Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Boone, NC

  • Published 2022/10/28

Boone is a town in Watauga County, northwestern North Carolina.

It is perfectly situated on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains with an elevation of 995 meters near the Tennessee borders.

The town was named after famous explorer Daniel Boone who first camped in the area while on a hunting trip.

According to the 2020 census, the population in Boone has reached 19,092.

Boone is a popular vacation spot for both locals and tourists.

Its surrounding mountains and fishing spots are just some of the reasons why many people flock to this area all year round.

Here are some of the best things to do in Boone, North Carolina:

Take a Quick Afternoon Trip at Tweetsie Railroad

Steam locomotive at Tweetsie Railroad /

Tweetsie Railroad is a heritage railroad and Wild West amusement park in Tweetsie Railroad Ln.

This park’s most sought-after ride is a three-mile train ride in one of its historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives.

You can also enjoy zoo, live shows, and other family-friendly attractions at Tweetsie Railroad.

Exterior of Tweetsie Railroad /

The classic carousel, Ferris wheel, tornado, free fall, and twister rides are a must-try!

Your kids will also love Tweetsie Railroad’s zoo, which houses cute and friendly goats, deer, llamas, small horses, donkeys, and sheep.

Ski lift chairs at Tweetsie Railroad /

Ski with Friends and Family at Appalachian Ski Mtn.

Appalachian Ski Mtn. in Ski Mountain Rd. started business in 1962.

It was northwestern North Carolina’s first ski area.

It was previously known as Blowing Rock Ski Lodge.

Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s 46,000-square-foot base lodge is smoke-free and equipped with WiFi for visitors’ convenience.

It also features wide skiing and ice skating area.

You may also visit its rental shop with an estimated 3,000 sets of ski and snowboard rentals.

A gift shop is also available where you can buy some souvenirs for your trip.

After trying out fun and exciting activities, you can order some delicious and savory food at Appalachian Ski Mtn.’s restaurants with overlooking views of the slopes and rental shops.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane at Hickory Ridge History Museum

Hickory Ridge History Museum can be found in Horn in the West Dr.

It was established in 1980.

Here, you can find displays and artifacts that played important roles during Boone’s colonial era.

Hickory Ridge History Museum remains true to its motto of “Keeping Yesterday For Tomorrow” by educating its visitors with vast information and trivia about the rich history of the town and state.

The guides in the museum will also share with you how the first mountain settlers in the region survived on their own.

Volunteers in Hickory Ridge History Museum will also demonstrate traditional ways of weaving, spinning, cooking, blacksmithing, candle dipping, and other activities.

Rent a Vehicle at Appalachians Outdoor Adventures

Appalachians Outdoor Adventures is a UTV rental in Watauga Village Dr.

This is the best place to rent a vehicle if you dream of exploring the Appalachian Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Their knowledgeable staff will guide you here.

You and your friends may choose from their private or semi-private premier guided adventure, which usually lasts up to four hours.

You’ll be in awe of thousands of acres of picturesque mountains during the ride.

There are also over 70 miles of exciting trails that await you.

Appalachians Outdoor Adventures also has a cute and cuddly Toy Aussie named “Rocky” who’s always ready to meet and bond with visitors.

Spend the Day at Jones House Cultural Center

Jones House Cultural Center in West King St. was built in 1908.

It was the first family home to Dr. John Walter Jones and his family.

He was one of the first physicians in the area.

It is now a cultural house that features the Mazie Jones Gallery and two gallery exhibitions about the history of Boone.

The Jones House Cultural Center hosts fun events like indoor concerts, costume contests, and trick-or-treat events.

There are also music lessons you can enroll in inside this cultural center.

Appreciate Unique Art at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

Exterior of Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

Bryan Pollard /

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is a free visual art gallery on West King St.

It was opened in 2003 by Appalachian State University.

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts’ goal is to make art as engaging and accessible as possible for everyone.

The visitors to this gallery are mostly from universities and communities who want to experience unique and appreciate meaningful artworks.

Glass window of Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

Bryan Pollard /

Displayed inside the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts are paintings and sculptures of local Boone artists.

Art installations can also be found inside.

You may also participate in the art workshops such as painting, drawings, and photography lessons, among others.

Mine Jewelry at Foggy Mountain Gem Mine

Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is a family-owned gem mine adventure place in NC-105.

Foggy Mountain Gem Mine will let you experience what it’s like being a gem miner.

Isn’t it fun and exciting?

Be ready to sit through rocks and dirt to find your most precious gem and let the staff transform it into a piece of beautiful and shining jewelry you can take home.

A day at Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is a great experience, especially for science enthusiasts and kids.

The joy and thrill of discovering gems will truly give them an experience of a lifetime.

Taste Beers and Ciders at Appalachian Mountain Brewery

Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone Creek Dr. opened in 2013 and became the first brewery in Boone.

Its owners are cousins Nathan Kelischek and Chris Zieber.

Here, you and your buddies can enjoy top-notch beers and ciders while enjoying the magnificent view of the mountains.

It is also the home of the famous Southern Apple Hard Cider.

What’s good about this brewery is that it’s partnered with local farms where they can donate spent grain for cattle feed instead of throwing those up and adding waste to the environment.

According to Appalachian Mountain Brewery, that initiative allows farmers to save over 50 tons of feed every year.

Enjoy Good Food and Drinks at Booneshine Brewing Company

Booneshine Brewing Company is a restaurant located at Industrial Park Dr.

Booneshine Brewing Company only offers fresh and locally made dishes to assure the satisfaction of its customers.

Among the food, you may try out pretzels, salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, and desserts.

Moreover, this place is also a known brewery destination with a tasting room open for everyone.

You and your loved ones will also love this place’s large outdoor beer garden.

You’ll get to relax in the laid-back atmosphere while savoring your beer and ordering some food at its Booneshine food truck.

Enjoy an Outdoor Adventure at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is a mountain biking park in Mountain Bike Wy.

This park will surely be your favorite if you love outdoor adventures.

It boasts five exciting trails: a 1.6-mile Rocky Branch Trail loop, 1-mile Middle Earth Trail, a 4-mile Boat Rock Loop, a downhill PBJ Trail, and Ol’ Hoss.

The elderly and kids will also have a great time at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park, as it has a playground complete with exercising and playing equipment.

You can walk, run, or bike in its huge park while enjoying amazing mountain views and being surrounded by towering and luscious trees.

See Beautiful Native Plants at Daniel Boone Native Gardens

Wildflowers at Daniel Boone Native Gardens

Education Prof, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Boone Native Gardens is situated in Horn in the West Dr.

This is where you can find an astonishing collection of native trees, wildflowers, and shrubs.

There are over 200 plant species you can see at Daniel Boone Native Gardens.

They are planted in an informal landscape design to add a more foresty and natural vibe to the area.

Some of the colorful and unique plant species you can find here are dogwood, mayapple, bluet, silver bell tree, and teaberry, which all blooms from March to April.

Meanwhile, its Amsonia, wild iris, shortia, and yucca are best viewed from May to June.

Buy Fresh Produce at Watauga County Farmers’ Market

Watauga County Farmers’ Market in Horn in the West Dr. was established in 1974.

This is where you can buy fresh and local produce, artwork, and other creative crafts.

This is a 100 percent producer-only market, so you’re guaranteed to get only the best of the best meats, eggs, fish, pastries, and coffees.

Honey, caviar, and artisan chocolates are also being sold here at Watauga County Farmers’ Market.

Handcrafted jewelry, handy plants, and colorful cut flowers are also available.

Whether you’re a local or tourist, you’ll love this place as it also features live music, making your shopping experience more enjoyable.

Meet New People at Turtle Island Preserve

Turtle Island Preserve in Little Laurel Rd. is an old-fashioned farm and nature sanctuary where you can meet and bond with new people.

This camp promotes positive growth through fun and interactive activities in which you, your friends, and others can participate.

Turtle Island Preserve also provides the experience of living amid nature and teaches important outdoor skills.

It has boy camps, family camps, father and son camps, scout retreats, educational camps, and more.

There are also several volunteer activities you can choose from.

The Turtle Island Store is available here, which sells camp memorabilia and other merchandise.

All proceeds from the store will go directly to the Turtle Island Preserve.

Relax at the Art of Living Retreat Center

The Art of Living Retreat Center is beautifully situated on Whispering Hills Rd.

It’s located on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains and was established by famous spiritual teacher Sri Ravi Shankar.

This 380-acre retreat center and spa will give you the inner peace you won’t normally find in the chaos and hassle of everyday city life.

At The Art of Living Retreat Center, you can spend your time doing yoga, attending guided meditations, participating in workshops, and indulging in spa treatments.

You can also enjoy a simple nature walk here.

The Art of Living Retreat Center’s breathtaking surroundings will melt your stress and problems away.

Try Land and Water Activities at River and Earth Adventures

River and Earth Adventures in NC-105 is a locally owned outfitter in the town of Boone.

This place is dedicated to both land and water adventures.

Challenge yourself with hiking, rafting, caving, kayaking, canoeing, and gem mining.

River and Earth Adventures also teaches eco-education and healthy living, so everyone in the family will have a great time here.

The environmental educators at River and Earth Adventures will teach you the importance of balanced plant and animal co-existence.

This adventure park is also serious about providing a fun yet safe adventure for its visitors, and its ACA-certified instructors will guide you throughout your stay.

Cool Down at Laurel Creek Falls

The waters of Laurel Creek Falls

James W. Thompson /

Laurel Creek Falls is located at US-321, Boone.

It is easily accessible since it’s located on the side of the road.

What makes this 30-feet waterfall unique is its lower and upper sections, perfect for cooling off and refreshing your mind and body.

You can reach it via a 2.3-mile roundtrip trail.

Just be extra careful, as the rocks can be steep and slippery.

Since it’s situated within the Watauga River, swimming is also allowed at this beautiful waterfall.

Final Thoughts

Boone is truly a town that has so much to offer.

From parks, mountain trails, markets, and museums, this place will not disappoint the inner traveler and adventurer in you.

Make sure to include this town on your next vacation and try all the best things to do in Boone, North Carolina.

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