If you’re looking for North Carolina outdoor destinations versatile enough to be enjoyable in any season, then you can’t beat the charm of Banner Elk. Whatever the season, this small town in a mountainous Highland valley is full of ways to enjoy the great outdoors.
In these uncertain times, keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket-to-visit list at a later date.
With just one major crossroads in the middle of town, Banner Elk has a very walkable shopping district with shops, galleries, and plenty of restaurants – most of which have outdoor seating.
Just minutes away, a number of attractions offer plenty of ways to bask in nature, such as Banner Elk Winery.
Located just outside the city limits, the winery offers indoor and outdoor seating. A large, comfortable porch and nature seating (like the hut by the pond) provides a glimpse of the beautiful surroundings as you taste wine from grapes grown here on the property. Find out more here.
Just 15 minutes from downtown Banner Elk awaits a view you won’t soon forget from atop Grandfather Mountain.
Cross the Mile High Swinging Bridge on this mountain peak for a unique attraction you are sure to love. Find out more here.
Take a UTV tour to explore the woods all around the High Country of Banner Elk and surrounding communities.
UTVs are a memorable day trip for everyone in the family, and if it has been raining recently, then hiking in the mud makes it all the more fun! Find out more here.
Fancy a hike? You can’t beat the short 0.75 mile hike to the massive Elk River Falls.
For perspective, see the humans standing at the top right of this great waterfall (pictured) and get ready for one of the best waterfall adventures. (Remember, it’s also one of the state’s deadliest waterfalls, so don’t stand on top like the people in this photo do!) here.
Banner Elk also has his own alpaca farm!
Any visit to Apple Hill Apple Farm is sure to be a highlight of any trip to the High Country. The farm has many alpacas eager to make new friends, as well as several other animals (a donkey, for example) that you may also meet. And the view from that farmhouse on top of a mountain is, well … you’ll see! Find out more here.
North Carolina’s very first mountain coaster is located on Tynecastle Boulevard on the way to town.
Hit the mountain at speeds in excess of 25 miles per hour in your own car – or share a car with a loved one. Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster is a must if you love thrills! Find out more here.
Wondering if all of these activities are available in winter? Most of them are! And the same goes for a world of snow activities.
From skiing at Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain to snow tubing at Hawksnest in Seven Devils, winter at Banner Elk is all about getting out and playing.
Plus, on Beech Mountain you can also ice skate or take the little ones to the state’s only public snow luge hill (located near Beech Mountain Town Hall).
And then, of course, there’s always a trip along a white-covered Blue Ridge Parkway. There is an entrance just 15 minutes from Banner Elk.
Keep in mind that in winter some parts of the promenade are closed when inclement weather blocks the way. Although the boardwalk is open year round, additional snow and ice conditions can change this. You can always find up-to-date information on which sections may be closed by visiting this link on the National Park Service website.
In the summer, Beech Mountain (located five miles upriver from Banner Elk) opens its ski resort as an ATV park.
Families across the Southeast make this an annual hike every year, not only for biking, but also because the temperatures at the top of the mountain rarely exceed 72 in the summer. Simply load your bike onto the ski lifts, get on a chairlift, and climb to the top only to turn around and steeply down on two wheels.
Also at the top of the mountain is the now defunct theme park known as the Land Of Oz.
Robin Jarvis (do not use without permission)
It opens for two events each year. One of them is in summer; the other is in the fall.
Robin Jarvis (do not use without permission)
If you’ve never walked the Yellow Brick
or been around the Wicked Witch of the West, then here is your chance! Find out more here.
As mentioned already, Banner Elk has a number of world class restaurants and most have outdoor seating which is perfect for spring, summer and fall.
Our favorite has to be Banner Elk Cafe. Over the years this cafe has grown by adding more and more outdoor garden rooms (some covered and some not) which provide a wonderful setting to enjoy their delicious American cuisine while breathing in the air. fresh mountain air.
When it comes to outdoor destinations in North Carolina, Banner Elk is the crème de la crème for small towns with it all. When was the last time you made the trip to Banner Elk and how many of these attractions have you visited?