Last Updated on December 10, 2021
If you’re an avid outdoors person, then you likely have what you consider the best-hiking destinations already in mind. If you’re planning to travel to the Carolinas, Tennessee, or Virginia, you have to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge is a province of the famous Appalachian Mountain range, but you’ve likely heard of them on their own anyway. The Blue Ridge Mountains travel through some of the south’s most beautiful states and cities, so they’re worth a trip, especially if you enjoy the trails. Let’s take a look at some beautiful spots you could stay in as you explore the Blue Ridge.
Johnson City, Tennessee
Tennessee’s motto is “America at Its Best,” and for a good reason. Johnson City is one notable city along the Blue Ridge Mountains. While in the city, things you must experience are Boone Lake and Tweetsie Trail. If you’re also a fan of breweries, Johnson City’s Yee-Haw Brewing Company is worth a stop. The Watauga River is another well-known spot that tourists exploring the Blue Ridge enjoy because it’s also home to Wilbur Dam, the first hydroelectric dam in Tennessee. If you want to make a few days out of Tennessee, why not go ahead and rent a car? Then just simply head to Memphis or Nashville, where you’ll find more nightlife and more prominent city vibes.
Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is the small city of Charlottesville, Virginia. Most known as Thomas Jefferson’s hometown, Charlottesville is full of small-town charm and incredible outdoor experiences. Charlottesville is also home to the University of Virginia and world-class medical services, should you need services like physical therapy in Charlottesville from hiking and traveling. Charlottesville is also known for its breweries and wineries, and you can make an entire day out of exploring them. And don’t forget to shop at The Downtown Mall, the country’s longest pedestrian mall. It’s lined with charming boutiques and local eateries — excellent restaurants are The Whiskey Jar and Hamiltons. If you’re in the shopping mood, check out Bittersweet or Oyster House Antiques.
Asheville, North Carolina
When you’re driving through North Carolina, if you’re not along the coastline, the state can seem somewhat flat and boring — nothing could be further from the truth. While exploring the Blue Ridge, make a point to stop in the metropolitan area of Asheville, North Carolina. Things worth noting in this city are hopping on Lazoom (a giant purple bus) and getting a tour of the town. It’s also a good idea to experience the River Arts District. A beautiful walk along the river opens your world up to local artists and exhibits.
Additionally, the food in Asheville is fantastic. Places worth grabbing a bite are Vivian, The Bull, and Beggar. If you live a plant-based lifestyle, you have to go to Short Street Cakes, a bakery that makes some seriously decadent vegan treats!
Maryland is known for its delicious seafood from the bay, but you’ll likely be far from water if you’re on the Blue Ridge. It’s worth taking a drive to the coast to experience some fantastic crab if you have time. Also, in Frederick, you should check out the art galleries (there are ten!) in downtown Frederick. While you’re downtown, you should also explore the retail and dining scene. While it’s a small city, Frederick has a lot to offer. The city’s proximity to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. also makes it easy to go out for a night in a bigger city if that’s what you’re looking for.
Greenville, South Carolina
Last on the list is the city of Greenville, South Carolina. As the Blue Ridge travels through some great states, you’ve got to stop in South Carolina on your journey. If you’re an art lover, Greenville has two excellent museums worth a visit: the Greenville County Museum of Art and the Bob Jones University Museum and Gallery. Surprisingly, there are also eight comedy venues located in Greenville, so this is a city worth stopping in if you like laughs.
Traveling the Blue Ridge Mountains is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people. One of the most popular times to experience its majesty is in late Fall, as the season change causes the leaves to turn. Many believe the leaves changing in central Virginia is one of the most magnificent displays of the season’s changing in the country. So, if you’ve been thinking about adding this experience to your travel list, let this list be your inspiration to start planning. Happy trails!