About 25 miles from Asheville is the hopping small town of Waynesville in Haywood County. 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. 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

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. 

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. Nestled between Main Street and the Richardson River in Waynesville is the Historic Frog Level neighborhood with 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.

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.

For winter fun, check out the nearby Cataloochee Ski Area and Tube World in Maggie Valley. See their Winter Itinerary for a full list of things to do in the area this winter. 

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 the 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

The Terrace at Lake Junaluska

This lakeside hotel is the perfect place to relax in a rocking chair with views of Lake Junaluska, at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Enjoy lakefront rooms, a pool, paddleboard rentals, and… read more

This lakeside hotel is the perfect place to relax in a rocking chair with views of Lake Junaluska, at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains. Enjoy lakefront rooms, a pool, paddleboard rentals, and a walking trail. 105 rooms, $110-$209 (double occupancy), king and double queen. Complimentary WiFi, HD TVs, coffee makers, breakfast, access to the Fitness Center, boat rentals, and pool. All-you-…

Boyd Mountain Log Cabins, Waynesville

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… read more

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 fireplaces, full kitchens, washer/dryer, WiFi, fire pits,…

Visit NC Smokies Visitor Guide

Order the 56-page free "Visit NC Smokies" guide to Haywood County, home to small towns of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton, and Clyde - in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National… read more

Order the 56-page free "Visit NC Smokies" 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.

Buffalo Creek Vacations, Waynesville

Stay in a real caboose or luxury log cabin on a working mountain farm with bison, llamas, goats, alpacas and more in Pisgah National Forest. Interior of the cabooses transformed to have all the… read more

Stay in a real caboose or luxury log cabin on a working mountain farm with bison, llamas, goats, alpacas and more in Pisgah National Forest. Interior of the cabooses transformed to have all the modern conveniences, full kitchen, living room, bedroom, bath with heated tile floor and outdoor deck. 2 Cabooses, 7 Cabins, from $165/night, sleeps 2 to 14 people, outdoor hot tubs, firepits, wi-fi,…

Andon-Reid Inn Bed and Breakfast, Waynesville

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. … read more

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, large game room.

The Inn reflects the beauty and charm of its…

The Swag, Waynesville

The Swag’s secluded property features 17 newly renovated rooms, including cozy suites and expansive private cabins. Various rooms include a two-person soaking tub, fireplace, and private balcony… read more

The Swag’s secluded property features 17 newly renovated rooms, including cozy suites and expansive private cabins. Various rooms include a two-person soaking tub, fireplace, and private balcony with beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains. 45 minutes from Asheville. 17 rooms, suites, and cabins. $800-1500/night including three gourmet meals & many amenities, many balconies, and…

Waynesville Top Events

Free

A Smoky Mountain Christmas Celebration

Dec 09, 2023 - Dec 09, 2023

Traditionally held beginning to mid-December, downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area's shops, galleries, and restaurants open late from 6-9 PM with live music, live carolers, Bethlehem… read more

Traditionally held beginning to mid-December, downtown Waynesville's historic Main Street area's shops, galleries, and restaurants open late from 6-9 PM with live music, live carolers, Bethlehem market place and live nativity, old-fashioned wagon rides, Santa & Mrs. Claus, storytelling, luminary-lined streets and more. Small town Christmas at its finest. 

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International Day

Jul 30, 2022

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… read more

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. 

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Folkmoot International Festival

Jul 27, 2023 - Jul 30, 2023

The world comes to our mountains for NC's Official International Festival with visiting dancers and musicians from many countries, big street festival, performances, parade and more in Waynesville… read more

The world comes to our mountains for NC's Official International Festival with visiting dancers and musicians from many countries, big street festival, performances, parade and more in Waynesville, Asheville and nearby towns.

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Church Street Art & Craft Show

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… read more

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.

Tier 2

Apple Harvest Festival

Find all things apple in downtown Waynesville, including cider, fried pies and other apple delicacies. Also find live mountain music, dance, craft and demo booths along scenic Main Street for the… read more

Find all things apple in downtown Waynesville, including cider, fried pies and other apple delicacies. Also find live mountain music, dance, craft and demo booths along scenic Main Street for the iconic small town fall festival.

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.

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