Known for its extraordinary views, scenic vistas of farmland and mountain meadows, and curving country roads; the Blue Ridge Parkway has been called “America’s Favorite Drive” and is one of the most visited sections of the National Park System.
There Parkway features a great many of attractions featuring local Appalachian history, a number of natural settings, caverns, and hiking trails, and folk art and bluegrass music. A listing of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Top Ten Attractions follows:
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Climb aboard for a ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, one of the most the visually stunning tours through western North Carolina’s river gorges ad valleys on the historic Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The Railroad’s unique “shine and dine” experience features a taste of North Carolina moonshining. You’ll learn about the Appalachian tradition of bootlegging and home brews, and hear stories about local legend Major Redmond, the most famous mountain moonshine outlaw of the 19th century…READ MORE
Hickory Ridge Homestead Museum
Biltmore Estate Tour: Visit America’s Largest Home
According to local legend, George Vanderbilt fell in love with the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1888 and decided to build his historic 250-acre estate in Asheville, North Carolina so that he could gaze upon the beauty of the mountains…READ MORE
Chimney Rock State Park
In addition to guided rock climbing lessons for beginner and advanced climbers, Chimney Rock State Park also has a number of hiking trails including the family-friendly Great Woodland Adventure Trail that features 12 discovery stations. The Park’s other star attraction is the 404 ft. Hickory Nut Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River and site of the blockbuster film The Last of the Mohicans…READ MORE
The Natural Bridge
Upon seeing the Natural Bridge, Virginia’s great stone archway, in the 1774, America’s founding father Thomas Jefferson became so entranced, that he purchased 157 acres of land including the Natural Bridge from King George III of England for 20 shillings!
Considered by many as one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World,” the Natural Bridge Park connects the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Allegheny Mountains with a single passage of rock. The Bridge offers a number of nature-based educational events including the Cedar Creek Nature Trail, the Monacan Indian Village, natural caverns, and an indoor butterfly garden…READ MORE
Called “the only place in the world where snow falls upside down” by Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not, North Carolina’s Blowing Rock features an extraordinary air current that flows upward 4,000 feet over the rock’s overhang. The rock was named for the northwest wind that sweeps up with such force that it returns light objects cast over the rock.
Travelers on the Blue Ridge Parkway should visit this incredible phenomenon and gaze upon the beautiful vistas that the Blowing Rock offers. To the southwest of Blowing Rock are Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock, and to the west are Grandfather Mountain (the highest peak in the Blue Ridge chain) and Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi)…READ MORE
Blue Ridge Music Center
As the epicenter of the bluegrass music scene, the Blue Ridge Music Center’s indoor and outdoor auditoriums are always filled with the music of fiddle, banjo, and guitar; and visitors can have an extraordinary experience listening to and learning about America’s living music tradition.
The Blue Ridge region has produced more bluegrass musicians than any other place in the world and The Blue Ridge Music Center allows visitors to experience the music of local musicians in daily afternoon and evening concerts featuring bands like Stu Shenk & The Fisher Peak Timber Rattlers, The Buck Mountain Band, Bobby Patterson & Willard Gayheart, Bill & Maggie Anderson, and more…READ MORE
Folk Art Center
Each year, thousands of art lovers from throughout the country converge on Ashville’s Folk Art Center, home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, to find beautifully-handcrafted Appalachian art and learn about the history of the Southern Crafts Revival movement…READ MORE
Horn in the West:
The Nation’s Oldest Revolutionary War Outdoor Drama
Horn in the West is one of the nation’s oldest Revolutionary War dramas, featuring the story of American pioneers who settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains seeking freedom from the British King.
Each night, a cast of more than 50 characters takes the stage at the Daniel Boone outdoor Amphitheatre for an evening of spectacular theatre, dance, and music that is perfect for the entire family. Considered “one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful (theatre) in America,” the Horn in the West theatre has hosted over 1.4 million people since it opened in 1952. So beloved is the Horn in the West show that this year, TripAdvsior.com awarded it its 2014 Certificate of Excellence!…READ MORE
No matter your age or physical ability, you can visit Shenandoah Caverns’ incredible underground caves more than 220 feet below the earth. Shenandoah Caverns’ gradual slopes and elevator service allows visitors to visit 17 rooms of exquisite National Geographic-featured mineral formations, stalactites and stalagmites, and calcite crystals.
Colorful lighting beautifully displays the unique features of each room, and a personal guide explains the history and geographical background of the caverns’ 1.5 underground walk. Although the caverns have many inclines, low overhanging formations, ramps have been installed throughout the caverns, helping make more than 75% of the site wheelchair accessible…READ MORE