Nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits the friendly burg of Waynesville. The vibrant small town is the largest west of Asheville and offers many ways to Live the Life You Choose. When was the last time you visited this mountain retreat with magnificent mountain views of the Blue Ridge Parkway?
Whether you’re vacationing or stay-cationing, here’s a quick itinerary to build an awesome weekend in Waynesville, NC.
CHECK INTO YOUR RENTAL
Photo of Andon-Reid Inn B&B from VisitNCSmokies.com
Why stay at an impersonal hotel when you can sleep like a local? Centrally located in Haywood County, Waynesville offers a variety of rental options for those excited to be in the heart of Western North Carolina. Choose an upscale B&B in walking distance to downtown or a mountain cabin with unbelievable views—the choice is yours!
SINK YOUR TEETH INTO SWEET ONION
Photo Sweet Onion
Nestled in the heart of downtown, the Sweet Onion Restaurant offers regional cuisine with contemporary flair. Try traditional favorites like southern fried chicken, fresh mountain trout, and scrumptious house-made desserts. Don’t miss the signature sweet onion soup, sweet onion parmesan, and sweet onion wiener schnitzel. Whether this is a solo visit or you’re there with the whole family, the menu does not disappoint.
ADMIRE ART AFTER DARK
Art After Dark transforms downtown Waynesville and the historic Frog Level neighborhood into an exquisite visual, culinary, and performing arts center. According to their site, there are few local destinations where you’ll find such a wide breadth of talented artisans and craftspeople. We would have to agree! Participating galleries offer meet and greets, featured shows, refreshments, and live local music. The event happens on the first Friday evening of each month, May through December, from 6:00–9:00pm.
FIND YOUR EARLY-MORNING CURE-ALL AT PANACEA
Photo Panacea Coffee Co.
Enjoy a fresh coffee and healthy breakfast at Panacea Coffee Co. on Commerce Street. Since 2002, Panacea has been a full-service espresso bar and coffee roastery that serves a wide variety of coffee and tea beverages. For late risers, breakfast is available all day. Choose a lox and bagel plate, quiche, fresh fruit and yogurt, or crunchy granola with steamed milk. Find your panacea and find a meeting place, a celebrating place, and a sharing place.
Outdoor adventures are limitless around Waynesville! The Blue Ridge Parkway bisects the county, making for a great drive. High-elevation hiking abounds, as Haywood County is home to 13 peaks above 6,000 feet—including the famous Cold Mountain. All of county’s rivers and creeks originate within the county, making it a great location for waterfalls and wildlife. View elk from the scenic Cataloochee Valley area of the Great Smoky Mountains or zipline through the Pigeon River area.
EXPLORE HAZELWOOD VILLAGE
Although it was incorporated by Waynesville in 1995, the Hazelwood Village neighborhood has retained a character of its own. Enjoy arts and shopping along the walkable Hazelwood Avenue, including the iconic Hazelwood Soap Company. Robin Blu is one of our favorite “pop into” spots in Waynesville. With a passion for all things creative and unique, you’re sure to find the perfect gift for your loved ones or yourself at Robin Blu.
GRAB A CRAFT BREW
Photo Trip Advisor
Waynesville is home to a couple great craft breweries. Learn about local legends at Boojum Brewing Company, featuring 16 taps of awesome craft beer, along with wine, cocktails, and seasonal pub faire. Or enjoy some of the smoothest craft beer to touch your tongue at Frog Level Brewery in the historic district of the same name. Camp out at one, or try them both—they’re just a short walk apart!
GET STRANDED ON MAIN STREET
Established in 1942, the Strand at 38 Main is a Main Street institution, as well as the only theater in Haywood County. The industrial-style space features second-run Hollywood blockbusters and classic films, plus live music. Even if you aren’t staying for a full film, stop in and enjoy local ice cream, beer, wine, a full coffee bar, and theater snacks.
ENJOY AN EGGCELLENT BRUNCH AT TRAILHEAD
Photo Trailhead Cafe & Bakery
This is not your usual café experience. Trailhead Cafe & Bakery offers unique and flavor-filled breakfast and lunch choices, from eggcellent sandwiches to benedict biscuits. But we challenge you to visit without filling yourself with the delectable from-scratch donuts and pastries! Whether you’re grabbing something to hit the trails or staying a while, you won’t regret your choice at Trailhead.
SHOP AND STROLL MAIN STREET
Downtown Waynesville’s stroll-able sidewalks and restored historic buildings are a shopper’s paradise. And with plenty of free parking, you don’t have to worry about the time! Cat in the Attic Treasures offers collectibles, antiques, and local art. Balsam Antique Mall is another great spot for treasure hunters. Just a few blocks from Main Street, don’t miss the historic Frog Level neighborhood, as well.
EXPLORE YOUR MOUNTAIN HERITAGE
Photo Shelton House
Open May through October, the grand Shelton House in Waynesville (built in 1875) now houses the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts (founded in 1977). Enjoy a guided tour in the Charleston-style farmhouse with a double veranda. View heritage crafts from the 18th and 19th centuries, agricultural exhibits, and items of today’s crafters and artisans. The museum was also the first site on the Haywood County Quilt Trails.
Plan Your Next Trip
Historic buildings, relaxing benches, public art, and welcoming folks make Waynesville a thoroughly enjoyable place to live and visit. And if that’s not enough, the Blue Ridge Mountains offer a lifetime of outdoor adventures. It’s great to visit any day of the year, but visitors in July have a special treat. Folkmoot USA is headquartered in Waynesville. The event offers an unforgettable a 10-day celebration of the world’s cultures through folk music and dance.
See the charm of Waynesville, NC for yourself! Read more about Waynesville, see more photos, or search for homes in the area, from our Beverly-Hanks Waynesville community page.