Known as the Heart of the High Country, Boone is perfectly positioned to offer endless mountain adventures and awe-inspiring experiences just a short drive (or hike) away from your accommodations. We know it can be a daunting task to decide on things to do, so here it is – the must-do guide for your first visit to Boone!
Historic downtown Boone is where visitors and locals, alike, gather over locally-roasted coffee, peruse the shelves of a centuries-old general store, meet up for a movie at the historic Appalachian Theatre, and listen to the sounds of many genres flowing into King Street. On the first Friday of each month excluding January, downtown Boone hosts the First Friday Art Crawl, where residents enjoy free concerts at the Jones House, browse the wares of local craftspeople at several art galleries, and enjoy special coursed dinners at various restaurants. Make sure you pay a visit to our local music legend, Arthel "Doc" Watson, memorialized in bronze at the corner of Depot and King Streets. If you time it right, the entire community will be paying homage to this 7-time Grammy Award winner during Doc Watson Day.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The Boone area section of America's Favorite Drive offers some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. Spanning from around mile marker (MM) 270 to just past MM 317, there are countless hiking trails and scenic overlooks to be enjoyed. Some of the most popular hiking trails in our area include Beacon Heights, Rough Ridge, and Linville Falls. For leisurely adventurers, Moses Cone and Julian Price Memorial Parks are laid-back alternatives. Make a stop at Grandfather Mountain to learn about our Appalachian ecosystem, view several wildlife habitats, and cross the iconic Mile-High Swinging Bridge.
🍃 #PreserveTheAwe: Stick to clearly marked trails and avoid crowded areas to help preserve our stunning, but delicate, ecology for future generations!
The first settlers of the Boone area were mostly isolated from the rest of North Carolina, emphasizing the necessity of growing crops and cultivating the rich soils of mountain valleys. Fast-forward 100 years and you can still find some of these farms selling fresh produce year-round at one of our seasonal farmers' markets. From March-November, the producer-only Watauga County Farmers' Market exemplifies the neighborly spirit Boone is known for, amidst live music and the smell of fresh cheese biscuits drifting on the cool mountain breeze. For those who can't make Saturday mornings, the King Street Market runs from May-October on Tuesday afternoons in downtown Boone. During the snowier months of December-March, the Boone Winter Market supplies residents and visitors with an indoor connection to a wide variety of local goods.
Calling all adrenaline junkies! If the 40-foot climbing tower downtown didn't tip you off, the Boone area is home to a world of thrills and exciting excursions. Spend a day on the rapids with one of our whitewater rafting outfitters, zoom down the side of a mountain on NC's first alpine coaster, or race along the treetops and across wildflower-filled meadows with a zipline adventure. Avid mountain bikers will want to head to Rocky Knob for a challenging progression trail system and freshly-paved pump track.
Appalachian State University Campus
Go Mountaineers! With a student population greater than Boone's local population and university classrooms just steps from downtown, this state college is hard to ignore. So, don't! App State's rolling campus has abundant green space, a beautiful creekside park perfect for picnics, and its very own Nature Preserve complete with hiking trails leading to a wind turbine. Enjoy performances from internationally-touring acts at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts or revel with fellow football fans at the southeast's most picturesque stadium, Kidd Brewer.
🔎 Fun Fact: Nationally-recognized bands like Rainbow Kitten Surprise and the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra got their start at Appalachian State's Hayes School of Music.
Dan'l Boone Inn
We have heard countless stories of folks making a trip to Boone specifically for this southern, family-style dining experience and there's a good reason. Dan'l Boone Inn resides in one of the town's oldest buildings; built first as a family home, then serving as Boone's first hospital, eventually repurposed to house college students, and finally becoming the landmark restaurant we all know and love in 1959. After a day filled with adventures, sit down to a glass of sweet tea, plates reminiscent of grandma's finest porcelain, and large serving bowls overflowing with crispy fried chicken garnished with every country-style side you can think of. We guarantee you won't leave hungry.
🧳 Traveler Tip: Don't forget the cash! This historic establishment only accepts cash or checks, but there is an ATM onsite just in case.
Boone is the preferred place to eat, play, and stay for those who love to spend their days on the slopes at nearby Beech Mountain Resort, Sugar Mountain Resort, and Appalachian Ski Mountain. Due to our high elevation and location in northwest North Carolina, Boone enjoys an average yearly snowfall of around 30 inches. If winter sports aren't your thing, scenic chair lift rides and mountain bike trails are also available at Beech and Sugar during the summer months.
Just minutes from downtown, the Boone Greenway provides a beautiful, fully accessible, and relaxed escape into nature. Surrounded by lush forests and picturesque mountain peaks, the paved trail follows the sparkling South Fork New River for about 2 miles. Along the customizable trail system, you'll encounter three bridges, a historic site, man-made wetlands, and multiple picnic areas.
🍃 #PreserveTheAwe: We share this natural space with a plethora of wildlife, from whitetail deer to salamanders and even river otters. Do your part to keep wildlife wild by observing animals from a distance and keeping food or other garbage out of reach.