Blue Ridge Mountain towns-Asheville

9 Towns to Visit in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountain Towns To Visit

Visiting mountain towns can be a great way to experience the natural beauty of the mountains, as well as the unique culture and lifestyle of the people who live there. Blue Ridge Mountain towns have a distinct charm unlike any other. Surrounded by blue-toned panoramic vistas, these towns are home to some of the most rewarding mountain experiences on the East coast. 

To help you plan your next adventure, we have compiled a list of the top attractions you won’t want to miss. With endless miles of hiking and biking trails, local art shops, and award-winning restaurants, these nine towns along the Blue Ridge Mountains make the perfect day trip for anyone in the area. Let’s take a look!

1. Asheville, NC

First on the list is Asheville, North Carolina. Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway, this eclectic city has a thriving art and music scene and provides a decadent culinary experience for all who visit. Asheville is also home to the Biltmore Estate, the largest privately-owned home in the United States. This estate has acres of well-kept gardens, which take on a distinct form, depending on the season. During the fall, visitors will be able to witness the changing colors of the leaves to vibrant reds and deep oranges, while in the spring season, a variety of flowers are blossoming through the gardens. There is also a winery for wine enthusiasts to tour, along with restaurants and cafes to taste the rich flavors of Southern cuisine. Visit for a day or book a stay at one of their two hotels for an extended experience.

Nearby you will find parks for outdoor exploration, such as the Pisgah National Forest and Mt. Mitchell State Park. Here, you can enjoy hiking trails for discovering lakes and waterfalls or stay overnight at campsites to get even closer to nature. 

2. Banner Elk, NC

Located in the Carolina High Country, Banner Elk is one of the most beloved Blue Ridge Mountain towns in North Carolina. With two of the South’s largest ski resorts, Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, this is an ideal location for those who love to partake in winter sports. 

Banner Elk is also close to Grandfather Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Appalachian Mountains, providing breathtaking views as far as the eye can see. In town, there are delectable restaurants for any occasion. A favorite among residents and visitors alike is Artisanal. Here, you can dine in a historic barn that has been converted into a rustic restaurant. The menu includes contemporary American cuisine, made with the freshest local ingredients of the season.

3. Blowing Rock, NC

Named after North Carolina’s Oldest Travel Attraction, Blowing Rock, North Carolina is another beloved community. With restored historic buildings and majestic trees lining the streets, you will instantly feel its mountain charm. The village is great for shopping and dining or enjoying a drink next to a cozy fireplace.

There are a number of hiking trails, with varying difficulty levels, as well as the opportunity to explore some of the local waterfalls in the region. Silvervale Falls and Falls at Rough Ridge Overlook are easily accessible from downtown Blowing Rock. In the winter months, Blowing Rock is a great place to stay if you are looking to enjoy the slopes at Appalachian Ski Mountain, located just a few miles away.

4. Boone, NC

Home to Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina is an energetic town filled with college spirit. It is also near the Appalachian Ski Mountain Resort where visitors can enjoy winter sports in the colder months. During the rest of the year, the resort offers a challenging downhill mountain biking experience.

Because Boone is a larger town, there are a large number of restaurant options you must check out when you visit. A local favorite is The Gamekeeper, offering American cuisine made with the freshest organic and local ingredients. The menu changes depending on the season and is filled with wonderful vegetarian options to try. In addition to great dining options, local breweries, such as Booneshine Brewing Company, offer quality handcrafted beers.

5. Brevard, NC

Looking Glass Falls, Brevard, NC
Looking Glass Falls in Brevard, North Carolina

Brevard, North Carolina, known as the ‘Land of the Waterfalls’ has great connections to some of the state’s most magnificent waterfalls, such as Looking Glass Falls and Whitewater Falls. Nearby, the Pisgah National Forest offers a number of hiking and biking trails to explore the region.

This small town also makes a great place to stop for a bite to eat and explore unique shops. You can also appreciate the restored historic buildings in town that make you feel like you’ve taken a trip back in time. And, if you are looking for musical entertainment the Brevard Music Center hosts a number of events throughout the year. One of the most popular events is the White Squirrel Festival, held in late May or early June. It started as a way to celebrate the town’s population of white squirrels and typically includes live music, food vendors, a parade, and other activities. It’s no surprise that it was named one of the 15 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2021 by Smithsonian Magazine!

6. Hendersonville, NC

Known as the “Apple Capital of North Carolina,” Hendersonville is a great place to enjoy fresh local apples. You can visit a farm and pick them yourself, which is always an entertaining family activity. Another fun way to immerse yourself in the mountain culture is by visiting a local gem mine. Here, you may learn about the process of mining while also hunting for your own gemstones.  

Downtown Hendersonville is a pedestrian-friendly area with shops, outdoor patios, and many fine-dining options. It’s a town beloved by foodies who have a passion for exploring new restaurants. Nearby, at Dupont State Forest, there are endless miles of hiking trails to explore and a handful of waterfalls to enjoy. 

7. Clemson, SC

Another lively college town along the Blue Ridge is Clemson, South Carolina. Visitors can enjoy shopping and dining along Main Street, or find local ingredients at the Farmer’s Market to create their own Southern recipes back home. Clemson is also an artistic town where you can step into one of the various art galleries to admire local works of art. If you enjoy discovering new plants and flowers, visit the South Carolina Botanical Gardens located right on the Clemson University campus. 

Clemson is a great home base for other attractions in the area. You can spend time on Lake Keowee or Lake Hartwell, or hike through serene forests and valleys while appreciating the mountain views of Upstate South Carolina. 

Read More: Your Guide to Planning the Perfect Trip to Clemson 

8. Travelers Rest, SC

Travelers Rest, South Carolina is a charming small town located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The town is known for its picturesque downtown area, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and historical sites. Visitors can take a stroll down Main Street and enjoy the small-town atmosphere, or explore the many hiking and biking trails in the surrounding mountains. The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast, offering miles of scenic views as the trail leads you all the way to Greenville, SC. Visitors should also make sure to visit the Travelers Rest Historical Society to learn about the town’s rich history. Overall, Travelers Rest is a great destination for those looking for a quiet getaway or an outdoor adventure.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Travelers Rest, SC

9. Greenville, SC

One of the most popular Blue Ridge Mountain towns is found in Greenville, SC. Known as one of the best places to raise a family, this town has tons of activities the whole family can enjoy. The local 26-acre park in downtown Greenville offers spectacular views of the Reedy River, which runs right through the city. In addition, avid cyclists can enjoy both mountain trails and road paths to ride in the area. If you prefer having both feet on the ground, there are fun hiking trails where you can disconnect from the hustle and bustle of urban life. Another park you won’t want to miss is the new Unity Park which offers four playgrounds, green spaces with picnic areas, and an expansive 4,100-square-foot splash pad.

Greenville’s vibrant downtown also boasts an abundance of critically acclaimed restaurants, Broadway shows at the Peace Center, new music venues like the  “A Music Project” (AMP) venue set to open in 2024, and nationally recognized art and food festivals like Artisphere.

Learn More: A Guide to Spending the Day in Greenville

Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains

When you chose to call the Carolina mountains home, these nine charming towns are just a short distance away. Our three distinct regions at The Cliffs makes it easy to visit and discover the local art, fine dining, and entertainment these towns have to offer. In our Asheville Region, downtown Asheville is only a 20-minute drive away, opening up a world of possibilities from live music to art shows. In The Mountain Region, residents are near both Hendersonville, NC, and Greenville, SC, and the natural beauty that characterizes these delightful towns. Our third region, The Lake Region, provides easy access to Clemson, SC so you can watch your local college game and be out on Lake Keowee for sunset. 

Contact us today to learn more about our available homesites for building your dream mountain home, or view estates, cottages, and townhomes already on the market. Soon, you too can call The Cliffs home. 


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This piece was originally written in July 2020 and refreshed in February 2023.

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