Blake Walsh

18 Best Things to Do in Little Switzerland, NC

  • Published 2022/08/29

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to visit a real-life fairytale village?

The village of Little Switzerland, North Carolina, comes pretty close!

Several picturesque small towns occupy the mountains in North Carolina.

One of the most charming is Little Switzerland.

This unincorporated community is in McDowell and Mitchell counties, an hour’s drive from Asheville or Boone.

Sitting 3,000 feet above sea level, this quaint mountain town is in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The deep valleys and distant ranges resembling the Swiss Alps’ foothills inspired Little Switzerland.

While the community is relatively small, it still offers many things to see and do.

Check out Little Switzerland if you want to commune with nature or unwind.

If you plan to visit this breathtaking mountain town, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are the best things to do in Little Switzerland, North Carolina:

Explore Two Iconic Waterfalls in Little Switzerland

Scenic view of Grassy Creek falls

MarkVanDykePhotography /

The Blue Ridge Mountains have no shortage of natural outdoor attractions, including beautiful waterfalls!

Little Switzerland is home to two of the most magnificent waterfalls in North Carolina: Grassy Creek and Crabtree Falls.

Grassy Creek takes you on an adventure hike up a steep but relatively easy trail.

The three-mile trail ends at the multi-tiered Grassy Creek Falls, which will take your breath away.

If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, take the 2.5-mile loop trail toward the magnificent 70-foot-tall Crabtree falls.

Although the hike is a bit more challenging, the stunning views at the trail’s end are worth the sweat!

Daytime view of Crabtree falls

Jeffery Edwards /

Check Out the Trillium Gallery

With spectacular views, fine dining, and Swiss-style shops, it’s no wonder Little Switzerland is the centerpiece of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Strolling down the main street, you’ll feel like you’re in a quaint European village.

Some of the iconic stores downtown include Little Switzerland Books & Beans, every bookworm’s little haven.

This three-story bookstore carries exciting books of different mediums and genres, a small arts and crafts gallery, and a coffee bar.

The Switzerland General Store is also a must-visit.

It offers a variety of goods, including old-fashioned sweet treats, local wines, cheeses, and beer.

Finally, the Trillium Gallery has everything you need for gifts and souvenirs.

This charming gift shop sells an array of unique locally-crafted items that your friends and family back home will genuinely appreciate.

Book a Room at La Petite Chalet

One of the most extraordinary things about Little Switzerland is several charming mountainside inns and lodges!

Most places to stay in Little Switzerland offer great outdoor spaces.

Visitors should enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature without having to go far.

The best places to stay on your Little Switzerland trip are La Petite Chalet, Ginny’s Cabin, and the Switzerland Inn.

Each of these accommodations has unique perks that will make your stay extra special.

However, they have one thing in common.

They all offer breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

You’ll want to wake up early to catch a glimpse of the mesmerizing sunrise.

Satisfy Your Cravings at the Swiss Shoppe

The Swiss Shoppe is a local ice cream shop in downtown Little Switzerland.

It’s the perfect place to stop for a sweet treat after exploring all the sights and sounds of the town.

The Swiss Shoppe offers delicious ice cream, friendly service, and old-fashioned ice cream parlor atmosphere.

Try their signature flavor, Swiss Chocolate Almond, or one of their other delicious flavors!

This adorable shop offers both inside and outside seating and a fun photo booth for a picture souvenir.

There are also a couple of arcade games that will keep you occupied and entertained while you enjoy your sweet treat.

Take a Scenic Drive along Diamondback Road

North Carolina has such a thriving outdoor and nature scene that even the roads are tourist attractions!

For example, Diamondback Road offers breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This 36-mile road curves and winds through the mountains, offering breathtaking views of the valley below.

Likewise, Diamondback Road also takes you past picture-perfect scenery of glorious mountainsides and lush, green forests.

Experience Mountainside Fine Dining at Chalet Restaurant

All this exploring should make you hungry, so why not experience some of the best mountain cuisines at Chalet Restaurant?

Find this hidden gem tucked away in the mountains, with stunning views of the valley below.

The Chalet Restaurant has a cozy, charming atmosphere that makes it perfect for a romantic evening or family dinner.

The menu features American and Swiss dishes to tantalize your taste buds.

Grab a Drink with Friends at the Fowl Play Pub & Tap Room

Once you’ve satisfied your hungry tummy at Chalet, head to the nearby Fowl Play Pub & Tap Room for a nightcap.

This social hotspot is perfect for mingling with locals and meeting new people.

The pub also has a variety of local and international beers on tap.

Whether you’re a beer lover or not, you’ll find a drink that will tickle your fancy.

The Fowl Play Pub & Tap Room also serves American staples such as burgers, wings, fries, and more.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Drive through the Little Switzerland Tunnel

A car passing through The Little Switzerland Tunnel

Jess Whitney /

If you’re looking for a short yet unforgettable drive, look no further than the Little Switzerland tunnel!

This short 547-foot-long artificial tunnel goes through a mountain and offers stunning views of the valley at the end.

The Little Switzerland Tunnel is one of 26 tunnels along the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers a unique photo opportunity.

Besides driving through the tunnel, you can also walk or ride a bike if you feel daring.

You can find the tunnel in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, four minutes from Little Switzerland.

Pick Apples and Admire Art at the Historic Orchard at Altapass

Daytime view of the Orchard At Altapass

Jill Lang /

At a glance, the Orchard at Altapass is nothing more than an apple orchard where you can pick apples.

However, there’s so much more to this historic hundred-year-old orchard than meets the eye.

The Orchard at Altapass is also an iconic place for music and art lovers.

They have a music heritage program that features different genres of music throughout the year.

There are nearby shops where you can buy apple goodies, ice cream, and souvenirs.

There’s also live music during the weekends, which makes for a perfect family-friendly activity.

Find the orchard in Spruce Pine, 12 minutes from Little Switzerland.

A beautiful butterfly in the Orchard At Altapass

James W. Thompson /

Taste Local Ciders at the Little Switzerland Orchard And Winery

Visit the Little Switzerland Orchard and Winery if you want to try local ciders in a relaxed atmosphere.

You can find this popular cidery on Spruce Pine, seven minutes from Little Switzerland.

It’s also open daily for tastings.

The Orchard and Winery offer a variety of ciders made from locally sourced apples.

They also have a quaint little shop where you can buy local honey, jams, and jellies.

This cider bar’s atmosphere makes it a popular tourist destination.

It’s the perfect place to unwind and relax after a long day of exploring.

Go Camping at Crabtree Falls Campground

One of the best things about camping near Little Switzerland is that you can camp in a more remote location.

Enjoy an authentic back-to-nature experience with modern conveniences like restrooms and showers.

Some great campgrounds near Little Switzerland, NC, include the Crabtree Falls Campground and Bear Den Family Campground.

You can find the Crabtree Falls Campground in Micaville, North Carolina, 11 minutes from Little Switzerland.

These campgrounds offer exceptional perks, but they all provide the same experience of being one with nature.

Grab a Brew at the Switzerland Cafe

The chilly mornings in Little Switzerland is the perfect time to enjoy a warm cup of coffee.

Luckily, there are plenty of cafes in the area where you can grab a hot cup of joe.

For example, you can go to the Switzerland Cafe, known for its great coffee and friendly service.

They also have a variety of pastries and snacks if you need a little something to go with your caffeine fix.

Start your day right at the Switzerland Cafe!

Find this coffee shop in Marion, North Carolina, one minute from Little Switzerland.

Check Out the Chestoa View Overlook

Scenic view of The Chestoa View Overlook

anthony heflin /

Admire the best views in nearby Little Switzerland and check out the Chestoa View Overlook.

This scenic overlook sits along the Blue Ridge Parkway and offers breathtaking views of the mountains.

You can find it in Linville, North Carolina, 21 minutes from Little Switzerland.

Rising 4,090 feet above sea level, the Chestoa View Overlook is one of the best vistas in the area.

Bring your camera to snap some beautiful photos!

Mountain view from The Chestoa View Overlook

Jill Lang /

Visit Mount Mitchell State Park

Daytime view of the beautiful Mount Mitchell State Park

Alex Couto /

If you want to go even higher, head to Mount Mitchell State Park and bask in the dramatic summit of Mount Mitchell.

This state park is also perfect for enjoying some of the best hiking trails.

However, the main attraction is the observation deck, where you can see the beautiful scenery of the mountains for miles.

You can find it in Burnsville, North Carolina, 36 minutes from Little Switzerland.

People at Mount Mitchell State Park's observation deck

Cvandyke /

Visit the Linville Falls

Aerial view of Linville Falls

Jon Bilous /

Linville Falls is another majestic waterfall located 28 minutes from Little Switzerland.

This waterfall rises 150 feet high and tumbles over several granite ledges.

The best way to experience the falls is to hike one of the many trails in the area.

There are also picnic areas if you want to enjoy a lovely day with family and friends.

Cascades of Linville Falls

Jess Whitney /

Craft Jewelry at Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine

Another unique activity you can do in Little Switzerland is gem mining!

You can find it in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, eight minutes from Little Switzerland.

Gem Mountain is a local gemstone mine that offers a guided tour, showcasing the different types of gemstones found in the area.

After the tour, you can sift through the dirt to find gems!

This is an excellent activity for kids and adults alike, and it’s a fun way to take home a piece of Little Switzerland.

Not only can you discover valuable gemstones, but you can also have your stones cut and made into actual jewelry!

You don’t get to see or do that every day, so make the most of this experience at Gem Mountain Gemstone Mine.

Visit the Museum Of North Carolina Minerals

Exterior of The Museum Of North Carolina Minerals

Acroterion, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mining is in North Carolina’s DNA, so it’s only fitting that there’s a museum dedicated to this industry.

Find the Museum of North Carolina Minerals along Parkway Maintenance Road.

The museum is also in Spruce Pine, seven minutes from Little Switzerland.

It’s a great place to visit if you want a unique experience.

The museum displays rich and rare gems and minerals found in the state.

You can also take a quiet tour and explore different exhibits that depict the state’s rich mining heritage.

There’s also a visitor center where you learn more about the minerals found in North Carolina.

The Museum of North Carolina Minerals also has a gift shop where you can pick up souvenirs and gifts for your friends and loved ones.

Visit Emerald Village

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Little Switzerland is Emerald Village.

This complex is a great place to learn about the state’s rich history and see life during the height of the mining industry.

You can find it in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, seven minutes from Little Switzerland.

Emerald Village is home to several gemstone mines, where you can join a guided tour and find exciting treasures in the area.

You can also try gold panning, a traditional method of prospecting for gold.

Next to the Emerald Village is the North Carolina Mining Museum, where you can see historical mining equipment.

In addition, several exciting exhibits detail the state’s rich history, including a self-guided underground tour of a former mine.

Final Thoughts

There’s simply a lot to love about Little Switzerland, NC.

Little Switzerland, NC, is a small slice of heaven in the mountains.

Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Little Switzerland!

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