The Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs between Virginia and North Carolina, is one of the country’s most scenic drives. The 105-mile road was built by the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps under President Franklin D. Roosevelt — taking more than 52 years to complete and encompassing over 11,000 square miles of land. We suggest spending at least a few days driving the parkway, stopping in the small towns along the way to soak up the Appalachian Mountains’ art, culture, and music. Here are nine highlights to consider for your itinerary.
Waynesboro, VA: Take a detour here for Skyline Drive, a shorter but beautiful scenic drive through the Shenandoah National Park.
Peaks of Otter, VA: Stop at this lookout point — a favorite hangout of Thomas Jefferson — for a view of the three peaks. The town also has a rustic lodge that’s ideal for a romantic getaway.
Roanoke, VA: This colonial-era town was named for the Algonquin word for money, which made it a popular trading post.
Meadows of Dan, VA: Much of the area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Meadows of Dan is also home to Primland, a luxury hunting resort.
Galax, VA: As one of the last points in Virginia — and the midway point on the parkway –Galax is the World Capital of Old Time Mountain Music. Head to the Blue Ridge Music Center to learn more about bluegrass and folk music.
Mount Mitchell, NC: Grab the camera. The first stop in North Carolina is the highest peak east of the Mississippi on the entire parkway.
Boone, NC: The small mountain town is home to Appalachian State University, named for Daniel Boone, who passed through here on his way out west.
Asheville, NC: Known as Beer City USA, this funky town has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the country.
Cherokee, North Carolina: End your tour by taking in the rich culture of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in this North Carolina town.