Published by Christina Riley. Last Updated on September 27, 2023.
Whether you’re planning on spending parts or all of winter in Boone, this is a great place to be between December and February. Sure, it may get colder here than most places in North Carolina, but Boone and the small towns in its High Country surroundings are packed with special events and other fun activities throughout the season.
This guide shares all of the above, including what kinds of weather to expect during winter in Boone. Here’s how we’ve organized the guide:
- What is Winter in Boone Like? (7 Tips!)
- List of Things to Do During Winter in Boone
- Special Events (Tweetsie Christmas and More!)
- Scenic Drives
- Outdoor Winter Sports
- More Indoor Activities (NC Travel Guides)
You can visually plan your trip through our map, skip ahead to any of the sections listed above, or keep reading about what it’s like during winter in Boone.
Whether you’re a new resident, a frequent visitor, or a local, we’re leaving no detail behind. If you live in the Boone area and are wondering, “What are the best things to do near me?” we think this NC travel guide will help you out!
What are the Winter Months Like in Boone?
Here are a few tips regarding what it’s like during winter in Boone, North Carolina:
- Because of the higher elevation, you can expect colder temps and more snow than elsewhere in North Carolina. In fact, we’ve experienced snow as late as early April in this area.
- Between December and March, average temperatures are usually below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The coldest month of the year in Boone is January. Temperatures then range between the mid-20s and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Because of the colder temps, winter in Boone is usually when prices go down at nearby hotels and Airbnbs. Exceptions include holidays and some weekends, so keep that in mind when booking.
- A good winter coat and warm clothes are highly recommended if you plan to visit during winter. Throw in some gloves and a snow hat, too, while you’re at it.
- Some of the activities we mention might require you to drive on roads where 4-Wheel-Drive is recommended.
- Regardless of what you brought to drive and where you plan to stay, we hope you enjoy your winter adventures in Boone and the North Carolina mountains.
Read More: Incredible Airbnbs in Boone
List of Things to Do During Winter in Boone NC
- Special Events
- Scenic Drives
- Outdoor Winter Sports
- Ice Skating Rinks
- Ski Resorts near Boone
- Snow Tubing
- Winter Hikes
- Indoor Activities (Museums)
- Blowing Rock Art and History Museum
- Blue Ridge Craft Trails
- Museum Of North Carolina Minerals
- Turchin Center for Visual Arts
- More Indoor Activities
- Center 45 Climbing
- Country Retreat Family Billiards
- Gem Mining
- Linville Caverns
- Mast General Store
- Mystery Hill
- Eat and Drink (Responsibly)
Special Events During Winter in Boone (Blowing Rock and More!)
Before we get to the outdoor fun that awaits, we think you should know about these special events.
- Tweetsie Christmas: This is an annual tradition for many train-loving tots! Tweetsie Railroad is decorated with twinkling lights, and Santa is even on-site for meet-and-greets! Advance tickets are required, and they go fast! Find more details here.
- SugarFest: Celebrate the beginning of ski season during this December event. Your favorite winter sports brands will be onsite for demos, live music, and even fireworks!
- Festival of Lights: If you are looking for Christmas lights in Boone’s surroundings, then the Festival of Lights at Chetola Resort is magical! Free to the public, enjoy 30,000 holiday lights as they shine around Chetola Lake.
- New Year’s Eve: You can ring in the New Year at the Horton Hotel in Boone, at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, and at Appalachian Ski Mountain.
Read More: 18 Unique Luxury Resorts in North Carolina
- New Year’s Day: Instead of staying up all night, start the new year by waking up early with a special visit to Grandfather Mountain. Limited to 100 people, a special New Year’s Day Sunrise event allows visitors a rare chance to visit the park outside of operating hours.
- Winterfest: This is one of the most exciting winter events in the High Country! Held annually at the end of January in Blowing Rock, attendees can expect four days of festival fun, including a Polar Plunge at Chetola Resort, Ice Sculpture Carving, and events at local area businesses.
These events usually kick off each winter in Boone and its surroundings. With an ever-evolving world, cancellations and date changes are a possibility.
Read More: Christmas Lights in North Carolina
Fingers crossed when writing this, but winter in Boone is not all snow all the time. If you’d like to go for a drive somewhere, there are a few scenic roads worth exploring:
- The Blue Ridge Parkway: While it’s not as green as spring and summer and as colorful as fall, the Blue Ridge Parkway is always worthy of your time. The road isn’t as busy during winter, and your views from the overlooks will be much clearer. However, some sections near Boone close during the winter months, so you will want to plan your hikes and driving routes accordingly! We recommend checking the Blue Ridge Parkway Road Closure Map before your vacation so you can stay up to date.
- Little Parkway: US 221 between Blowing Rock and Linville is known as the Little Parkway. It is a short and curvy stretch of highway that uses the side of Grandfather Mountain to connect the two mountain towns. Little Parkway stops include the entrance to the entrance to the nonprofit-owned portion of Grandfather Mountain, which contains the Mile-High Swinging Bridge. Other great stops along the way include the roadside Green Mountain Creek Falls and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.
- Pisgah Loop Scenic Byway: This scenic road is north of Morganton through the Linville Gorge portion of Pisgah National Forest. Stops include Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountain on the east side of the loop. After crossing the Linville River, the Byway continues on the Kistler Memorial Highway. Much of this section is unpaved, but if you have a car that can handle this road (4WD is sometimes recommended), don’t worry. The epic Linville Falls and Wisemans View of the Linville Gorge await.
- Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway: We will mention a few High Country wineries to enjoy during winter in Boone, but the Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway will take you to some of the best in North Carolina. The drive starts in Elkin, about an hour away from Boone. Most of the journey follows US 21 across the beautiful Yadkin River before meeting Old US 421. McRitchie Winery and Ciderworks and Shelton Vineyards are just a couple of the Surry County Wine Trail stops along the way. The Yadkin Valley Scenic Byway also passes Stone Mountain State Park, which is a few minutes off the path.
Read More: Day Trips from Boone
Outdoors and Winter Sports
Whenever someone asks about winter in Boone, skiing and snow tubing quickly come to mind. Those are two of the most popular winter sports in the area, but there are even more ways to enjoy the outdoors during the colder months.
Ice Skating Rinks
All three of the ski resorts in Boone offer ice skating, but Appalachian Ski Mountain has the only Zamboni-maintained outdoor ice rink!
Sugar Mountain features a 10,000-square-foot ice rink and is conveniently located next to the onsite restaurant, so you can sip some hot chocolate after practicing your double axel ice skating in Boone NC.
Read More: Winter Getaways in North Carolina
Ski Resorts near Boone
We highly suggest a visit to App Ski Mountain, the area’s oldest ski resort, but also Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain. All offer unique experiences, especially Beech Mountain, which is one of the few ski resorts that also manages a brewery.
Read More: Wonderful Ski Resorts in North Carolina
Along with skiing, snow tubing in Boone, NC is a wonderful family-friendly activity during winter. Both Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain offer snow tubing, but our recommendation is Hawksnest if you aren’t already planning to hit the ski resorts.
Hawksnest is the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast, with 30 lanes ranging from 400 to 1,000 feet long. The park also offers zip lining (ages 5 years and up) for anyone with an additional need for ice cold speed!
Read More: The Best Things to Do in North Carolina
- Elk Knob State Park: One of our favorite winter hikes near Boone is the Summit Trail at this relatively new state park. Experience epic views of the mountains from its 5,520 feet peak. You can even catch views of the ski resorts up there!
- Otter Falls: Another favorite hiking trail near Boone is the Otter Falls Trail. It is a short waterfall hike in Seven Devils (near Banner Elk) on the way to Hawksnest. Descending 230 feet, we’ve done this magical hike in the winter and love how quiet and fairytale-like it feels. Our kid loves it, too!
- Roan Mountain: We also love Roan Mountain, near Bakersville at the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Roan Mountain is a popular Appalachian Trail stop and is accessible from the Carvers Gap parking lot. This hike offers stunning 360-views after a short winding hike through Balsam firs.
Indoor Winter in Boone (Museums and Galleries)
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, don’t worry because there are plenty of fun indoor activities to enjoy.
Blowing Rock Art and History Museum
The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum is one of our favorite indoor things to do in Blowing Rock. There are excellent art exhibits and an entire floor dedicated to Southern Appalachian heritage and history. And even more enticing is the free admission!
Blue Ridge Craft Trails
Throughout the year, you can visit art galleries in Boone and nearby. You can also venture out to galleries and studios throughout North Carolina’s mountains.
How? By plotting a trip along one of these Blue Ridge Craft Trails, which were created by the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area.
Plan a visit to artisans in a variety of mediums, from the Foothills through the High Country, Asheville and its surroundings, and all the way to the western edges of North Carolina!
Museum Of North Carolina Minerals
Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great stop. The Museum of North Carolina Minerals is a wonderful showcase of the state’s mining heritage and mineral resources.
The interactive exhibits inside are perfect for visitors of all ages, especially kids. You can also grab a map of just about anywhere in the area from the small visitor center inside.
Turchin Center for Visual Arts
Located on the campus of Appalachian State University, the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts aims to connect the community with meaningful experiences through art. To provide equal access to all in the community, the center is FREE to visit.
The museum is family-friendly and has a hands-on art-making station that corresponds to current exhibits!
Read More: The Most Amazing Museums in North Carolina
More Indoor Things to Do During Winter in Boone
Beyond those amazing museums, there are even more fun indoor things to do during the winter months.
Center 45 Climbing
Climb high (and indoors!) at Center 45 Climbing in Boone. With 2000 square feet of climbing and bouldering, this is a fun way to burn off some energy and build some heat.
Located near Hatchet Coffee (the best!), the walls reset with new and exciting climbs every week. Day passes are affordable at $16 per day and $14 for children under 12 years old.
Country Retreat Family Billiards
Ever wanted to teach your kids how to play pool but didn’t know where to find a family-friendly place? Country Retreat Family Billiards is where you want to go.
With 16 pool tables in a clean and comfortable environment on Highway 105 between Boone and Banner Elk, you’ll enjoy cleaning the table here!
And if you’re hungry, Country Retreat Family Billiards also has a full grill menu and daily specials!
Throughout the year, this is one of the best family-friendly activities, fun for all ages, and a perfect learning opportunity, too! Foggy Rock’s US-321 location and Doc’s Rocks have indoor flumes, which are especially perfect for those colder days.
Even if you don’t strike gold on your visit, Doc Rock’s has laser tag and VR gaming to make a day of it. We hope you enjoy and our fingers are crossed for you to find something valuable!
What’s better than going deep into the Earth in the middle of winter? First “discovered” in 1822, guests can book a tour, wander through the caverns and learn about the history of Linville Caverns – you might even spot a bat along the way.
The coolest part is that the caverns stay at a consistently cool temperature all year. That way, it will be warmer than outside during the winter months!
Mast General Store
Shopping the aisles at Mast General Store‘s Boone location is something we do every time we’re in town. It’s even better during those winter months, though.
There are 11 locations across the state, but the Boone location and the original in Valle Crucis are two distinct experiences. You can gear up, buy some candy, and shop for souvenirs at the Boone store.
The Valle Crucis Mast has been around since 1883, long a staple in the community. It houses the Valle Crucis Post Office and offers coffee for 5 cents per cup.
Down the road at the Mast Annex, you can browse through the best outdoor brands, home decor, and our favorite—toys! Pick up a puzzle to do back at your cabin or some warm fuzzy socks to snuggle by the fire.
We promise you’ve never experienced anything quite like Mystery Hill in Blowing Rock. The former apple orchard is a collection of attractions, with the main draw being the only naturally occurring gravitational anomaly in North Carolina.
We dare you to try and balance yourself as you walk through this uniquely odd attraction! Additional activities include ax throwing, gem mining, and the Appalachian Fossil and Dinosaur Museum.
Combo and separate tickets are available, starting at $18.95.
Eat and Drink (Responsibly) During Winter in Boone
You can eat well in this mountain town all year long, but the food tastes even better during winter in Boone.
If beer is more your style, then we have a few breweries in Boone and in surrounding towns!
- Appalachian Mountain Brewing
- Beech Mountain Brewing (Beech Mountain)
- Blowing Rock Alehouse (Blowing Rock)
- Booneshine Brewing
- Lost Province Brewing
By the way, Booneshine makes our favorite wintery beer—Long Winter Mocha Stout.
Read more: The Best North Carolina Breweries
As a college town/tourist destination, you’ll find a wide variety of restaurants in Boone. Many of them try to keep the food as local as possible, and the result is a delicious collection of eateries.
In fact, a few of the breweries we mentioned have great food, too. You have to order a pizza at Lost Province, and anything offered by Booneshine and Blowing Rock Alehouse.
Speaking of which, don’t forget to branch out by checking out these awesome Blowing Rock restaurants!
Read More: Amazing Restaurants in Boone
We end this guide with some of our favorite places to taste wine during winter in Boone. Sure, we mentioned a few Yadkin Valley wineries earlier but you can find some of the best North Carolina wine near Boone in the High Country!
Each of these High Country wineries has indoor tasting rooms and tasty wines.
Read More: Kid-Friendly North Carolina Wineries
Ready to Enjoy Winter in Boone?
As you can see, there are plenty of things to do during winter in Boone. Those colder temperatures will never stop this town from remaining a 4-season destination.
We hope you enjoy this area during the winter months and if there’s something else we should check out, please feel free to let us know. You can comment below or send us an email.
Also, if you have fun photos to share, you can do that in our Facebook Group. Before we hear from you, here are a few more things to do in the area.