Another weekend has come and gone, along with another opportunity to spend a day here in the heart of the Smokies. Not only are day trips to Haywood County full of excitement and plenty to do once you reach us, but the drive itself is an adventure full of sweeping vistas and rugged mountain terrain. We know every minute of your day trip is precious, and we promise that a ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway is well worth the time it takes to get your crew together. Sometimes, the hardest part of taking a last-minute road trip is planning your day out—so we went ahead and did that for you below.
Where are you coming from?
Haywood County is close to two very popular mountain destinations: Asheville, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
From Asheville, it’ll take you approximately 30 minutes to get here, depending on your final destination. From Gatlinburg, it’s about 1.5 hours.
It’s also very easy to get here from the Greenville/Spartanburg area, too—the under-two-hour drive leaves you plenty of time for hiking, eating, and exploring.
Choose your adventure.
The best part about visiting Haywood County? There’s something here for everyone to enjoy. Check it out:
For Family Daytrippers:
For traveling families, there’s plenty of kid-friendly fun. Test everyone’s competitive edge at one of several mini golf courses or spend the day at Canton’s seasonal corn maze. Take in the Smoky Mountain views at one of our easier hikes, like to the Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields. See what special treasures you can uncover at the Maggie Valley Rock Shop & Gem Mine. Or simply sit back and relax while tubing down the Pigeon River.
For History-Loving Daytrippers:
Make a day of exploring Haywood County’s rich history at some of our local museums. Visit Western North Carolina’s oldest home at the Shook Museum or inject some horsepower into your historical tour at the world-famous Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, one of the finest collections of vintage motorcycles you’ll find anywhere.
One of the more surprising places to learn about Haywood’s history is Elevated Mountain Distillery, where owner and long-time resident Dave Angel delves into the fascinating history of moonshining in the area.
For Shopaholic Daytrippers:
If you pride yourself in finding a rare antique or handcrafted gift to take home with you, then you’ll love all of the opportunities for treasure-hunting. With so many locally owned boutiques and businesses, this is the place to go to find truly one-of-a-kind items like quilts, furniture, pottery, jewelry, jelly, jams, and so much more.
For Foodie and Gardening Daytrippers:
Green thumbs and produce lovers will love experiencing the rich land of Haywood County through our farms and markets. See for yourself: pick flowers at one of our U-Pick farms, try the veggies at a farm stand, or visit a specialty market to take Haywood-grown tastes home with you!
For Artsy Daytrippers:
It may be surprising to see how active and rich our artist community is—but it’s hard not to be inspired in a place surrounded by so much beauty. Haywood County is the rightful home to authentic bluegrass music and boasts some of the best local, live performances that you can catch nearly every night. One walk through Downtown Waynesville will tell you all you need to know about our visual artists, too: they’re thriving in a place that inspires them to create.
For Outdoorsy Daytrippers:
The outdoors here are for everyone, just like Mother Nature intended. Hiking a trail to an expansive view of the Great Smoky Mountains is encouraged and accessible for people of all experience levels. Hunt down some of our favorite waterfalls or fishing spots to make a splash for a day. Golf a round at one of several award-winning courses in Haywood County—you’ll be hard-pressed to find more scenic courses than these! Take in warm weather seasons on horseback or kayak for an immersive experience in our wilderness or enjoy one of the most affordable ski trips at Cataloochee Ski Area. For a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle, head into Cataloochee Valley for elk rut season (late summer/early fall) to watch our local elk go about their, err, business.
For Thirsty Daytrippers:
If a good brew is what you’re ultimately searching for in life, Haywood County is a good place to go. Our brewers believe that only locally sourced beers are worth making—and drinking. After one sip of a brew from Frog Level, BearWaters, or Boojum, you’ll probably agree with them.
Our county also boasts a distillery beloved by locals and tourists alike: Elevated Mountain Distilling Company. Their moonshine recipe has been passed down for several generations, so you know you’re getting to get the real deal here. Stop in for a handcrafted cocktail and take a bottle of small batch moonshine home with you.
Looking for something with a bit more body and a more sophisticated bouquet, than maybe a local wine shop is more your scene. These shops all have a lovely, relaxed atmosphere and are staffed with local experts who can help you pick out that perfect bottle.
Ready to jump in your car and head out on a day trip from your vacation? We can help even more. We have resources for traveling in the Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter so you’ll never run out of trip ideas. And once you get here, make sure you share your adventures with us using #HAYNOW! You never know—we may share your photos on our social media!