7. Spend a few hours shopping and dining in historic Boone and Blowing Rock

Downtown Boone

Downtown Boone

Boone and Blowing are both home to small, charming downtowns that are lined with unique shops and restaurants. Both are beautifully decorated around the holidays, making these quaint areas the perfect place to enjoy some stress free shopping. Because the 2 towns are only located about 15 minutes or so from each other, you can easily visit both in the same day.

Downtown Blowing Rock at Christmas

Downtown Blowing Rock at Christmas

Downtown Boone directory
Downtown Blowing Rock directory

8. Visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A visit to North Carolina would not be complete without taking some time out to visit one of the most beautiful lands in the Southeast. There are plenty of great Smoky Mountain hikes near Cherokee which offer river and forest views, peaceful waterfalls, and plenty of opportunities for seeing all different types of wildlife. For directions and information on hikes near the North Carolina entrance to the park in Cherokee, visit the National Park Website’s Great Smoky Mountain website. In addition, you will have the opportunity to complete a section of the famous Appalachian Trail, a 2174 mile trail which travels from Maine all the way to Georgia.

Visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy  for more details on North Carolina hikes along the trail. Also be sure to look into the hike to Charles Bunion, located near Asheville North Carolina.

The feeling of remoteness can’t be topped – it’s no wonder the Smokies are America’s most visited park.

Location: For directions to the Cherokee entrance to the park, visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website.

Additional activities in Western North Carolina

The Bitmore Estate – This lavish 1750,000 square foot mansion, built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800’s, is the largest home in the United States. Self guided tours are available. Other estate activities include: biking, carriage rides, and guided horseback riding tours.

The Blowing Rock – Be sure to plan a visit to this historic 4000 foot cliff overlooking the John’s River Gorge. Spectacular photography opportunities await your visit.

Bryson City – This quaint mountain town is home to an abundance of luxury cabin rentals and endless recreational activities.

Clingmans Dome – Rising 6643 feet, Clingman’s is the highest point within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The observation tower offers one of a kind panoramic views of the area.

Whitewater rafting – A rafting trip is a must for any adventure lover. Guided trips on the Nantahala River on Class II and III rapids offer the opportunity to get in a little exercise, enjoy spectacular views, and spend some time enjoying the outdoors.

Asheville – You can never go wrong with a trip to Asheville. You are close enough to the mountains to enjoy all the recreational activities that the area offers, but also close enough to enjoy many cultural attractions such as: art galleries, tours, theaters, museums, and more.

Charlotte – North Carolina’s largest city is another great choice as it offers an excellent mix of nature and cultural activities. The city is home to many beautiful preserves and located within driving distance of hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Big city attractions such as sports arenas, theaters, art museums, and amusement parks add a little excitement to your itinerary.