Waynesville, NC Insider's Guide

Waynesville, NC

About 25 miles from Asheville is the hopping small town of Waynesville. Its busy downtown has a surprising number of fine galleries and specialty shops. There are many things to do and special events to enjoy. Along with the popular Mast General Store, there are about a dozen galleries and a variety of antique shops, home furnishing centers and gift shops. And don't forget the many restaurants and a couple of breweries.

Waynesville is Haywood County's biggest town with about 10,000 residents (and it's the largest NC town west of Asheville). It's been a favorite mountain retreat since the early 1800s. Even before the railroad made it easy to get here, visitors flocked to Waynesville for the cool, clean air and water, outstanding scenery and an opportunity to escape sweltering cities. Nearby outdoor adventures are limitless since it's located at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains and near the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Waynesville Downtown Shopping

Downtown Waynesville's restored historic buildings and brick sidewalks create a browser's paradise. Find plenty of free parking, including along Wall Street that runs parallel to Main Street, city lots and a parking deck at 143 Branner Avenue.

Downtown Waynesville NC

From bakery goods for dogs and their owners to innovative cuisine, find plenty of local food and fun places to eat. Leap Frog Tours in downtown Waynesville offers custom tours and area transportation to explore the many different aspects, from beer to art and everything in between.

Nestled between Main Street and the Richardson River in Waynesville is the Historic Frog Level neighborhood. Find a variety of shops and the Frog Level Brewing Company (56 Commerce Street).

Waynesville Shelton House

The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts is housed in the historic Shelton House (49 Shelton Street). Take a fascinating one-hour tour of the distinctive art, handicrafts and furniture created by North Carolina artists. Read more.

Adjacent to the Shelton House is the acclaimed HART Theatre, a semi-professional community theatre with a great line-up of Broadway shows, concerts and more year-round.

Waynesville, NC

Folkmoot U.S.A. is a 10-day celebration of world dance and music with visiting international groups performing at many events in July (see our Folkmoot Guide).

On four Friday nights in the summer, come down for the Mountain Street Dances. Put on your cloggin’ & square dancin’ shoes and enjoy an old-fashioned mountain hoedown in front of the Historic Courthouse.

Waynesville NC Downtown Christmas

To celebrate the Christmas season, Holly Days is the first weekend of December, starting with the Art After Dark on Friday evening and ending with the parade on Monday night. The second Saturday night of December is A Night Before Christmas, an old-fashioned celebration with caroling, wagon rides, Bethlehem market place and luminaries.

Directions to Waynesville from Asheville: Take I-40 West to exit 27 onto Hwy 74. It's an easy 30-minute drive.

Haywood County

While it's home to some great small towns including, Maggie Valley (8 miles from Waynesville) and Lake Junaluska (3 miles from Waynesville), Haywood County is also home to 13 peaks above 6,000 ft., including the famous Cold Mountain. In fact, it has the highest average elevation of any county in the East. And all of county's rivers and creeks originate here. It's also home to 46 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway (mileposts 408 to 454), including its highest point at Richland Balsam. Here is a sampling of outdoor adventures:

Go to the Haywood County NC Smokies website for more.

Waynesville B&Bs, Cabins & Hotels

Andon Reid B&B
Voted one of the Top 25 B&Bs in the USA and ideally-located to enjoy the Great Smoky Mountains, Biltmore and Asheville, this historic B&B provides casual comfort and friendly hospitality. 7 rooms & suites, $139-$225, complimentary breakfast and afternoon baked treats, Jacuzzis, fireplaces, wraparound porch,... read more
Windover Inn
This romantic 1910 Colonial Revival Inn with wraparound porch veranda is nestled between the Blue Ridge Parkway and Smoky Mountains. Walk to downtown Waynesville. 8 rooms, $125-$195, 2-person whirlpool tubs, pillow-top mattresses, in-suite breakfast, candlelit fireplaces, beautiful outdoor spaces. Only 30 minutes from Asheville.... read more
Brookside B&B
This one-story, ranch-style Inn offers luxury and elegance with just a touch of rustic charm. The oversized guest rooms all have newly-renovated bathrooms, sitting areas and fireplaces. Relax on back patio with mountain views. 5 rooms, $145-$205, WiFi, beverages and afternoon snacks, flat-screen TVs with cable and DVD... read more
Lake Junaluska NC
Lake Junaluska
This beautiful lake town near the Great Smoky Mountains is home to trails, boat tours, golf, gardens and a big variety of lodging options, including lakefront hotels and cabin rentals for a Methodist church retreat.
Boyd Mountain Log Cabins
Historic hand-hewn log cabins are carefully restored and tastefully furnished with a mixture of antiques and modern conveniences situated on 140 private acres. Beautifully restored cabins overlook the Great Smoky Mountains, stocked fishing ponds and a Choose-N-Cut Christmas tree farm, 7 cabins, from $180, 2-4 bedrooms, wood-burning... read more
The Swag
Adjoining the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this luxury inn's rooms and private cabins are individually decorated and include many amenities atop a ridge overlooking the mountains. Dining is an event, prepared with the finest local ingredients and produce from the inn’s garden. 45 minutes from Asheville. 15... read more
Haywood County NC Guide
Smoky Mountains Visitors Guide
Order the 56-page free guide to Haywood County, home to small towns of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde - in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Waynesville Top Events

Appalachian Festival Waynesville
Appalachian Lifestyle Celebration
Saturday, June 9, 2018
A full day celebration of traditional mountain craft, food and entertainment in downtown Waynesville. Demonstrations of Appalachian life skills & crafts, storytelling, mountain music & clogging, home-style food vendors. 10 AM –5 PM, Free admission.
Folkmoot USA
Folkmoot USA
Thursday, July 19, 2018 to Sunday, July 29, 2018
North Carolina's Official International Festival is a 10-day celebration of the world's cultural heritage through folk music and dance with performances, a parade and more in Waynesville and many WNC towns.
International Day Festival, Waynesville
International Day
Saturday, July 28, 2018
This street festival in downtown Waynesville is the ultimate cultural exchange with international and regional artwork, international dance and music from Folkmoot USA, and great food. 10 AM-5 PM. Free admission. 
Waynesville NC Art Festival
Church Street Art & Craft Show
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Main Street in Waynesville transforms into an arts & crafts marketplace, one of the finest juried art shows in NC. Also enjoy live mountain music, clogging, entertainment and food. Browse many downtown galleries. Free. 10 AM-5 PM.
Waynesville Apple Harvest Festival
Apple Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Find all things apple in downtown Waynesville, including cider, fried pies and other apple delicacies. Also find live mountain music, dance, craft and demonstration booths along scenic Main Street. 10 AM-5 PM. Free. 
 A Night Before Christmas
A Night Before Christmas
Saturday, December 8, 2018
Downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area is filled with bright lights, friendly folks, the wonderful sounds of the holiday season, special gallery openings, delicious food and drink. Small town Christmas at its finest. 6-9 PM

First Fridays May-December: "ART after DARK" with galleries & studios open until 9 PM with special artists showings, displays and refreshments. Look for the WGA group flag representing the Waynesville Gallery Association.

More: Go to Waynesville's website.

This picturesque valley in the Great Smoky Mountains is home to many historic buildings and the majestic elk. Hike, camp, picnic and explore the history of the valley. The best time to watch elk is... read more
The Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its streams and hiking trails to waterfalls. In addition, you can mountain bike,... read more
Cold Mountain, North Carolina, located 35 miles from Asheville, has received notoriety from the best-selling Charles Frazier novel Cold Mountain and the acclaimed 2003 motion picture. The movie was... read more
Many of us have wonderful childhood memories of visiting Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley. This mountaintop amusement park was wildly popular in in the 70s and 80s. It... read more