North Carolina Towns

Mountain Towns In North Carolina: Highland Havens

Peaks and Pleasures: A Guide to Mountain Magic in North Carolina

The natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and small-town charm of the mountain towns in North Carolina captivate residents and visitors alike. Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of the Appalachian Mountains, these highland havens with crisp air and scenic vistas invite wanderers to embrace the allure of nature and Southern hospitality. Are you seeking a refreshing escape from the humdrum of urban life? From the lofty peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the quaint valleys, let’s embark on a virtual journey to explore the captivating mountain towns in North Carolina.

Elevated Elegance: Enchanting Small Mountain Towns In North Carolina

1.Asheville: A Cultural Oasis

An introduction to the mountain towns in North Carolina begins with Asheville, a vibrant and eclectic town. Known as Land of the Sky, Asheville sits at the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Explore the bustling downtown filled with art galleries, craft breweries, farm-to-table restaurants, and enjoy live music in the streets. Also, the historic Biltmore Estate, a grand mansion surrounded by lush gardens, is a must-visit. Furthermore, the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway offers breathtaking views, making Asheville a haven for nature enthusiasts and culture seekers. Hence, as a beacon of culture and creativity, Asheville is among the best mountain towns in North Carolina to live in.

The Restoration Asheville, Albemarle Inn, Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville

Population: 94,067 (2021)

2.Boone: College Town Vibes

Nestled in the High Country region, Boone exudes a youthful energy, thanks to the Appalachian State University. Hiking trails, skiing, and the famous Grandfather Mountain make Boone one of the best mountain towns in North Carolina for outdoor enthusiasts. Visit the pedestrian-friendly downtown filled with shops, restaurants, music venues, and a thriving arts scene. Don’t miss out on the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge, providing panoramic views.

Accommodation: Lovill House Inn, Courtyard by Marriott Boone, Hidden Valley

Population: 18,036 (2021)

3. Brevard: Land of Waterfalls

Nestled at the entrance of Pisgah National Forest, Brevard is a hub for outdoor enthusiasts. Known for over 250 cascading waterfalls, vibrant arts, and the annual Brevard Music Center, the town provides easy access to hiking, mountain biking, and waterfall chasing. In addition, the nearby DuPont State Recreational Forest is a favorite among nature lovers. Thus, these reasons are enough for Brevard to be among the top-rated mountain towns in North Carolina.

Accommodation: The Bromfield Inn, Comfort Inn & Suites, The Adventure Village

Population: 7,755 (2021)

Skyline Stories: A Tale of North Carolina’s Scenic Summit Towns

4.Blowing Rock: A Scenic Retreat

A short drive from Boone takes you to Blowing Rock, a picturesque mountain town. Elevated at 4,000 feet, Blowing Rock offers a perfect blend of outdoor activities and Southern hospitality. The namesake Blowing Rock, a cliff with strong gusts of wind, provides panoramic vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Among the best mountain towns in North Carolina to live in, it exudes a laid-back charm with its tree-lined streets, upscale boutiques, art galleries, and cozy restaurants. Furthermore, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and the historic Flat Top Manor draw nature enthusiasts year-round.

Accommodation: Chetola Resort, Meadowbrook Inn, Green Park Inn

Population: 1,397 (2021)

5.Banner Elk: A Quaint Escape

Ski resorts, snowboarding, golfing, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities draw tourists to Banner Elk, nestled in the High Country. Surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest, the town offers hiking, fishing, and skiing opportunities. Despite being among the small mountain towns in North Carolina, Banner Elk hosts year-round festivals, such as the Woolly Worm Festival, celebrating music to the local harvest.  

Accommodation: The Lodge at River Run, Highlands at Sugar, Banner Elk Winery & Villa

Population: 1,035 (2021)

6.Hendersonville: Apple Country in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Are you looking for an offbeat experience in the mountain towns in North Carolina? If you visit during the fall, enjoy apple-picking excursions at Hendersonville. Sitting in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, Hendersonville boasts a mild climate and a thriving apple orchard industry. Enjoy the annual North Carolina Apple Festival and explore the nearby Dupont State Forest for cascading waterfalls and hiking trails. Also, the downtown featuring vintage architecture and charming shops, invites visitors to stroll, shop, and savor local cuisine.

Accommodation: Waverly Inn, Echo Mountain Inn, The Charleston Inn, The Henderson

Population: 15,099 (2021)

Alpine Allure: Unveiling Other Mountain Towns In North Carolina

7. Waynesville: Gateway to the Smokies

Next among the mountain towns in North Carolina, Waynesville exudes small-town charm with its historic Main Street, local shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes. This welcoming town serves as a gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation. The vibrant arts scene, historic architecture, and outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and leaf-peeping make it a year-round destination. Ensure you attend the Folkmoot USA International Festival, showcasing diverse cultural performances.

Accommodation: Best Western Smoky Mountain Inn, Red Leaf River Inn, Grandview Lodge

Population: 10,178 (2021)

8. Sylva: Film-Friendly Beauty

Known for its historic courthouse and bustling Main Street, Sylva makes it to our list of mountain towns in North Carolina. You can explore nearby trails, fishing, go whitewater rafting, or enjoy the scenic beauty of the town, nestled in the Plott Balsam Mountains. Sylva also hosts various events, including the annual Greening Up the Mountains festival.

Accommodation: Blue Ridge Inn, Comfort Inn, Moonshine Creek Campground

Population: 2,618 (2021)

9. Cherokee: Immersed in Native American Heritage

Cherokee concludes our list of the mountain towns in North Carolina. Situated near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee is the headquarters of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Rich in Native American history and culture, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Oconaluftee Indian Village are cultural attractions. Also, experience the  ‘Unto These Hills,’ outdoor drama and try your luck at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino. The town serves as a gateway to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and the majestic Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in the Smokies.

Accommodation: River’s Edge Motel, Great Smokies Inn, Cherokee Inn

However, other mountain towns in North Carolina worth considering are:

  • Bryson City
  • Morganton
  • Beech Mountain
  • Highlands
  • Burnsville


North Carolina’s mountain towns offer a delightful escape into nature coupled with the warmth of small-town hospitality. Whether it’s a vibrant cultural scene in Asheville to the outdoor adventures of Boone and the tranquil charm of Blowing Rock, these idyllic retreats provide a welcoming escape into the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. So, for a breath of fresh air, visit these mountain towns in North Carolina.

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  1. Which are the best mountain towns in North Carolina to live in ?       

In North Carolina, Sylva, Asheville, Brevard, Hendersonville,  Blowing Rock, and Highlands are ideal.        

  • When is the best time to visit North Carolina?

April to October is the best time to visit North Carolina.

  • Name the small mountain towns in North Carolina.       

Asheville, Banner Elk, Cashiers, Boone, Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock, Brevard, and Bryson City are small mountain towns in North Carolina.


  1. North Carolina is home to the tallest dam on the East Coast at 426ft: Fontana Dam.
  • North Carolina has over 300 waterfalls (mostly in western NC).

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