Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Rocky Mount, VA

  • Published 2023/03/08

Established in 1786, Rocky Mount is the county seat of Franklin County, Virginia.

It has a population of around 5,000 people.

It’s hard to say no to a tourist location that provides fresh air, excitement, and indoor and outdoor entertainment.

Rocky Mount is a beautiful spot to enjoy the small-town beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its neighborhood coffee shops, rolling streets, and live music venues.

There are plenty of beautiful places and activities to do in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

It’s a great tourist location with lots of things to do for people of all ages.

Here are the best things to do in Rocky Mount, VA:

Attend a Live Performance at Harvester Performance Center

A Christmas float in front of the Harvester Performance Center

Stu Jones /

The Harvester Performance Center is an enclosed, middle-sized music venue that hosts fantastic live performances in various genres.

Thanks to a covered drop-off area, the facility is conveniently accessible in every weather.

The main chamber’s box office and lobby spaces are on the top entry-level.

Marching band in front of the Harvester Performance Center

Stu Jones /

The main room can accommodate up to 446 individuals.

When suitable, it can fit up to 700 people in a stand-up show layout.

The main area features a 40-foot wide stage with excellent sight lines and cutting-edge audio, lighting, and video equipment.

The Performance Center sells drinks, snacks, and souvenirs.

Appreciate Art at the Rocky Mount Center for the Arts

The Rocky Mount Center for the Arts is a non-profit organization dedicated to communicating the importance of creative and artistic work in the community.

They host unique art events, offer arts education courses, and create lifetime respect for the arts.

The center creates chances for artists to present their artwork to others, cultivating a friendly and inclusive art environment in Rocky Mount.

Everyone is welcome to explore and discover the power of their very own creativity and the importance of art in daily life.

Grab Lunch at Buddy’s BBQ

Buddy’s BBQ serves North Carolina-style barbecue in a relaxed setting.

Buddy’s BBQ sauces are prepared from scratch and come in various flavors.

Try their macaroni salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, collard greens, Carolina red slaw, homemade hush puppies, and hot gog chili.

They also smoke their brisket and ribs daily and offer them for as long as stocks last.

Don’t miss out on Buddy’s BBQ to make the most of your dining experience in Rocky Mount.

Recharge Your Batteries at Vintage Spa

The Vintage Spa is a full-service salon and day spa for men and women.

Their Victorian-style structure will attract you with its magnificent décor, calm environment, and soothing music.

Their objective is not just to make their clients look good but also to feel good about themselves.

While you’re at the Vintage Spa, tour their beautiful facilities and enjoy complimentary gourmet coffee or tea.

Explore their gift shop for a broad choice of items suitable for any occasion and test their services.

Treat yourself or someone you care about to a rejuvenating experience without traveling far.

Choose from various services on their menu to find the best mix for you.

Check Out the View in Gilly’s Park

Gilley’s Park is a public fishing pond that is open all year.

The Park features three ponds stocked numerous times a year.

It’s a fantastic area for younger people to learn how to fish, thanks to a partnership between the town of Rocky Mount and Franklin County.

The ponds are surrounded by trails that are ideal for walking or jogging.

Gilley’s Park also contains several big picnic pavilions and a fishing dock.

Relax at the Claiborne House

Established in 1895, the Claiborne House is a historic bed and breakfast in Rocky Mount, Virginia.

The Claiborne House was built in the Queen Anne style, with six guest rooms, a separate cottage, vast gardens, and a 130-foot wraparound porch with views from all sides.

There are also some wedding venues within reasonable driving distance.

The Claiborne House may change from time to time, but the atmosphere of warmth and welcome remains constant.

Come to The Claiborne House whether you’re looking for rest or new adventures.

Buy Gifts at Blooming Deals

Do you want to find one-of-a-kind items to keep or give to friends and family?

Blooming Deals offers retail, trade, rental, women’s clothing, accessories, and home décor.

The store has earned the award of Best Consignment Shop in Southwest Virginia twice.

Join Blooming Deals for a class to alter a small piece of furniture or home décor.

You’ll leave with an accomplished project and the courage to start many more!

Simple materials and superb craftsmanship maintain the store’s refined image.

If you’re looking for unique gift items in Rocky Mount, this is where to go.

Start Your Day Right at Rocky Mount Burger Company

The Rocky Mount Burger Company serves Southern hospitality in a welcoming setting with an exciting musical theme.

They are proud to offer a fantastic local dining and drinking establishment.

Their motif is a great burger joint with a wide range of beers and live music.

Visit their Barrel Room on Friday for the best whiskeys in Franklin County if you want something other than their domestic and artisan beer.

You’ll also want to take a picture with Rocky Mount’s only LOVE sign, proudly placed over their door.

Start your day right at the Rocky Mount Burger Company.

Order a Drink or Two at Twin Creeks Distillery

Twin Creeks Distillery is a local distillery that produces handmade spirits using recipes passed down through the centuries.

Twin Creeks Distillery was founded in 2014 out of a passion for hand-crafting spirits.

The distillery uses only genuine and traditional methods of distillation.

See how they make their specialty whiskies, brandies, and moonshines at their distillery.

You may tour the grounds and then sit down at the bar to sample a drink.

Rest at the Early Inn at the Grove

The Early Inn is nestled among the pines on ten picturesque acres of vividly colorful wildflowers.

When you first arrive, you’ll find brilliant red shutters that contrast with the calm greens that surround the house.

Tall, deep-rooted trees keep guard around the property, casting a spotlight on the land’s most captivating characteristics.

This 1854 Greek-Revival boutique hotel was voted the Best Bed and Breakfast for five years.

At the Early Inn, they make every day exceptional.

They separate themselves from the pack through their expertise, elegance, and quality.

The historic Early Inn is an ideal location for overnight stays, weddings and parties, private dinners, and more.

After indulging in Rock Mount’s various activities, unwind at the Early Inn to recharge your energy.

Enjoy a Hearty Meal at Ippy’s Restaurant

Ippy’s has become a favorite option for people looking for a fun dining experience, thanks to its excellent meals, delicious sides, and live music.

Try their sandwiches, burgers, soups, and salads for lunch.

Dinner selections include award-winning steak, seafood, and even a delectable selection of sides, soups, and salads.

Ippy’s bar also offers exquisitely handcrafted drinks, live entertainment, and the coldest beer.

It’s the best place for happy hour.

Listen to the region’s best bands or nibble on irresistible appetizers.

They also offer personalized event catering for every celebration and inexpensive, tasty meals.

Ippy’s will create a menu that fits your concept and finances, whether you’re having a wedding, anniversary, engagement, or hosting a business meeting or fundraiser.

Ippy’s Restaurant will not let you down, regardless of your chosen event or cuisine.

Visit Wood Grains Furniture & Gifts

Are you looking for a particular wood, stain, or size type?

Wood Grains Furniture & Gifts specializes in handcrafted, American-made furniture passed down through generations.

Their solid-wood furniture, built to last a lifetime, is handcrafted by Ohio Amish and artisans from Rocky Mount, Virginia.

Wood Grains offer sturdy and long-lasting American-made furniture, unique art, heirloom presents, and pieces made just for your house.

Wood Grains also delivers to Rocky Mount, Virginia, and other nearby places.

Drink a Nice Cup of Joe at the Whole Bean Coffeehouse

Whole Bean Coffeehouse provides an authentic coffeehouse environment, beginning with excellent coffee.

Try their panini and wrap menu and baked products and Kiwi-Cakes cupcakes, tea, smoothies, and hot chocolate.

Relax in one of their plush club chairs or at a table, and take advantage of the free Wi-Fi.

They also provide high-speed USB charging outlets for your smartphones, tablets, and laptops.

They also support adoption by assisting local families through fundraising and other means.

Whole Bean Coffeehouse is a must-visit in Rocky Mount.

Order a Heavy Breakfast at Ruth’s Place

Are you looking for a pleasant restaurant experience?

Ruth’s Place prepares homestyle meals and breakfast options every day.

You’ll find breakfast plates, sandwiches, sides, eggs, desserts, and more on their menu.

Ruth’s Place serves home-cooked lunch meals in addition to a fantastic morning meal.

Don’t miss a healthy and delicious breakfast and a great time at this well-known restaurant.

Have a Relaxing Stay at the Angle House

Are you looking for a location to rest or spend time with your partner, friends, or family?

The Angle House is in Rocky Mount’s historic area and offers two luxury suites for your convenience.

The Angle House is a year-round destination for newlyweds, tourists, business visitors, and others.

The Harvester Performance Center and nearby eateries are also within walking distance.

It’s the ideal and memorable place to spend the weekend after a tiring day shopping and touring Rocky Mount.

Stop by Unique Sites Part of The Crooked Road: Virginia Heritage Music Trail

Started in 2003, The Crooked Road: Virginia Heritage Music Trail offers you a unique trek across Rocky Mount and Southwest Virginia.

It spans 330 miles and pulls you for an in-depth look at the region’s musical heritage.

But it’s not just about music!

This trail rushes past museums, outdoor sites, and other cultural programs, too.

All these remarkable stops total over 60 musical venues within nineteen counties.

In Rocky Mount, the trail whizzes by Dairy Queen and its regular Bluegrass jam tunes.

Franklin County Retail Merchants Association’s Fun Festival is also a notable event on this trail.

The Crooked Road: Virginia Heritage Music Trail also offers wayside exhibits you can read while on the road.

Learn about the History of Rocky Mount at Franklin County Virginia Historical Society

Want to add a historical excursion to your Rocky Mount itinerary?

You can never go wrong with Franklin County Virginia Historical Society.

Chartered in 1968, this museum showcases a wide collection of preserved artifacts related to Franklin County’s interesting past.

The museum also comes with a research library.

And to further deepen your quest for historical learning, the library offers assistance.

From genealogies to government documents, you are sure to find what you’re looking for in your nostalgic trip to the past.

Admission is free, so what’s stopping you from coming by?

Franklin County Virginia Historical Society is on South Main Street.

Hike along the Scenic Grassy Hill Natural Preserve

It’s time to bring the fun outdoors!

Grassy Hill Natural Preserve is the answer to your scenic getaway preferences.

At 1,440 acres, this preserve features a 6.5-mile hiking trail.

Its dominant natural landscapes include rocky slopes and dense groves of Virginia pine.

Some of the fowl you can see while at this site include red-tailed hawks and Carolina chickadees.

Right along the edges of the preserve, you may even get a glimpse of wildflowers and visiting butterflies.

So, pack your bags and nature gear for your stroll along the grassy woodlands of Grassy Hill Natural Preserve.

You can find this site on Technology Drive.

Explore Art Shops and Stores Included in ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Trail

Have an affinity for the arts?

Then, you may not want to miss the stops at ‘Round the Mountain Artisan Trail.

Started in 2004, this trail promotes the art, culture, and legacy of Southwest Virginia.

It also bridges artisans together through partnerships with local organizations and galleries.

In Rocky Mount, one of the shops part of this trail includes Artisan Center Along the Crooked Road on Franklin Street.

‘Round the Mountain also offers annual and regular events to keep your artistic journey along its stops more memorable.

Discover the Beauty of Rocky Mount’s Rivers at Ramble Weekend

Ramble Weekend is an annual festival celebrating Rocky Mount’s rivers.

Spanning 3 days, it features riverside activities and even camping!

Part of its program includes boat floats along the Blackwater River and a paddling contest at the Pigg River.

There’s more you can anticipate, like live music, food trucks, and gift souvenirs, so make sure you won’t miss i.

This festival takes place in May.

The 220-acre Waid Recreation Area on Waid Park Road hosts Ramble Weekend every year.

Final Thoughts

Rocky Mount’s beautiful scenery, souvenir stores, relaxing cafés, filling restaurants, and interesting activities make for a wonderful trip.

Don’t miss out on a fantastic day at this tourist destination with friends and family.

Plan your Rocky Mount trip today!

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