18 Things to Do in Waynesville, North Carolina

Waynesville is the new Asheville.

Are you heading to the North Carolina Smokies? You don't want to miss Waynesville, North Carolina. Asheville is this town's nearby neighbor and may get a lot more buzz, but Waynesville is brimming with art galleries, natural splendors, and a humming culinary scene. Here are some ways to make the most of your time in this charming small town.

Where to Shop

Shop Main Street

Whether you're in the market for antiques, art, or clothing, Waynesville has an eclectic mix of independently-owned stores to please any visitor. Carve out an afternoon to walk along Main Street and pop into old-fashioned general stores, art galleries, book stores, and clothing boutiques as you please.

Craft and jewelry store Twigs & Leaves sells beautiful wall art, pottery, and wood products, emphasizing Southern Appalachian artisans. For something vintage, visit The Station on Main to find that perfect retro or neon sign. If you're lucky, you may even be in town while Waynesville throws one of their much-loved block parties with live music and fun for visitors of all ages.

Shop for Antiques

For flea-market enthusiasts, Sutton and Son's Antiques is a must-see. Authentic art pieces, furniture, and memorabilia are perfect gifts for collectors or unique pieces for decorators. Vintage architectural items, such as barn wood or kitchen sinks, can also often be found here.

Shop the General Store

The charming Mast General Store, open since 1883, is a nostalgic paradise. The store has a combination of incredibly unique old-fashion candies and modern outdoor gear perfect for hiking the trails. Artisan-made gifts and throwback items from "Yesteryear" makes this store a shopping destination you don't want to miss.

How to Be Active

Waynesville Yoga Center
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Get your flow on at Waynesville Yoga Center

Seasonally, you can practice outdoors at this hub, where every level yogi is welcome. You can practice a downward dog on the patio as you watch the sunset over the majestic mountains, a fitting meditative scenery. Or, practice in the indoor studio, which begs for a thick pair of socks and yoga blanket canoodling.

Hike through Wildflowers

Seek the wildflowers and discover waterfalls on the trails near Waynesville. Flowers surround the rushing waters of Midnight Hole during the spring and summer months, but there is nature to explore year-round. Pack a picnic and follow the swallowtail butterflies throughout the trails.

Hit the Links

Book a stay at the Waynesville Inn and Golf Club for a rustic retreat. The golf course, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, has 18-holes of lush landscaping and scenery. You will always find something to do between golfing, the restaurant and bar, or the pro shop.

Slingshot Tour Haywood County
Courtesy of visitncsmokies.com

Tour the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Smoky Mountain Slingshot Rentals is a three-wheeled motorcycle that will excite all passengers as they cruise around scenic Haywood County, especially if you drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway at sunset or sunrise. Picturesque routes, like the Deal's Gap, will expose you to some of the area's breathtaking views and vistas.

Eat (and Drink) Like a Local

Visit the Frog Level area of Waynesville

Right off Main Street, you'll find the Frog Level area of Waynesville. This popular nook of town is hard to miss, thanks to the frog mural. While here, grab a brew at Panacea Coffeehouse or a pint from Frog Level Brewing Company. These spots share a deck perched on Richland Creek, ideal for a warm-weather hang. Keep your eyes peeled for works from local artists in this antiquer's paradise.

Sauced Waynesville NC
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Eat Like a King or Queen

The variety in Waynesville's food scene is tremendous for a small town. Visit the laid-back restaurant, Sauced, and enjoy live music while sampling the menu of pizza, tacos, and a dizzying array of craft brews. Or, enjoy the refined ambiance and fare at The Chef's Table or Southern cuisine at The Sweet Onion.

Attend a Winemaker Dinner

Enjoy live music while sampling over 1,000 wine selections, including specialty or hard-to-find bottles at The Classic Wineseller. Educational classes and winemaker dinners make this spot a fun place to visit during every season. Around the corner from Main Street, this wine and cigar shop offers a selection of beer, champagnes, and other beverages.

Beer Sparkling in Glass
Marina Bakush / Getty Images

Attend a Beer Tasting

Stop by the Blue Ridge Beer Hub and sample craft brews, including beer, wine, cider, and mead. This brewery, a favorite of locals, has a large selection curated by its owners. You can also take your new beer brewing knowledge home because homebrew and winemaking ready-made kits are available.

What to Do

See a Show

Inspired by the traditional Summer Stock playhouses of the 1920s, the Haywood Arts Regional Theater is a semi-professional theater group offering renditions of classic plays and musicals. Only two blocks from Historic Waynesville's Main Street, this theatre is fun for the entire family. A Christmas performance is an annual tradition.

Folkmoot Festival
Courtesy of visitncsmokies.com

Attend the Folkmoot Festival

If you can plan your vacation around this one-of-a-kind festival, you'll be thrilled you did. The international folk fest celebrates the world's cultures—along with local Cherokee and Appalachian cultures—through music, dance, and heritage arts. A year-round non-profit named Folkmoot serves as a performance center in Waynesville and hosts regular "friendship dinners."

Cowboy Coward
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Spot legendary "Cowboy Coward"

Only in Waynesville, folks. Herbert "Cowboy" Coward played a hillbilly villain in the 1972 film, Deliverance. Now, he's a beloved local you're likely to run into if you spend some time around town—just look for his leashed squirrel named Angel.

Ten Acre Garden
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Visit Ten Acre Garden

Head 20 minutes outside of Waynesville to Canton, and prepare to be amazed by one of the prettiest U-pick fruit-and-vegetable farms you've ever seen. On Saturdays, a donations-only wood-burning pizza oven churns out incredible pies, topped with crops fresh from the farm.

Explore the Wildlife

We'll be the first to admit the 5 a.m. wake-up call is not what you expect to do on vacation, but it's well worth it to see the exquisite elks and wildlife on the Cataloochee Valley Tours. These creatures are also active at sunset.

Seasonally, you can book a tour with this award-winning outfitter, throughout which experts share exciting tidbits about wildlife, history, and conservation.

Visit an Animal Farm

Spend the day with sheep, alpacas, mini horses, pigs, and more at the Winchester Creek Farm for the animal farm tour. The 20-acre farm offers educational tours to learn about the "Farmily." After, stop by and shop at the Granny's House Gift Shop for unique gifts, stationery, and home decor.

Sweet Dreams at Boyd Mountain Log Cabins

Post up at one of the antique log cabins on the 130-acre Christmas tree farm in Waynesville, North Carolina. Curl up by the fireplace or on your front porch rocking chair. The pastoral grounds are an ideal place to unwind after a busy day.

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