Blowing Rock, North Carolina is a small town we stumbled upon during one of our Blue Ridge Parkway journeys and has become one of our favorite places to visit every year. It’s got something for all of our inner travelers, from the beautiful scenery that surrounds it to the quiet and cozy downtown that’s filled with fun shops and great eats. Do you want even more reasons why we’ll keep coming back to Blocking Rock? Keep reading and prepare to make this your next North Carolina vacation spot.
Check the best prices on Blowing Rock hotels before you go!
Blowing Rock NC
Blowing Rock is known as “Crown of the Blue Ridge” and like many towns in North Carolina, it’s a part of two counties—Watauga and Caldwell. It’s named for The Blowing Rock, known as “North Carolina’s Oldest Travel Attraction.” Jan Karon spent time in Blowing Rock and based her Mitford series on the town. Just over 1,000 residents live there, which makes it ideal if you’re a fan of small towns. Many people from North Carolina’s cities come here. It’s about 3 hours from the Raleigh and Durham areas and about 2 hours from Asheville, making it a popular place for people from both areas to visit.
When to Visit
I’m a huge fan of visiting Blowing Rock throughout the year but will say that spring and fall are great times to hang out there. Things do cool down in the winter, but if you’re seeking quiet and solitude during those months, Blowing Rock is your place. The town gets busy when the weather warms up, as it’s a little bit cooler than the flatter parts of North Carolina.
Fall and the Blue Ridge Parkway
Fall is our favorite time to visit Blowing Rock, thanks to the beautiful foliage and changing colors found along the area’s tree-covered paths. And, of course, for the views, but you’ll see that when driving the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall brings the best views, but it will also bring more visitors, so keep that in mind when looking for Blowing Rock hotels or cabin rentals.
Where to Stay
The hotels in Blowing Rock range from right in town to tucked away in the mountains. We stayed in town and the Meadowbrook Inn was a very short walk away from the restaurants and shopping. They had a breakfast bar, which is a great (and FREE) way to start the day. There’s also a pool to compliment the Meadowbrook Inn’s very comfortable and relaxing rooms. It definitely helps if you’re traveling with a little one like we have. That’s why it ranks as one of our favorite hotels in North Carolina!
More Blowing Rock Hotels
We walked past some more of the best Blowing Rock hotels, including Azalea Garden Inn and Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins. There are more than a few places to stay in Blowing Rock, and many are very fairly priced. If you want pure relaxation and a getaway within the getaway that is Blowing Rock, I’d recommend Chetola Resort at Blowing Rock. If you can’t get into Blowing Rock, there are more hotels in Boone, which is just a short drive away.
Food & Drink
There are some great things to eat in this town. Our favorite Blowing Rock restaurants start with The Speckled Trout. Their menu and wine selection tell me that they want to push the envelope for visitors and residents alike. We also like some craft beer and were happy to stop by Blowing Rock Alehouse Restaurant. Testing my favorite beers at the source while also enjoying food is a big plus!
More Blowing Rock Food Options
Six Pence Pub is a UK-influenced place with a delicious menu and is right in the middle of the town’s busy shopping area. If you’re staying at a bed and breakfast in Blowing Rock, you might not need to go out for a pick-me-up. But I was very happy with the coffee in town. Camp Coffee is a cool mix of really good caffeinated stuff and outdoor store. We’re always searching for more to eat, so if you get to sample any of Blowing Rock’s finest, we’d love to know what your favorite eats were?
Outdoor Things to Do
Glen Burney Trail
While I love this small town, I have more affection for the outdoor things to do in Blowing Rock. We fell in love with the Glen Burney Trail. It’s right next to the downtown and begins in Annie Cannon Gardens. Once you enter, you’ll feel like you’re far away from everything. The trail will lead you to either Glen Burney Falls or Glen Marie Falls, depending on the route you take.
Moses H Cone Memorial Park Photo
Another beautiful Blowing Rock walk is inside Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, where you circle a picturesque pond. The immense Flat Top Manor overlooks it all and seems huge even from below. You can keep driving for about 4 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway and spend time at Julian Price Memorial Park and even stay overnight at the Julian Price Campground.
Tweetsie Railroad and Boone
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Many families travel to the area for a day at Tweetsie Railroad. I have to admit that the child inside me came out while riding on the train and watching the cowboys and train robbers, duke it out. No spoilers! You’ll notice a lot of younger people working there, and they likely live in Boone and attend Appalachian State University. Thanks to that thriving college, there are a lot of things to do and great restaurants in Boone. We can’t wait to revisit that part of the area, too!
We included Tweetsie Christmas in our guide to winter things to do in North Carolina!
Banner Elk, Valle Crucis, and Sugar Mountain
Many people come for winters at Sugar Mountain, but I think people should come year-round to visit Apple Hill Farm and see the wonderful people and animals there. Just one thing you should know is that this farm is NOT for apple picking and they do not sell apples. However, they do provide the greatest escape from this chaotic world. For a look at North Carolina’s first historic rural town, visit Las Valley Cruces and the Original Mast General Store. As you can see, there are quite a few things to do in these small towns.
Grandfather Mountain, Grandfather Winery, and More
Blowing Rock is close to more of North Carolina’s most beautiful outdoor places. Grandfather Mountain State Park is a great way to spend a day, as there are gorgeous hikes, that breathtaking mile-high bridge, and wildlife exhibits inside. It’s not far from Linville and Linville Falls, which is another one of our favorite places to visit in North Carolina. Grandfather Vineyard and Winery is the first producing winery in Watauga County. Spend some time chilling by the water and drink some of their delicious offerings and you’ll see why they’re so popular.
Our Thoughts and Yours, Too!
We have always loved the mountains, so it’s fitting that Blowing Rock and its surroundings would earn such a warm spot in our hearts. I can’t wait to go back and walk around the downtown before planning our day of exploration over some Camp Coffee or Blowing Rock beer. What about you? Have you ever been to this part of North Carolina? What did you think of it? If you’re in the midst of planning a trip there, where do you plan to go first? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below:)
This article about things to do in Blowing Rock NC was originally created on November 20, 2017. It has been maintained and updated (as of September 16, 2018) to reflect current viewpoints and travel trends. This post originally appeared on our blog’s sister site NC Tripping.