The Blue Ridge Parkway is full of natural beauty and points of interest that make it the perfect road trip experience.
If you love going on family road trips, then the Blue Ridge Parkway is one adventure that you will remember for many years to come. Running from Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park; through North Carolina and into Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this route definitely makes for a breathtaking experience, irrespective of the season. From historic mansions to scenic overlooks, there are numerous spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway which are worth visiting with the family.
Blue Ridge Parkway Highlights in Virginia
- Natural Bridge – Milepost 61.6: Located along the Cedar Creek Trail, this wondrous, natural bridge has captivated visitors for centuries, so much that Thomas Jefferson purchased it at one time. A visit here is a must during your visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The cost of admission for adults is $20, children from 7 to 17 is $12, and children younger than 6 are free. A visit to the nearby caverns is extra.
- Mabry Mill – Milepost 176.1: Mabry Mill is famous for its buckwheat, and a stop here for pancakes is a must. Due to their popularity, the pancakes are served all day. In addition, you can visit the mill, blacksmith shop, and gift shop, where you can pick up your own buckwheat flour to make these delicious pancakes at home.
- Blue Ridge Music Center – Milepost 213: One of the most popular stops, especially among music lovers, is the Blue Ridge Music Center. Its outdoor amphitheater is home to bluegrass concerts throughout the year, and a visit to the free American Music Museum is a must.
Blue Ridge Parkway Highlights in North Carolina
- Blowing Rock – Milepost 291.9: Known for its powerful winds, Blowing Rock is a 1,500 feet high cliff that hangs above the Johns River. Due to its unique geography and the strong winds, light objects will float up toward the sky. There is an observation deck here so you can take in the stunning views. The admission rate for adults is $7, children aged 4 to 11 are $2, and children younger than 4 are free.
- Linville Falls – Milepost 316.3: This gorgeous, three tiered waterfall cascades into Linville Gorge and is one of the most popular Blue Ridge Parkway stops on the route. Linville Falls is open to visitors all year from dawn until dusk. Hiking trails also dot the area, so be sure to take in some of the spectacular scenery.
- Southern Highland Folk-Art Center – Milepost 382: Another very popular stop for travelers along the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Southern Highland Folk Art Center, just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. Its galleries feature contemporary and traditional arts and crafts from the region, as well as a gift shop and bookshop. The Folk Art Center is open all year and admission is free.
- Chimney-Rock State Park – Milepost 384.7: Chimney Rock State Park is one of the most visited parks along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It is especially popular with film buffs, as several Hollywood blockbusters shot scenes here. Nearby Lure Lake is also well known as the backdrop for some scenes from the film Dirty Dancing. Admission to Chimney Rock is $15 for adults, $7 for children 5 to 15, and children younger than 5 are free.
- Biltmore – Milepost 388.8: The Biltmore Estate is the pride of North Carolina and is a must when traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Definitely worth an entire day or even an overnight stay, this expansive estate boasts beautiful gardens, winery, numerous restaurants providing award winning cuisine, and more. Admission rates and overnight rates vary, so be sure to book in advance for your stay at the beautiful Biltmore.
A road trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway would not be complete without one or more of these stops. Consider these tips when planning your next road trip.