Blowing Rock NC Travel Guide – Top Things To Do

We really love Blowing Rock NC and have a been several times over the past few years. Blowing Rock, called the "Crown of the Blue Ridge", is well known for its award-winning downtown (often referenced as one of North Carolina's most scenic mountain villages), surrounding attractions and outdoor things to do.  

Blowing Rock is also just a short drive from the larger town of Boone NC, where additional attractions, dining and shopping options are available.

Our first visit to Blowing Rock NC was a few years ago, when we visited the Land of Oz near Banner Elk. The hotels in Banner Elk were full, so we elected to stay in Blowing Rock, and really enjoyed our stay and the local restaurants.   

We've returned a few times to visit Tweetsie Railroad, and to explore some of the outdoor things to see and do as well.  We really enjoy the small-town feel, and like knowing we're just a quick drive to Boone if we need anything a larger town can provide.

Updated: 6/7/2024

Our Favorite Things to do in Blowing Rock NC

We're mountain locals and live in Waynesville, NC. Blowing Rock NC is about 2 hours from our home, making for an easy and beautiful drive. We visit Blowing Rock often and really love its quaint, small town atmosphere.

Blowing Rock is full of fun things to do, including shopping, attractions, scenic drives, and outdoor activities. Here are just a few things we think you should do when you visit!

The Blowing Rock

A cloudy morning at the Blowing Rock in Blowing Rock NC

No trip to Blowing Rock is complete without seeing the natural attraction for which the town is named, The Blowing Rock. Yes, there is an actual blowing rock, that you can visit, sit on, and enjoy the incredible views.

The Blowing Rock is known as one of North Carolina's oldest attractions. The Blowing Rock sits at a breathtaking 4,000' in elevation and sits over Johns River Gorge. Sitting on The Blowing Rock, you'll notice that the air flows upward, under and over the rock.   

The views are incredible, and long range. From the rock, you can see Table Rock, Hawksbill Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, and Mt. Mitchell on a clear day.

Tweetsie Railroad

The most popular attraction in Blowing Rock is the historic Tweetsie Railroad, which opened in 1957.  Tweetsie offers family-friendly Wild West Adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We're railroad fans (ok, Larry primarily), and we absolutely love visiting Tweetsie Railroad and riding the trains through the mountains. That steam whistle echo through the mountains is a sound you will never forget!

The park features live shows, shops, amusement rides, The Deer Park Zoo, and the highlight of the park, the 3-mile ride along a historic rail line, and historic stream engines, #12 and #190.  

Both are historic coal-fired, narrow gauge steam-engines, built by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia PA in the early 1900s. You definitely do not want to miss this Wild West Railroad adventure, for the whole family!

Mystery Hill, Blowing NC

Gravity Room Mystery Hill

Mystery Hill is difficult to describe, as it's one of the more unique attractions in Blowing Rock NC. Mystery Hill offers a mix of indoor and outdoor activities including: 

  • Natural Gravitational Anomaly where you can watch a ball and waterfall go uphill.
  • Hall of Mystery where you'll have fun with weird science in a hands-on science attraction
  • At Tomahawk Hill, you can try your hand at knife or axe throwing
  • Find treasure at Prospector Hill Gem Mining

These are just a few of the many things you can do at Mystery Hill, which is located right off of Highway 321 between Boone NC and Blowing Rock NC.

Relax and rejuvinate at the Spa at Chetola

Relaxation room at the Chetola spa

The Spa at Chetola offers an extensive selection of treatments for ultimate pampering and rejuvenation.

From luxurious massages and facials to body treatments and wellness services, this amazing spa has it all. We experienced the spa during a recent stay at Chetola, and thoroughly enjoyed it.   

Your experience begins in the relaxing common room with a fireplace, relaxing music and chairs, and complimentary tea, coffee, and fruit-flavored water.

We enjoyed our luxury massages on heated tables by professional, friendly, and experienced therapists. The spa is a great way to treat yourself to a few hours of pampering, and indulge in little self-care while visiting Blowing Rock.

Grab a Local Brew and some great food at Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn

Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn

Grab a Local Brew and some great food at Blowing Rock Ale House & Inn

Located in downtown Blowing Rock, NC, Blowing Rock Ale House & Inn offers great beer and food with a delightful blend of rustic charm and mountain comfort. The Ale House is in a historic building that offers indoor and outdoor seating, surrounded by beautiful landscaping and the hustle and bustle of the town.

We really enjoyed the casual, warm and comfortable feel of the indoor dining area. The food and beer were fantastic, and the staff were friendly, attentive and very helpful. We felt right at home.

The menu at Blowing Rock Ale House featuring a mix of classic pub fare and innovative dishes crafted from fresh, local ingredients. We enjoyed the Ale House Chips, Carolina Bison Burger, and Shrimp Tacos.

What truly sets this place apart is its impressive selection of craft beers, all brewed on-site. We tried a few different craft beers, but our favorite was the Scotch Ale. One of the best we've had anywhere.

Enjoy a wonderful dinner at the Speckled Trout Restaurant

Outside photo of The Speckled Trout Blowing Rock NC

During our visits to Blowing Rock over the years, the one restaurant we always seem to come back to is the Speckled Trout. Seems we're not alone in this, given how busy it always seems to be.

The Speckled Trout is in the heart of downtown Blowing Rock, and offers a memorable dining experience that beautifully combines southern charm, mountain flavor and casual elegance. 

The menu at The Speckled Trout features Appalachian cuisine, with a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients. The menu is seasonal as well.

Signature dishes we've enjoyed include the Mountain Trout, served with seasonal vegetables, and the Duck Confit paired with Gouda grits. The Speckled Trout also offers an impressive selection of regional wines and craft beers, and cocktails to perfectly complementing the rich flavors of their dishes.

Besides its outstanding food and beverages, The Speckled Trout features a charming outdoor patio, where you can have a drink and enjoy live music during the warmer months.

We highly recommend the Speckled Trout, and it needs to be on your short list of place to eat when visiting Blowing Rock.

Treat yourself to a Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich at Blue Deer Cookies

After a wonderful dinner at Blowing Rock Ale House & Inn, Jenn and I were in the mood for some ice cream. A quick search yielded a few options, but the one that caught my attention was blue deer. Not only do they have ice cream, fresh made cookies, but they combine them ...

They create an ice cream sandwich using your cookie and ice cream selection that is well, to die for. I tried the sugar cookie with coffee ice cream, and Jenn tried the chocolate cookie with vanilla ice cream. Fantastic, and they really hit the spot.

Craving a sweet treat, and looking for something local and a little different, make sure their ice cream cookie sandwiches are on your agenda!

Other Things to do in Blowing Rock NC

Blowing Rock many other things to do as well, including these great options: 

Where is Blowing Rock NC?

Blowing Rock NC is located just south of Boone NC, in southern Watauga County in North West North Carolina.  Blowing Rock is about 90 miles northwest of Charlotte NC, and about 200 miles west of Raleigh North Carolina.

Blowing Rock is at an elevation 3,500 feet, and well in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina

Where to stay in Blowing Rock NC?

Chetola Resort Lodge

Chetola Resort Lodge - Our top pick!

The town provides several really nice accommodation options, when you're looking for a place to stay for weekend excursion or extended vacation. Options include luxury to accommodations to more family-friendly and budget oriented places to stay. You'll find something that meets your needs, and that is safe and clean.

 Options for where to stay in Blowing Rock NC include:

Hotels we've enjoyed in Blowing Rock NC

The most popular accommodation option when visiting Blowing Rock NC are hotels. Hotels provide many nice amenities, prices that meet everyone's budget, and are often located very close to town.

During our visits to Blowing Rock, we have always stayed in area hotels and would highly recommend all the ones below, based on our personal experience. If we had to pick just one, though, Chetola Resort is our favorite. 

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

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