You, of course, already know that the Blue Ridge Parkway is known for its scenic highways of mountain views. With its gentle curvy roads weaving in and out of tunnels through the Appalachian Mountains and giving you incredible vistas. But did you know there is so much more to do on the Blue Ridge Parkway than just the gorgeous views of the mountains? Historical sites, folk art centers, camping, visitor centers, and recreational waterways. I will let you in on an insiders guide to all of these top 5 things to do on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Appalachian Mountains are rich in history. Going back to when only the Native Americans were here to Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The parkway intersects with much of this history and honors the history with interpretive sites. You will enjoy learning about the people and events that occurred at these locations.
Our Pick for Historical Sites on the Blue Ridge Parkway
Milepost 6 – Mountain Farm Outdoor Museum – 1800s farm
Milepost 61 – James River Canal – 100 locks for water travel before Civil War
Milepost 85 – Johnson Farm – Early 1900s farm
Milepost 176 – Marby Mill – Old grist mill, lumber mill, and farm
Milepost 213 – Blue Ridge Music Center – Mountain Music Museum
Milepost 239 – Brinegar Cabin – Late 1800s cabin & outbuilding
Milepost 294 – Moses Cone Manor – early 1900s Cone Family Manor
Milepost 304 – Linn Cove Viaduct – First bridge of its kind built in U.S.
Milepost 331 – Museum of NC Minerals – Mineral & Geology museum
There are two Southern Highlands Craft/Guild directly on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Folk Art Center & the Moses Cone Manor. Both exhibit and sell Appalachia crafts and art. Both offer craft demonstrations throughout their open season, from May to October. The Folk Art Center offers a craft shop, 3 exhibit spaces, a library, an auditorium, and a National Park Service bookstore/information desk.
Milepost 294 – Moses Cone Manor – Blowing Rock, NC
Milepost 382 – The Folk Art Center – Asheville, NC
There is nothing better for you than making the Blue Ridge Parkway a several-day adventure. You will love exploring during the day and sitting by the campfire at night. Enjoy the peace and tranquility that Appalachia has to offer in nature. There are 8 campgrounds spaced out along the Blue Ridge Parkway. To read more information on each site look here.
You will love to discover the plentiful information at the different visitor centers scattered along the Blue Ridge Parkway. They are filled with written information and spoken by the volunteers and Rangers. Many also have exhibit halls located at a point of interest along the parkway. These locations are also great spots for picnics and stretching your legs. Take the time to absorb the information that the visitor centers offer.
Why not explore the high elevation lakes and rivers of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Most of these locations on the parkway are either native or stocked with fish like bass, bream, bluegill, brown trout, rainbow trout, and brook trout. The National Park Service protects over 100 miles of these streams and lakes that flow along the Blue Ridge. Feel free to fish them with a license of that state. Most of the Blue Ridge Parkway lakes are not allowed to swim, but several locations right off the parkway offer swimming. Price Lake at milepost 296.7 has canoes to rent and enjoy. Most of the lakes and rivers have trails that follow them, so a nice hike by the water is for you.
The following rivers are located on the Blue Ridge Parkway and offer great enjoyment and fishing. Starting from the south end are Cherokee Trophy Water, Big East Fork of the Pigeon, South Toe, Wilson Creek, Watauga River in Valle Crucis, Rapidan River, North Fork Moormans River, Jeremy’s Run, Rose River, Big Run, and Madison Run.