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Things to Do in Waynesville, NC: Your Travel Guide

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Waynesville, North Carolina, situated in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, presents a harmonious mix of historical allure and modern attractions, attracting diverse tourists. The town has been popular since the early 1800s, thanks to its stunning mountain landscapes. Today, Waynesville continues to thrive with its lively contemporary culture, offering a variety of activities for every kind of visitor. Whether one is keen to explore the great outdoors, enjoy the local food, or experience the town’s rich arts and culture, Waynesville provides numerous opportunities. In this blog, we'll guide you through the best things to do in Waynesville, NC, ensuring your visit is memorable and fulfilling.

Discover Historic Downtown Waynesville

Architectural and Cultural Treasures

As you walk through the streets of Downtown Waynesville, you are immediately struck by the stunning array of historic buildings that each tell a story of yesteryears. This historic district serves as a visual feast, not only due to its well-preserved architecture but also because of the numerous pieces of public art that adorn its streets. These artworks vary from intricate murals to sculptural installations, each adding cultural depth to the town’s atmosphere.

Celebrate with Mountain Street Dances and More

One of the highlights of Waynesville's cultural calendar is the annual Mountain Street Dances. Held in the heart of downtown, this event recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, a testament to its enduring popularity and significance. The dances are a vibrant tribute to Appalachian heritage, featuring live traditional music and dancing that pull crowds from far and wide. It's an opportunity not just to observe but to participate in a living tradition that has been passed down through generations. Besides the dances, downtown Waynesville hosts numerous other events throughout the year, including parades, festivals, and markets, making it a hub of activity and excitement in any season.

Outdoor Adventures in Waynesville

Hiking the Trails of Waynesville

For nature enthusiasts, the trails around Waynesville offer an escape into the wilderness that is both refreshing and invigorating. The Big Creek Trail, in particular, is a local favorite known for leading adventurers to the Midnight Swimming Hole. This natural pool, characterized by its crystal-clear, rushing waters, is surrounded by large boulders and a stunning display of wildflowers in the spring and summer months. The trail itself provides a moderate hike, suitable for families and seasoned hikers alike, offering breathtaking views and the serene ambiance of the surrounding forest.

Golfing at the Historic Waynesville Inn and Golf Club

The Waynesville Inn and Golf Club offers more than just a game of golf; it provides a comprehensive rustic retreat. With an 18-hole golf course nestled amidst lush landscaping and the scenic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this location is perfect for those looking to combine leisure with beauty. The club also features a relaxing outdoor pool and an on-site restaurant that prides itself on serving locally sourced foods. The extensive selection of wines and cocktails ensures that your golfing experience is both luxurious and relaxing.

Scenic Drives on Blue Ridge Parkway

Traveling along the Blue Ridge Parkway during sunrise or sunset ranks among the most visually stunning experiences available in Waynesville. This scenic drive meanders through the mountainous terrain, offering expansive panoramic views of the region’s diverse landscapes. The parkway’s scenery changes with the seasons, showcasing lush green vegetation in the summer and a palette of autumnal colors in the fall, ensuring each journey is distinctively enchanting. For visitors who appreciate a more structured exploration, various local enterprises provide guided tours that emphasize the historical and natural importance of this celebrated route.

Waynesville’s Art and Culture Scene

Explore Art Galleries and Studios

Waynesville is not only a haven for natural beauty but also a vibrant center for the arts. The town hosts a thriving community of artists, ranging from traditional Appalachian crafters to contemporary visual artists. The numerous galleries and working studios open their doors to the public, offering a glimpse into the creative processes and finished works of local artisans. These spaces not only display art but often provide interactive experiences, such as workshops and live demonstrations, allowing visitors to immerse themselves fully in the artistic culture of the area.

Live Performances at Haywood Arts Regional Theater

The Haywood Arts Regional Theater is a cornerstone of Waynesville's cultural landscape, presenting a variety of performances that cater to all ages. This semi-professional theater group stages an array of productions, from classic plays and cutting-edge dramas to musicals and family-friendly shows. Attending a performance here is not just an evening out; it's an experience that reflects the rich artistic heritage and dynamic community spirit of Waynesville. The theater's commitment to high-quality productions makes it a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy the performing arts.

Culinary Delights of Waynesville

Local Favorites and New Discoveries

Waynesville’s culinary scene is surprisingly diverse for a small town, offering everything from down-home Southern comfort food to innovative fusion cuisine. Among the local favorites is Sauced, a laid-back eatery where the live music atmosphere complements its delicious offerings of pizza and tacos, paired expertly with a selection of craft brews. This spot embodies the casual yet vibrant dining experience that is unique to Waynesville, making it a popular choice for both locals and visitors.

Coffee and Crafts at Historic Frog Level

Just off Main Street lies the Historic Frog Level, a charming district known for its iconic frog mural and a favorite spot for coffee aficionados. Panacea Coffeehouse, located here, is celebrated for its excellent coffee and cozy ambiance. Visitors can enjoy a leisurely breakfast or lunch, sampling their renowned "Ham Sammich" while soaking up the local culture. The area also features a variety of boutiques, galleries, and craft shops, making it a perfect place to spend a relaxed afternoon exploring.

Shopping Spree in Waynesville

Main Street’s Unique Boutiques

A stroll along Main Street in Waynesville is a shopper’s delight, offering an eclectic mix of independently owned stores. From old-fashioned general stores that transport you back in time with their nostalgic offerings to modern art galleries showcasing local talent and from antique shops filled with treasures to chic boutiques featuring the latest fashion trends, there's something for everyone. The diversity of these shops not only reflects the rich cultural tapestry of Waynesville but also supports the local economy by encouraging artisanal craftsmanship and small business operations.

Finding Treasures at Mast General Store

The Mast General Store is an integral part of Waynesville's shopping scene, having served the community since 1883. This store is a treasure trove of unique finds, ranging from old-fashioned candies and artisan-made gifts to practical goods that echo the simplicity of earlier times. Shopping here is more than just a transaction; it’s an experience filled with the charm and warmth of Southern hospitality. The store's historical significance and its commitment to preserving a bygone era make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and casual visitors.

Festivals and Events to Not Miss

Celebrating Culture at the Folkmoot Festival

The Folkmoot Festival is a vibrant celebration of global cultures, integrating performances and artistic expressions from around the world with the local Cherokee and Appalachian traditions. This unique festival not only offers entertainment but also serves as an educational platform, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity. The festival’s activities include music, dance, and heritage arts, making it a culturally enriching experience for attendees of all ages.

Enjoying the Apple Harvest Festival

Held annually in October, the Apple Harvest Festival is a celebration of the fall season, featuring a spectacular array of apple-based delights, from fresh apples to artisanal apple products. This festival is not just about food; it also showcases premier arts and crafts from the region, providing a platform for local artisans to display and sell their work. The festive atmosphere, combined with the scenic beauty of Waynesville in autumn, creates a perfect day out for families and food enthusiasts alike.

Nature and Family Fun in Waynesville

Eco-Tours in the Great Smoky Mountains

Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains is an awe-inspiring experience, and the Cataloochee Valley Tours offer a luxurious way to do so. These private guided tours provide an intimate look at the region’s wildlife and natural beauty, including the opportunity to see the majestic elk herds against the backdrop of mountain vistas. The tours are educational, focusing on the ecological significance of the area and the conservation efforts that help preserve it for future generations.

Family Activities at Winchester Creek Farm

For a hands-on family adventure, Winchester Creek Farm offers a delightful day out. This 20-acre farm allows children and adults alike to engage with a variety of farm animals, learning about their care and importance in a fun and interactive environment. The farm emphasizes education through direct experience, making it a memorable visit that combines fun with learning about rural life and animal husbandry.


Waynesville, NC, is truly a remarkable destination that offers a rich blend of nature, culture, history, and culinary delights. Each aspect of this beautiful mountain town provides unique experiences that cater to different interests, making it an ideal getaway for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. Whether you're seeking adventure in the great outdoors, a deep dive into the local art scene, or simply a relaxing day shopping and tasting local flavors, Waynesville has something special to offer.

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Luke Perisich


71 N Main Street

Waynesville, NC 28786


Angel Lian
United - Albany, NY
Empire State Building, 20 W 34th St., New York, NY

The Waynesville Inn and Golf Club offers more than just a game quordle of golf; it provides a comprehensive rustic retreat. With an 18-hole golf course nestled amidst lush landscaping and the scenic backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this location is perfect for those looking to combine leisure with beauty. I like this sentence!

Apr 14, 2024 08:09 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Great information for both potential buyers & residents in the area. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us in the Rain!


Apr 19, 2024 10:04 AM