Why You Should Spend Memorial Day in the NC Smokies


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Back Porch of BearWaters Brewing

If you’re anything like us, you’re just now getting around to planning out your extended Memorial Day Weekend. And that’s okay (at least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves) because this mountain destination has got plenty happening for last-minute planners. Check out why so many people are joining us in Haywood County this weekend!


Beautiful Weather

Like, really beautiful weather. That I-Don’t-Wanna-Go-Inside weather. And with all you can do outdoors here, you won’t have to go inside. Try hiking Black Balsam Knob for an iconic view of the Great Smoky Mountains. Or become one with nature and go for a picnic at Watterock Knob. For the adreno-heads, you’ve got to rent a Slingshot and tear along the Blue Ridge Parkway or a back road—there’s nothing quite like feeling that crisp mountain air flowing through your hair. Find outdoor adventure in the Smokies!

A young family having a picnic atop Cataloochee Meadow.
The Meadow at Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley


One-of-a-Kind Restaurants

Are you the type to plan your trip around where you’re going to eat? Us too—so listen close. Start at one of our Best Breakfast Spots to fuel up for a day of adventurous sightseeing. Then, let the debates begin: Maybe you can all agree on an overflowing plate of smoked brisket or pulled pork at one of our local BBQ joints for lunch—we recommend trying Butts on the Creek for this. For dinner, perhaps you can settle on a meal at one of our delicious farm-to-table restaurants, like Southern Porch in Canton or the Sweet Onion in Waynesville. Find savory flavors at our local restaurants!

Jukebox Junction DIner
Jukebox Junction in Canton, NC


Affordable Places to Stay

No one wants to blow a lot of money on a weekend trip, especially when summer vacation is right around the corner. So: are you looking for a relaxing creekside stay? How about a mountaintop getaway? Maybe you want to stay at a country club and get a few rounds in over the weekend, or you want to be pampered at a Bed and Breakfast. The point is, you’ve got options here, suitable for any budget and parties of any size. Find the perfect place to stay!

Aerial shot of Lambuth Inn in Lake Junaluska
The Lambuth Inn at Lake Junaluska


Authentic Experiences

Get ready to dig into the authentic experiences that you can only find in the Smoky Mountains. Discover the local farms and gardens producing Haywood’s finest fresh produce as part of our growing Agritourism business. Go for a taste-tour at our finest breweries and distilleries while taking in local, live music. Take a day trip to nearby Cherokee or visit the Biltmore in Asheville. Plus, there’s a whole host of kid-friendly activities throughout the Smokies—find them here.
Start filling out your itinerary with awesome things to do here!

A couple walking through the sunflower maze at 10 Acre Garden in Haywood County.
Ten Acre Garden Sunflower Maze in Canton 


Plenty of Events

Memorial Day weekend is jam-packed full of awesome events, too! Check it out:

  • May 23 – 27: Wall of Death thrill show at Dale’s Wheels Through Time – This live-action thrill show features motorcycle daredevils attempting to conquer the motor drome.
  • May 24: Live Music at Frog Level Brewing – Enjoy local musicians performing their craft every Friday and Saturday night at one of Waynesville’s favorite breweries.
  • May 25: Rockin’ Block Party – Main Street in Downtown Waynesville will be shut down for this night of dancing to live music. Restaurants will be open late, too!

Couple dancing in the crowd at a music festival in Haywood County.

Are you planning on staying with us for the long weekend? Share your trip highlights with us on Instagram by tagging us @visitncsmokies and using #HAYNOW!

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