Travel With Kids: Boone, North Carolina

Travel With Kids: Boone, North Carolina 1

Tucked inside the Blue Ridge Mountains just outside the Tennessee border, Boone is a small mountain town in North Carolina that sits at an elevation of 3,333 feet. Just under 20,000 people call Boone home, including many that are connected to Appalachian State University and the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. Boone is famously named after American explorer and pioneer Daniel Boone, "the rippin'est, roarin'est, fightin'est man the frontier ever knew!"

WEATHER IN BOONE, NC

One of the very best things about visiting Boone in the summer is the weather. Exchange high temperatures and muggy, humid days for the crisp, cool mountain air of Boone. Even in the dead of the summer (June, July, and August), highs almost never cross the 80-degree mark. With daily summer temperatures between 55 and 75 degrees, it's no wonder that people choose Boone for a getaway from seasonal heat.

GETTING TO AND AROUND BOONE, NC

Driving around Boone is a breeze, but note that some roads are steep and curvy (such as those that take you up to Grandfather Mountain).

THINGS TO DO IN BOONE, NC

Grandfather Mountain

First, to clear up a bit of confusion... Grandfather Mountain, as you have probably seen it most commonly advertised, is a 700-acre attraction with a $10-$24/person ticket cost that includes the Mile High Swinging Bridge, Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, hiking trails, and Wildlife Habitats. Grandfather Mountain State Park is a series of hiking trails and backpacking sites, which you will see on the way up to the paid attraction. It's rather perplexing that the areas share the same name and much of the same property, but they are, in fact, two different attractions.

If you just want to take a hike or enjoy a leisurely picnic with your family, you can do so for free in Grandfather Mountain State Park. Hiking permits are mandatory, but free.

If you are determined to see or walk across the Mile High Swinging Bridge, however, you will need to drive through the entrance kiosks and pay the associated fees for access to Grandfather Mountain.

GOOD TO KNOW:

  • The drive up to Grandfather Mountain has many tight turns and curves adjacent to cliffs. If someone in your party is prone to nausea, follow these basic rules: (1) Eat enough, but not too much. (2) Drink plenty of water the night before. That being said, motion sickness may not be a problem since the drive is quick.
  • RVs more than 28 feet in length are not permitted on the 2-mile summit up the mountain because of hairpin curves.
  • If you have seen mountains and bridges in the west (Arizona, Colorado, etc), you may be underwhelmed by the size and scope of Grandfather Mountain (elevation: 6,000 feet). Don't get us wrong. It's scenic and beautiful, but relatively small in comparison.
  • The Swinging Bridge (which is 228 feet in length) doesn't really swing. If you're worried about feeling unsteady, you can put your mind at ease. There is very little motion when you cross over, even when a crowd is on the bridge.
  • Your ticket to Grandfather Mountain also includes animal habitats where you can see eagles, otters, elks, a bear, a cougar, a falcon, and an owl.
  • There are 100+ picnic tables on Grandfather Mountain so feel free to pack your own lunch or snacks.

GENERAL INFORMATION FOR GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN:

  • HOURS: 8:00am-7:00pm daily (Summer), 9:00am-6:00pm daily (Fall/Spring), 9:00am-5:00pm daily (Winter)
  • COST: Adult $24, Senior (ages 60+) $22, Child (ages 4-12) $10, Child (ages 3 and under) FREE
  • LEARN MORE

Mystery Hill

If you like quirky attractions with small town appeal, Mystery Hill will be your cup of tea. The eclectic mix of attractions includes an old home from the 1900s, a large arrowhead collection, axe-throwing, old-fashioned photos, bull riding, gem-mining, a miniature farm area with chickens and rabbits, and an anti-gravity room.

GOOD TO KNOW:

  • Axe-throwing is best for ages 10-11+ because of the heft and weight of the axes.
  • If you purchase a package with access to Professor Finnegan's Old Time Photos, note that most packages come with print photos only. (We would have far preferred to have access to one digital copy instead).

GENERAL INFORMATION:

  • HOURS: 9:00am-6:00pm daily
  • COST: Various packages. Approximately $50/person for access to most/all attractions.
  • LEARN MORE

DINING IN BOONE, NC

Publix

Boone has a surprisingly modern, well-lit, sparkling clean, and well-stocked Publix grocery store. In fact, we visited seventeen states this summer and Public was one of our favorite grocers.

GOOD TO KNOW:

  • Wonderful scents will reach your nose when you enter the store because Publix has a great bakery.
  • Publix is the perfect place to stock up on supplies for a picnic! In addition to sparkling water, chips, and various snacks, you may also want to stop by the deli to order sub sandwiches to-go. Also: Publix's Apple Cheese Walnut Premium Salad Kit is delightfully fresh and light! A big thumbs up from our whole family!
  • If you are visiting from outside the Southern States and do not have a Publix card, we recommend that you sign up for one ahead of time on the website to maximize your savings in the store.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

WHERE TO STAY IN BOONE, NC

We stayed in our RV at the Boone KOA, "the highest KOA east of the Mississippi River." See our full Campground Spotlight for details.

OUT NEXT TRIP TO BOONE, NC

If we return to Boone, North Carolina in the future, we plan to:

HAVE FUN IN BOONE, NC!

Watch this page for continued updates and top tips for planning your next trip to Boone, North Carolina.

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