20 Best Things to Do in Boone, NC

Boone, NC

I can't wait to share the magic and beauty of this quaint mountain town with this list of the best things to do in Boone, North Carolina.

In this comprehensive guide, we've melded insights from locals and travelers to present you with a mosaic of experiences that define this remarkable place. While we've highlighted some must-visit spots, it's imperative to understand that these recommendations are shaped by personal opinions and experiences.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their invaluable contributions to this article: Laura Hopkins, Joshua Abad, Tracey Summers, Julie Sackett, Anna Messer, Raul Kelly and Alayah Odom.

Catch an Event at the Jones House Cultural Center

Exterior of Jones House Cultural Center
Karen D. Hoffman, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You know, there's something magical about spending a Friday evening at the Jones House Cultural Center.

There's nothing like kicking back on the lawn with my favorite chair, a chilled drink in hand, and some good old folk and bluegrass tunes floating in the air.

The summer concerts at Jones House Cultural Center are a delight for the senses.

I remember one time, they had this fantastic opener for the High Country Jazz Weekend.

The whole town seemed to turn up, turning the grounds into a sea of people and picnic blankets.

It's a brilliant communal experience. Kids running around, dogs playfully barking - a lively, energizing environment that makes you feel right at home.

And it's not just about the music.

The Jones House is a cultural hub, a beacon of creativity in the heart of downtown Boone.

Nestled between the Mast General Store and Daniel Boone condominiums, it's a haven for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.

They have this temporary gallery that features the works of many local artists.

It's a joy to wander around, admiring the talent that our small town has to offer.

And hey, if you're ever in need of a public restroom while you're downtown, the Jones House has got you covered.

It's one of the few places in the area that does.

It's little touches like these that make the Jones House such a vital part of our community.

Stroll through The Breathtaking Arborcrest Gardens

If you've ever found yourself yearning for a truly immersive nature experience, look no further than the Arborcrest Gardens.

Nestled just outside of downtown Boone, this place is a haven for any nature lover like me.

Every time I step foot into these stunning 26 acres, I feel like I'm entering a different world.

One filled with the rustling whispers of myriad firs, spruces, conifers, and quite an impressive variety of ferns.

I can vouch for the fact that even if you've been to many gardens in your lifetime, you'd still be amazed at the assortment of both small and large trees here.

And if you're a fern enthusiast like me, you're definitely in for a treat.

What's really exceptional about Arborcrest Gardens is that it isn't just a random collection of plants and trees.

It's a well-thought-out garden space where every plant has been given a place with careful consideration.

Each has tags bearing their scientific name.

It's not just a walk in the park, it's a walk into an open, green encyclopedia.

The variety doesn’t end at trees and ferns.

I've been awestruck by the multitude of unusual flowers adorning the garden.

From stunning perennials to vibrant annuals, every visit here is like a mini botany lesson.

Being a private garden, the space is quite limited, and you need to make a reservation before visiting.

But trust me, it's totally worth it.

You can request a guided tour on a golf cart or simply choose to walk around at your leisure.

Unravel the Mysteries at Mysterium Escape Adventure

Popping into Mysterium Escape Adventure on a whim, I found myself enamored by the thought of untangling the enigma behind the Omega Device.

Now, this wasn't my first rodeo with escape rooms, but oh boy, did this one outshine the others.

I'd been to several escape rooms before, but the meticulous detailing, the intricate storylines, and the adrenaline-pumping time constraint here were unlike anything I'd encountered.

The moment I set foot in the room, I was transported to a different realm.

The set was designed with such finesse that it felt like I'd stepped into a theme park ride.

With lasers darting around, doors sliding open as if by magic, spaces to crawl through, and fog set in, the ambiance was nothing short of spectacular.

The interactive devices scattered across the room gave it an edge, making it far from your run-of-the-mill, snooze-fest escape room.

The dedication and passion were evidently mirrored in the quality of every escape room at Mysterium Escape Adventure.

With the clock ticking down, the excitement in the room was palpable.

Solving the Omega Device was a thrilling chase against time that had my heart racing and my mind whirling.

Scraping through with just a few minutes to spare, I was filled with a sense of exhilaration and accomplishment.

Practice Your Skates at Boone Greenway Skatepark

Oh, how I love the thrill of a solid ride at the Boone Greenway Skatepark!

This hidden gem, nestled in the heart of Boone, North Carolina, is a haven for all of us skateboard enthusiasts, regardless of age or skill level.

Heck, my neighbor's 11-year-old kid can't get enough of this place!

Trust me, it's not all about the size.

Despite being a relatively small park, the quality of the facilities here is top-notch.

It boasts a range of ramps and rails that cater to every style and level of skater, making it a playground for both beginners and seasoned shredders.

Everyone in town knows that the skatepark is the place to be if you're in need of some adrenaline rush.

It's not only about zipping around the concrete or pulling off the gnarliest tricks though.

It's also about the camaraderie among us skaters, the shared laughter, the collective gasps at a sick move, and the mutual respect we have for each other's passion and determination.

There's something about the freedom of skating at Boone Greenway Skatepark that's just so... what's the word?

"Legit!" You'd understand what I mean if you experience it yourself.

Feel the Adrenaline Rush at Escapades with Appalachians Outdoor Adventures

If there's one thing that never loses its charm for me, it's the thrill of exploring the untamed beauty of the Appalachian Trail.

I've lived here my entire life, but each outdoor adventure feels like a new discovery.

Just last weekend, I decided to kick things up a notch and embarked on a journey with Appalachians Outdoor Adventures.

Their passion for adventure and the Appalachians is truly infectious!

They made sure every person in our group was comfortable and enjoying themselves, their attention to detail and personal touch made me feel like I was on a private tour.

There's something to be said about folks who love what they do – it shines through in the experience they curate.

Our group was large, but that did not deter the team at Appalachians Outdoor Adventures.

Each trail we ventured on was a mix of excitement, wonder, and pure outdoor fun.

The machines we were given were top-notch, and the opportunity to switch between different styles was a unique touch I hadn't experienced before.

Did I mention the lunch? Oh, the lunch!

Never have I thought that a meal in the great outdoors could taste so good.

It just added that extra bit of charm to the day, making the whole experience feel like a well-rounded feast for all the senses.

It's this kind of seamless service that gives you peace of mind and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the adventure.

Get Inspired at Turchin Center for the Visual Arts

Exterior of Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
Bryan Pollard / Shutterstock.com

There's something indescribably captivating about the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts.

With an eclectic array of exhibits, both temporary and permanent, it's a place that invites curiosity and exploration.

I remember when it first opened its doors in 2003 and since then, I've been a frequent visitor.

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts has a way of leaving its mark on you.

Its collections are not just displays, but stories waiting to be read, embraced, and understood.

Some of them appear as a mirror, reflecting the world we live in, while others serve as windows into different realms.

It's a place where different voices and presentations coexist, offering a wealth of knowledge and understanding.

During a recent visit, I was intrigued by the Erratic exhibit.

Glass window of Turchin Center for the Visual Arts
Bryan Pollard / Shutterstock.com

Though some may find the collections to be underwhelming, I find that their charm lies in their simplicity and the subtlety with which they convey their narratives.

It's these unexpected, unique experiences that keep me coming back.

The staff at the Turchin Center are always so welcoming.

I remember Isabel, a new addition to the team, who was bursting with information and warmth on just her second day.

And the Art-o-Rama vending machine is a delightful little quirk that adds to the charm of this place. I always get a trinket as a memento of my visits.

Go on a Biking Adventure at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park

Riding the trails at Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is my favorite way to spend a sunny afternoon.

The park's 185 acres of rugged, mountainous terrain make it an idyllic spot for mountain bikers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

The bike park offers a fantastic mix of cross-country climbs and downhill jump tracks.

I'm more of a downhill thrill-seeker myself, but I've seen plenty of folks relish the challenging climbs as well.

There's a small beginner jump area where I often notice new riders honing their skills, and further down the park, you'll even find a progressive drop training area where more advanced riders test their mettle.

What I love about the park is the excellent trail system.

There are numerous trails of varying difficulty levels, with optional skill features sprinkled throughout.

One of my personal favorites, the 'Blue Dream' jump line, gives me a rush every time I ride it.

But be warned, the trails aren't for the faint-hearted; the climb can be quite strenuous, but trust me, the exhilarating downhill ride makes it all worth it!

But Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park isn't just about mountain biking.

It's also a great place for a quiet hike, offering many different trails and combinations that keep it fresh every time.

Apart from this, there's a small playground and covered tables for when you just want to relax and take in the serenity.

And if you're into BMX or dirt jumping, you're in for a treat.

There's a professionally built blacktop pump track right at the parking lot.

I often finish my rides there, letting off some steam before heading home. The Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park truly is a local gem.

Go Swimming at Watauga County Parks and Recreation

I remember it like it was just yesterday, the first time I took my darling six-year-old daughter to the Watauga County Parks and Recreation for her swimming lessons.

The staff there is nothing short of exceptional, and I am proud to say that my daughter's swimming skills have improved significantly since then.

The facilities at the Watauga County Parks and Recreation are modern and well-maintained, making it an overall great place for various activities.

Apart from the swimming pool that we frequently visit, I've noticed that they also offer a plethora of other amenities that we're yet to explore.

The space is clean, well-lit, free of clutter, and quite spacious.

The staff is always accommodating and personable, making our visits even more enjoyable.

Our first visit was during their opening week, and the facility had that fresh, salty air smell, transporting me temporarily to the beach, which was an absolute delight.

Although the staff was a bit strict, it was understandable, given it was newly opened, and we still had a fantastic time.

However, during our recent visits, I noticed a slight drop in cleanliness, with water stains and dirt present on the kiddie pool's water fountains, which was slightly concerning.

Also, the constant hovering of the staff around the kiddie pool felt a bit intrusive, especially when parents are present in the pool with their kids.

Another aspect that could be improved is the pricing and the scheduling of the pool.

At $20 per hour, it feels a bit steep, particularly for families.

Additionally, the myriad of activities and events happening often limit the time available for pool use.

Go Fishing at Brookshire Park

You wouldn't believe the tranquility you can find in Watauga County unless you've spent an afternoon at Brookshire Park.

The melody of the river flowing down the South Fork New River, coupled with the whispering of the trees, serves as my personal symphony while I walk along the park's trails.

The park is blessed with an asphalt path that circles a soccer field, then wanders off by the creek.

At the end of this path, you'll find a gravel trail that zig-zags up a hill, forming a loop at the top.

I have often taken this road less traveled; the panoramic view of the park from the top is simply breathtaking.

What I love about Brookshire Park is its commitment to nature.

There are nest boxes placed around the park, which I believe are for the Audubon.

Most of the year, the field surrounding the trail is left in its natural state, creating a picturesque landscape that changes with the seasons.

Amenities like washrooms are available, although they do lock them during some parts of the winter.

Brookshire Park also features two soccer fields that are usually accessible throughout the year and a larger third field that tends to be occupied most of the time.

Fishing and swimming are common sights at the creek.

While I haven't personally engaged in these activities, they add to the charm of the park.

I have often spent my afternoons sitting by the creek, watching the water flow and the world go by.

Grab a Pint at Booneshine Brewing Company

Imagine finding a sanctuary just off the beaten path, a hidden gem with a country feel and beautiful views of the valley and local mountains.

Now, stop dreaming and visit the Booneshine Brewing Company!

My visits to Booneshine are always a delightful experience.

Tucked away across from the local soccer fields, it's a great place to unwind after a long day.

The place is spacious, with both inside and outside seating available.

The warehouse setting is perfect for a brewery, adding a rustic edge to the experience.

I love the open seating arrangement, it provides a welcoming atmosphere where I can socialize comfortably with my friends.

Booneshine Brewing Company prides itself on a delicious selection of beers and food.

The beer flight is a personal favorite of mine - it gives me a chance to try different beer styles in one go.

And their flatbreads? Simply divine! But that's not all they have to offer.

The season salad is plentiful, and the ravioli appetizer, supreme flatbread, and cookie skillet are top-notch.

The staff are always friendly and prompt with their service.

They are more than willing to make recommendations if you're unsure of what to try.

Plus, the place is dog-friendly, so I often bring my furry friend along for the trip.

It’s a great spot to spend a relaxed afternoon while savoring the exquisite beer and food.

Admire the Panoramic Views from Howards Knob County Park

Scenic view from Howards Knob County Park
allison from Hickory, NC, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Oh, you wouldn’t believe the views from Howards Knob County Park.

Just take a quick jaunt up a winding, steep road, and you'll find yourself at the top of this wooded knoll.

This park, nestled high in the mountain, offers panoramic views that have stolen my breath away many times.

The drive up to the park is an adventure in itself.

The steep incline can feel a bit treacherous at times, especially for visitors who are not accustomed to mountain roads.

But, once you make it to the top, you are rewarded with the most stunning view of Boone.

From this vantage point, you can gaze out over ASU’s campus, taking in the hustle and bustle from a serene and tranquil distance.

This park is the perfect place for a laid-back day trip, especially for those of you who enjoy soaking in nature without the exertion of a long hike.

It's the quickest way I know to escape into the serene mountain views.

And, if you're inclined to carry your lunch up, there are picnic tables dotted around the park.

Though, admittedly, they're in need of a bit of love and care.

One little head up - the park is not open year-round, so make sure to check online for the current schedule before planning your trip.

Trust me, the view from Howards Knob County Park is one you won't want to miss.

It's truly the best-kept secret of our town.

Enjoy Family Outings at Boone Jaycee Park

One of the true joys of living here is spending time with my kids at Boone Jaycee Park.

It's our little oasis nestled in the heart of Boone.

The park has something for everyone and it never seems to get too crowded, giving us ample space to enjoy our time together.

This year, they've added some new playground equipment, further enhancing the kids' play experience.

I've seen my kids' eyes light up as they explore the new structures.

There's also a hiking trail nearby and a public restroom available, making our outings even more convenient.

And just across the street, the Daniel Boone Gardens offer a beautiful sight to behold.

There's more to Boone Jaycee Park than just the playground, though.

Their covered picnic shelter with an accompanying grill is a great venue for a family cookout or even a children's birthday party.

It's always a joy to see kids running around, using their energy in the expansive playground after a hearty meal.

Immerse Yourself in History at Hickory Ridge History Museum

I love history, and being lucky enough to live so close to the Hickory Ridge History Museum, I find myself visiting frequently. It's not just a museum, it's a portal to the past.

Here, you find yourself in the middle of a re-enacted 1785-1805 mountain homestead, complete with costumed actors, period cabins, and even craft workshops.

One of my most memorable experiences was participating in the Daniel Boone Day. I volunteered to cook in the Tatum Cabin during the day.

The beautiful scenery, coupled with the perfect weather, made for a priceless experience.

And the people, oh the people, they're some of the sweetest you'll ever meet.

This isn't just a place for history buffs.

My nephews, who are usually glued to their video games, absolutely adored the place.

The actors bring history to life, and they do it with such passion.

One of them was a recent graduate of the Appalachian State working on his graduate degree in Public History.

The knowledge he had was simply astounding.

He made it so fun, the kids had no idea they were learning.

Take Your Kids for Ski Lessons at Appalachian Ski Mountain

I'll never get bored raving about the endless thrills and fun-filled adventures at the Appalachian Ski Mountain.

It's not just a place I go to pass the time but a winter sanctuary where I've created countless unforgettable memories.

I love the welcoming vibes that surround the place, the staff are always friendly and ready to assist.

They've become more than just staff to me, but friends I look forward to seeing each ski season.

Whether it's a warm day or a chilly one, the snow never disappoints.

They keep it in top-notch condition which makes every glide and slide worth every moment.

I remember taking my kids to start their ski lessons here.

The place has an amazing kids' class with professional instructors who have a knack for making learning fun and safe.

My twins were so impressed with their first snowboarding trip that they couldn't stop talking about our next trip.

The rental equipment at Appalachian Ski Mountain is of commendable quality which provides a smooth skiing experience.

I love the fact that the place is sponsored by Burton, it adds an extra touch of class to the whole experience.

That said, it's important to remember that it's not Vail or Snowshoe, but it's our local ski slope that offers a terrific skiing experience right here in our backyard.

One thing that's always stood out for me is the ski lodge.

The ticket and rental prices are quite reasonable and competitive compared to other ski lodges.

Though the slopes are not as long as some might prefer, and the offerings might be minimal, the overall experience makes up for it.

Bond with Your Kids at Children's Playhouse

Let me tell you about the gem in our neighborhood, the Children's Playhouse. I've been a frequent visitor there for over two decades now.

First, it was with my eldest child and now, I return with my youngest, who's just a year and a half old.

Here's the thing about Children's Playhouse, it never loses its charm.

In fact, it has only gotten better with time.

They've expanded their play areas, making room for more fun and learning opportunities for the young ones.

One thing I appreciate about the Playhouse is that they understand that some families may face financial constraints.

For such families, they offer scholarships which I think is a wonderful initiative.

The staff is extremely welcoming and helpful.

They even offer complimentary coffee for the adults while the children are engaged in play.

My little one absolutely loves it there.

The indoor and outdoor play areas, art activities, everything is designed to spark curiosity and encourage learning through play.

It's a safe space for them to run, climb, and let their imagination run wild.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Hop on a Train Ride at Tweetsie Railroad

Steam locomotive at Tweetsie Railroad
Microfile.org / Shutterstock.com

Whenever I need to infuse a little fun and adventure into our routine, I head straight to Tweetsie Railroad.

This family-oriented park, nestled on the side of a mountain, is a local gem.

Let me tell you, there's something incredibly nostalgic about it.

With its old western/mountain theme, it's like stepping into a different era, making it a unique experience every time.

One of the major highlights of our visits to Tweetsie Railroad is undoubtedly the train rides.

They offer some breathtaking views.

And the best part? The lines are surprisingly short!

We usually find ourselves hopping onto the rides in less than 10 minutes, a pleasant change from the usual long wait times at other theme parks.

The amusement park is another favorite spot for my kids. There's something for kids of all ages and yes, adults too!

The petting zoo is a delightful experience, especially for those little animal lovers.

Exterior of Tweetsie Railroad
Microfile.org / Shutterstock.com

My kids could spend hours there, getting up close and personal with their furry little friends.

One can't-miss feature of Tweetsie Railroad is the live shows.

They are entertaining, lively, and a whole lot of fun.

I must admit, even as an adult, I find myself thoroughly enjoying them.

The park allows you to bring your own snacks and drinks, which is a huge plus point for us.

Not to mention, the affordability factor makes it a guilt-free day out for the whole family.

Ski lift chairs at Tweetsie Railroad
Microfile.org / Shutterstock.com

Have Fun Learning at Mystery Hill

I've been going to Mystery Hill ever since I was a kid, and now I'm bringing my own children to experience the magic.

The history here is palpable, with three museums full of fascinating artifacts and exhibits.

You just can't beat the combination of education and entertainment.

We love the bubble room, where giant bubbles mystify and delight us every time.

The displays of optical illusions are a close second, always making us question our perceptions.

The gravitational anomaly house is a family favorite.

It's more than just weird; it's a unique experience that challenges our understanding of physics.

For those who suffer from vertigo, it might be a bit much, but for us, it's a thrilling walk on the wild side.

We recently tried the old-time photo shoots, and let me tell you, the photos came out great.

Dressing up in period clothing and posing like we just stepped out of a time machine was hilariously fun.

I also gave axe throwing a shot. Let's just say I won't be quitting my day job anytime soon.

In addition to these, Mystery Hill also offers the opportunity to mine gems.

We spent hours sifting through dirt and gravel, finding numerous cool crystals and semi-precious stones.

The kids got a kick out of it and learned a few things about geology in the process.

Stroll through Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

A mansion at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com

Living in this area, I always find myself drawn to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

It's the preserved country estate of a true conservationist and offers a whopping 25 miles of walking trails - each one offering something unique.

Let's not forget the regional crafts shop housed in the majestic mansion.

A visit to the mansion is like stepping back in time but with a twist.

You'll find all sorts of products made by local artists. It's amazing to see how our local talent is being showcased in such a historic setting.

The walking trails are numerous and diverse.

You have short ones for when you're just looking for a quick stroll and long ones if you're up for a more intense hike.

Yes, the trails are shared with horses, but that's part of the estate's charm.

Sure, you have to watch your step for the occasional horse droppings, but it's a small trade-off for the joy of sharing this beautiful space with our four-legged friends.

Porch of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park's mansion
Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com

One aspect of the park I've always appreciated is how well it's maintained.

The restroom facilities are clean and well-stocked, and the carriage barn offers shelter during a storm - something to keep in mind when the weather looks dicey.

One of my favorite parts of the park is the grave site of Moses and Bertha Cone.

The walk to the gravesite may seem long with its steep incline, but the journey is worthwhile.

It's a quiet place, a reverent tribute to the people who loved this land so much. Plus, the walk back is all downhill!

Remember, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is open to everyone and completely free of charge.

It's a gift from the Cone family to us, their love for this area has been preserved for everyone to enjoy.

The grounds of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
Jon Bilous / Shutterstock.com

Final Thoughts

Whether you're visiting for a few days or planning to stay longer, Boone, North Carolina, offers a unique mix of outdoor adventures, historical sites, and cultural experiences that will fill your days with unforgettable moments.

There's always something going on at the Jones House Cultural Center and a visit to Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is an absolute must.

This town has a special place in my heart, and I am sure it will find one in yours!

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