Let's face it: vacations can thin out your wallet. The trick to stretching your dollars and maximizing your family's fun is to intersperse some exciting yet budget-friendly excursions between those outings to major attractions. Here are 10 ideas for doing just that around Boone.


Hike the Blue Ridge Parkway 

Trails at any number of overlooks, including mileposts 272, 294, 296, 297, 302, 304, 305, and 316 are sure to captivate adventurers of any age. Remember to Leave No Trace and pack out anything you bring with you.


Discover Hickory Ridge Living History Museum 

Guests learn about and see how people lived in the High Country during the 18th century, with hearthside cooking, spinning, candle making, and blacksmithing demonstrations. $8 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 – 12, which may be paid when you enter through the gift shop.


Visit the Ducks at Mayview Lake

While you're there, romp on the new playground in downtown Blowing Rock before treating yourself at one of several Main Street purveyors of gifts, crafts, and delicious food.


Explore Valle Crucis Park 

Paved paths invite cyclists and walkers alike, leading to the cool banks of the Watauga River for some fishing or photos. Picnic shelters and grills, playground equipment, and ball fields allow for a wide range of activities. Don't miss browsing the Original Mast General Store while you're there!


Check out Todd Mercantile in Todd, NC 

This rural hot spot is known for baked goodies, gifts, crafts, and Friday night old-time music and dancing. Ride your bicycles along the Railroad Grade Road; bikes are for rent at RiverGirl next door.


Go Tubing on the New River

Area outfitters will drop you off and pick you up for transport back to your vehicle.


Cast A Line

Practice your fly-fishing techniques with our fly-fishing outfitters.


Experience NC's First Tourist Attraction

The wind blows straight up at The Blowing Rock and the accompanying legend is fascinating. Admission is $9 for adults and $3 for children 5-12. The observation deck overlooks the Johns River Gorge. Enjoy short hikes, stunning views, souvenir shops, ice cream, and picnic tables.


Stop by Mystery Hill 

Truly a mecca of High Country entertainment wrapped up in one unique roadside attraction. Appalachian Heritage & Native American Artifacts Museum, Prospector Hill Gem Mining, Tomahawk Hill, and more - save on admission when you add extra attractions.


Try your Hand at Gem Mining

Buy per shovel-full, in a 1-shovel, 3-shovel, or 5-shovel size bucket. Have your gem discoveries hand-cut by professionals in the area and leave with a souvenir of mountain memories you won't soon forget. 


When you're ready to find lodging, visit ExploreBoone.com/hotels-cabins for a look at hotels, condos, rental houses, bed and breakfasts, and resorts.