilkesboro?

Wilkesboro is where the mountains of Western North Carolina begin, full of exciting history around moonshine, NASCAR, and music.

However, the true pulse of this small town is the community of people who love where they live. Some locals were born and bred here, but many business owners fell in love with Wilkesboro and simply never left!

There are so many things to do in Wilkesboro that they couldn’t imagine living their lives anywhere else. From an outside perspective, this indicates an inviting community of people who are truly passionate about what they do and where they live.

A trail isn’t just a trail for them–rather, it’s a trail that has been lovingly dug out and maintained by a local community group. A restaurant isn’t just there to feed people but to provide a space and quality food for memories.

Wilkes County has something special; we think you need to experience it yourself!

If you’re familiar with this area, we’d love to know about your favorite things to do in Wilkesboro. For those of you who haven’t visited yet, tell us the first thing you will do when you arrive!

Don’t forget to share your Wilkesboro adventures with us in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group. Of course, before you do that, let’s take a look at places to go around Wilkes County (and beyond)!

Things to Do in North Wilkesboro

Wilkes County is really a story of Two Boros, as North Wilkesboro is Wilkesboro’s nearest neighbor. Here’s a look at annual events and things to do in North Wilkesboro.

North Wilkesboro Events

Things to Do in North Wilkesboro This Weekend

For a smaller town than Wilkesboro, there are still quite a few things to do here.

North Wilkesboro Speedway

Address: 381 Speedway Ln, North Wilkesboro, NC

North Wilkesboro Speedway North Carolina

North Wilkesboro is where NASCAR was born. NASCAR made its first run on the dirt track of North Wilkesboro Speedway in 1947. The garages and backroads between North Wilkesboro and Charlotte paved the way for both liquor and auto racing.

In 2022, the racing mecca opened, and races returned to North Wilkesboro. Let us all rejoice!

Read More: How to See Speedway Christmas in Concord

Downtown North Wilkesboro

Key City Antiques in downtown Wilkesboro
Key City Antiques.

Downtown North Wilkesboro is a bit like its neighbor but unique enough to explore and come away with distinct memories. Here are a few fun places to visit:

  • The Block (105 6th St, North Wilkesboro, NC): a family-friendly entertainment center with trampolines, roller skating, and more.
Cooks Sports North Wilkesboro NC
  • Cook’s Sports (1402 Willow Ln, North Wilkesboro, NC): Cook’s is a name you’ll see all over Wilkes County. This outfitter will prepare you for just about any outdoor scenario.
  • Foothills Collectibles (105 6th St, North Wilkesboro, NC): in the same building as the Block and the perfect place to find valuable sports cards and collectibles.
  • Hero Clash Collectibles (217 9th St, North Wilkesboro, NC): comic store with new releases, back issues, and something for everyone!
Liberty Theatre North Wilkesboro NC Worlds Best Popcorn Since 1932
  • Liberty Theatre (816 Main St, North Wilkesboro, NC): a two-screen theater with the perfect old-fashioned vibe and discounted tickets. Also, they’ve been making the world’s best popcorn since 1932!
  • Key City Antiques (502 Main St, North Wilkesboro, NC): more than 90 vendors who sell just about everything you’re looking to find!
Wilkes County Hardware North Wilkesboro NC
  • Wilkes County Hardware (324 10th St, North Wilkesboro, NC): in business since the 1940s, this hardware store has it all, including crafts from the community.

Here are some other standouts in North Wilkesboro.

Copper Barrel Distillery

Address: 508 Main St, North Wilkesboro, NC

Copper Barrel Distillery is North Wilkesboro’s shining addition to the Moonshine Capital of the World. Inside, you’ll find a beautiful setting to sip on some of North Carolina’s finest shine.

Crafted by Moonshine Legend, Buck Nance, Copper Barrel’s moonshine is smoother than others, and there’s a reason behind why. They use 3 times more rye than corn, whereas typical moonshine uses 4 times more corn than rye.

When you responsibly sip on their wonderfully crafted moonshine in pure or slushy form, you’ll see why we rate them among the best in North Carolina!

Wilkes Arts Gallery

Address: 913 C St, North Wilkesboro, NC

a peaceful art hall with paintings on both walls and the back wall

Displaying works by local artists since 1962, the Wilkes Arts Gallery in North Wilkesboro is where we’ll start. It’s the perfect place to enjoy the community’s creativity on display.

Wander the 3,500 square feet of exhibition space or sign up for one of their youth or adult workshops.

If you’re visiting, they also have an incredible gift shop featuring items from regional artisans for you to take home as a souvenir!

North Wilkesboro Restaurants

6th and Main North Wilkesboro NC Restaurants
6th and Main.

North Wilkesboro also has some amazing restaurants and here are a few of our favorites.

  • Anchor Coffee (1320 W D St, North Wilkesboro, NC): Anchor is a great place to stop for an early morning cup of hot coffee, cold brew, or any other caffeinated concoction you seek.
  • Talia’s Espresso (809 Main St, North Wilkesboro, NC): Coffee is the perfect way to start your Talia’s experience, but don’t forget to grab something tasty for breakfast, too!
  • Brushy Mountain Smokehouse and Creamery (201 Wilkesboro Ave, North Wilkesboro, NC): Tasty barbecue and homemade ice cream are the talk of the town at Brushy Mountain Smokehouse.
  • Cinder Bistro (532 Main St, North Wilkesboro, NC): Owned by the same amazing folks who brought you Copper Barrel Distillery, and next door to boot! I don’t want to start a fight, but you may find the best barbecue in Wilkes County here. Sunday brunch is another reason to put this place down on your itinerary.
  • 6th & Main (210 6th St, North Wilkesboro, NC): Fine dining awaits at 6th & Main, and you’d better reserve a table after glancing over the menu. Let Executive Chef Victoria Smith prepare your perfect steak, seafood, or whatever else you desire.

Things to Do Near Wilkesboro NC

Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro are surrounded by some familiar favorites, including Elkin (30 minutes), Boone (40 minutes), and Lenoir in Caldwell County (40 minutes).

Wilkes County is one of North Carolina’s largest areas, meaning there are even more places to explore beyond Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro.

Read More: 20+ Day Trips from Boone


Things to Do in Elkin NC

Most of Elkin lies in Surry County, but some parts of the town cross over into Wilkes County, so we’ll include it in this guide.

Carter Falls is one place on the Wilkes County side, and we highly recommend a hike there. It’s one of our favorite kid-friendly waterfalls in NC!

Don’t forget to head into Downtown Elkin for a meal, a walk, and a show at the Reeves Theater.

Of course, you’ll want to venture out to some of the best Yadkin Valley wineries, which are near Wilkesboro, but also near Elkin!

Read More: 25+ Beautiful Waterfalls near Boone (within 2 Hours)


A historic church and a few buildings among a manicured lawn in Wilkes County

Ferguson is a really interesting town in Wilkes County, with more than a few places worth checking out. Here are a few of them:

  • Whippoorwill Village and Academy: Located on an 18th-century family farm, Whippoorwill Village is a hub of cultural history. There is a museum dedicated to Tom Dooley (including a lock of Laura Foster’s hair), a cabin Daniel Boone used when hunting, an art gallery, and a one-room schoolhouse that educated North Carolina Poet Laureate Larkin Pearson. Enjoy walking the grounds or come for Tom Dooley Day and the Daniel Boone Festival!
A sign honoring Thomas C. Dula
  • Tom Dooley’s Grave: “Hang down your head, Tom Dooley, hang down your head and cry.” Searching for Tom Dooley’s grave is one of the most interesting things to do in Wilkesboro. Tom Dula was subsequently accused, convicted, and hung in Statesville for the murder of Laura Foster in 1868, but his gravestone can be found in Wilkes County. There is still some controversy over what really happened, but if you go to the Wilkes Heritage Museum, they’ll give you the real scoop! The song “Ballad of Tom Dooley” was made popular by The Kingston Trio in 1958, and versions were also recorded by Bing Crosby, Doc Watson, and even the Grateful Dead. 
  • If saddling up and seeing it all from atop a horse is your way to go, then Leatherwood Mountains will top your list of things to do in Wilkesboro. You can ride, eat, and sleep at this beautiful mountain resort. Stay for the week, or just come by for some horseback riding. Their equine center is one of the best in North Carolina, bringing people from all over the Southeast to ride their trails and mountains. 

Read More: 50+ Important Facts About Statesville

Yadkin Valley Wineries

a large chateau in Wilkes County

You might not know this area for wine, but visits to Raffaldini (and others) rank high among the best things to do in Wilkesboro and its Wilkes County surroundings. Here are a couple of our favorite wineries near Wilkesboro.

  • Raffaldini Vineyards: Raffaldini is one of the best wineries in North Carolina, joined by scenic views of the Yadkin Valley. Known as the “Chianti of the Carolinas,” Raffaldini makes dry Italian-style wines. The opulence of the tasting room, paired with excellent wines, makes Raffaldini Vineyards an experience that you will always cherish and remember.

Read More: 25 Wonderful Wineries Near Asheville (Vineyards Within 2 Hours)

a tower of three distinct wines at Piccione Vineyards.
  • Piccione Vineyards: Enjoy estate-grown grapes and produce award-winning Italian-style wines at Piccione Vineyards! Owned by the Sicilian Piccione family, visitors can enjoy sips of Sangiovese, Montepulciano, and their popular Chardonnay. You can do all this in a tasting room with epic mountain views. This winery is kid- and dog-friendly and also boasts food trucks. Get a bottle or two, sit back, and enjoy the view (especially in the winter)!

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

Stone Mountain State Park

our daughter running towards the iconic stone mountain

Hiking Stone Mountain State Park is one of our absolute favorite things to do in Wilkesboro’s surroundings! Located in Roaring Gap and shared by both Wilkes and Alleghany counties, Stone Mountain State Park is partly known for that exposed granite dome, visible from the Stone Mountain Loop Trail.

The park’s 5,700 acres are just waiting to be explored, with more than 22 miles of trails, waterfalls (including Stone Mountain Falls and Widow’s Creek Falls), remains of old stills, and great spots for trout fishing! 

The dome is also visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway at one of our favorite stops (MP 232.5).

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

Blue Ridge Parkway Stops Nearby

the quaint Brinegar Cabin
Brinegar Cabin.

Speaking of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is very easy to access from Wilkesboro. Naturally, we are always on the hunt for hikes and waterfalls along that iconic byway.

  • Cascade Falls at E.B. Jeffress Park (MP 272) is an awesome one to reach via an easy, kid-friendly hike. Take the 0.8-mile loop to an upper overlook of the 250-foot waterfalls and take in the sounds of rushing water! If you are up for the challenge, you can continue down to the lower overlook for a different view, but this is not as kid-friendly. 
  • Another Blue Ridge Parkway stop set worth investigating sits between Mileposts 238 and 241. At Doughton Park, you’ll find incredible displays of azaleas and rhododendrons in the spring. More fun inside the Doughton’s 7,000 acres includes Brinegar Cabin and one of the largest campgrounds on the parkway. You can also hike than 30 miles of trails, enjoy a picnic, or cast a reel in Basin Cove. 

Read More: The Best NC Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes

Warrior Creek Mountain Bike Trail

At Kerr Scott, there are also 40 miles of mountain biking trails, including the Warrior Creek Mountain Bike Trail

It took ten years to build the 13-mile trail, which is known as one of the best mountain bike trails throughout North Carolina. You can boot off rocks, bank difficult turns, and enjoy beautiful mountain scenes here!

The “super-stacks” are the most talked about feature of this trail

Read More: The 11 Best Places to Go Snow Tubing in North Carolina

Moravian Falls

Moravian Falls rushing into a pool during fall in NC

Located at the Moravian Falls Campground, this roadside North Carolina waterfall is absolutely beautiful. To see the falls, you do need to ask permission from the campground, as a cabin for paying guests is located at the base of the falls.

Named after the Moravian community who settled in the area in 1753, the waterfall flows 60 feet across a wide rock face. Pack a lunch and settle down for a beautiful picnic.

For more history on the Moravians, check out Old Salem in Winston-Salem!

Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest

Rendezvous Mountain State Educational Forest is another excellent outdoor option in the area. Don’t sleep on this lesser-known spot (not to locals), as you’ll find a more rustic park with great trails and beautiful mountain views.

We hear developments are coming soon to Rendezvous Mountain, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

Blue Ridge Craft Trails

Beyond music, there’s a wonderful arts scene to discuss when thinking up things to do in Wilkesboro, North Wilkesboro, and beyond! Following Wilkes County’s section of Blue Ridge Craft Trails is the perfect adventure through the county.

Here’s a list of places included:

  • Wilkes County Heritage Museum
  • Old Wilkes Jail
  • Call Family Distillers
  • Wilkes County Hardware
  • Wilkes Art Gallery
  • More Here

We even recommend crossing the county line toward Lenoir and visiting the WNC Sculpture Center. You’ll find art around the building in the WNC Sculpture Park, and if you’re lucky, they may be pouring iron, hosting live music, or doing something else that’s just as interesting.

Read More: Haywood County’s Blue Ridge Craft Trails

More Things to Do in Wilkesboro and Wilkes County

We’ve created a number of travel guides that cover things to do in Wilkesboro, elsewhere in Wilkes County, and beyond in North Carolina!

2 thoughts on “25+ Fun Things to Do in Wilkesboro (+ North Wilkesboro and Nearby!)”

  1. The article avers that Old Wilkesboro Jail, built in 1859, held Union prisoners and the outlaw Otto Wood during the Civil War… Though it was originally built with the idea that it might, the Old Jail never housed the first Union prisoner… The incarceration of 13-year-old Otto Wood did not occur until years after the conclusion of the Civil War.


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