Few places on earth are graced with as many natural wonders as Avery County, located in the northwest corner of North Carolina’s High Country. This is a magical region—rugged and awe-inspiring on the one hand, and inviting and accessible on the other—boasting nearly 153,000 acres of playground for families that enjoy hiking, skiing, golfing, tubing, swimming, biking, rafting, zipping, horseback riding, exploring, adventuring, antiquing, shopping, or simply relaxing. Four distinct seasons and friendly small towns extend an open invitation all the year round.
Avery County is home to a number of quaint mountain towns and villages, including Newland, Elk Park, Sugar Mountain, Crossnore, Grandfather, and of course, Banner Elk. The latter, often referred to as “the heart of Avery County,” offers a richness and diversity of experiences that draw guests back year after year—often during each successive season.
The wonders never cease at Grandfather Mountain, nor the views that seem to extend forever. This is one of North Carolina’s favorite attractions, drawing thousands of visitors each year to the iconic Mile High Swinging Bridge, wildlife exhibits, and acres of hiking trails.
Blue Ridge Parkway
This is America’s most visited National Park, attracting more than 16,000,000 people in 2017. Best of all, it is just a couple of miles from Eagles Nest, which means families have easy access to a variety of natural attractions, including some of the most outstanding views in all of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Skiing Snowboarding Tubing
Known as the Ski Capitol of the South, Avery County is home to the highest ski slopes along the East Coast. With an average yearly snowfall of nearly 60 inches—along with the ability to make snow—the resorts at Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain are open from fall to spring.
Avery County is home to nine major golf resorts and dozens of championship golf courses—and many more sprinkled throughout the High Country. With a mild summer climate that is generally ten degrees (or more) cooler than the lower mountains near Asheville, Avery County has become a haven for golf.
This is festival country, no matter what the season. The High Country is always up for celebrating music, entertainment, the arts, and culture—both indoors and out. Each year has a packed festival calendar that caters to multiple interests and occasions.
Wooly Worm Festival
This is a must for any fan of the High Country. Held every October in Banner Elk, the Woolly Worm Festival attracts 20,000 people each year who come to celebrate the season and the fuzzy little caterpillar that is said to predict the winter weather.
Whitewater Rafting & Fishing
The High Country is fed by a wide variety of natural water sources and channels. Numerous professional outfitters offer guided excursions along some of the country’s best trout-fishing streams for anglers, and Category 3-4 rapids and rivers for rafters.