15 Best Things to do in Banner Elk, NC

15 Best Things to do in Banner Elk, NC

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Banner Elk is a small yet beautiful village located in the mountains between the Beech mountain end sugar mountain. The small mountain village is a perfect place which provide the visitors a great Escape during the summer months due to its moderate temperatures and beautiful landscapes.

The place is quite refreshing during the summer time and welcoming during the winters. The place is perfect to enjoy activities like hiking, rafting, antiquing, etc.

In this article we have compiled a list of top 15 things that you should not miss out if you are visiting this beautiful village.

Lees-McRae College


One of the reasons why this small mountain village is the famous is because it is home to the famous Lees McRae college. Initially, the foundation was just an institution but it was converted into a full time high school department in the year 1931.

In 1987 the members of the board of the college decided to seek a status of the college and finally in 1990 the status was granted. The college is located on a very beautiful site facing great landscapes which are a treat to everyone’s eyes.

The college welcomes students from all around the world. Apart from educational services, the college also organizes other diverse opportunities in order to promote the growth of this village and the nearby mountainous areas. The campus is very pretty and definitely worth a visit.

Grandfather Mountain

Grandfather Mountain
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Grandfather mountain is located a few miles away from this mountain village. Considered to be one of the highest peaks in the blue Ridge area, grandfather mountain is a very famous vacation spot among the visitors. The mountain has very scenic views and additional adventurous activities to do.

For an instance you could start hiking on the trails of the mountain, or enjoy the views from the Swinging bridge. It is important to note that all these activities on grandfather mountain are operated by a non-profit organization and the ticket price is quite inexpensive.

You can also enjoy spotting a lot of wildlife varieties and plantation in the area as it is full of trees and lush green vegetation. In addition, throughout the entire property of Grandfather mountain, a number of picnic tables are installed where a peaceful lunch could be enjoyed.

Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge
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Swinging Bridge is a bridge which falls within the property of the grandfather mountain. The bridge is located at a great height and is recognized around the globe for the same. There is also an elevator which could be used to access the swinging bridge.

The bridge is very scenic and is surrounded by greenery and colorful trees on all sides. It is just a perfect place to spend your evenings and even mornings.

The bridge is also a famous spot in the mountain where you stop and enjoy the beautiful sceneries and use this place for watching animals like eagles, black bears, elk, cougars, and river otters.

Art on the Greene


Art on the greene is a famous artistic event which is organized in the village of Banner Elk four times each summer.

The festival is famous for promoting and showcasing the famous local food, art and entertainment. During the event, various local craft vendors, and artists come together.

Various items made of metal, ceramics, water color, glass, acrylics etc. are available at this event. During the event, the entire street is filled with a number of shops and counters where locally produced items could be bought as souvenirs.

All these items are unique in themselves and the proceeds from the sale are used towards restoration of the historical banner elk school in the village. The entire place is very lively and happy during this event and it is definitely going to help you in getting a better insight about the art and culture of this village.

Woolly Worm Festival


Woolly worm festival is one of the biggest event conducted in banner elk every year. The festival is conducted in the third week of October and marks the beginning of new snow season.

It is culturally a very important event. During the event various contests are used to determine which worm out of the various varieties will have the honor of deciding the sternness of the coming winter season.

During the event, various selection of food, art and craft, and local music are also organized for the visitors. As much as 140 food and art stalls are present at the festival. You can also win exciting gifts by participating in these events.

Wildcat Lake


Wildcat lake in banner elk is one of the most famous destination for summer months. The lake is spread in 13 acres and has a white sand beach. It also has a swimming dock, and a special bath house.

Wildcat lake is just perfect for sunbathing and swimming. In order to facilitate the comfort of visitors, various picnic tables and fishing docks are also installed around the lake. The water of the wildcat lake is very chilly and perfect for refreshing your mood during summers.

The lake is open for visitors around the week and does not charge any extra prices for entry. The lake is also one of the most ideal lakes in the village when it comes to safety as life guards are always on duty. You can also enjoy activities like boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing.

May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center


May wildlife rehabilitation center is located just a mile away from Wildcat lake. The Center is located on the campus of the famous Lees-McRae College. The rehabilitation center is a laboratory which houses more than 1500 birds, reptiles, raptors, and mammals who are injured in western North Carolina.

The place is established for promoting learning in biology students. However, the Centre is also open for visitors all days of the week. You can watch the birds from outside their cages and also observe the activities that are taking place inside the lab.


Banner elk winery is one of the most famous and oldest winery in the region of banner elk. The winery is famous for producing wine from grapes varieties from French-America and America.

The winery is also famous as the original winery of the country. The winery follows very high standards while crafting wines. It is located in a very scenic place which makes the wine tasting even more exciting and entertaining.

Some of the famous wines of the Banner elk winery have also won awards for representing the local culture and a subtle flavors of North Carolina. You can take private tours at the winery and enjoy wine tasting events.

Grandfather Vineyard and Winery


Located on the foothills of the grandfather mountain, grandfather vineyard and winery is another famous winery in the mountain village of banner elk. The winery was opened in the year 2011 and is very famous for producing some really good quality dry white and red wines.

The vineyard from where all the ingredients for producing the wine is spread in an area of 5 acres. The owners of the winery are very welcoming and warm hearted and always like to interact with the visitors and take a feedback about their products.

The winery also offers gift baskets as souvenirs to the visitors. One of the best things about this winery is that you can also order wines online from this place.

Kettell Beerworks


Kettell Beerworks is a famous brewery in banner elk which is famous for serving some 20 varieties of high-quality and specially crafted beers using quality ingredients and mountain water.

The brewing company has established its operations in such a manner that the visitors can observe the process of brewing from a giant window which is installed in the Taproom. The brewery also has a small kitchen which makes it just a perfect location for going out with family.

Along with tasty beers, the place also serves food items such as pizzas, and chicken wings. They also have arrangements for pinball, shuffleboard, and other interesting games. You can also play some board games while enjoying your food and cold brew.

Apple Hill Farm

Apple Hill Farm
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Apple hill farm is a famous mountain farm which was founded in the year 2013 by a family of ambitious people. The farm is famous for being a very refreshing and joyful area within the hills which is sure to bring a great smile on the face of the visitors.

The farm houses a large number of animals such as angora goat, alpacas, llamas, livestock guardians, and many more. All the animals in the farm are treated like a family and thus have a name and a specific job.

The farm is also famous for organizing various educational, and touring events. The farm also sells great collection of specially made gifts and unique products. You should definitely visit this park to learn how human and animals can live together and work in a better manner.


Banner Elk stables is a perfect place for enjoying horseback riding with family and friends. The stables are open entire year and have a very scenic location.

There are a large number of horses which will provide you with the best experience of wilderness and natural beauty all at once. The experience is very safe and can be enjoyed by kids as well as the adults.

The stables also organize family oriented horse-rides to various destinations in the village. The stable is also famous for getting featured in various movies such as Cinderella, national treasure, and many more. This is definitely a good place to visit and befriend some horses.

Maggie Black Pottery


Maggie black pottery is a very unique vacation destination in the village. The owner of the pottery has been making pots from the age of six years. At present, she is one of the most skilled and expert potters in the village.

Maggie’s pottery has been serving a large number of visitors and sending its pottery products to various galleries, events and festivals around the world.

The pottery is also famous for organizing educational events where people can learn poetry making, glazing, and firing. You can also enjoy the work being done or just participate in it.


Banner elk olive oil and Balsamics is a perfect place to grab gifts for your near and dear ones. The store has a very extensive collection of imported and locally produced olive oils, salts, exotic herbal oils, vinegars, and wide range of specially handcrafted ceramics and culinary items.

All these items not only enhance the beauty of your home and your dining experience but also create a very happy and refreshing mood. The staff at the store is also very knowledgeable and helpful and will definitely help you in selecting the best products for yourself.


Banner elk cafe and lodge is just a perfect place for all those people who are tired after exploring the different places in the village. With just a perfect arrangement of a cafe and a lodge, the banner elk cafe and lodge is one stop place for grabbing some tasty espressos, smoothies, and ice creams.

The cherry on the top is that the place also serves very delicious breakfast, lunch, as well as dinner on all days of the week. Their menu is also quite dynamic and include various cuisines such as American, Mexican, Italian, seafood, and local mountain dishes as well.

The place is known to serve the most delicious food in the entire village and is definitely not to be missed.

The small village of Banner elk is not as small when it comes to the number of activities, and unique attractions that it has. The village has just a perfect number of entertaining places which will definitely make some of the best memories of your life.

The people are welcoming, and the places are beautiful. With proper arrangements for accommodation and food, this small village is always ready to welcome you.