Incredible Things to Do in Waynesville, NC

Located in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains, Waynesville, North Carolina, offers numerous attractions and activities for everyone to enjoy.

Waynesville has been a favorite mountain retreat since the early 1800s. Even then, visitors would flock to this town because of its outstanding scenery. Today, people come here to experience its popular hiking trails and waterfalls, unique food scene, and so much more.

If you’re planning a vacation, you’re in for a wonderful experience! This article enumerates some of the best things to do in Waynesville, NC.

Historic Downtown

Walking around Downtown Waynesville offers a feast for your eyes, with impressive historic buildings and public art. Popular events, parades, and festivals are held in Downtown Waynesville throughout the year.

One such event is the Mountain Street Dances, which celebrated its 100th year in 2023. This event pays tribute to Appalachian heritage, bringing locals and visitors together as they enjoy live music and take part in traditional mountain dancing.

a tunnel in Blue Ridge Parkway, things to do in waynesville nc

Credit: Image by Jeff Miller | Unsplash

Outdoor Activities

If you’re a nature lover, hiking in Waynesville, NC, along the Big Creek Trail will take you to the crystal green rushing waters of the Midnight Swimming Hole, whose large boulders are beautifully adorned with a plethora of wildflowers in the spring and summer months.

The historic Waynesville Inn and Golf Club offers a wonderful rustic retreat, an 18-hole golf course with lush landscaping and scenery, a relaxing outdoor pool, and an on-site restaurant that serves locally sourced foods and extensive wine and cocktail selections.

Cruise around scenic Haywood County. Driving along the picturesque route of Blue Ridge Parkway, Waynesville, NC, at sunset or sunrise will show you some of the area’s breathtaking views.

Art and Culture Scene

Waynesville is home to a thriving community of artists. Explore traditional Appalachian crafts and contemporary art in the many galleries and working studios in town.

Among the many wonderful things to do near Waynesville, NC, is seeing a show at the Haywood Arts Regional Theater. This semi-professional theater group offers renditions of classic plays and musicals, something the entire family can enjoy.

The Waynesville Public Art Trail is a self-guided tour of outdoor art that celebrates the cultural heritage and natural wonders of the Southern Appalachians. There are unique art galleries, boutiques, cafés, restaurants, and breweries to be discovered along the way.

a group of persons eating pizza, things to do in waynesville nc

Credit: Image by Klara Kulikova | Unsplash

Culinary Delights

The variety in Waynesville’s culinary scene is quite impressive for a small town. One of the must-visit restaurants is Sauced, a laid-back spot with live music where you can enjoy delicious pizza and tacos, along with a selection of craft brews.

Right off Main Street, you’ll find Historic Frog Level, a popular part of town that you definitely won’t miss, thanks to the frog mural. Coffee lovers must try the brews at Panacea Coffeehouse, along with their Ham Sammich.

Other must-try restaurants in Waynesville are Ammons Drive-In, Fat Buddies Ribs and BBQ, Clyde’s Restaurant, Sweet Onion, and Bogarts.

Shopping Spree

If you want to go on a shopping spree, simply stroll along Main Street, and you’ll discover a unique mix of independently-owned stores – old-fashioned general stores, art galleries, bookstores, antique shops, and clothing boutiques.

The Mast General Store, which has been operating since 1883, is a nostalgic treasure chest. The store sells unique old-fashioned candies, artisan-made gifts, and classic items from the past. This store is a shopping destination you don’t want to miss.

For flea-market enthusiasts, Sutton and Son’s Antiques offers authentic art pieces, furniture, and memorabilia. If you’re looking for the perfect gifts for collectors or simply shopping for unique pieces for your home, this is the place to go.

Festivals and Events

One of the popular Waynesville events you must experience is the Folkmoot Festival. This one-of-a-kind festival celebrates the world’s cultures, along with local Cherokee and Appalachian cultures, through music, dance, and heritage arts.

If you’re visiting in the fall, you shouldn’t miss the Apple Harvest Festival. This spectacular street fest is held every year in October in Downtown Waynesville. Enjoy the tastes of the fall season and premier arts and crafts of all things apple!

an elk in the forest, things to do in waynesville nc

Credit: Image by Delaney Van | Unsplash

Nature Escapes

There are plenty of opportunities to explore nature in Waynesville, NC.

The Cataloochee Valley Tours offers luxury private guided eco-tours in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Watching a majestic elk herd with mountain views as a backdrop is simply an awe-inspiring sight to behold.

Visiting an animal farm would be a great activity for the whole family. The 20-acre Winchester Creek Farm offers educational tours where kids can learn about the “Farmily” and spend the day with sheep, alpacas, mini horses, pigs, and more.

a waterfall as things to do in waynesville nc

Credit: Image by Delaney Van | Unsplash

Family-Friendly Fun

Many of the places and events we’ve mentioned so far are things that families can enjoy together. Nature trips, farm tours, culinary adventures, shopping sprees, visits to museums and art galleries, and watching theater performances are just some of them.

Add a day trip at the Sunburst Swimming Hole in nearby Canton to your list of activities. This is one of the best splash zones in town, with two main swimming areas for kids and adults. The crisp mountain water is refreshingly perfect for beating the Smoky Mountain heat.


Waynesville, NC, is truly a wonderful destination for your next getaway, offering numerous opportunities to enjoy nature, good food, art and culture, and so much more!

If you’d like to know more about this amazing location, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 828-550-5195 or today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the best hiking trails in and around Waynesville, NC, are the Appalachian Trail, Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and Water Rock Knob.

Definitely! The Smoky Mountain Dog Bakery is a puppy paradise serving homemade treats. Pepsi Dog Park’s walking trail is the perfect spot to let your dog off their leash and get some of their energy out.

The best time to visit Waynesville for its peak foliage season is from late September through early November.