Blowing Rock, North Carolina dubbed as the “crown of Blue Ridge” is a popular vacation destination known for its stunning landscape and amazing outdoor adventures. This mountain town gets its name from a popular sight called the Blowing Rock, a natural rock structure that allows you to bask in the surrounding splendor of forests and mountains. The town gathers the limelight for its immense opportunities for nature exploration, visit to historical sites, and thrills in the mountains.
If you are an outdoor adventure seeker, you can go hiking, fishing, and skiing. The area is home to various hiking routes, including the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, which is chiefly responsible for shaping the town’s stunning views. There are also several nearby ski resorts, such as Appalachian Ski Mountain and Sugar Mountain Resort.
Although if you are someone who enjoys a more laid-back vacation, Blowing Rock’s downtown area offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and galleries to explore. There are also several historic sites in the area, including the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, a former estate that now offers hiking trails, fishing, and horseback riding.
If all of this sounds amazing, here is a list of the best things to do in Blowing Rock, NC.
Table of Contents
Things to do in Blowing Rock, NC
1. Tweetsie Railroad
Tweetsie Railroad is a theme park that is designed to look like an old Western town and offers a variety of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. One of the main attractions of this place is its historic steam locomotives. The park offers a 3-mile train ride through the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the thrill of an old-fashioned train ride. Along the way, visitors can enjoy views of the mountains, forests, and streams, as well as several staged western shootouts and other live entertainment.
In addition to the train ride, Tweetsie Railroad offers a variety of other attractions, including a carousel, a Ferris wheel, a chairlift, and several children’s rides. There are also several live shows and performances throughout the day, featuring magicians, singers, and other entertainers.
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2. Moses H. Cone Memorial Park
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is a historic estate that covers over 3,500 acres and features a mix of natural beauty, historic architecture, and recreational opportunities. This location was originally owned by Moses H. Cone, a textile entrepreneur who built the estate as a summer retreat in the late 1800s. The estate includes a large mansion, known as Flat Top Manor, which was designed in the Colonial Revival style and is now open to the public as a museum. Visitors can tour the mansion and learn about the life of Moses H. Cone and his family, as well as the history of the estate and its impact on the region.
Besides, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park rewards you with a variety of recreational options, such as hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and picnicking. The park has over 26 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to more challenging hikes that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also fish in the park’s several streams and ponds, or take a guided horseback ride through the scenic countryside.
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3. Doc’s Rock Gem Mine
Are you interested in historical geology? If so, Doc’s Rock Gem Mine might be able to dispel your doubts.
Doc’s Rock Gem Mine is a popular tourist attraction and a family-friendly location where visitors can mine for gemstones and fossils, as well as learn about geology and earth science. The gem mine is home to several different types of mining experiences, ranging from basic buckets of dirt to more advanced sluicing and digging techniques. Visitors can sift through dirt and gravel to find a variety of gems and minerals, including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and amethysts. The mine also offers a variety of educational programs and tours, where visitors can learn about the geology of the area and how to identify different types of rocks and minerals.
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4. Glen Burney Trail
Glen Burney Trail is a popular hiking trail located in Blowing Rock. It is known for its scenic beauty, waterfalls, and historic features, making it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts. The trail is a moderate-to-strenuous 1.6-mile hike that follows the course of Glen Burney Creek through a wooded forest. Along the way, hikers can enjoy views of the creek, and several small waterfalls and cascades. The trail also passes several historic features, including the remains of an old hydroelectric dam and the ruins of the Glen Burney Mansion, which was built in the late 1800s.
At the end of the trail, hikers get to enjoy a stunning view of Glen Burney Falls, a 70-foot waterfall that plunges into a pool below. The falls are particularly impressive after heavy rainfall when the water flow is at its highest.
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5. Julian Price Park
Julian Price Park is a beautiful 4,200-acre park named after Julian Price, a businessman, and philanthropist who donated the land to the National Park Service in the 1940s. This place is known for its scenic beauty, which includes lush forests, sparkling lakes, and stunning mountain views. Visitors to the park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, boating, camping, and picnicking. You can also rent a boat or canoe to try your hand at sailing.
Julian Price Park also has several picnic areas and campgrounds, including tent camping, RV camping, and group camping facilities. The park’s campgrounds are open year-round, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year.
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6. Blowing Rock Brewing Co.
Blowing Rock Brewing Co. is a craft brewery known for its award-winning beers, which are brewed on-site using high-quality ingredients and traditional brewing techniques. Blowing Rock Brewing Co. has a variety of beers on tap, including their flagship beers such as the High Country Ale, IPA, and Blackberry Sour, as well as seasonal and limited-release beers. They also offer a rotating selection of guest taps featuring other North Carolina breweries.
In addition to their beer selection, Blowing Rock Brewing Co. has a restaurant on site, which serves a menu of elevated pub fare, featuring dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. The restaurant has a cozy and inviting atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating options available.
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7. Broyhill Park
Broyhill Park is a public park named after the Broyhill family, who donated the land to the town in the 1960s. This place features a variety of outdoor recreational facilities, including a baseball field, a soccer field, tennis courts, and a playground. There are also several picnic areas and a covered pavilion, making it a popular destination for family outings and community events.
Moreover, the Broyhill Park also has a paved walking trail that winds through the park’s wooded areas, offering a peaceful and scenic stroll for visitors. The park is open to the public year-round and is free to enter and use. It is maintained by the Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation Department, and also hosts a variety of community programs and events throughout the year, including youth sports leagues, fitness classes, and summer camps.
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8. Storie Street Grill
For a sumptuous culinary experience, don’t miss to visit Storie Street Grill restaurant.
Located in the heart of the historic downtown, Storie Street Grill is a food joint known for its farm-to-table cuisine, featuring dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. The menu at Storie Street Grill is seasonal and changes frequently. Typically, it features a variety of dishes that showcase the flavors of the region, including fresh seafood, locally-raised meats, and seasonal produce. Popular dishes include pan-seared trout, grilled ribeye steak, and butternut squash ravioli.
In addition to its food, Storie Street Grill also has an extensive wine list. It features a variety of wines from around the world and has an incredible selection of craft beers and cocktails.
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9. Tanger Outlets
Tanger Outlets is a shopping destination and is part of the Tanger Factory Outlet Centers chain, which has locations throughout the United States and Canada. The outlet mall features over 30 stores, including popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Tommy Hilfiger, and more. The stores offer discounted prices on a wide variety of merchandise, including clothing, shoes, accessories, home goods, and more.
Additionally, the Tanger Outlets also has several amenities for shoppers, including restrooms, a food court, and a playground for children. The outlet mall also offers a VIP Shopper Club, which provides members with exclusive discounts and special offers.
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10. Appalachian Fossil Museum
The Appalachian Fossil Museum is a small, family-owned museum. It is dedicated to the study and preservation of fossils found in the Appalachian Mountains region. The museum features a variety of fossil specimens, including those of plants, animals, and marine life that lived in the region millions of years ago. Visitors can view fossils such as trilobites, ammonites, and various types of plant fossils. The museum also has a collection of dinosaur eggs and a display of Native American artifacts found in the region.
The museum is run by knowledgeable and friendly staff who are happy to answer questions and provide information about the fossils on display. It is open seasonally, typically from May through October, and admission is affordable.
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So, if you are planning a vacation in the beautiful corner of North Carolina, prepare your itinerary so that you don’t miss any sight! Blowing Rock is a beauty to behold and here you will take much more than an experience. Here you will get a lifetime of relationship with food and nature.