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Dining, Activities + Attractions - by town

Updated: Jan 30

**this is still a working itinerary, but here's what. we favor right now:



The Blanton House - If you're looking for an upscale date night - historical home w/ delicious bites!

Crabby Abby's - Slightly upscale, American cuisine in a classic atmosphere. Delicious food!

Eddie's Pizza & Pasta - They have a drive thru, making pick up very simple!

Ingenious Coffee Roasters - Best coffee in town!

McDowell Local - Locally sourced, hand crafted food. Try Odell's Pickle Plate.

Mica Town Brewing - Local brewery, Downtown Marion

Taylor's Brewing - Local brewery, Downtown Marion

Todd's Golden Fried Chicken - Fried Chicken & Fish, served individually or in family bundles.

DoorDash - Delivery, out here? Barely, but yes... There are limited options for food to be delivered directly to your campsite or cabin via the doordash app.


Gogo's Cinnamon Rolls - Handmade cinnamon rolls - enjoy them there or take them to go!

Hillman Beer - Food & craft beer with tables overlooking the river

Whaley Farm Brewery - Well crafted craft beer with hyper-local flair. New wood fired pizza truck on-site.


Black Mountain Brewing - smack in the middle of downtown

Black Mountain Pizza & Ale House

Blue Ridge Biscuit Company - Giant biscuits and something for everyone!

Foothills Grange - Craft beer, Food Truck, Great kids playing area!

Lookout Brewery - Outdoor seating & dog friendly.

The Pure and Proper - An all-day cafe : trendy atmosphere, coffee and full menu


Copper Penny Grill - Eclectic and modern American cuisine options.

Maples on Main - Great brunch!!

Yellow Sun Brewery - Wood fired pizza and craft beer!


Burntshirt VineyardsTasting Room and Bistro - In the heart of downtown this two-story tasting room features outdoor seating and great views of the main drag.

Chimney Rock Brewery - overlooks the river with outdoor seating

Riverwatch Bar & Grill - Just as the same says, watch the river and grab some bar food.



Banks Creek Barn - Open March - October - Craft Beer, Art Gallery, and Trout Fishing (keep what you catch and they'll clean it for you!) - a great place for the whole family!

Buck Creek Trout Farm - The catch-out pond is a wonderful place for family fun and group outtings. They provide fishing poles, and bait. This is fun fishing for any age or skill level. No fishing license is required.

Catawba Falls - Mossy & shady forest trail leading to a series of waterfalls on the Catawba River. CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS

Catawba River Outdoors - Take a two hour relaxing tubing ride down the Catawba River. Reservations not required for groups of 9 on less. New Location: Dolphin Fish Camp, 2334 US 221 business N, Marion, NC 28752 Greenlee Park (DIY Tubing, Canoe, Kayak on the Catawba River) - You may choose to "take out" at Marion's Joseph McDowell Greenway, public parking area is available from dusk to dawn, or float further to River Breeze Campground or continue until the Catawba River meets Lake James. At this point, paddle left towards Burnette Landing. You may park a car here for $3.00, subject to change. Call 828-652-3531 to reach Burnette's Landing to confirm parking privileges.

Joseph McDowell Greenway - Beautifully paved 3.5 mile greenway along the Catawba River. (Note: Google Maps is incorrect, parking lot is behind the Sonic is Marion)

Little Switzerland - Just north of Marion...This tiny summer retreat along the Blue Ridge Parkway is known for its charming architecture, historic inns, gem mining, winding motorcycle drives and amazing book store.

Looking for a scenic drive? Follow the Lake James Loop, it's a quiet two-hour ride on scenic backroads joining the Parkway and circling Lake James. Along the way stop by Bear Creek Marina, the Orchard at Altapass, Little Switzerland, and Linville Caverns.

Marion Hot Wheelz - a roller skating business providing a high level of clean, fun, friendly, and safe participatory entertainment

The Lucky Strike Gold & Gem Mine - Beware; when you see that first glint of gold in your pan you will be hooked! Gold & Gem Mining + Diner food just 2 miles away

Tom's Creek Falls - This beautiful, 80-ft. multi-cascade waterfall in the Pisgah National Forest is an easy one-mile round-trip hike.

Thermal City Gold Mine - The Gem Mine at Thermal City Gold Mine offers the best in Gem Mining North Carolina at one of the best NC Gem Mines.


Beanstalk Ziplines - More than just a zipline experience, this is a full aerial experience. Enter the " Giants" chair, ascend the cargo net, test your nerves as you traverse the swaying suspension bridges 35 feet above the ground.

Heartbreak Ridge - As the name implies, this down hill, four mile bike trail descends approximately 2,000 feet and is a true heart breaker.

Lake James State Park - Public Beach with canoe rentals, hiking/mountain biking trails, and picnic shelters along Lake James.

Lake James Neighborhood Store - Full day boat rentals launching from Lake James Marina.

The Catawba Angler - a fly fishing and light tackle guide service based out of Old Fort, North Carolina.


Just check out the town! A charming mountain town with breweries and fantastic eateries.


Canopy Ridge Farm - Zipling Adventures and UTV Tours. Cedar Creek Stables - One hour and one and a half hour trail rides through the creek and on wide mountain trails. One Hour-$50. 1.5 Hour-$70 Chimney Rock Adventure Golf - Miniature Golf along the creek Chimney Rock State Park - Iconic hiking, rock climbing and an elevator to the top! Admission: Adult – $17, Youth (ages 5-15) – $8, Ages 4 and under – Free

Lake Lure Beach - Public beach surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Admission: Adults $10, Kids 4-12 $8. Kids under 4 - free

Lake Lure Washburn Marina - Guided Boat Tours, Lunch Cruises, Pontoon Rentals, Kayak/Canoe/Stand-up Paddle board Rentals and Hydro Bikes for rent.

Riverside Riding Stables - Guided horse tours along the river.


Asheville - Breweries, Eateries & Art. You just have to see it for yourself.

Botanical Gardens of Asheville - a 10-acre independent, non-profit botanical garden dedicated to the study and promotion of the native plants and habitats of the Southern Appalachians.

Carolina Hemlocks Recreation Area, Burnsville - swimming hole

Crabtree Falls, Marion - Waterfall cascading down a 60-ft. rock, with a 2.5-mi. looped trail featuring ferns & wildflowers.

Grassy Creek Falls, Little Switzerland area - A steep downward hike offers visitors views of this multi-tiered waterfall in a woodland setting.

Historic Orchard at Altapass. Little Switzerland - Take home unforgettable memories of bluegrass music, hay rides, clogging, mountain cooking, area artists and craftsmen, original plays, storytelling and much more. May Open Sat/Sun. June 1st through October 31st - Hours are Wednesday through Sunday!

Linville Falls & Linville Caverns, Linville Falls - moderate hike to the most popular waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Mount Mitchell, Burnsville - The highest peak east of the Mississippe

WNC Nature Center, Asheville - daily animal programs, interactive Nature Play areas, and hands-on learning activities.

FOR SPECIAL EVENTS + MORE SUGGESTIONS, follow these favorite blogs:

If you're looking for a family friendly camping or glamping vacation, look no further than Gold River camp + cabins. Located in Marion, NC, at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains and just 45-minutes from Asheville, we are not short of activities. If you need additional suggestions, don't hesitate to reach out, I have activities to recommend in Chimney Rock, Lake Lure, Hendersonville, Burnsville, Asheville, Morganton and Hickory - all within an hours drive!


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