Extending more than 450 miles between Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a trip through the history, culture, and scenery of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the people who have lived there for hundreds of years.
The first thing most people think of when they think of the Blue Ridge Parkway are the remarkable views and scenery that seem to appear around every bend–the Peaks of Otter, Grandfather Mountain, Craggy Gardens. And you can leave for car behind for some wonderful hiking trails to waterfalls and mountain peaks, or to do some wildlife viewing.
But the Parkway is more than just spectacular mountain passes and rock formations. Visitors can while away an afternoon listening to traditional music at the Blue Ridge Music Center, learn about the life of early settlers at Mabry Mill, and peruse (and buy!) a host of beautiful, traditional arts and crafts at the Folk Art Center.
If You Go
There are plenty of places to stay along the parkway–whether you prefer a sleeping bag or a comfy bed–and the Parkway passes very near the growing cities of Roanoke, Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina which have plenty of shopping, dining, and lodging opportunities.
Also, bear in mind that bad weather (like snow and fog), and rock and tree falls can close sections of the Parkway–sometimes even for significant amounts of time. There are always detours, but if you want to visit a specific location, check with the Park Service ahead of time to make sure it's open.