Waynesville, NC Insider's Guide

Waynesville, NC

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.

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.

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 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

Terrace Hotel 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 a walking trail. 105 rooms, $110-$209 (double occupancy), king and double queen. Complimentary WiFi, HD TVs, coffee... read more
Buffalo Creek Caboose Cabin
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... read more
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
Visit NC Smokies Visitor Guide
Waynesville & Maggie Valley Visitors 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 Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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
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 with beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains. 45 minutes from Asheville. 17 rooms, suites, and cabins. $800-1500/night... read more
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Waynesville Top Events

 A Night Before Christmas
A Night Before Christmas
Saturday, December 10, 2022
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 natvity, old-fashioned wagon rides, Santa & Mrs. Claus, storytelling, luminary-lined streets and more. Small town Christmas at its finest. 
Folkmoot USA
Folkmoot International Festival
Thursday, July 28, 2022 to Sunday, July 31, 2022
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.
Waynesville NC Art Festival
Church Street Art & Craft Show
Saturday, October 8, 2022
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.
International Day Festival, Waynesville
International Day
Saturday, July 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. Free admission. 
Waynesville Apple Harvest Festival
Apple Harvest Festival
Saturday, October 15, 2022
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.

This picturesque valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to many historic buildings and the majestic elk.... read more
The Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its streams, hiking trails and waterfalls. In addition, you can tube, 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