City editor David here. Western, NC is my favorite year-round road trip destination to beat the heat in the summer, take a scenic drive in the fall, and hit the slopes in the winter. A visit to Appalachian Ski Mountain for night skiing and snow tubing, followed by dinner + drinks in nearby Boone or Blowing Rock is practically tradition when we visit.
There are an abundance of activities to choose from in the NC Highcountry, but here are a few of my favorites.
- At an elevation of 5,496 ft., Grandfather Mountain and its famous mile-high swinging bridge are a must-visit for the scenic views, wildlife, hiking trails, and picnic areas.
- Home to Appalachian State University, Boone is buzzing with college town energy, so you’ll get a mountain town feel with plenty of modern amenities.
- Choo, choo — the sound of the Tweetsie Railroad echoes through the hills as it takes you around the Wild West Theme Park.
- Oh, and try these three delicious restaurants — F.A.R.M. Cafe, Come Back Shack, Wild Craft Eatery.
- Check out this travel guide for more information.
Act like a local:
- Food: Get your Southern food fix at Dan’l Boone Inn, which has been serving homecooked meals for over 50 years. The Boone staple regularly makes Southern Living’s lists of “best country cooking restaurants.”
- Drink: Some of the finest craft beer in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountain Brewery offers a rotating cast of IPAs, lagers, stouts, and lagers on tap.
- Explore the outdoors: From fly fishing to mining for gemstones, immerse yourself in the many outdoor activities that the NC mountains naturally offer.
- Listen: Built in 1938 and re-opened in 2019, Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is a beautiful venue to catch a show or concert.
Where to stay
- Vrbo: Bright Boone Home, stay just a short walk to downtown and the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. ($363/night)*
- Airbnb: Glass Treehouse, wake up to the sound of the nearby waterfall and enjoy 360-degree mountain views. ($454/night)
- Boutique hotel: The Horton Hotel, Boone’s only boutique hotel features a rooftop bar. (~$550/night)