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In the northwestern corner of North Carolina, Grandfather Mountain State Park is located on a mountain that was privately owned until 2008. The mountain can trace its literary history back to 1794 when Botanist Andre Michaux wrote that he’d climbed “the highest peak in all of North America.” Because of the mountain’s sharp edges and dramatic sweeping views, it often appears to be far taller than it actually is.
When you book an RV in Avery County, you will find it is relatively easy to explore Grandfather Mountain State Park. Formed in 2008 after North Carolina acquired the 2,456-acre mountain, motorhome camping near the state park will give you access to the mountain, and many different ways to explore the area. The park is located just off of Highway 221, between Boone and Marion, and just east of Cherokee National Forest. Many features of the park draw visitors from all over the country, so don’t miss out on the chance to explore this beautiful destination when you rent a camper near Grandfather Mountain State Park.
The most obvious of activities to enjoy at Grandfather Mountain State Park is hiking, so be sure to bring your hiking shoes, snacks, and plenty of water when you plan to venture out. There are many miles of hiking trails that are well marked, and you’ll be able to find maps and trail information from many of the trailheads and ranger stations. Trails vary heavily in difficulty, so be sure to research the trail you plan on hiking to ensure it is the right one for you.
Another major attraction of the state park and mountain is the Mile High Swinging Bridge. This bridge is a must-see when you have an RV rental near Grandfather Mountain State Park. The bridge connects two peaks and is named the swinging bridge because it often sways in the wind, as gusts are quite common at that elevation. The bridge offers unparalleled photography opportunities, so bring your camera before exploring this unique destination.
Other exciting things to do at Grandfather Mountain State Park include respectfully viewing wildlife habitats, visiting the nature museum, participating in daily ranger programs, watching birds, and more. Ranger programs are scheduled in advance, so once you know the dates that you’ll be renting an RV in the area, you’ll be able to mark your calendar. Birding is a year-round activity, and onsite rangers are almost always happy to provide you with information on bird species, common sighting spots, and more.
Although backcountry camping is permitted at Grandfather Mountain State Park, there are no state park RV campgrounds available for campers to use. There are, however, many campgrounds in the area surrounding the park at which you’ll be able to stay one night or many. To the northeast of the state park is Boone KOA, just north of Boone. The KOA has the standard Kampgrounds of America setup, including full hookup sites, plenty of amenities, and diverse activities to keep the whole family entertained.
To the southwest of Grandfather Mountain State Park is the Down by the River Campground, which focuses primarily on campers who are 55 and over. Children and teens are permitted inside the campground, as long as they are kept supervised at all times, and there are plenty of campsites with both 30 and 50 amp service. Most campsites at this campground are pull-thru for added convenience, and there is also free WiFi, hot showers, and flushing toilets.
Boone, which is a short drive northeast of Grandfather Mountain State Park, is a great place to head with the family for a day in town. The Children’s Playhouse is a Children’s Museum that focuses on engaging children through play while simultaneously educating them. The museum has both indoor and outdoor features, so when the weather is less than agreeable, this is a fantastic way to spend some energy.
Also in Boone is the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum, which is a re-enacted late 1790s homestead. During hours of operation, the museum features costumed actors, period cabins, and hands-on craft workshops to help visitors learn about what life was like for early pioneers. The museum is typically open Tuesday through Saturday, with shorter hours on Sunday. After visiting this neat destination, grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants around town.
Given that Boone is home to the Appalachian State University campus, it is commonplace to find plenty of diverse restaurants and cafes throughout the town. Folks who plan to camp in an RV near Boone and have dietary restrictions or preferences may be happy to learn about the many cafes that focus on vegan, vegetarian, and sustainable products. Additionally, there are family restaurants that are kid-friendly, pubs, and breweries focused on adults and even common fast-food options for people looking for something a bit more familiar.