Spruce Pine, North Carolina, Vacation Guide

Spruce Pine, NC

This small town of 2,000 residents has a quaint downtown area with some nice surprises for shopping and dining. Spruce Pine offers the uniqueness of having not one but two main streets, Upper Street (Oak Avenue) and Lower Street (Locust Avenue). The nicknames are appropriate given their respective altitudes. The town is located about an hour north of Asheville and just six miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway (at Milepost 331/Highway 226 at Little Switzerland). It's 14 miles east of Burnsville.

Spruce Pine Festivals

Several festivals each year fill the streets with plenty of extra fun. Above pic is Fire on the Mountain held in April. The Spruce Pine Alien Festival in June is out of this world!

No matter when you visit, stop by their helpful Mitchell County Visitor Center first to chat with helpful volunteers. It is located inside the Museum of the NC Minerals at the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway off NC Highway 226 (79 Parkway Road). A self-service information center is located downtown Spruce Pine at 165 Locust Street.

Toe River Arts Gallery, Spruce Pine

On Oak Avenue in downtown, don't miss the impressive Toe River Arts Council Gallery (269 Oak Avenue) and The Market On Oak (262 Oak Avenue) with handmade works of 100 western NC artisans. Stop for a cup of coffee at DT's Blue Ridge Java (169 Locust).

A walk around town leads to several public art projects, including the town clock on Upper Street. The entire area is a mecca for artists. Don’t miss the Toe River Art Studio Tour in June and December each year. And the Penland School of Crafts is just 6 miles from downtown with a variety of classes and a gallery open to the public.

Footbridge Spruce Pine

From downtown, walk the towering Footbridge across the Toe River to Riverside Park. Walk the greenway, picnic or wade in the water. Spruce Pine has been designated as a Mountain Heritage Trout City and trout fishing is available from the banks of the river downtown. Troutacular is held on the first Saturday in June.

Gem Mining
Tagged "The Mineral City," Spruce Pine has several gem mining spots. The Spruce Pine Mining District is home to one of the richest deposits of gems and minerals in the world. Mined for its mica, kaolin, quartz and feldspar, the District provides over 90% of raw materials used in plumbing fixtures. Spruce Pine quartz is used in the manufacture of silicon chips. For gem mining, exhibits and the NC Mining Museum, go to Emerald Village. Gem Mountain (13780 Highway 226 South, Spruce Pine) has a very popular gemstone flume and tours of the Aquamarine Mine. Also, tour the nearby Minerals of North Carolina Museum.

Nearby
See more of our Coolest NC Mountain Small Towns. Located 11 miles away is Bakersville, home to the NC Rhododendron Festival. And Roan Mountain is the largest naturally growing rhododendron garden in the world!

Spruce Pine Attractions & Lodging

Penland School of Craft NC
Penland School of Craft
Take a tour or sign up for a class at this internationally-known school for art and craft, tucked away in the mountains near Spruce Pine. Their multiple galleries are free to visit with amazing works created by students and teachers.
Emerald Village NC Mining Museum
Emerald Village & Mining Museum
A fascinating collection of gem, mining and historical exhibits, including an underground mine tour. Pan for gold and minerals. Located near Little Switzerland, a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. 
Museum of Minerals
Museum of North Carolina Minerals
Located at Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland, this free museum features treasures found around the state and the local Spruce Pine Mining District through interactive displays on a wide variety of minerals and gems.
Little Switzerland NC
Little Switzerland
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. Near Spruce Pine.
Gem Mining Spruce Pine
Spruce Pine Gem Mining District
Find gems in what is touted as the “most important mining district in the world”. Find fun options for gem panning, rock hounding and mine tours. Also home to the NC Mineral & Gem Festival. See their "Mining For Treasure" guide.
Mitchell County Craft Your Adventure
Craft Your Adventure: Mitchell County
Get plenty of trip ideas and find places to stay in Mitchell County, home of Roan Mountain, Spruce Pine, Little Switzerland, Bakersville, Penland School of Craft, rivers, gem mining, festivals, scenic drives and more.
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

Spruce Pine Festivals

Fire on the Mountain Blacksmith Festival, Spruce Pine
Fire On the Mountain
Saturday, April 27, 2019
Come to downtown Spruce Pine to see and buy works from Penland School and nationally-renowned blacksmiths demonstrating their skills. Iron & metal art exhibit, tool and gear vendors, forge-off, food trucks. Free admission. No pets.
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, May 31, 2019 to Sunday, June 2, 2019
Drive scenic mountain roads to find 100 fine artists and crafts people in every medium at their studios for a free, self-guided cultural adventure in the Penland, Spruce Pine and Burnsville area.
alien festival
Spruce Pine Alien Conference & Expo
Friday, June 14, 2019 to Saturday, June 15, 2019
Join alien and UFO enthusiasts the first annual street festival in downtown Spruce Pine to celebrate aliens and UFOs. Hear national speakers discuss stories of encounters and sightings. Buy out of this world souvenirs. Dress up for the costume contest.
BBQ Festival
Spruce Pine BBQ & Bluegrass Festival
Friday, July 19, 2019 to Saturday, July 20, 2019
Great BBQ with live bluegrass, antique tractor show, jamming stage, championship clogging teams, artists & crafts vendors, and local food vendors. At the Riverside Park across the river from downtown Spruce Pine, 305 Tappan Street. Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 10-10. Tickets $5/person. 
NC Mineral & Gem Festival
NC Mineral and Gem Festival
Thursday, August 1, 2019 to Sunday, August 4, 2019
Go to Spruce Pine to shop, swap and discover beautiful jewelry, gemstones, minerals, fossils and more - indoors at 31 Cross Street. Mine tours also. Grassy Creek Gem Show outdoors at Parkway Fire Department (136 Majestic View) with 60 vendors.
Spruce Pine Potters Market
Spruce Pine Potters Market
Saturday, October 12, 2019 to Sunday, October 13, 2019
Longtime gathering with 30+ potters and clay artists selling their handmade pottery, figurative sculpture, stoneware, earthenware and more. Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM both days. 31 Cross Street, Spruce Pine. Near Penland School.
Toe River Studio Tour
Toe River Studio Tour
Friday, December 6, 2019 to Sunday, December 8, 2019
Self-driving tour to discover studios of 100+ artists and craftsmen, many internationally-known and from the acclaimed Penland School of Crafts. A blend of contemporary and traditional art - Burnsville and Spruce Pine area. Free admission!
Located adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Switzerland (near Spruce Pine), Grassy Creek Falls is a multi-cascade... read more
Tiny, charming Crossnore (population 200) in rural Avery County has an inspiring story and several unique things to see. For more than 100 years, the highly respected Crossnore School & Children'... read more
Crabtree Falls is located at Milepost 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway (about 45 miles north of Asheville) and is accessed by a woodland hiking trail with two... read more
The Museum of North Carolina Minerals, located at Milepost 331 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Little Switzerland and... read more
A must-stop for art lovers is the Penland School of Crafts, a nationally-renowned center for craft education tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina (6 miles from... read more