48 Hours in Maggie Valley, North Carolina: 16 Must See Things to Do
Come to Western North Carolina and experience the quiet, small-town mountain charm that is found in historic Maggie Valley, NC. During every season of the year, Maggie Valley welcomes visitors from all over the world where they experience first-hand the friendly, laid-back, old-fashioned family resort town.
Note for 2020: Stay Home, Stay Safe, See COVID-19 Updates for North Carolina. (Some of the establishments listed below may still be impacted by the Stay Home Stay Safe restrictions.)
Located just 40 minutes west of Asheville, Maggie Valley is nestled between the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The town offers ample places to explore, abundant restaurants to choose from, and numerous outdoor pursuits such as hiking, elk viewing, and horseback riding to embark upon.
Not surprisingly, 48 hours hardly seems like enough time. No need to fret though, you can still have the time of your life in one great weekend or mid-week getaway and experience classic Southern hospitality as you relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. To help you out in your limited time in Maggie Valley, the following list provides visitors with 16 options of things to see and do.
Related Post: Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park for family-friendly fun!
Rise and Shine
Fancy a refreshing walk early in the morning? Give yourself a chance to breathe in the rejuvenating morning air by taking a leisurely stroll, or invigorating power walk, along the paved 2.3-mile Lake Junaluska Walking Trail located on the grounds of nearby Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The property boasts a 200-acre lake and surrounding 1,200 acres of rolling hills and valleys.
The walking trail is an enjoyable loop around the lake with great views of the mountains and a great way to start off your day of adventure. During summer months when roses are in bloom, the Rose Walk is a scenic treasure found along Lake Junaluska’s walking trail. The trail is accessible year-round. Your canine companion is also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. A short 13 minute drive from Maggie Valley, the walking trail can be found at 91 North Lakeshore Drive.
Break the Fast
When you’re finished taking a nice walk around the lake, head back on Dellwood/Soco Road and make a pit stop for what’s considered by many to be the best breakfast in Maggie Valley. Joey’s Pancakes is a short 11-minute drive from Lake Junaluska so get your apetite revved up for all the deliciousness! Joey’s has received rave reviews for their pancakes, biscuits, and French toast among other menu items. Located at 4309 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC.
Sights to See
Grab your backpack and head off towards Soco Falls, a beautiful double waterfall located between the towns of Maggie Valley and Cherokee. The falls are a hidden gem that many people miss, so if you go keep a keen eye out for the tiny pull off / parking area along US 19 South. Cross under the Blue Ridge Parkway (Soco Gap, mile post 455.7) and travel 1.5 miles to a marked pull-off area on the left-hand side of the road.
After a short walk of less than five minutes, you reach an observation deck where you can view the taller falls, which are an impressive 120-feet high. Both falls are a combination of steep cascades and free-falling water. Rhododendrons and northern hardwoods surround the area in the lush cove with a water pool at the bottom of the falls.
Nearby Soco Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway was used by the Cherokee in the 1700’s as the main entrance to their land from the North and the East. They used it as an outpost for ambushes as well. Soco Falls is located off of US 19.
Give some Yummy to the Tummy
After a full morning of Maggie Valley sights, don’t let the fun end yet. Grab the family and head out to a local lunch stop and let your tongue experience the taste of delicious food from places like Brickhouse Burgers & Pizza or Butts on the Creek BBQ or the Maggie Valley Sandwich Shop. Be sure to check hours and times before you go. Some establishments are closed on Sunday and Monday.
Master of Spirits
Elevated Mountain Distilling Company founded by husband and wife duo Dave and Sue Angel opened in 2017. Elevated Mountain Distilling is a proud craft distillery where family tradition runs deep in the creation of top-shelf whiskeys, premium vodkas, and small batch moonshines.
The distillery features a one-of-a-kind still that allows distillers to fine tune a distinct spirit profile for each product. Pure local mountain water used during the distilling process helps result in a superior whiskey and spirit product line that can be purchased on site.
The distillery offers tours and tastings Monday through Saturday where visitors learn about the farmer’s role in the distilling process and the attention to detail required to work with them to create superior farm-to-bottle products. After the tour and tasting, visit the adjoining store where visitors can purchase merchandise and spirits (in limited quantities per NC state law.)
Check out Elevated Mountain Distilling’s events calendar for upcoming activities and musical events. The distillery boasts an open stage area with plenty of room enjoy the entertainment offerings. Elevated Mountain Distillery is located at 3732 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC.
Grab some Grub
After a full day of fun in Maggie Valley, you’re sure to have worked up a big appetite. The fun continues after dinner so perhaps something filling but quick might fit the bill. Check out the local favorites: Snappy’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzaria, Salty Dog’s Seafood and Grill, or Guayabitos.
Stomp the Night Away
To finish out your day, head over to The Stompin’ Ground Dance Hall. This is the place to be if you want to hear mountain, bluegrass and popular music while watching clogging, exhibition dancers, square dancers and folks just like you who are having one grand time.
For much of the night the big dance floor is open for all to enjoy as the band plays bluegrass and country favorites. Guests can two step or line dance or make up their own unique dance moves.
It’s all about having a good time so be sure to wear dance friendly shoes because the atmosphere is lively and inviting. The dance floor is enormous – 60 by 80 feet – with stadium style seating for 900 spectators. The Ivy Hill Band plays a variety of mountain and popular music‚ from old-time fiddle tunes to contemporary country hits. Open on Saturday nights from April to October, admission is cash only, no credit cards. Find the Stompin’ Ground at 3116 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC
Sleep In A Little
Since you might not be able to wake up early after all of the dancing, just freshen up and head over to Pop’s Place where diners are sure to have one of the best breakfasts in town. Pop’s Place is easy to miss since it blends in with the attached Holiday Motel. Watch for blue buildings so you don’t pass right by.
You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the star attraction item is Pop’s biscuits which have been called “Out of this world good.” Pop’s Place is known for fresh home-cooked breakfast and lunch menu items. Each morning, Pop’s and his crew work their culinary magic to create delicious made from scratch buttermilk biscuits and sausage gravy. Famous locally for their Shrimp and Grits too! You can visit Pop’s Place at 3253 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC.
Get Your Hike On
If you are feeling adventurous and want to fill out the rest of your day by hiking a local trail, head to the Soco Gap parking area where you can access the Mountain to Sea Trail and hike all the way to Waterrock Knob, a 9 mile round trip that is rated moderate to difficult. This is an easy to follow trail that is lightly trafficked and leashed dog friendly. Soco Gap parking area can be found right off of US 19.
If you’re looking for the thrill of a lifetime head over to locally owned and operated Smoky Mountain Slingshot rentals where you can rent a Polaris Slingshot. Drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and other winding mountain roads around the Smoky Mountains.
Not familiar with the roads or where the best scenic drives are? No problem! Driving maps are available and feature a mix of challenging and fun routes in which you can take the Polaris out for a spin. The Polaris features a standard 5 speed transmission and helmets are provided. Rent by the hour or all day, the choice is yours. Located at Log Cabin Frozen Treats, 2052 Dellwood Rd, Waynesville, NC 28786.
Sometimes the best lunches come out of a picnic basket. The Waterrock Knob parking area, off of the Blue Ridge Parkway offers absolutely stunning wide- and long-distance views looking both east and west. The vistas seen here make this a perfect spot to grab some grub in town, or pack your own, and settle in for a picnic lunch.
The parking area has a nice grassy area in the center, perfect for letting the kids stretch their legs and toss a ball or Frisbee. Around the perimeter there are plenty of concrete picnic tables where families can enjoy a meal and enjoy great views. Hiking up to Waterrock Knob itself is quick hike from the parking lot via a paved walkway for most of the way. Waterrock Knob parking area is located at milepost 451 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
In the Saddle
Visit Cataloochee Ranch and take a horseback ride to a mile-high meadow where the mountains stretch away as far as the eye can see. Ride through cool quiet rhododendron tunnels and lush trails that wind through the ranch property and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Afternoon rides are available and are 2 1/2 hours long each. There are several ride location options to choose from so there is something for everyone to see. No matter your skill level, you can enjoy the wonders that can only be found on horseback. From the novice rider to expert, or something in between, horseback riding at Cataloochee is an experience you’ll never forget. Great family fun, minimum age and weight to ride is 8 years old / 55 pounds. Find Cataloochee Ranch at 119 Ranch Drive, Maggie Valley, NC.
Take a Bear Home
Make sure to stop by Mountain Mike’s where a chunk of wood is turned into a creative masterpiece using only a chainsaw. Proprietor Mike Ayers carves on-site in his Maggie Valley shop and is an award winning international speed carver and masterpiece carver. His carvings beautifully represent the fauna found around Maggie Valley so you won’t want to miss seeing the detailed work that he does. Browse through Mike’s two-story shop and take home a unique memory of your time in Maggie Valley, or visit his online shop if you just couldn’t squeeze in a personal visit. Visit Mountain Mike’s at 491 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC.
Check out the Elk
If you prefer a sedate end to the day, head over to Cataloochee Valley and check out the elk. In 2001, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along with other partners including the Rock Mountain Elk Foundation, joined together to restore the wild elk into the national park in Cataloochee Valley. The herd has grown to over 150 elk and counting. Elk sightings can mainly be found in Cataloochee Valley but elk have been spotted in other popular areas like Maggie Valley and Cherokee.
The best time to elk watching is in the evening during the last hour or so of daylight or the early morning right at sunrise. Watch elk from the roadside only and do not approach them in the fields. Remember to keep your distance!
Check out the wheels on display at Wheels Through Time museum. With over 25,000 pieces of art and memorabilia, the museum offers visitors ambience and atmosphere unlike any other. Each piece gives a more in-depth view into a way of life that has influenced American culture for over 100 years.
The museum gift shop offers artwork, designs, and t-shirts that are all locally created. Visitors can also try their luck by purchasing a raffle ticket to win a classic bike at the Wheels Through Time Annual Motorcycle Raffle. Founded by Dale Walksler in 1993, Wheels Through Time has become an essential element in discovering, maintaining, and preserving American transportation history. Visit the museum at 62 Vintage Ln, Maggie Valley, NC.
Wine-N-Dine and Movie Magic
After a full two days of enjoying all that Maggie Valley has to offer, head over to J. Arthurs restaurant if you’re in the mood for a luxurious meal. With a beautifully decorated interior, J. Arthurs invites you to partake in their famous gorgonzola cheese salad, slow roasted prime rib, and mouth-watering desserts. For movie aficionados, J. Arthurs’ rustic interior was a set location for the movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. J. Arthurs is located at 2843 Soco Rd, Maggie Valley, NC.
Maggie Valley is a quaint mountain town full of unlimited places to visit. Even if you have a limited amount of time in Maggie Valley, it’s still enough to let you experience the magnificence of a friendly town surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas, exhilarating mountain drives, and down-home family friendly fun.
Note: This is a sample itinerary; choose activities you like or make your own plans. There is much to see and do in Maggie Valley!
If you have extra time, you might be interested in visiting the Biltmore Estate in nearby Asheville. Check out this guide for visiting Biltmore!
Have you visited Maggie Valley and know of other things to do? Let me know in a comment below.
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