Relax and Unwind with Outdoor Activities in the High Country
From winter to summer and fall to spring, there’s never a dull season in the High Country. Area attractions and outdoor activities ensure every visitor has a fun and enriching vacation, ripe with stories to tell and memories to cherish.
The main attractions in Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk are mostly centered around the spectacular scenery, dynamic outdoor landscape and rich Appalachian heritage. Whether you’re on a fishing excursion or enjoying the beauty of your surroundings on a nature hike, you’ll have ample opportunity to enjoy this leisurely way of life. Of course, the beautiful view of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the top attractions and a wonderful sight to admire as you sit back, relax and enjoy your hard-earned vacation.
Annual Festivals in the High Country
While the High Country is certainly known for its spectacular views and a culture that embraces nature, the area’s festivals speak volumes of its vivacious heritage and are celebrated year after year with pride. At the annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games located at MacRae Meadows on Grandfather Mountain, step into Scotland as bagpipe bands and Scots adorned in tartan plaids corral its visitors to watch Scottish athletes compete in a series of athletic events. Among the games, expect a five-mile footrace, Scottish fiddling competition, Highland wrestling and more. In addition, hear from Celtic rock bands and discover an open-air market offering goods from Scottish meat pies to gift items that speak of Highland heritage. Children will enjoy an activities tent, field games, a border collie demonstration and many more attractions as well in this four-day festival.
Click here to read more about the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games.
Handcrafted Art in the High Country
There are numerous art galleries and museums throughout Banner Elk, Boone and Blowing Rock, displaying unique and local art in order to preserve the history and heritage of the mountains through exhibits. Strolling through these galleries and museums will not only give you a sense of ease, but will bring out your creative eye as you witness contemporary and traditional art, glass, print, sculptures, photography and locally-crafted treasures. Local art festivals thrive in the mountains of the High Country, celebrating the mountain culture, music, arts and crafts.
High Country Bike Trails
Whether you are training for a marathon or simply want to cruise through the country to witness the beautiful view of the mountains, the High Country has wonderful places for biking. Bike trails are offered all throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, from easy dirt road trails to strenuous trails with steep elevations. The High Country is also known for some of the finest road cycling in the country. Cyclists from all over come to these perfectly winded and elevated roads, which helped Lance Armstrong get his cycling career back on track. No matter where you plan to ride, the cool temperatures and bike-friendly communities are always welcoming the next bicyclist to pedal through.
Fishing in the High Country
Anglers will find themselves in high heaven in the High Country. With large rivers and small streams providing challenging, exciting and abundant fishing. Stocked and wild trout, musky and smallmouth bass are the most prevalent fish, and numerous guides and instruction services take anglers of all levels where they need to go to make a catch. Trips are not only entertaining but scenic as well—guides know where to find some of the purest, most untouched parts of nature. Nearby are a couple of the finest tailwater fisheries in the Southeast. Local outfitters offer wade and float trips. Keep up-to-date on catch and release regulations, and purchase your fishing license before you go at NCWildlife.org.
Learn more about fly fishing with Perfect Captain’s Fly Fishing 101: The Beginner’s Guide.
Golfing in the High Country
Golfing may be North Carolina’s state pastime, but mountain golfing in the High Country is a whole new way to play. With spectacular views, cooler weather and challenging courses, area courses range from Par 3 to pro-quality, suiting every golfer’s taste and level. And no matter where you tee off, you’re sure to be surrounded by extraordinary views.
Learn the basics of how to play golf.
Horseback Riding in the High Country
Enjoy the scenery aboard a trusty companion—the horse. Many area stables offer trail rides through country sides you wouldn’t otherwise come across. Experienced and knowledgeable guides offer insight and instruction for riders of all levels. Head over to Dutch Creek Trails, located right outside of Boone, to enjoy horseback riding adventures on wooded trails and old farm fields, and take in the views of the valley surrounded by beautiful blue mountains along with plenty of southern hospitality.