What's the Deal: Small town day trips for locals looking for a quick get-a-way

Photo credit: WLOS Staff

Looking for a quick, inexpensive, relaxing get-a-way? You’re in luck if you live here in the mountains, you don't have to even travel out of Western North Carolina to find a great spot.

In terms of relaxation and enjoyment, that “small town” feeling can be both fun and economical. "It's just not as hectic. It's just nice to be able to relax a little bit and just slow down," says Debbie Crawford. "We are so lucky to have these great little towns and they all have their own personalities and they are close enough together you can hit two, three or four of them in the same day." That’s right, a fantastic day-outing that may only cost you some fuel and a bit of drivetime.

Mark File, the owner of, says to be sure you prepare for your trip, "Most of them have a little Visitor's center so you can ask the locals what to do or do some research online." Beech Mountain is the highest town in Eastern America, plus banner elk and Linville Falls Village are right around the corner.

Asheville resident Martina Barnes knows what all the fuss is about, “You have hiking, waterfalls, great views. All these little towns have great restaurants and little shops and art."

"Hendersonville, Flat Rock, Saluda, those are three great ones," adds Mark. "Kind of right now the cool thing to do is go to Sylva because if you've seen Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri it's cool to walk downtown and you see all these places that were featured in the movie."

If you’re wanting to avoid the hikes and waterfalls, check out some of the amazing art scenes. Local studios, galleries and crafts are a focal point in a lot of areas, "Right next door is Dillsboro which is a really cool little artsy village."

The history of Western North Carolina is rich and vibrant, and on display in many historically saved main streets. "I love going to Bryson City. All these sweet little country towns and also Marshall" says Asheville resident Martina Barnes.

All of it, just a lovely, scenic drive away for most in Western North Carolina. "You can hit Bryson City, home of the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad," says Mark. From there, head to Cherokee and over to Fontana Lake and Village.

"Sometimes we even go to Marion. It's amazing what they are doing in McDowell County," adds Swannanoa resident Janelle Flint.

Mark has a great list of amazing small towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains on his website, Each tiny town brings out a special set of historic stops, locally owned and operated stores and restaurants, galleries and much more. Check out the list of 35 Cool Small Towns near Asheville here.

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