Road Tripping the Blue Ridge Parkway, Discovering America’s Scenic Treasure

Story by: Gerry     Date: 5 May 2023   

5 minutes reading time

Embark on an unforgettable journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway, America’s most iconic scenic drive. Stretching 469 miles through the heart of Virginia and North Carolina, this picturesque route offers breathtaking vistas, endless outdoor adventures, and a wealth of historic sites.

We’ll share with you our personal experiences, insider tips, and must-visit stops along the way. So buckle up, roll down your windows, and let’s explore the wonders of the Blue Ridge Parkway together!

1. The Allure of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Allure of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Nestled amidst the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway is more than just a road; it’s an invitation to immerse yourself in the region’s natural beauty and cultural heritage. As you cruise along this winding route, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of rolling hills, verdant valleys, and dramatic mountain landscapes. Additionally, the parkway offers an abundance of recreational opportunities such as hiking, picnicking, and wildlife spotting – making it the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

2. Virginia’s Unforgettable Experiences

Blue Ridge Parkway starts in Virginia

The Blue Ridge Parkway begins in Virginia, providing you with a host of must-visit attractions and stops:

  • Humpback Rocks (Milepost 5.8): This popular hiking destination offers a moderate 1-mile trail leading to a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains.
  • Peaks of Otter (Milepost 86): This idyllic location features the serene Abbott Lake, majestic Sharp Top Mountain, and a historic lodge to relax and enjoy the view.
  • James River Visitor Center (Milepost 63.7): Explore the history of the region, including the Kanawha Canal and the impact of the railroad on the area’s development.
  • Mabry Mill (Milepost 176.1): Step back in time at this historic gristmill and blacksmith shop, offering demonstrations and a glimpse into early Appalachian life.

3. North Carolina’s Hidden Gems

Blue Ridge Parkway - North Carolina

As you continue your journey into North Carolina, you’ll discover a whole new range of attractions and experiences:

  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Park (Milepost 294): This historic estate features a stunning 20-room mansion, beautiful gardens, and over 25 miles of carriage trails to explore.
  • Linville Falls (Milepost 316.4): A series of stunning waterfalls await you at the end of a scenic trail, with multiple viewpoints to capture the perfect photo.
  • Mount Mitchell State Park (Milepost 355.4): Ascend to the highest peak east of the Mississippi and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Craggy Gardens (Milepost 364.6): Experience the vibrant display of rhododendrons and other wildflowers at this high-elevation garden.

4. Best Time to Visit and Road Trip Tips

Best Time to Visit Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway is stunning year-round, but we highly recommend visiting during the fall foliage season, typically between late September and early November. During this time, the mountains come alive with vibrant hues of red, orange, and gold, making it a photographer’s dream.

To make the most of your road trip, consider these tips:

  • Plan your accommodations in advance, as lodging options can fill up quickly during peak travel seasons.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, as sections of the parkway may close due to inclement conditions.
  • Be prepared for varying temperatures and pack layers to stay comfortable throughout your journey.
  • Take your time to fully experience the beauty and attractions along the way – the Blue Ridge Parkway is meant to be savored, not rushed.

5. Local Flavors and Culinary Delights

Local cuisine allong Blue Ridge Parkway

No road trip is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find an array of delightful eateries and farm-to-table experiences:

  • The Floyd Country Store (Floyd, VA): Famous for its Friday Night Jamboree, this classic country store also offers delicious homestyle meals and locally sourced products.
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Bakery (Blowing Rock, NC): Stop by for a scrumptious treat like their homemade breads, pastries, or sandwiches, and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.
  • Pisgah Inn (Milepost 408.6): Dine at the inn’s restaurant and savor the mouthwatering dishes while marveling at the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

6. Beyond the Parkway: Nearby Destinations

Shenandoah National Park - Blue-Ridge Parkway

While the Blue Ridge Parkway is undoubtedly the star attraction, don’t miss the opportunity to explore some of the nearby destinations that add even more depth to your road trip:

  • Shenandoah National Park (Virginia): Just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this park boasts over 500 miles of hiking trails, including a portion of the Appalachian Trail, and the famed Skyline Drive.
  • Asheville (North Carolina): A vibrant city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville offers a lively arts scene, impressive culinary offerings, and the historic Biltmore Estate.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina/Tennessee): As the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this national park is renowned for its diverse plant and animal life, ancient mountains, and the enchanting beauty of its misty landscapes.


The Blue Ridge Parkway is undoubtedly one of America’s most breathtaking and memorable road trip destinations. With its sweeping vistas, rich history, and countless opportunities for adventure, it’s no wonder that this captivating route has captured the hearts of travelers for generations. If you’re seeking an unparalleled road trip experience that combines natural beauty, cultural exploration, and endless adventure, look no further than the Blue Ridge Parkway. So pack your bags, fuel up your car, and get ready to discover the magic of this scenic treasure. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!

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