21 Best Things to Do in Little Switzerland NC

While Little Switzerland NC is one of the state’s small towns, it’s not just the views you’ll want to stop for. In town, you’ll find plenty of fun and beautiful attractions. 

The Blue Ridge Parkway is also right next to Little Switzerland and this is the only commercial access point you’ll find along the length of the Parkway which makes it so special.

Little Switzerland is so small, it’s actually only open 6 months per year from mid-April to mid-November. 

Natural beauty at Little Switzerland NC
Image Source: Visit Little Switzerland website

Here you’ll find some cute Little Switzerland hotels like Switzerland Inn, Skyline Village Inn and Big Lynn Lodge. 

1. Hike Crabtree Falls (70-foot waterfall)

39000 Blue Rdg Pkwy, Marion, NC 28752 | Website

Crabtree Falls is located at Milepost 339.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and is accessible via a woodland hiking trail with two options: an easier 3-mile hike to and from on the same trail, with a steady descent and return climb; or a more strenuous 3.5-mile loop trail that climbs a ridge above the falls. It’s a lovely hike with plenty of wildflowers in the early summer. The 70-foot waterfall is well worth the effort.

Park at the store  and look for the “Falls” hiking trail sign. In about a third of a mile, walk down the mostly level trail past the amphitheater and into the campground.

Park at the store (which is currently closed) and look for the “Falls” hiking trail sign. In about a third of a mile, walk down the mostly level trail past the amphitheater and into the campground. Just past a small information booth, on the right, there is a small parking area with a sign for the Crabtree Falls Trailhead.

2. Chalet Restaurant

86 High Ridge Rd Little Switzerland, NC 28749 | Website

The Chalet Restaurant is a full-service restaurant, and the Switzerland Inn in Little Switzerland, North Carolina also provides catering (buffet and served) for weddings, showers, corporate meetings, and special events. The Fowl Play Pub, their main bar, serves a different menu than the dining rooms and the Terrace.

This may be just what you’re looking for if you’re looking for lighter fare in the evenings. The Chalet Restaurant at the Switzerland Inn is the best on the mountain. Come enjoy a delectable meal while admiring the breathtaking view from their panoramic view windows.

The lunch menu is varied, and in the evenings, when the air is crisp, it’s fine dining by candlelight. Beer, wine, and mixed drinks are all available.

3. Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains, a section of the United States’ Appalachian Mountains. The mountains stretch for 615 miles  southwestward from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, through parts of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, to Mount Oglethorpe, Georgia.

The Blue Ridge system includes the Black Mountains, which include Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River at 6,684 feet, as well as the Great Smoky and Unaka mountains.

Mount Rogers, the highest point in Virginia, Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina, Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia, Stony Man and Hawksbill, both in Virginia, and Grandfather Mountain, in North Carolina, are among the notable Blue Ridge peaks.

Linville Falls NC
Image Source: Blue Ridge Parkway website

ALSO READ: 23 Cabins in The Virginia Mountains (Rentals, Scenic, Cozy & More) – 2022

4. See the Waterfalls at Linville Falls

Linville Falls is one of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most photographed and visited waterfalls. Milepost 316.3 leads to this magnificent three-tiered waterfall. There are numerous ways to view the waterfall. Erwins View Trail is a 1.6-mile round-trip moderate walk with four overlooks.

The first overlook is about a half-mile walk from the visitor center. The Linville River then spills over the upper falls, where it widens and pauses before spiraling out of sight and plunging 45 feet over the lower falls. From the visitor center, walk.07 mile to Chimney View, where the lower falls can be seen.

Hikers can see the Linville River cutting through the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area from Gorge View Overlook. The Erwin’s View Trail concludes at Erwins View Overlook, which is 0.8 mile from the visitor center.

This panoramic view of the upper and lower falls is another fantastic photo opportunity. The trails to Linville Gorge and Plunge Basin begin at the visitor center as well. Before entering the gorge, make sure to get a map from the visitor center.

5. Switzerland Cafe & General Store

9432 NC-226A, Marion, NC 28752 | Website

This seasonal, rustic smokehouse and eatery with a nostalgic vibe serves American fare and picnic fare. Friendly service and a large selection of homemade desserts. They also provide takeout service.

Stock up on goodies from the General Store, such as homemade pimento cheese, BBQ rub, local cheeses, and more. Switzerland Cafe & General Store is well known for their barbecue. Try one bite and you’ll know why. The cafe is home to the state’s largest wood-fired smokehouse.

6. Museum of North Carolina Minerals

214 Parkway Maintenance Road, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 | Website

The Museum of North Carolina Minerals celebrates the region’s abundant mineral resources and mining history. Explore hands-on, interactive exhibits about the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the 3,000-year-old mining saga.

Explore interactive exhibits about the formation of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the variety of minerals found here, and the rich mining history.

Reenactors tell the story of the Overmountain Men, who crossed the Blue Ridge here on their way to the battle at Kings Mountain, South Carolina, every year in mid-September. In 1980, their journey was designated as a National Historic Trail.

The Overmountain Victory Trail Association website has more information about the Overmountain Men and the reenactments.

Museum Of North Carolina Minerals
Image Source: Museum Of North Carolina Minerals website

7. Little Switzerland Books and Beans

28749 9426, NC-226A, Marion, NC 28752 | Website

A three-level bookstore is located next to the general store. This is a great place to get a coffee (they have a full coffee and espresso bar) and browse their books. Many consider this to be the best bookstore in North Carolina.

Little Switzerland Books & Beans invites you to take a break from the fast-paced world they live in and browse through their seven rooms of books on three levels just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 334 in the North Carolina mountains.

Slow down and peruse their 29,763 titles of old books, used books, and new books. They have a large selection of local interest books, civil war books, novels, mysteries, and science fiction.

8. Ride the Diamondback

334 Blue Rdg Pkwy, Little Switzerland, NC 28749 | Website

The Diamondback is located near milepost 334 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, only 50 miles north of Asheville and 44 miles south of Boone, North Carolina. NC 226A, US 221, Toms Creek Road, NC 80, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are all part of this 38-mile diamond-shaped loop. This is a thrilling motorcycle and sportscar loop.

This motorcycle-friendly inn has cottages with two bedrooms, A-frames with sleeping lofts, large inn rooms, smaller inn rooms, and the new Diamondback Lodge with eight small bedrooms each with private baths. The Diamondback also has a common lobby and covered motorcycle parking.  

Head out to explore the Diamondback Loop after a hearty breakfast of eggs, grits, biscuits, and country ham.

9. Penland School of Craft

67 Doras Trl, Bakersville, NC 28705 | Website

The Penland School of Craft is an Arts and Crafts educational center in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, approximately 50 miles from Asheville. Within 150 miles, the best place to go to see live art in progress.

Enjoy coffee/tea/sandwich/soup in the Pine Hall Cafeteria before exploring the various buildings to see glasswork, woodwork, ceramics, printing, paper making, knitting, ironwork, and so on.

Don’t forget to visit the galleries of local artists. Staying in this area allows you to explore nearby attractions such as Linville Falls, Crabtree Falls, Mitchell Mountain, Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, Sugar Mountain, and the Blue Ridge Parkway, as it is centrally located between Asheville and Boone.

10. Little Switzerland Tunnel

Blue Ridge Pkwy, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 | Website

Beautiful location on North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway’s tunnel is stunning. Beautiful mountain town.

It’s just up the road from the Thrifty Adventures tour company. They provide rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, tubing, and many other activities. This is a really cool tunnel that is only a small part of the amazing Blue Ridge Parkway.

Tunnel at Mini Switzerland NC
Image Source: BlueRidge Parkway Daily website

11. Little Switzerland Trading Company

133 High Ridge Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 | Website

Because everyone adores their Little Switzerland and Diamondback merchandise, the Switzerland Inn opened a brand new store in the Shops at Little Switzerland in 2011. Come see us for all of your local mercantile needs. They have pottery by High Country Ceramics, artisan foods by Crow Bar Farms, and specialty foods by Avery Farms!

They now sell boutique children’s clothing, toys, and accessories. They carry Bailey Boys, MudPie, Little Sleepies, and Wee Ones clothing and accessories!

They’ve expanded their Little Switzerland apparel and collectibles line, which will also be available in their new store.

12. Mount Mitchell State Park

2388 NC-128, Burnsville, NC 28714 | Website

Mount Mitchell State Park is a 4,789-acre state park in Yancey County, North Carolina, United States. Camping, hiking, and panoramic views are available at this park on the highest peak east of the Mississippi. Views for miles are absolutely breathtaking. Campgrounds are well-kept, with access to well water and flushable toilets. The hike to the peak is strenuous, but it ends in a beautiful Alpine Forest.

13. Wiseman’s View

Marion, NC 28752 | Website

Wiseman’s View on the western side of Linville Gorge offers one of the most breathtaking views in the North Carolina mountains (often called the “Grand Canyon of Eastern America”). At about 3,400 feet elevation, there are two stone observation areas perched on the cliff. The Linville River is about 1,500 feet below you, and the dramatic peaks of Hawksbill and Table Rock mountains are directly across the deepest gorge in the eastern United States.

Wiseman’s View is located near Linville Falls on the unpaved (and bumpy) Kistler Memorial Highway. High clearance vehicles are advised! There is a large parking area and a paved 2/10 mile trail leading to the observation areas.

While some steps are required for the best views, the upper viewing area is wheelchair and scooter accessible. The parking area has a single restroom but no visitor center or water.

Pastries on display at The Swiss Shoppe
Image Source: The Swiss Shoppe website

14. Indulge Your Sweet Tooth at The Swiss Shoppe  

105 High Ridge Rd, Little Switzerland, NC 28749 | Website 

The Swiss Shoppe is stocked with enough candy and sweet treats to make anyone feel like a kid all over again! People can find a magical candy land in Marion, which features Nancy’s Candy Company, Sugarfina, Breyers Ice Cream, and local organic ice cream by Artesana.

Do you want to eat enough sweets to last a week? Or are you looking for a tasty treat to get you through the day? The Swiss Shoppe has everything you could want to satisfy your sweet tooth.

15. Grassy Creek Falls

The incredible 25-foot multi-level cascade waterfall at Grassy Creek Falls in Little Switzerland is located on private property but is open to the public. It’s a short walk from the parking lot and even your room at the Switzerland Inn, if you’re staying there.

While this hike near Spruce Pine isn’t as well-known as some of the other waterfalls in Western North Carolina, a visit to Grassy Creek Falls will show you that it’s well worth the walk and well worth your morning or afternoon.

16. Linville Caverns

Western NC’s | Website

Linville Caverns, North Carolina’s only caverns open for tours, are located deep within Humpback Mountain. There are stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as an underground stream in these natural limestone caverns. At regular intervals, guided tours (30-40 minutes long) begin.

The caverns are a short distance from Linville Falls and four miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. The temperature remains a comfortable 52 degrees F all year, making it one of their favorite places to cool off.

Linville Caverns are still active as mineral deposits, forming stalactites and stalagmites. The water produced by this mountain, along with its carbon dioxide, dissolved limestone and dolomite, forming natural passageways into the mountain.

Little Brown Bats or Eastern Pipistrelle Bats, which hibernate here and hang from the ceiling during the winter and early spring, may be spotted.

17. Emerald Village Discovery Mill  

331 McKinney Mine Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 | Website

The building known as the Discovery Mill, which soars up the mountainside and offers a panoramic view of The Gemstone Mine, is one of Emerald Village’s most picturesque features. The historic mill building that once stood directly across the street but has vanished completely served as the model for this ornate structure.

The impressive view looking into the Big Deal Mine can be enjoyed from a variety of vantage points as you ascend the stairs on each level. The Crabtree Junction Shop, which has information, spotless restrooms, and a selection of mementos, presents, drinks, and snacks, is located on the first floor.

Have a hand-dipped ice cream cone, some coffee, chips and crackers, a variety of drinks, a sandwich that has been refrigerated, and other convenient foods.

Some of the other attractions in Discovery Mill include:

  • The Model Railroad Exhibit features two real-looking model trains that are in operation.
  • The Black Light Mineral Display reveals amazing hidden colors!
  • The Homestead Museum is a repository for vintage tools and machinery.
  • Fantastic items from the Worldwide Gem & Mineral Collection!
  • The Native Wildlife Exhibit is a kid favorite.
  • The Antique Music Museum has an amazing collection of instruments like music boxes and organs.
  • More good-old junk than you can imagine can be found in the Museum Annex.
  • Indian artifacts from the area – an incredible collection from their earliest settlers!
  • Old mining stocks are colorfully displayed in the Stock Room!
  • Drone Videos – Check out three aerial videos of Emerald Village!
The Orchard at Altapass 
Image Source: The Orchard at Altapass website

18. The Orchard at Altapass  

1025 Orchard Rd, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 | Website

This charming little roadside attraction is wonderful. The orchard has been there since the turn of the century, and the staff would be happy to tell you all about its history. They offer a wide variety of chow chow, honey, ciders, salsa, and preserves.

The various ciders are quite tasty. They have a few heirloom apple varieties you’ve never tried. Very good! The freshness is unrivaled.

19. Earth to Sky Park

66 Energy Exchange Dr, Burnsville, NC 28714 | Website

This charming little roadside attraction is wonderful. The orchard has been there since the turn of the century, and the staff would be happy to tell you all about its history. They offer a wide variety of chow chow, honey, ciders, salsa, and preserves.

The various ciders are quite tasty. that apple You may not have tried some of the heirloom varieties they have. Very good! The freshness is unrivaled. People can spread out comfortably, and the roll-back roof provides plenty of views while you wait for your turn. During the sky tour, they even lend out their personal binoculars and red lights.

20. Little Switzerland Orchard and Winery

14480 226 S, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 | Website

The atmosphere is so laid-back, the live music is fantastic, and the cider and beer are both delectable. They even enjoy bringing the kids along because the latter can enjoy a snack, listen to music, and wander around without bothering anyone. They enjoy perusing the local artwork. They were particularly impressed with their new bathrooms on this trip. They are both large, spotless, and accessible to people with disabilities.

21. Pisgah National Forest 

North Carolina | Website

An easy hike in Pisgah National Forest is Tom’s Creek Falls which has an 80-foot two-tier waterfall. This is perfect for families and one of only a few that has an observation deck.

Mile-high mountains, gushing waterfalls, and steep slopes covered in trees can all be found in the Pisgah National Forest. The Pisgah, which spans more than 500,000 acres, is primarily a hardwood forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails. At one of the many day-use areas, take advantage of camping or picnicking.

Photo of author

Michaela Lee

Michaela lives in Northern Virginia and is a mom of 2 young kids. She enjoys writing, reading and going new places with her family.