What to do, where to eat and where to hike in Boone, North Carolina!
My husband grew up in Boone, NC but long before we met, I loved visiting Boone, probably because it reminds me a lot of home. (I grew up in Utah but have lived in North Carolina for nearly 12 years.)
Boone is a beautiful mountain town with so many outdoor activities and amazing views. It has the cutest downtown, too. Since I’ve been a LOT over the years, we’ve tried nearly all of the restaurants, but there are still a few I need to hit up! (NOTE: This is a post I’ve updated many times over the years as I just keep adding to it. But, it’s worth nothing that many restaurants are closed or only offering takeout right now due to COVID-19 so be sure to call ahead for details. And the city of Boone did just implement a mask requirement. Read more details about that here.)
In the warmer months, Boone is cooler than Winston-Salem or Charlotte, which makes it a perfect getaway. It isn’t as humid and it’s a runner’s heaven. And in the winter, you can hit the slopes or just cozy up next to a fireplace while the snow falls.
Since Tommy’s parents still live in Boone, we have a really good excuse to visit, and we also have a second home in Blowing Rock, North Carolina (which borders Boone). We rent our second home through VRBO and AirBNB, but whenever it’s open, we try to take advantage of it.
Boone, North Carolina – What to do and where to eat
Today, I’m sharing my top picks for what to do and where to eat in Boone! If you’re staying closer to Blowing Rock, check out my Blowing Rock restaurant recommendations in this post. Blowing Rock and Boone are close enough together that it’s easy to hit up both places during a day trip or a weekend stay. So, you’ll notice some of the activities are listed in both posts!
Where to eat in Boone, NC
Boone has some of the best food of anywhere up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. While you might be staying closer to Blowing Rock, Boone is a MUST when it comes to food, so you’ll want to make a trip over there. It isn’t far and there are SO many good options. My personal must-visits on every trip are Coyote Kitchen, Kindly Kitchen and The Cardinal.
- Troy’s 105 Diner – great breakfast, diner style. Simple but solid. They also serve lunch.
- Juice Boone – amazing smoothies, juices, salads. Great for vegan and gluten-free diets. (Good lunch spot too!)
- Melanie’s – great breakfast; get there early or expect a wait
- Boone Bagelry – rumor has it they ship their dough from New York because they like the water from there better for getting the bagels just right. Not sure if that’s a verified fact, but they’re certainly delicious. They have gluten free bagels too.
Coffee & Dessert
- Stickboy Bakery — Just get one of everything. You really can’t go wrong but their red pepper sourdough is incredible ,as are their ginger cookies and oatmeal cookies. It’s not a good sit-down/hang out place since there isn’t seating other than a few benches outside, but definitely take it to-go!
- Local Lion – homemade doughnuts (they do have gluten-free donuts – call to find out which days they are available)
- Appalachian Cookie Company – Cookie lovers, don’t miss this. They also have amazing gluten-free/vegan cookies – I even had them at our wedding.
- Blue Deer Cookies – ice cream sandwiches (the gluten-free cookie is awful, skip it)
- Espresso News – cozy spot to grab coffee or an espresso and knock out some work.
- Hatchet Coffee – my FAVORITE spot for coffee! The space is gorgeous and the coffee is fantastic.
- Kindly kitchen – they serve salads and grain bowls with ingredients that change daily and it’s always SO good. Strictly vegetarian but my very-non-vegetarian husband loves it too.
- Stickboy Kitchen – AMAZING soups, sandwiches and salads. They have a smaller selection of pastries and bread than their bakery location.
- CoBo – Known for their sushi but the crispy pork belly tacos with kimchi are amazing too. They also have shockingly good cheesecake so if it’s available that day, get it!
- Vidalia – Has a great wine bar!
- Coyote Kitchen – all sorts of Southwest and Caribbean deliciousness. Don’t skip the fried plantains. Their tempeh and salmon are my favorite protein choices.
- Proper – don’t miss the collards.
- The Cardinal – amazing burgers. The vegetarian beet burger is out of this world, even if you’re a hardcore carnivore. But, if you’re a carnivore their beef burgers are amazing too, and they often have bison or elk burgers (pictured below). They also offer gluten-free buns.
- Come Back Shack – shockingly solid fast food. Great fries and house made sweet potato chips. They’ll also do lettuce wraps in place of a bun.
- Cha Da Thai – good spot for takeout or to dine-in! I especially love their curries.
- Appalachian Mountain Brewery – the AMB Boone Creek Blonde Ale is my husband’s favorite. I love the Porter. They also have multiple kinds of cider!
- Lost Province Brewery – Fun spot for a beer and they serve food so it’s a great spot for an evening out.
- Booneshine – they just opened a new location with a great view.
Things to do in Boone
I hope you like the outdoors because there is SO much to do year-round in the High Country!
- Grandfather Mountain – hike the profile trail for an active day, or head to the state park with the swinging bridge for a short walk. They start at different places so be sure to make sure you go to the right spot.
- The Blowing Rock – the views are worth the $7 entry fee. Great for all ages and fitness level.
- Boone Greenway – this is a paved, mostly flat greenway that runs through Boone. It’s a great spot to ride bikes, go for a stroll or walk the pup.
- Boone Golf Club – the prettiest public golf course I’ve ever seen. There’s also a driving range if you don’t want to play a round.
- Music on the Lawn – this is such a fun outing in the summer!
- West Jefferson – this place is stuck in time and charming. There’s a cheese factory too. It’s a bit of a drive from Blowing Rock but it’s a fun outing. (It’s about 30-45 minutes, depending on where you’re staying).
- Tubing – River tubing is super relaxing on the gentle New River.
- Tweetsie Railroad – great for kids! I believe they have limited hours in the fall and winter so be sure to check that.
- Fishing – google this for good options since I can’t personally recommend any!
Where to hike & run
There are so many options, but here are a few of my favorite trails near Boone. I asterisked the ones that are some of my favorite spots for running, in particular. (If you want to run during your vacation, you should consider the Zap Endurance Running Camps – seriously amazing. Read about my first camp here.)
- Rough Ridge – it’s a short hike but the trail is pretty rocky with lots of roots. But, the views are INCREDIBLE, especially at sunset (pictured below).
- Bass Lake* – it’s a gravel path that’s very flat and very pretty. It’s a great place to take the pup or kids. There are great trails that run above the lake for longer hikes or runs too. You’ll often see the Zap Fitness elite runners out there too!
- Moses Cone Manor *- amazing views from the top! It connects down to Bass Lake.
- Fire Tower* – the fire tower at the top has incredible views!!! You’ll work on the way up but coast on the way down. It connects to the Moses Cone Manor Trail so you could easily get in a very long run if you started at Bass Lake, ran up to the manor and kept going up to the Fire Tower.
This is at Moses Cone Manor with my mom.
If you go to Boone, I’d love to hear your favorite spots!