Marion NC

Marion, NC

Marion's Main Street is lined with historic buildings, churches and the courthouse. This small town sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains near popular attractions like Mt. Mitchell (30 miles) and Linville Falls (25 miles).

Marion NC Donuts

Downtown Marion has really blossomed during the last couple of years. Longtime favorites are the McDowell Arts Council Gallery & Theatre (50 South Main Street) and next door Mr. Bob's Donuts (60 South Main). Try local craft beers at the Refinery 13 Taproom brewery (13 N. Main). Burrito Brothers is next door at 9 N. Main. New additions include Spillway Bridge (93 S Main St), a new music venue and taproom with 20 beers on rotation, and their first craft brewery, Mica Town Brewing (25 Brown Drive) - just off Main. Watch a movie in the newly restored Mountain Marquee (31 West Court St). 

Downtown Marion Tailgate Market: Stop by during the growing season every Tuesdays 3-6 PM and Saturdays 9 AM-12 Noon for the freshest produce, meats, cheeses, flowers, baked goods and locally-made crafts. The market is located at the intersection of West Henderson Street and Logan Street, admission and parking are free.

Carson House

Carson House: Built in 1793, this house museum is one of the oldest standing structures in western North Carolina, having served as a stagecoach inn and stopping point for important historical figures. Read much more.

Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway: Walk or bike this new, one-mile recreational trail, picnic area, fishing pier, wildlife observation deck and access to the historic Round Hill cemetery. The greenway's entrance road (Sam Phillips Drive) is located off of US 70 West, just past Lowe's and next to Table Rock Quarries.

Catawba River Outdoors (2334 Hwy 221 Business North) offers tube and kayak trips with shuttles to drop off points up river, ending at their location in town.

Mt. Ida Wilderness Area: This 36-acre park features a picnic shelter and one-mile roundtrip hiking trail with views of downtown Marion from the top. The trail is open to the public from sunrise to sunset.

Founders' Art Walk: This new public outdoor art exhibition downtown showcases local iconic places.

Woods Mountain: One of the most challenging hiking/mountain biking trails in western North Carolina, this 24.9-mile single track loop that crosses the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.

Directions to Marion: It's located 36 miles east of Asheville along I-40. Some of our other favorite small towns nearby include Old Fort (12 miles), Little Switzerland (17 miles), Morganton (22 miles), Black Mountain (20 miles) and Rutherfordton (24 miles).

Marion Attractions & Lodging

Toms Creek Falls
Tom's Creek Falls
This 80-ft., two-tier waterfall is accessed via an easy hike in Pisgah National Forest (near US Highway 221) north of Marion. It's a great hike for families. One of the few waterfalls with an accessible trail and observation deck for those with walking challenges.
Mount Mitchell
Mount Mitchell
Drive to the top of the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, located along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This state park has an observation tower, plenty of hiking and a restaurant. Be prepared for much cooler temperatures at the top. Open year-round (except snowy days in the winter).
Lake James beach
Lake James State Park
This state park has a wide beach with a nice pavilion with changing rooms, open for swimming May-September. Also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing and more.
Carson House Museum, Marion
Carson House Museum, Marion
Tour one of the most interesting house museums in the state, dating back to 1793, with a big collection covering 200+ years on three floors. 
Catawba Valley Wines
Catawba Valley Wine Tour
Visit wineries in the foothills of the Catawba Valley located east of Asheville, between Marion and Morganton. Three of them (Silver Fork, South Creek and Lake James Cellars) are along a 15-mile drive near I-40, so very convenient!
Linville Caverns
Linville Caverns
North Carolina's only natural limestone caverns feature stalactite, stalagmite formations and an underground stream. Guided tours.
Thermal City Gold Mine
Thermal City Gold & Gem Mine
Visit this authentic gold mine and travel back to the 1800s gold rush. Pan for gold and gems, talk to a real prospector and explore the "Old West" buildings with plenty of interesting things to see. Open mid March-October. South of Marion.
McDowell County
Blue Ridge Travelers: Small Towns & Outdoors
Explore McDowell County east of Asheville, with the small towns of Marion, Little Switzerland, Old Fort and Linville Falls. Includes Pisgah Forest, with hiking, waterfalls, fishing, Lake James and many things to do. See their Blue Ridge Traveler's guide for details. 
Blue Ridge Traveler Guide
Blue Ridge Travelers Guide
Order this free, print guide for Marion, Little Switzerland, Linville Falls, Old Fort and Lake James areas of McDowell County - east of Asheville. 
Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages
Enjoy a relaxing getaway featuring lodges & cottages suitable for families and large groups who want to enjoy the outdoors. Centrally located ½ a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway with nearby attractions like Linville Gorge, Grandfather Mountain and Tweetsie Railroad. The beautifully landscaped grounds include stone fire pit, native... read more
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Marion Festivals

NC Gold Festival
NC Gold Festival
Saturday, June 1, 2019
Strike it rich at the Official NC Gold Fest in Old Fort with exhibits, mining demonstrations, gold panning, arts and crafts, music and food. Free admission.
Livermush Festival, Marion
Liver Mush Festival
Saturday, June 6, 2020
(2020 EVENT POSTPONED) Line up for your free Hunter's liver mush sandwich while enjoying live music, hog calling, eating contest and more in downtown Marion, 5-9 PM.
Bigfoot Festival, Marion NC
WNC Bigfoot Festival
Friday, September 18, 2020 to Saturday, September 19, 2020
(2020 EVENT CANCELED) A quirky festival that celebrates the legendary Sasquatch, held in downtown Marion 36 miles east of Asheville. In addition to Bigfoot-themed items and local crafts, talk with sighters from across the country with evidence that it exists. Calling contest too!
Mountain Glory Festival, Marion
Mountain Glory Festival
Saturday, October 10, 2020
(2020 EVENT CANCELED)  Celebrate fall beauty in the mountains with three blocks of festivities along Main Street in Marion, including 140 arts and crafts, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, a 5K walk/run, quilt show, and so much more. Free admission. 9:30 AM-6 PM.
Golden Nugget Drop, Marion
New Years Eve Golden Nugget Drop
Thursday, December 31, 2020
Gather on Main Street in downtown Marion on New Year's Eve night to watch the giant golden nugget drop into the 10-foot wide eatable donut that you get to sample after midnight. Many activities.
Black Mountain is a quaint village that "rocks" with 40+ shops, 30 restaurants and three breweries. Some of our favorite shopping stops are the Town Hardware & General Store, Take a Hike... read more