10 Adorable North Carolina Mountain Towns You Should Visit

North Carolina has beautiful cities and incredible coastal towns, but the small towns nestled in the mountains have something special. With the Blue Ridge Mountains stretching from Virginia to Tennessee and the nearby Smoky Mountains, western North Carolina offers some of the most scenic mountain views of any state. Big or small, the quaint towns dotted across these mountain ranges are brimming with charm and make the perfect base for hiking and waterfall viewing in North Carolina.

ten Hendersonville

Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Hendersonville is a charming small town alternative to bustling Asheville. The quaint Main Street in the historic downtown is full of restaurants, bars, and cozy shops to explore. Near downtown is Jumping Off Rock, which offers incredible panoramic views of the mountains. Hendersonville is the apple capital of North Carolina and hosts the annual NC Apple Festival. The area is also known for its wineries, including Burntshirt Vineyards, one of the best wineries in the state, and Saint Paul Mountain Farms, a working orchard and vineyard offering tastings and live music.


9 Town of Bryson

Located right on the North Carolina-Tennessee border and known as the gateway to the Smoky Mountains, Bryson City is the perfect place to unwind after a day of exploring the mountains. Visitors will never feel far from nature as the Tuckasegee River runs through downtown and rolling hills surround the city. Nearby, visitors can get lost on the road to nowhere, soak up scenic views of Fontana Lake, or go rafting on the Nantahala River. Bryson City is also known as one of North Carolina’s best Christmas towns, thanks to the city’s Polar Express train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

8 boon

Boone is a bustling college town near the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, making it the perfect place to spend a night or two while exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains. The restored downtown has a great selection of restaurants and shops, including a cute Mast General Store for souvenirs and candy. Boone is a popular base for exploring the suspension bridge at Grandfather Mountain in the summer, and the Appalachian ski resort in the winter, making it a perfect year-round destination!

Related: 10 Most Scenic Towns Closest to the Smoky Mountains

seven Brevard

Brevard is the perfect base for exploring the mountains or makes a great lunch break when traveling from Asheville or Hendersonville due to its multitude of cafes and restaurants. There are also many cute shops, including the famous toy store, OP Taylor, and the charming Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop. Brevard is conveniently located near the Pisgah National Forest, where there are 500,000 acres of trails to explore on foot or on horseback. Some of North Carolina’s most spectacular waterfalls are also found in this area, including Looking Glass Falls, Moore Cove Falls, and French Broad Falls.

Banner Elk is a popular winter destination due to its location near some of North Carolina’s best ski resorts – Sugar Mountain Ski Resort and Beech Mountain Ski Resort. It’s also an ideal base for summer vacation, just 30 minutes from Linville Falls and close to the spectacular mile-high swing bridge at Grandfather Mountain. This small town also has an impressive selection of quality restaurants and is the perfect place to enjoy the scenery and indulge in fine dining.

5 Highlands

In far southwestern North Carolina, near the South Carolina border, Highlands is another beautiful town with a tree-lined Main Street filled with quaint shops and charming restaurants. Just 10 minutes from downtown is the scenic Dry Falls where you can walk right behind the water flowing from an overhanging ledge. For a bit of luxury, stay at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, a beautiful European-style hotel and spa in the heart of the Highlands.

4 blow rock

Blowing Rock is another popular mountain destination, close to Boone and Blue Ridge Parkway. Its striking downtown is a picture-perfect image of a mountain town, filled with outdoor cafe terraces and tall trees lining the main streets. After a relaxing lunch, visitors can walk from downtown to the Glen Burney Trail to see both Glen Burney Falls and Glen Marie Falls.

Related: Maggie Valley: This Town Is Closest To The Smoky Mountains

3 Burnsville

Burnsville is a popular place to stay when exploring Mount Mitchell, the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. Downtown Burnsville has a charming public square with restaurants and cafes that spill out onto nearby roads. It’s known for its eclectic artistic vibe, with plenty of colorful murals, art galleries, and independent shops to explore. The Bare Dark Sky Observatory is also nearby and is recognized by CNN as one of the 23 best places in the world for stargazing.

2 Hot Springs

Best known for its hot mineral springs, Hot Springs attracts tourists from all over to bathe in the rejuvenating waters. The Hot Springs Resort and Spa and Broadwing Farms both offer access to thermal waters. The famous Appalachian Trail also meanders through Hot Springs, making it an ideal stopover for hikers. Popular events in town include the French Broad River Festival and the Bluff Mountain Music Festival.

1 Lure Lake

Lake Lure is the perfect combination of mountain town and lake town. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, visitors can swim or boat on the lake while taking in the scenic views. For more incredible views, near Lake Lure is Chimney Rock State Park which offers some of the most iconic mountain views in North Carolina. While the town itself has a good selection of shops and restaurants, the main attraction of Lac Lure is the scenery.

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