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

Last Updated on June 21, 2022

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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 includes more than a few events in Blowing Rock, attractions near Banner Elk, things to do in other nearby places. We want you to have plenty to do, but also to be as prepared as possible.

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:

  • Winter in Boone Tips
  • Winter Events
  • Scenic Drives
  • Outdoors and Winter Sports
  • Museums
  • More Indoor Activities

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.

Read More: 30+ Great Things to Do in Boone: Hikes, Eats, and More in App Town

What are the Winter Months Like in Boone?

Winter in Boone

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 is 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 driving 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

Special Events During Winter in Boone (Blowing Rock and More!)

Chetola Resort Christmas Lights

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 sight for meet and greets! Advance tickets are required, and they go fast! 
  • SugarFest: Celebrate the beginning of ski season during this December event. Your favorite 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.
  • New Year’s Day: Start the new year with a special visit to Grandfather Mountain. Limited to 100 people, this special event allows visitors a rare chance to visit the park outside of operating hours. Admission includes complimentary coffee and bear claws.
  • 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

Scenic Drives

Winter in Boone Linn Cove Viaduct
The view of Linn Cove is still epic during the colder months!

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 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.

Read More: Beautiful Waterfalls near Boone

  • 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 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. 

Note: Beech Mountain’s Ice Rink is closed for the 2021/2022 season.

Read More: Winter Getaways in North Carolina

Ski Resorts near Boone

Winter in Boone NC Beech Mountin Ski Resort

As we mentioned, there are three excellent ski resorts in the area. Two are closest to Banner Elk, while the third (Appalachian Ski Mountain) is between Boone and Blowing Rock.

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

Snow Tubing

Hawks nest snow tubing near boone

Along with skiing, snow tubing is a wonderful family-friendly activity during winter in Boone. 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 looking for an added winter need for speed! 

Read More: The Best Things to Do in North Carolina

Winter Hikes

Winter in Boone NC Hiking Elk Knob

While some of the Blue Ridge Parkway hikes around Boone close in the winter, we have some suggestions on some magical winter hikes that you can still access!

  • Elk Knob State Park: One of our favorite winter hikes near Boone is the Summit Trail at Elk Knob State Park. This relatively new state park offers views of the mountains from its 5,520 feet peak. You can even catch views of the ski resorts up there! 
Winter in Boone NC
  • Otter Falls: Another favorite hiking trail near Boone is the Otter Falls Trail. It is a short waterfall hike in Seven Devils 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. 

Read More: 100+ of the Best Hiking Trails in North Carolina

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!

Read More: Toe River Arts (One Truly Amazing North Carolina Arts Supporter)

Museum Of North Carolina Minerals

At 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 to just about anywhere in the area from the small visitor center inside.

Read More: The Most Amazing Museums in North Carolina

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! 

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 $14 per day and $12 for children until 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, 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! 

Gem Mining

Doc’s Rocks at Mystery Hill (more below) and Foggy Mountain Gem Mine are perfect ways to enjoy a wintry day in Boone.

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, especially perfect for those colder days.

We hope you enjoy and our fingers are crossed for you to find something valuable!

Linville Caverns 

Winter in Boone NC Linville Caverns

What’s better than going deep into the Earth in the middle of winter? First “discovered” in 1822, guests can book a tour and learn about the history of Linville Caverns and 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

Winter in Boone NC 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.

Mystery Hill

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.

Breweries

If beer is more your style, then we have a few breweries in Boone and in surrounding towns!

By the way, Booneshine makes our favorite wintery beer—Long Winter Mocha Stout. 

Read more: The Best North Carolina Breweries

Restaurants

Winter in Boone Restaurants Melanies Food Fantasy
Melanie’s Food Fantasy.

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.

We love breakfast at Melanie’s Food Fantasy, the interesting burgers found at The Cardinal, traditional homecooked meals at Dan’l Boone Inn, and tasty entrees at The Local.

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

Wineries

Winter in Boone Grandfather Vineyard Banner Elk

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!

Enjoy a warming Cabernet or Merlot by the fire at Grandfather Vineyard and Banner Elk Winery & Villa in Banner Elk. We also love Linville Falls Winery, which is about 40 minutes away from Boone.

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.

More Things to Do in Boone (and Nearby)

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