Blowing Rock and the High Country are known for being outdoor destinations, so rainy days can stump folks looking for entertainment. But there’s still LOTS to do in the area! We’ve listed over 40 links below as suggestions to enjoy a rainy day around here.
If it’s a light passing rain, you may consider ignoring it! Wear a rain-proof jacket and some water resistant shoes and enjoy the views on Blue Ridge Parkway, visit the attraction you planned to see, or take that hike. Truly, there is something magical about the Appalachian woodlands in rainy conditions. The mists hang low in the valleys, and new greens shimmer in the damp. If there is thunder and lightning, however, be sure to take cover indoors immediately. And heavy rains can quickly lead to flash flood conditions in the mountains, so head indoors for heavy rain, too. One of our fantastic local restaurants is always a great place for waiting out a storm!
Since not all rain can be ignored and sometimes you need something to do while waiting it out, here’s that list of indoor things for those rainy days! Some can take up large blocks of the day, and others may be a quick stop while the clouds clear a bit more.
–Blowing Rock Art & History Museum– see rotating and ever-changing exhibits, or check schedule for special programming or classes. Free admission!
–Mystery Hill has more to offer than ever, with the all-weather Tomahawk Hill, and a snack bar with local goodies. You’ll still find the wild Mystery House, incredible artifacts collections, and hands-on science fun.
–Tanger Outlets – Covered walkways make shopping in the rain a dry experience.
–Parkway Craft Center– free crafting demonstrations on the porch in summer, plus a beautiful gallery on the lower floor. Free upstairs tours available on weekends May-October with reservations. Inside the historic mansion of Moses H. Cone, the “Denim King.”
–Artists in Residence at Edgewood Cottage– From Memorial Day through Labor Day, find free art shows at Edgewood Cottage on Main Street, next to the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum. Step inside and meet different High Country artists each week. Art for every interest (and budget)!
–Gem Mining– Doc’s Rocks in Blowing Rock has lots of indoor flumes!
–Appalachian Fossil Museum– Doc’s Rocks is also home to an incredible collection that includes dinosaur fossils.
–Linville Caverns– Always rain-free and 52 degrees inside. See incredible formations and learn some interesting geology and local history at NC’s only show caverns.
–Country Retreat Family Billiards– a family-friendly business with high-quality pool tables and an in-house restaurant.
–Center 45 Climbing– indoor climbing facility in Boone with a variety of skill levels
–Mysterium Escape Adventure– An escape room puzzle experience in downtown Boone
–Original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis- built in 1883. Don’t forget the Candy Barrel at the Annex!
–Theater– Show at Ensemble Stage, Performing Arts Series at Appalachian State University, or Lees McRae Summer Theatre
–Local coffee– Bald Guy Brew or Camp Coffee are two local coffee shops and roasteries in Blowing Rock. Boone is also home to several locally-owned and corporate coffee shops- ask a local for a recommendation!
–Or Local Tea– If you aren’t a coffee drinker but would still like a warm-up, stop into Marmalade on Sunset Drive. With a dizzying number of hand-mixed tea selections that can all be brewed up hot or cold, you’ll find something delicious!
–Spa treatment– Westglow Spa, a Relais & Chateau property, and Chetola Spa offer a wide variety of treatments. The Inn at Crestwood is also close by with spa options. Boone offers some day-spa and beauty bar spots as well.
–Galleries– make your own self-guided tour, there are so many to see in Blowing Rock, Boone, Foscoe, and Banner Elk.
–Winery tasting rooms- See our winery information page for details on three local wineries.
–Jones House– historic house and cultural center in Boone, with a regular concert series.
–Turchin Center– Visual arts museum on King Street in Boone, part of the Appalachian State University campus.
–Ashe County Cheese– Take a look inside the factory and see cheese being made.
–Children’s Playhouse– Indoor family play center in Boone.
–Churches of the Frescoes– Two small churches in Ashe County with renowned fresco paintings by Ben Long inside.
–Local Breweries– Blowing Rock Brewing in Blowing Rock; Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Lost Province Brewing, and Booneshine Brewing in Boone, Boonedocks Brewery and New River Brewing in West Jefferson, and Kettell Beerworks in Banner Elk.
–Watch fudge being made at Kilwin’s in Blowing Rock.
–Watch candles being made at High Country Candles in Blowing Rock.
Don’t forget that the mountains often make rainy conditions very spotty. It may be pouring in one place, and sunny just a few miles down the road. It’s common to hear around here, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.”
See more travel ideas on our Main Itineraries Page!