There is something very special about the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Some say it’s the majestic rolling mountains and their beckoning call to be explored, while others say it’s the down-home friendly folks who give you the feeling like you’ve known them for years. Or perhaps it is the time-honored traditions that are soaked to the bone in rich southern Appalachian heritage. That “something” is why folks keep coming back, time after time.
Haywood County is the heart of real Appalachian culture and we pride ourselves on true experiences, none of this fabricated stuff. Farm fresh food, local bluegrass music, rich mountain heritage, an eclectic art scene and the wild wonders of the great outdoors are just a few of our specialties. And no one knows these experiences any better than the locals. Enjoy an authentic taste of Haywood County by eating where the locals eat and doing what the locals do. We guarantee you’ll leave feeling like family!
Time for an Agri-Adventure!
Haywood County locals are proud of their rich agricultural heritage, so what better way to learn about that than getting a first hand experience with the area’s local growers and producers. Stop by a Haywood Visitor Center and pick up a free copy of Buy Haywood’s 2014 “Find Your Adventure” Agritourism Guide. Spend your morning enjoying the area’s many “agri-experiences” that are featured around the county. From picking a bushel of fresh berries to visiting a sustainable trout farm at the foot of Cold Mountain, there are so many fresh experiences that you may have a hard time choosing where to start.
Skinny Dip Falls
Cool down this afternoon at a local swimming hole, Skinny Dip Falls. Take Hwy 276 to the Blue Ridge Parkway and head south. Pull off near mile marker 417, which is near the Looking Glass Rock overlook. A moderate, short hike will take you to a natural waterfall and swimming hole on the Yellow Prong of the Big East Fork of the Pigeon River. Take a cool dip or sun yourself on the rocks. If you continue on the trail past Skinny Dip Falls on the Mountains to Sea trail you will reach Graveyard Fields where you will find more hiking trails and waterfalls.
Pick your Evening Entertainment:
An Evening at the The Strand
38 N. Main St, Waynesville 28786
The Strand at 38 Main is a boutique cinema and intimate listening venue located in the heart of downtown Waynesville. The Strand offers an ever-changing mix of classic films, first run movies, and live music. The storefront lobby serves classic movie concessions including craft beer, wine, organic popcorn, artisan sodas by the Waynesville Soda Jerks, fresh baked soft pretzels, home made ice cream from The Hop, coffee drinks, and more!
An Evening at The Classic Wine Seller
20 Church St, Waynesville 28786
The Wine Seller is where the locals go for a relaxing evening of great music and fine wine. Owned and operated by a local husband and wife “wine connoisseurs” you will find an extensive list of fine wines and wide variety of craft beers. Grab a drink along with an after dinner cheese plate and enjoy some great entertainment by one of the many talented musicians featured each week.
Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market
250 Pigeon St, Waynesville 28786
Mid Apr – Mid Oct: Wed & Sat – 8:00am – 12:00pm
When the locals want fresh produce and local delights, they know the place to go is Haywood’s Historic Farmers Market in Waynesville. Enjoy a variety of just-picked produce, heritage crafts and other local offerings among the company of residents and visitors alike. You will see why folks come from far and wide to get a taste of Haywood County!
Waynesville, Maggie Valley, Canton, or Clyde
If there is one thing Haywood County locals take pride in, it’s our wide array of locally owned and operated retail stores. Whether it’s outdoor gear, clothing, home decor, unique gifts, culinary items, and more, our four towns boast a wide variety of independently owned stores to enjoy. To find out more check out Visit NC Smokies Shopping.
Check out our Craft Breweries!
If there is one thing the locals love, it’s their craft breweries. Haywood County is the proud home of four homegrown microbreweries: BearWaters Brewery, Boojum Brewing, Frog Level Brewery, and Tipping Point Tavern. Each has their own distinct taste sp spend the afternoon at one (or more) trying their various taps. Order up a frosty flight and don’t forget to grab a growler of your favorite to take home.
Explore Cataloochee Valley
Spend the rest of the day in Cataloochee Valley. The locals know that the best time to see the wild elk are at dawn and dusk, so take their word for it. The valley is one the most remote parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is where several of the Haywood County’s native families originally settled. The area is laced with abundant wildflowers and wildlife including elk, white-tailed deer, black bears, wild turkey, butterflies and many species of birds. With several hiking trails, streams, and historic buildings from the early 1900’s, there is plenty to explore in the valley before heading home.
The above itinerary is a SAMPLE itinerary. Other attractions and activities can be substituted based on your preferences and the current seasonality to create a unique itinerary for your next visit.
Restaurant Suggestions – Haywood County is home to such a wide range of locally owned and operated restaurants that we couldn’t just pick a few! From casual, down-home eateries to gourmet, fine-dining and everything in between, we have it all here Haywood. For a full listing and more information, visit our Dining Page.