A Charming Summer Stay In Banner Elk, NC

You read about North Carolina's own “powder paradise” in our winter 2024 issue of Carolina Traveler — now we're back with the perfect summer trip to Banner Elk NC! Just like the skiing and snowboarding options that draw countless visitors to Banner Elk, the summer attractions are sure to provide just as much, if not more of a thrill!

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk

Don't forget to take in the views! | Photo @hnk0701 (Instagram)

Summer thrills in Banner Elk

Whir along the 3,160-foot-long Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster on your first stop in Banner Elk NC, where you'll feel the wind whipping through your hair. The coaster's twists and turns offer breathtaking perspectives of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountain landscape. Purchase your tickets onsite — they're good for two weeks, during which you'll need to register your check-in time.

Banner Elk local tip: For the best deal, purchase a ticket bundle of 3 rides per person! May is Avery County Resident Appreciation Month where all-day rides for residents are $30, all-day rides for non-residents are $40, and single coaster tickets or rope course tickets for residents only are 50% off!

Keeper Talks with a naturalist at Grandfather Mountain

Keeper Talks with a naturalist at Grandfather Mountain | Photo: Monty Combs (Instagram)

Up next, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see and learn about animals from professionals. Tag along on “Keeper Talks” at the Grandfather Mountain Wildlife Habitats, included in your general admission ticket to Grandfather Mountain. Daily programs are offered April 1 through November 3 — generally, a block is reserved daily for eagles, elk, otters, bears, and cougars. Animal encounters take places Saturdays and Sundays at 2 PM at the Williams Outdoor Learning Space adjacent to The Wilson Center for Nature Discovery. Engagements are 30-minutes outdoors and appropriate for all ages.

While you're at Grandfather Mountain in Banner Elk NC, you can traverse the Mile High Swinging Bridge — the highest suspension footbridge in the United States! Nature enthusiasts will gravitate toward the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, which offers more insight on local animals. On the way up the mountain, be on the lookout for fascinating rock formations!

Did you know? Grandfather Mountain is 300 million years old! Learn more about Grandfather Mountain 

Wildcat Lake in Banner Elk

Relax on the shore or enjoy swimming and boating at Wildcat Lake

Where to relax in Banner Elk NC

 Don’t let the fact that you’re in the mountains fool you…retreats from the summer heat are in high supply in Banner Elk NC. Dive into the refreshing waters of Wildcat Lake or cool off under the welcome stream of the Elk River Falls. Tucked away amid the verdant forest, Elk River Falls offers more of a thrill, with its 50-foot drop over a rock precipice into a lagoon-like pool.

Banner Elk local tip: Visitors are warned not to swim in the Elk River Falls pool due to the strong current that pools everything toward the bottom. For a more tranquil swimming experience, visit Wildcat Lake.

Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk NC

Llama staring contest?! | Photo: Apple Hill Farm (Facebook)

Kids will find their new favorite animal at Apple Hill Farm, where the alpacas steal the show. Book an hour-long guided tour in advance to get up close and personal with these friendly farm beasts, then savor every bite of fresh pie a la mode while overlooking the farm. Public tours are offered daily for the summer and fall season, which specialty tours available for kids under six, private family tours, and farm photo tours.

Did you know? Despite its name, Apple Hill Farm is not an apple-picking farm. They are a working alpaca and angora goat farm!

The Perry House Bed & Breakfast

Enjoy views of Grandfather Mountain from the front porch of The Perry House | Photo: gdionelli (Tripadvisor)

Where to stay and eat in Banner Elk

Experience Banner Elk NC charm at a 1901 hill-top country inn updated with modern amenities: The Perry House Bed and Breakfast. Enjoy modern amenities against a mountain wilderness backdrop — a full breakfast is served daily and complimentary refreshments are always available for guests to take on their adventures.

Banner Elk NC is known as the Jewel of the High Country, a popular spot for foodies and oenophiles. Indulge in farm-to-table cuisine at local restaurants like Artisanal, where each flavor-packed morsel culminates in a transcendental dining journey. The subdued, romantic ambiance is made possible by vaulted wooden ceilings adorned by medieval candle-lit fixtures. On the floor, martini olive-green banquettes line the parameter while a mixed media elk commands the center of the room.

Banner Elk local tip: Artisanal's season runs May 2 to October 26 and offers a 3-course prix fixe menu with six or more selections per course. The cost is $105 per person, in addition to tax and gratuity.

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The Summer 2024 Issue Is Here!

The Summer 2024 Issue Is Here!

Get ready for summer adventures with Carolina Traveler’s 2024 issue! From the biggest Memorial Day celebration in the Southeast to thrilling hikes and hidden gems, our spotlight on the best destinations and events in NC and SC is your ultimate guide. Click to discover more!

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