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! Some highlights include:

  • McDowell Arts Council Gallery & Theatre (50 South Main Street)
  • Refinery 13 Taproom brewery (13 N. Main)
  • Spillway Bridge (93 S Main St): a new music venue and taproom with 20 beers on rotation, and their first craft brewery.
  • Flavors On Main General Store (49 S. Main Street)
  • Shucks Pearls (53 S. Main Street)
  • Mica Town Brewing (25 Brown Drive)  
  • Downtown Marion Tailgate Market: Stop by every Saturday 10am-2pm in May thru October 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.

Keeper's Cut Meadery Marion
Keeper's Cut Meadery

New Additions:

  • Downtown's "310 District": The Miller Building (29 Logan Street) is a new indoor shopping space and home to Marion Wing Factory, Toonez Chop House, Marion Hot Wheelz (indoor skating rink), Chances of Sprinkles Bakery, and retail shops. 
  • Keeper's Cut Meadery: Offering wine-style and draft mead by tasting, flight, glass, and bottle in their large tasting room. Also enjoy mead cocktails, charcuterie & cheese boards, desserts, snacks, and soft drinks. (175 West Henderson St)

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 upriver, ending at their location in town.

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

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

Go to Blue Ridge Traveler's website. 

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

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… read more

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.

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. 

Order this free, print guide for Marion, Little Switzerland, Linville Falls, Old Fort and Lake James areas of McDowell County - east of Asheville. 

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… read more

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.

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. 

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. 

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… read more

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 flowers and mountain scenery. $100-$325, Fire pit, fully…

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… read more

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

North Carolina's only natural limestone caverns feature stalactite, stalagmite formations, and an underground stream. Guided tours.

North Carolina's only natural limestone caverns feature stalactite, stalagmite formations, and an underground stream. Guided tours.

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.

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.

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… read more

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).

Marion Festivals

Tier 2

Mountain Glory Festival

Oct 14, 2023

Celebrate fall beauty in the mountains with three blocks of festivities along Main Street in Marion, including 170 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities… read more

Celebrate fall beauty in the mountains with three blocks of festivities along Main Street in Marion, including 170 arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, live entertainment, children’s activities, a 5K walk/run, a quilt show, and so much more. Free admission. 9 AM-4 PM.

Free

Carolina Christmas Show

Dec 20, 2023 - Dec 22, 2023

This Broadway-style show in Marion features live music, dancing, and comedy sure to put you in the holiday spirit! There are four performances to choose from throughout the weekend. Tickets are $… read more

This Broadway-style show in Marion features live music, dancing, and comedy sure to put you in the holiday spirit! There are four performances to choose from throughout the weekend. Tickets are $12-28. 400 Main Street West, Valdese, NC 28690 

Tier 2

New Years Eve Golden Nugget Drop

Dec 31, 2023

Gather on Main Street in downtown Marion on New Year's Eve night to watch the giant golden nugget drop into a pot of gold. Many activities include a fun run, music, food, craft vendors, and more… read more

Gather on Main Street in downtown Marion on New Year's Eve night to watch the giant golden nugget drop into a pot of gold. Many activities include a fun run, music, food, craft vendors, and more!

Tier 2

WNC Bigfoot Festival

May 18, 2024

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… read more

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!

tier

Livermush Festival

Jun 01, 2024

Enjoy livermush sandwiches from food trucks and local restaurants while enjoying live music, hog calling, an eating contest, and more in downtown Marion. Make sure to cast your vote on the best… read more

Enjoy livermush sandwiches from food trucks and local restaurants while enjoying live music, hog calling, an eating contest, and more in downtown Marion. Make sure to cast your vote on the best livermush dish at the Food Truck Rodeo!

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