Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Wilkesboro, NC

  • Published 2023/01/06

Wilkesboro is a town and the county seat of Wilkes County in North Carolina.

It is situated on the south bank of the Yadkin River opposite North Wilkesboro town.

The town was founded in 1800 and was established on top of a broad ridge that runs along the south bank of the Yadkin River.

Wilkesboro is also known for the infamous “Tory Oak,” a large oak tree where Colonel Benjamin Cleveland hanged Loyalist militia leaders who opposed American independence from Britain.

As of the 2020 census, the population in this town reached 3,687.

Its total land area is composed of 6.43 square miles of pure land.

Wilkesboro was also once tagged as the “Moonshine Capital of the World.”

This area is highly popular for young professionals and retirees looking for a place to settle down.

With its parks, museums, and other interesting attractions, Wilkesboro is a place you should visit at least once in your life.

Are you curious about what this town has in store for you?

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

Visit The Wilkes Heritage Museum

Exterior of the Wilkes Heritage Museum

Nolichuckyjake /

The Wilkes Heritage Museum is s a private and non-profit organization established in 1968, located on East Main Street.

This two-story museum includes a tour of the Old Jail and the Robert Cleveland Log House.

View of the Wilkes Heritage Museum's entrance

J K Laws /

The Wilkes Heritage Museum also features the McNeil Genealogy Collection, which is a computerized database of genealogy information that pertains to gravesite locations of people from the area.

Among the things you can see inside are artifacts, images, and documents that tell stories about the rich military, agriculture, medical, and educational history of Wilkesboro.

Savor Delicious Food at Dooley’s Grill & Tavern

Dooley’s Grill & Tavern serves huge portions of your favorite food.

From burgers, pizzas, and salads, Dooley’s Grill & Tavern doesn’t disappoint!

Dooley’s Grill & Tavern also ensures that each menu item is cooked with the freshest ingredients that bring savory and mouth-watering flavor to every bite.

On your visit, try out the five-pound homemade New York-style cheesecake.

Aside from delicious food, Dooley’s Grill & Tavern is also popular for hosting live entertainment such as music performances, music trivia nights, DJ performances, and more.

You can find the restaurant on East Main Street.

Unwind with a Drink at Call Family Distillers

Call Family Distillers is a craft distillery on Industrial Drive.

This is where you can taste flavorful and smooth spirits made from a one-of-a-kind distillation technique.

Call Family Distillers is a perfect afternoon or evening destination with friends and family.

You’ll be amazed by its wide selection of alcoholic drinks.

You can try the Ocean Water, made from vodka, peach schnapps, hypnotic, and coconut Red Bull, or the Spiced Pie, made from an apple pie, moonshine, and spiced rum.

What makes Call Family Distillers stand out is its Mash House Entertainment, where you can watch concerts and other music events after or while enjoying your drinks.

Get Ready for an Adventure at Foothills Outdoor Adventures

Foothills Outdoor Adventures is a water adventure rental shop on West NC Hwy.

It provides river tubs. kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, fishing boats, tubes, pontoon boats, camping equipment, and shuttle services for your next weekend’s adventure.

Foothills Outdoor Adventures has rentals available on both Yadkin River and W. Kerr Scott Lake.

Your whole family will have a great time here, and you can even bring your furry friends.

No need to worry if you don’t know how to swim, as Foothills Outdoor Adventures also provides life jackets for non-swimmers.

Remember that there are no guides on river adventures, but the overall surroundings are guaranteed to be safe and calm.

Admire the Beauty of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is a historic landmark on West Cowles Street.

This church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 as one of the historic places in the county.

The grounds of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church also serve as a cemetery.

It was designed by Bertram Goodhue under the Gothic Revival style, but the materials used for its construction reflect an English Perpendicular style.

You’ll easily recognize St. Paul’s Episcopal Church through its blue-gray slate roof, square tower, and limestone ornaments.

It also boasts a huge Gothic stained glass window.

Choose Your Favorite Drink at Copper Barrel Distillery

Copper Barrel Distillery was founded in 2013 by President and CEO George Smith and Master Distiller Buck Nance.

This is where you can taste top-notch handcrafted spirits made of rye, cane sugar, and corn.

Copper Barrel Distillery is the first in the world to produce legal beverage alcohol via a direct steam-injection distillation process.

While here, try their signature White Lighting, famous for its smooth spirit that warms the palate and has a clean finish.

Its aroma exudes flavors of ripe green apples with a hint of sweetness.

Copper Barrel Distillery also hosts the Moonshine Heritage Day and Shinetopia Festival.

You can find the distillery on Main Street.

Watch a Drag Race at Wilkesboro Dragway

Wilkesboro Dragway is the oldest dragway in North Carolina, located on Dragway Road.

The Olish and Salvatore family own it and also operate several businesses like farms, shops, and markets.

Wilkesboro Dragway maintains a solid and exciting lineup of activities for the whole year.

Overnight camping is allowed here, but they don’t have RV hookups available.

Go Biking at Cub Creek Park

Cub Creek Park is a 203-acre natural oasis on South Bridge Street.

This park features four mountain bike trails, making it the town’s primary park.

Cub Creek Stream is also located within the park.

Cub Creek Park is perfect for a chill and relaxed stroll amid nature.

Picnicking, fishing, and outdoor exercises are also allowed.

Aside from that, Cub Creek Park also has six baseball fields, two batting cages, three basketball courts, two tennis courts, eight pickleball courts, and children’s playgrounds.

You might also want to explore its butterfly garden, community garden, and birdhouses.

Your furry friends will also have a lovely time at Cub Creek Park’s dog park.

Play Golf at Rolling Pines Disc Golf Course

Rolling Pines Disc Golf Course is a town-owned park on Old US 421 Road.

It was established in 2015.

This dog-friendly golf course measures 70 acres with three tees on each hole.

Players of any skill level will enjoy this golf course.

Rolling Pines Disc Golf Course is a Par 56 course with 18 baskets.

It is open to the public, and well-maintained restrooms are available.

Spend the Afternoon at Berry Mountain Park Shelter

Berry Mountain Park Shelter is situated in Berry Mountain Park just within the West Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir.

It measures 1,475 acres and is ideal for swimming, boating, kayaking, and canoeing.

Some of the fish you can catch here are channel catfish. bluegill, large and smallmouth bass, striped bass, and threadfin shad.

Berry Mountain Park Shelter is ADA accessible, so everyone in the family can enjoy this place.

It also has six eight-foot picnic tables, perfect if you want to rest while having a snack.

There is no electricity at Berry Mountain Park Shelter, which will force you, in a good way, to appreciate and explore your surroundings.

You can also bring your camera and practice your nature photography skills while walking on its trails.

This park has a playground, grill, basketball court, and shower.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Birdwatching at Rendezvous Mountain

Rendezvous Mountain is nestled on Blue Ridge Mountain in Purlear, just 22 minutes from Wilkesboro.

This park offers a 5.5-mile hiking trail that will lead you to the most scenic spots in the area.

Rendezvous Mountain State Park is also one of the best places for birdwatching, so make sure to bring your binoculars.

It is home to 11 species of warblers, woodpeckers, northern cardinals, vireos, and scarlet tanager.

Rendezvous Mountain State Park also has relaxing picnic shelters with grills and a large stone fireplace.

Hunting, shooting, and injuring any kind of animal are not allowed.

It is also highly encouraged to keep the cleanliness and serenity of the area.

Let Your Kids Enjoy Smoot Park

Smoot Park is located on Chestnut Street in North Wilkesboro.

You can reach this place within a six-minute drive from Wilkesboro.

This park is connected to the Yadkin River Greenway Trailhead, which will take you to Memorial Park.

Smoot Park is a popular destination for kids and for the entire family.

It has playground equipment like slides, swings, and monkey bars.

You can also use Smoot Park’s swimming pool, basketball courts, and sand volleyball courts.

After tying out all outdoor activities in this park, you can grab a bite and relax in one of its picnic shelters.

Pick Juicy Apples at Perry Lowe Orchards

Perry Lowe Orchards is a sixth-generation apple orchard on NC-16, Moravian Falls, a quick 10-minute drive from Wilkesboro.

Perry Lowe Orchards boasts more than 100 acres of land perfectly nestled in the picture-perfect foothills of North Carolina.

This orchard grows over 30 varieties of apples.

You’ll have fun picking apples while surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Perry Lowe Orchards also produces fresh cider, glass cider, dried apples, and even vegetables like corn, squash, green beans, zucchini, and scuppernongs.

Try Glamping at Growing Faith Farms

Growing Faith Farms is a 125-acre farm on Russell Gap Road, Moravian Falls.

It is only 14 minutes away from Wilkesboro.

Growing Faith Farms started as a 15-acre farm but has grown into a large and highly visited destination where you can feel closer to nature and cute farm animals.

Growing Faith Farms also offers glamping tents where you can have a luxurious and unique camping experience.

You can also pick your own bouquets here at Growing Faith Farms.

Boating and hiking are also highly recommended.

Just like any other natural and man-made attraction, keep the cleanliness and tranquillity of Growing Faith Farms so that others can enjoy its astonishing beauty too.

Admire Artworks at Wilkes Art Gallery

Wilkes Art Gallery is located on C St. North Wilkesboro, only six minutes away from Wilkesboro.

This gallery was founded in 1962 within the parlor of Annie Winkeler’s home.

Its location was transferred in 2004 to the renovated North Wilkesboro Post Office building.

Wilkes Art Gallery features paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other art exhibitions of local artists.

You can enroll in art classes here, such as basket weaving, pottery, painting, and clay art making.

Aside from these, Wilkes Art Gallery also offers an Artist Support Grant funded by N.C. Arts Council and the Grassroots Arts Program Grant for non-profit organizations that promote diverse cultural arts in the county.

Final Thoughts

The breathtaking views of mountains and rolling hills that surround the town of Wilkesboro are truly exceptional.

It invites and warmly welcomes visitors with a promise of unforgettable adventures and experiences.

It has museums, shops, farms, mountain trails, and zoos which will make your visit worthwhile.

If you’re looking for a place to de-stress and create new memories, consider visiting Wilkesboro.

Once you’re here, use this guide and try all the best things to do in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

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