Come experience the idyllic mountain town of Waynesville, North Carolina. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, only 31 miles from Asheville and 23 miles from Cullowhee, it is no wonder Waynesville is considered by some to be the heart of Western North Carolina. Location is not the only reason the town has earned the moniker. The feeling of community, outdoor activities, and Appalachian culture make it the quintessential Westen North Carolina mountain city. Here are 6 of our favorite things to do while you are in Waynesville, North Carolina.
Waynesville has become a popular spot for craft beer. The artistic and folksy community enjoys several spectacular breweries. Frog Level Brewing Company in the Frog Level Historic District is everything a brewery should be. A knowledgeable and helpful staff, a variety of craft beers for any preference, and inviting areas to enjoy them. The historic building looks over the Richland River and patrons can enjoy a glass while listening to the river flow. Sit by the fire pits and warm up at night, and catch up with friends. Mad Anthony’s Taproom and Restaurant is another popular brewery right off main street in Waynesville. Their food menu will leave your mouth watering and their ales are the perfect way to wash it down. Enjoy a draft of some of your favorite beers as a nightcap or test out a flight of beers you have never had the chance to taste while you enjoy a few bar snacks.
Waynesville is an incredible arts town. The breathtaking nature views and calming effects of nearby rivers naturally lend to the artistic spirit. This is why so many painters, writers, sculptors, and performers choose to call Waynesville home. Various art galleries line main streets and display nature scenes, Appalachian inspired or abstract works in various mediums. Take the time to enjoy a performance at the regional award-winning Haywood Arts Regional Theatre, known locally as HART Theatre.
One of the things you’ll discover about Waynesville is that it just feels like home, much to the credit of the town’s citizens. They are friendly and welcoming which translates to a number of exciting opportunities in downtown Waynesville. Main Street is vibrant and downtown is lined with one-of-a-kind boutiques and gift shops, antique stores, wine, and craft beer shops, outdoor tackle shops to get you outfitted with supplies for any outdoor activity, and some of the best restaurants and bakeries you will ever know. Shop for home decor in the Appalachian inspired art galleries or antique stores. Grab a few new outfits to fit the season at local boutiques, and grab a new fishing rod or hiking boots while you are there.
Another area you will want to explore is Frog Level, a national historic district made up of old mercantile buildings along Richland Creek. They still serve as a center of commerce for visitors and locals alike with businesses like coffee shops, bakeries, and breweries to name a few.
Like every mountain community in Western North Carolina, Waynesville serves as the perfect base for a number of outdoor activities. Surrounded by the Great Smoky and the Blue Ridge Mountains, fresh mountain air permeates through Waynesville. Enjoy waterfall hikes, flyfishing in the nearby Tuckasegee or Pigeon River, kayaking, whitewater rafting, creek walking, or even a tee time at local golf courses. Hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and marvel at the painted leaves dancing on the trees and stop off with the family for a lunch with a view at one of the numerous overlooks along the way.
But perhaps one of our favorite ways to enjoy the outdoors from Waynesville is the Cataloochee Valley. A protected historic site formerly a Cherokee hunting ground and Appalachian Community, this valley holds historic buildings including homes, churches, and schools from the early 1900s. And if the historic features of the valley weren’t enough, the valley is home to a protected herd of elk released to repopulate the elk population in the Great Smoky Mountains. Enjoy seeing them run and graze along with other wildlife including deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, and more.
The welcoming community, artistic culture, and active downtown make Waynesville the perfect atmosphere for festivals throughout the year. One of the most popular festivals in all of North Carolina is the internationally-renowned Folkmoot USA. Featuring artists, dancers, and storytellers from around the world sharing a glimpse into their cultural heritage through music, dance, and the spoken word. Another popular festival held in Waynesville is their very own Apple Harvest Festival featuring games, music, and good old-fashioned family fun celebrating the apple picking season in Western North Carolina.
Waynesville has plenty of fun activities that the whole family will not want to miss. Go tubing down a river with siblings, cast a line with your parents, or take a hike through the Great Smoky mountains to a few spectacular waterfalls with the whole family. And because many of the trails are dog-friendly while leashed, I do mean the whole family! Enjoy a dip and splash on a hot summer day in Waynesville Recreational Center’s splash area and pool. Wind down at the end of the day with a movie, dinner, and craft beer for an enhanced movie experience at the Strand at 38 Main. Looking to tear down the mountain? During the winter months grab your ski poles or snowboard and hit the slopes at Cataloochee Ski Area.
Want to experience more of Western North Carolina? The beauty of Waynesville is it’s proximity to everything. Make time to experience any number of nearby mountain towns that make up Western North Carolina. Visit Cherokee and experience the Cherokee culture, hop on a train in Bryson City, shop in Cashiers, mine for gems in Franklin, or come enjoy a college town in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Falling in love with Western North Carolina? We understand completely. Come learn more about why we fell in love with mountain riverfront living at Cullowhee River Club.