By Nicole Munoz
The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway travels over 469 miles of
mountain tops through North Carolina and Virginia. Along the
way, there are plenty of panoramic overlooks, picnic areas, and
several campgrounds to accommodate both trailers and tents. The
Blue Ridge Parkway also offers more than one hundred hiking
trails, as well as access to larger trail systems like the 2000
mile long Appalachian Trail and the 900 mile Mountain to Sea
Trail in North Carolina.
Many of the short trails offer historical exhibits and live
demonstrations of a forgotten life in the Appalachians. There
are also many other attractions along the Blue Ridge Parkway
that are fun for the entire family. Plan a weekend camping
adventure and enjoy a few of these memorable attractions or
choose to visit one for a unique day trip!
Humpback Rocks is an 800 acre park with various hiking and
bicycling opportunities. The visitor center is located at
milepost 5.8 and features a working 19th century Appalachian
farmstead. Boating access is available at nearby Sherando Lake.
The Stonewall Jackson House offers guided tours of the
confederate general’s home. There are also lush gardens, an
informative museum, and small gift shop. This attraction is
located just off MP 45.6 in Lexington, VA.
Just 15 minutes off the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 63.7 is The
Natural Bridge, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Aside from this wondrous sight, there is a nature park, a
variety of peculiar museums, and a living village displaying the
life of Indians who once inhabited the area. The Virginia Safari
Park is also located minutes away.
Peaks of Otter is a 5000 acre park between MP 84 and MP 87 of
the Blue Ridge Parkway. Surrounded by the Jefferson National
Forest, this parkway attraction provides a variety of hiking
trails. Visitors can see live interpretations at the old Johnson
Farm and view the first travel lodge in the area, Polly Wood’s
cabin. Peaks of Otter also features a picnic area and
restaurant, campground and lodge, and a 24 acre lake, so bring
your Coleman inflatable kayak.
Virginia’s Explore Park, located just off MP 115.1, is a
cultural attraction with living history demonstrations, a
restaurant, and a variety of outdoor activities, including
hiking, fishing, and kayaking.
Mill Mountain and Roanoke Mountain, located off Blue Ridge
Parkway MP 120, offer a campground, a variety of hiking trails,
and Mill Mountain Discovery Center, an educational attraction
with fun hands-on environmental exhibits. Roanoke, VA also has a
variety of attractions only minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway,
including a zoo, caverns, and museums.
Rocky Knob is a 4800 acre park at MP 167 offering the only
cabin rentals on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rocky Knob has 15 miles
of hiking trails and is also the location of the restored Mabry
Mill, a very popular parkway attraction. The Mabry Mill offers
self-guided tours of Appalachian life more than a century ago
and also features a country restaurant and a gift shop.
The Blue Ridge Music Center is located at MP 213 and features
outdoor musical performances during the summer with an emphasis
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