When you ask people their favorite travel destinations in North Carolina, Asheville, the Outer Banks, Charlotte, Boone, and Raleigh usually top the lists. Nothing against any of those places; I love them all – but none of them even make my top 5.
I prefer discreet travel destinations. As a matter of fact, my favorite place for a getaway isn’t a major tourist attraction. It’s a place without big cities, few nightlife venues, and no shopping malls. But for me, that’s the whole point. That place? Haywood County.
Okay, I know it sounds incredibly biased – but the truth is, if I didn’t have deep roots in Canton, I’d still be in love with Haywood County. Every town retains its Appalachian culture, it’s beautiful, and even without many mainstream attractions, there’s a ton to do and see in the area.
Below you’ll find my list of the top 10 things to do in Haywood County. From the great outdoors to shopping, the list includes a little bit of something for everyone.
10 Things to Do in Haywood County
Shop at the Mast General Store
The Mast General Store is a Western North Carolina icon. The first store opened in Valle Crucis in 1883 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s still open today.
The flagship store is a long ride from Haywood County. Luckily, the Mast General Store has several locations, including one in Waynesville. Tourists and locals alike adore this store, where you can find everything from Patagonia jackets to old-timey candies.
Clog in Maggie Valley
Haywood County is home to Maggie Valley, the “Clogging Capitol of the World.” It’s one of the best places to watch locals perform the Appalachian folk dance. If you are in town and want to see what clogging is all about, check out the Stompin’ Grounds. The bluegrass and country dance hall is open every Friday and Saturday night.
Hike In Cataloochee
Wild turkey, black bear, and elk, oh my! If you are a nature lover, Cataloochee will steal your heart. This part of the Great Smokey Mountain National Park is littered with hiking trails, wildlife, and historic buildings. It’s one of the few places I visit every time I go home.
See Lake Logan
Located in Sunburst, Lake Logan is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of WNC. Amenities are only available to those visiting the retreat. But don’t write this place off! Lake Logan has some of the most gorgeous scenery in Haywood County. Many of my favorite family photos were taken on the bridge that crosses over the lake. 😉
Dinner at Bogart’s
I have a long and cherished history with Bogart’s. It was one of Daddy’s favorite restaurants, so I grew up going there for special occasions. If you’re looking for a delicious place to eat in Waynesville, this is where you want to go!
Walk Around Lake Junaluska
If you love to walk – but hiking isn’t your thing; the scenic walking trail around Lake Junaluska is for you! The 3.8-mile loop encircles the lake, allowing you to enjoy historic buildings, lake wildlife, wildflowers, and other Lake Junaluska sites. And don’t worry! There are plenty of resting spots along the way.
Explore the Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest covers over half a million acres, and runs through 12 counties. Haywood County is one of those! This is where you can hike the Shining Rock Wilderness, see the Indian Wash Pots (local name for Sunburst Falls), and visit Cold Mountain.
Get fresh Rainbow Trout from the Sunburst Trout Farm
Love fish, but fishing isn’t your thing? No worries! Stop by Sunburst Trout Farm and bring home a cooler full.
Play in the Pigeon River
The Pigeon river was named for the extinct passenger pigeon that once migrated through the area. It runs 70-miles-long across Haywood County into Tennessee. It is a great place to enjoy fishing, swimming, and inter-tubing.
Drive Through Crabtree
This one might seem a little weird to tourists. You won’t find any shopping centers, restaurants, or public hiking spots in Crabtree. So why even visit?
Crabtree is one of the most beautiful places in Western North Carolina. At the top of the mountain is a spectacular view of Canton in the valley below. And on the trip down, the scenery looks like something straight out of a storybook.
Are you a Haywood County native? Have you ever visited before? What are the 10 things you like to do in Haywood County? Drop me a comment! I’d love to hear about your experiences.