Stretching for 469 miles, the incredibly scenic Blue Ridge Parkway winds its way through Virginia and North Carolina, following the pathway of the Appalachian Mountains. Road tourers enjoy a spectacular showcase of panoramic vistas, lush forests, vibrant fall foliage, and even wildlife sightings.
Whether you are driving the entire journey in one epic trip or dividing into sections as you return over and over, you will be impressed with the natural beauty and the surprisingly rich collection of experiences to be enjoyed. With hundreds of overlooks and hikes to choose from, the tour is designed to help you take the guesswork out of your journey. We’ll let you know the best places to stop, and the ones that offer a unique perspective.
As well as places of interest along the Parkway itself, many other great adventures lie just off the parkway – including small cities and towns with big personalities and historical significance. So we’ll make suggestions about some of the best side trips as we go too.
Think of the Blue Ridge Parkway as two halves, Virgina which is more rural in nature, complete with orchards and wineries but still mountainous, with long views! And North Carolina, where the towns become a little further apart, and the mountains are even more imposing and rugged. Did you know that all but one of the tunnels along the route are in the North Carolina portion?
The best seasons for visiting the parkway are spring, summer and fall. Spring is when the flowers begin the bloom and animal activity is highest. Summer is best for its reliable warmer weather for hiking and activities. And fall is of course leaf peeper season – and the colors show on the parkway are amazing, and popular for visitors!
There are so many amazing views, but a few of our favorites include the Linn Cove Viaduct – photographers can’t help but scramble to the perfect vantage point. Mabry Mill is an iconic view into the lives in the mountains from generations ago. Be sure to walk the mile-high suspension bridge at Grandfather Mountain. For cultural stops, you’ll want to give time to the toe-tapping Blue Ridge Music Center and the Folk Art Center. And also call into Asheville, Roanoke, Blowing Rock and a host of other entertaining towns.
This is a tiny sample of what we can see and do, but we’ll guide you to all the best places to spend your time – then it’s your choice of what you like best. Have a great journey!
Cherokee, NC or Waynesboro, VA
At least 3 days, ideally a week
469 miles each way
Called ‘America’s Favorite Drive’, the Blue Ridge Parkway winds 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina, connecting Shenandoah National Park from the north to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south. The parkway is America’s longest linear park and both a National Parkway and All-American Road that’s noted for its scenic beauty.
The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway connects Shenandoah National Park near Waynesboro, Virginia, in the north to the Great Smoky Mountains near Cherokee, North Carolina to the south.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles of 45mph winding roads through Virginia and North Carolina. If you drove nonstop from end to end, it takes about 12-13 hours. If you’d like to properly enjoy the parkway, stop at the sights and get in a few hikes, you’ll want to spend at least three days – and ideally a whole week.