Welcome to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where forests, waterfalls, mountain peaks and welcoming small towns await.
Outdoor adventure is all around. This area is home to more than 200 miles (and counting) of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, plus lakes and rivers for paddling and fishing. Pisgah National Forest — the first national forest unit in the U.S. — is a wonderland of rushing waterfalls and breathtaking mountain vistas.
Take a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway as it winds north from Mount Mitchell to Linville Falls, or bring your motorcycle to experience the thrill of The Diamondback. Or trade your car for a canoe as you explore the cool waters of Lake James.
Learn about the natural and cultural heritage of the region at one of our historical attractions, or try your luck at an historic gem mine. Enjoy shopping for unique and handcrafted souvenirs along Main Street and Catawba Avenue in Old Fort and in Marion’s downtown 310 District, where you’ll find antique shops, independent boutiques and art galleries. Or wander out to Little Switzerland or the Orchard at Altapass to peruse old-fashioned general stores.
Spend the evening sampling flights of craft beer at a local brewery, or drink in the rhythms of live music at an area venue or winery. And don’t let the rain dampen your spirit of adventure — check out local bowling alleys, arcades and skating rinks to keep the whole family entertained.
Check out the listings below to plan your next Blue Ridge Mountain vacation.
Top 25 Things to Do in the Blue Ridge Mountains
From waterfalls and vistas to small-town main streets and locally crafted flavors, here are 25 top things to experience…
5 Spring Adventures to Get Back to Nature
When spring fever hits, the best remedy is a vacation in the great outdoors. Here are some of our favorite Blue Ridge a…
Catawba River Outdoors
Everything you need for an excursion on the Catawba River! Catawba River Outdoors offers tube rentals and river shuttle service to various locations.
Lake James State Park
At the base of Linville Gorge you will find a 6,812 acre lake with more than 150 miles of shoreline.…
Point Lookout Trail
Spectacular views of the Royal Gorge and 19th-century railroad tunnels. In 2022, the Point Lookout Trail was included as a…
Founders' Art Walk
The Founders' Art Walk in historic downtown Marion is a self-guided tour of the county's cultural heritage shared through collaborative outdoor art displays!
DiamondbackNC - Driving Trail
DiamondbackNC is an alternate route, 12-mile driving trail with incredible scenery. It is one of western North Carolina's last great mountain roadways!
Marion Lake Club Golf Course & Slices Bistro
The ONLY golf course on Lake James, dating back to 1923, when it was designed by famed golf course architect…
(Game land section) 200 yards along NC 80 also light fishing pressure.
Lake James State Park and Campground
"Last of the Mohicans" and "Hunt for Red October" were filmed along the shores of this picturesque lake. Two park…
North Cove Disc Golf and Leisure Club
North Cove Disc Golf & Social Club is 157 acres of awesome rolling hills situated in a rural valley, framed…
Spacious Skies Campground
Welcome to Spacious Skies Campground in Marion, North Carolina. Visit one of North Carolina's best campgrounds, featuring lake view cabin…
McDowell County Community College
Local, county community college located in Marion, NC. Offering a variety of courses, diploma and certificate programs and more.
Camp Grier is ideal for family and individual vacations! Enjoy adventures like horse riding and mountain biking on 600 acres of beautiful land in Old Fort!
Spillway Bridge & Company
The Spillway is Marion’s premier music venue with a state of the art sound system showcasing local and regional talent.…
All Things Geeky By 2 Nerds
Get your geek on at All Things Geeky By 2 Nerds, Marion's own comic book store. Find all kinds of comics, games, toys, collectors items, and more in one place!
Historic Carson House
Historic Carson House Museum is open between April and December, interpreting the story of Irish immigrant Colonel John Carson and…
McDowell High School
McDowell High School's auditorium and gymnasium are used for some public events. The annual Appalachian Potters' Market is held…