Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone North Carolina is a town full of nature, history, and fun. Your family is sure to make wonderful memories while exploring all that the high country of North Carolina has to offer. Join us as we share things to do with kids in Boone NC and the surrounding areas.
Things To Do With Kids In Boone
One of the most famous attractions in Boone is Grandfather Mountain. Hiking, the famous mile-high swinging bridge, and animals are just some of the many things for your family to see and experience at Grandfather Mountain. It is a favorite of our family and we share all about the park in our Family Guide to Grandfather Mountain. In our Youtube Video below we give you a tour of all the park has to offer.
Blue Ridge Parkway
If you are looking for more outdoor experiences in Boone, you don’t want to miss the Blue Ridge Parkway. From amazing views to attractions for the whole family, the Blue Ridge Parkway definitely should be on your list of things to do on your next Boone NC family vacation. It won’t take long to realize why the Blue Ridge Parkway is the second most visited National Park. Since this is a National Park, you want to be sure to earn your Junior Park Ranger badge. Here are the stops in and around Boone on the parkway.
Moses Cone Manor (milepost 294.6)
The Moses Cone Manor is a stunning 20-room mansion that displays crafts from the Southern Highland Craft Guild as well as telling the story of previous owners Moses and Bertha Cone. While visiting you can enjoy the stunning views from the front porch as well as by hiking on many of the carriage trails throughout the property.
During summer and fall, ranger-led tours and open houses may be available. Unfortunately, when we visited in August of 2021 they were doing extensive work on the front porch which limited access inside the home.
Julian Price Lake (milepost 297)
With 47 acres of pristine property, Julian Price Lake is the perfect place for your family to spend time in the great outdoors. There are a variety of activities that you can participate in at the lake: kayaking and canoeing, fishing, hiking, or driving across the dam. The park does not have a visitor center so if you are interested in renting a canoe or kayak you should visit Price Park Boat Rentals.
Linn Cove Viaduct (milepost 304.4)
What used to be the missing link in the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Linn Cove Viaduct was completed in 1987 (I actually remember driving along it as a child after it was first built 🙂 An engineering wonder, the viaduct is a bridge that hugs grandfather mountain. It brings cars along a seven-mile section of the parkway. You can learn more about the bridge at the bridge museum and visitor center located at the south end of the bridge. *Be sure to check the website before going to see if the visitor center is open. At the time of publishing this article, it was closed.
Linville Falls (milepost 316)
If your family loves hiking and waterfalls then you don’t want to miss Linville Falls. You can begin your visit at the visitor center by talking with a ranger who will provide you with a map.
There are two trails to choose from at Linville Falls. The more strenuous hike is the Linville Gorge Trail. This trail is 1.4 miles round trip and will provide hikers views of the lower falls and the Chimneys. The other option is the Erwins View Trail. This trail is 1.6 miles round trip offering hikers four overlooks of the Linville Falls.
If you stop to hike at Linville Falls you want to be sure to stop at Linville Caverns just down the road. Our family really enjoyed the cavern tour and learning more about the marvels beneath the ground. Tickets for the tours are sold on a first come first serve basis.
The tour lasts approximately 30-40 minutes and leaves every 15 minutes. If you prefer, there is the option to buy a ticket for a later entry time. There is a nice little creek out front by the parking lot that our family found to be the perfect place to have a picnic! Be sure to pack a light jacket and wear comfortable shoes as the caverns stay at a chilly 52 degrees.
While this might not be the first thing to come to mind when looking for things to do with kids in Boone, NC but if your family is more on the adventurous side you might be interested in doing some rock climbing. There are two options for rock climbing in Boone.
If you want to experience climbing in a natural setting you need to check out Rock Dimensions Guide Services. Rock Dimensions has a variety of choices from a climbing tower, discovery course, or guided rock climbing. A suggested program for families is the “Tower to Rock” program. This program is a great introduction to climbing. It gives you half of the day on the tower and half the day on the real rock.
If indoors is more your style then you want to look into Center 45. Center 45 is an indoor climbing and fitness facility in Boone, NC. This 2000 square foot climbing (bouldering) gym will provide your family the perfect opportunity to get some exercise while learning a new skill at the same time.
Horn In The West
One of my favorite memories from childhood was hearing the cicadas chirp as I watched the live drama unfold before my eyes in the outdoor theater at Horn In The West. This summer we took our children to the live performance outdoor show and they loved it just the same.
Horn In The West is the nation’s longest-running Revolutionary War outdoor drama. The play shares the story of the first settlers to the high country during the Revolutionary War. The play is approximately 2 hours long and typically runs from the end of June through the beginning of August.
**Side note: The show does use very loud guns which could scare very young children or someone who is sensitive to sounds. Most of the gunfire is right at the beginning of the show. However, there are a couple of scenes throughout as well that use gunfire.
Hickory Ridge Living History Museum
Located on the same grounds as Horn In The West, the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is definitely a kid-friendly activity in Boone. If you purchase the VIP ticket to Horn In The West you receive free admission to the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum.
Depending on what time you arrive at the museum you can either take a self-guided tour of the grounds or a tour led by a historic interpreter dressed in period clothing. You will tour six historic cabins furnished with artifacts and furnishings from the time period of 1785-1805.
Our family was able to experience the historic interpreter option and I highly recommend it. At first, we were offered a self-guided tour. However, when we asked if we could have the guide do it they were happy to oblige. We had five children with ages ranging from 5-10 and they were all very engaged throughout the approximately 45-minute presentation. The Hickory Ridge Living History Museum was a great opportunity to learn local history and provide good background information for the Horn In The West.
Take a step back in time as you relive the days gone by of the Wild West. Live shows, rides, and of course their famous locomotives are all reasons to visit the family-friendly Tweetsie Railroad. The shows at Tweetsie include music, live Wild West train adventure, clogging, and more. You are sure to experience a lot of laughter as you partake in amusement rides for all ages.
If you have a train lover in your family you want to be sure to check out Tweetsie’s Railroads engines. The park has two narrow gauge steam locomotives for your family to enjoy. As you can see, Tweetsie Railroad is a must-see when looking for Boone NC kid attractions.
Zipline & Ropes Course
If thrill-seeking is what your family enjoys, you definitely want to check out these adventure activities in Boone NC.
Located just outside Tweetsie Railroad is an activity thrill-seekers don’t want to miss-High Gravity Adventures. (There is a special 15% discount for flyers who have the same week Tweetsie ticket). There are two types of adventure to choose from with HIgh Gravity Adventures: Zip Line Tour or Adventure Park. The zip line tour is a 2-hour canopy tour with multiple zip lines ending with a simulated freefall at High Gravity Adventure Park. The zip line tour is available for children and adults weighing more than 75 pounds.
The other option at High Gravity Adventures is the High Gravity Adventure Park. The Adventure Park has 3 different courses with over 75 elements. The Blue Ridge Course has an age requirement of 7+ and includes a multitude of aerial elements to challenge you throughout the course. The Foothills course is for kids as young as four and is a secure climbing adventure for the little thrill seekers in your family. Finally, the Ninja Ground Course is available to all adventure park ticket holders. Regardless of which option you choose you are sure to find Boone family fun at High Gravity adventures.
Just a short 15-minute drive south of Boone, near Blowing Rock, you will find Sky Valley Zip Tours. With little ones in mind, Sky Valley has the Whistle Pig Adventure Park. The Whistle Pig is the adventure of the adult tour created appropriate for children ages 4-18 and under 5’6″ and 180 lbs.
If you have older children (10 years old and up) you can experience the full package which includes 10 zip lines, cliff jumping, and the swinging bridge. On select weekends there is also the option for a night tour.
One of our favorite things to do with kids in Boone NC can be found at High Mountain Expeditions. For two years in a row, our family has rented tubes from High Mountain Expeditions. We experienced loads of fun as we floated down the New River. This activity is perfect for families of all ages. They even have custom hard-bottomed tubes for children (and adults like myself who opt for it :). In addition, there is nothing scary about this river. It is an easy float for all!
High Mountain Expeditions also has white water rafting adventures. You can choose from half-day, full-day, or 2-day trips. These excursions are more suitable for older children as the minimum ages for the trips are 9 and 12.
If you are looking for the perfect outing for your family in Boone you might consider renting a canoe or kayak with High Mountain Expeditions. Located in the same place as the tube rentals, the canoe and kayak rentals provide a gentle ride in waters 2 to 8 feet deep on the New River. You will take a short van ride to the place where the kayak and canoes are to be put in the water. The ride is unguided providing your family the opportunity to move at your own pace!
Finally, High Mountain Expeditions has an underground adventure option in exploring Worley cave. This is a 3-hour tour where you will explore a beginner/intermediate cave so no prior experience is needed. Children must be 7 years old to participate so you want to keep that in mind.
Mast General Store Boone
If looking for another opportunity to look back in history, you want to be sure to stop by the Mast General Store in Boone. Located in downtown Boone, and referred to as the Old Boone Mercantile, this building has a long history dating back to 1922.
As you step through the doors you will feel as though you have stepped back in time. Your children will likely marvel at the many nostalgic toys available to purchase (it is seriously one of the favorite things to do for my children). From old favorites like jacks to new favorites like thinking putty, there is something for everyone at the Mast General Store in Boone. As a matter of fact, once you have finished your shopping you want to be sure to grab yourself a bag of candy from the old barrels or an ice-cold bottle of Cheerwine. You won’t regret making a stop inside the Mast General Store in Boone!
Mysterium Escape Room
If your family is into escape rooms you don’t want to miss Boone’s only interactive escape room experience, Mysterium Escape Room. All rooms are family-friendly and can have up to 8 people participate. It’s the perfect activity for a rainy day in Boone, or if your family is up for a challenge!
While looking for family-friendly activities in Boone NC, you don’t want to overlook fly fishing with Tolliver’s Guide Service. With 20 years of fly fishing experience as well as being a former park ranger and camp counselor, this guide is sure to provide you with family fun! With half-day or full-day options, you are sure to have a memorable time. Snacks or a meal are provided with your trip depending on which trip you choose. The gear is also provided for you so you don’t have to worry about that. If looking for a fun day on the river, make sure you check out Tolliver’s Guide Service.
Fun N’ Wheels
When my brother and I would visit the mountains of North Carolina as children, we always looked forward to go-cart racing. Apparently, it’s in our genes because this summer when we visited Boone, the children from both families also fell in love with riding go-carts 🙂 Fun N’ Wheels is a small establishment with a figure 8 race track with both Junior carts (for children 5 and up) and adult race cars.
If your family isn’t afraid to get your hands dirty then you might want to check out a gem mine in Boone. In a past visit to North Carolina my family participated in gem mining. It was an experience that my children really loved. There is something about getting a bucket of dirt and being able to sort through it and end up with beautiful gems. If this is something that you think your family would be interested in, check out these gem mines in Boone NC.
Foggy Mountain Gem Mine
Family operated for generations, Foggy Mountain Gem Mine is the perfect place to bring your family. With both inside and outside flumes, the weather won’t keep you from experiencing the fun at this gem mine. With the guarantee of finding a gem each time, your children are sure to have a great time!
Greater Foscoe Mining Company
Open since 1988, the Greater Foscoe Mining Company has years of experience helping families experience fun and memories while looking for gems. This mining company has 5 buckets to choose from. The smallest size is perfect for children. It has a variety of stones for first-time miners. As you move up in the buckets there are larger stones such as geodes and quartz crystals included. Located right next door is a jewelry/gem store where you have the option to make your finds into jewelry.
While not located directly in Boone, but not very far, another fond memory of my childhood was exploring the oddities of Mystery Hill. While we had a blast 30 years ago things have sure changed with all that mystery hill has to offer. Mystery Hill now has ax throwing, old-time photos, gem mining, and of course what they are known for the natural gravity anomaly. While you might choose to participate in all of the activities or just a few, be sure to check out their website to see the various options of tickets they have to offer.
If your family is like ours you might sometimes just enjoy a nice walk outside. While not a strenuous hike like some of the areas hiking trails, the Boone Greenway is the perfect place for your family to spend time together in the great outdoors. The fully accessible trail is either paved or gravel surface making it the perfect place for strollers or bikes as well. If the family dog has joined your family on this trip to Boone, they are welcome to join you on the greenway as long as they are on a leash and you pick up after them 🙂
As you can see Boone has so much to offer families who are looking for activities to do together. We hope you have found this list helpful. If you have, be sure to share it with your friends or followers. Also, remember to sign up for our newsletter or check in frequently for more family-friendly travel destinations. We hope you enjoy your visit to Boone, North Carolina. Stay Peachy!