Blue Ridge Parkway
Originally known as the Appalachian Scenic Highway, the Blue Ridge Parkway was created in 1935 as part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Designed to created jobs and improve American infrastructure after the Great Depression, the scenic route was planned to connect Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina with Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Blue Ridge Parkway construction began in 1935 near Cumberland Knob, and all but the last 7 miles were completed in 1966. The engineering marvel that is the Linn Cove Viaduct wasn’t finished until 1987.
America’s longest linear park (stretching 469 miles from Cherokee NC to Waynesboro VA), the BRP is also the #1 most visited unit of the US National Park system, averaging nearly 16 million visitors a year.
Because the speed limit on the Blue Ridge Parkway is 45 mph, and many visitors drive slower to take in all the spectacular scenery, driving the entire route in one stretch would take about 15 hours.
But in our experience, having driven the BRP numerous times in recent years, that would entirely defeat the purpose.
There are 200+ scenic overlooks, historic sites, and other attractions along the Parkway, not to mention a fascinating array of Blue Ridge Mountains wildlife (Black Bears, White-tailed Deer, Wild Turkeys, etc).
To that end, we’ve assembled this incredible assortment of handy guides to help you plan the perfect Blue Ridge Parkway road trip, covering everything from the best hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic vistas to Autumn leaf-peeping and great mountain towns to stop in along the way!
We’ve also got in-depth guides to all the best cabin rentals, hotels, resorts, and treehouses in the Blue Ridge Mountains, to ensure you have the most amazing Blue Ridge Parkway vacation possible…
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles in Virginia and North Carolina, connecting Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Though seasoned travelers
There are countless hiking trails on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and each offers a little something special. But the relatively short Rough Ridge hike ranks
[Updated August 6, 2023] Fall in North Carolina is particularly special because the autumn leaves are around for an extended amount of time. The vibrant fall
The Blue Ridge Mountains are famed for their stirring scenic vistas, and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Fall is arguably the crème de la crème.
Stretching 469 miles from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, the Blue Ridge Parkway is the #1 most visited
[Updated 6/26/2023] Just east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, rocky ridges smooth out into the rolling hills and lively mountain streams known as the North
[Updated June 7, 2023] When my wife and I explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, it’s typically with two main goals in mind. The first objective
[Updated January 8, 2024] One of the things people don’t tell you about taking a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip is how remarkably uncommercialized this
We’ve been fortunate enough to drive the entire 469-mile length of the Blue Ridge Parkway several times over the past two years. And though the
The best Blue Ridge Parkway campgrounds including info on facilities, unique features and nearby attractions.
[Updated August 16, 2022] The fact that a Blue Ridge mountain town the size of Roanoke VA (population 99,411) has enough breweries to create an “8
Choosing the best restaurants in Cherokee NC is an interesting challenge. Most major tourist towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains– such as Asheville NC, Blue
[Updated January 9, 2023] Located just a couple of hours north of downtown Asheville, the town of Boone NC is the county seat for Watauga
A guide to the 15 Best Blue Ridge Parkway hotels, cabin rentals, and B&Bs in NC & VA, spanning nearly the entire length of the BRP.
Things to Do at Wintergreen Resort in Summer, including all the best hiking trails, waterfalls, family activities and Wintergreen restaurants.
Much of the press on the Blue Ridge Parkway celebrates it as a wonderfully preserved 469-mile scenic route. But much of what makes the world-renowned road
Located just south of Boone, Blowing Rock is a tourism-driven North Carolina mountain town known as the “Crown of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” The town was
[Updated on March 9, 2022] The Blue Ridge Parkway road trip is truly an American classic. It’s possible to traverse the entire 469-mile route on
The 25 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Waterfalls in North Carolina, from Boone and Burnsville to Asheville, Cherokee and beyond!
Located 16 miles west of Boone and 18 miles from Blowing Rock, Banner Elk ranks high among the most beloved small towns in North Carolina‘s
[Updated 2/16/22] Between the vast Pisgah National Forest, rolling Blue Ridge Mountains, wondrous waterfalls, and countless meandering creeks and verdant meadows, there’s no shortage of
Located about 55 miles northeast of Asheville NC at milepost 316.4, Linville Falls is perhaps the most famous of the many waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Located just 10 miles south of Boone, the tiny mountain town of Blowing Rock (population 1,163) is one of the most tourist-friendly towns in the
[Updated 1/12/2022] The city of Roanoke VA has no shortage of great restaurants to choose from. With a population of around 100,000 people– the largest
Encompassing 43 square miles, with a population right around 100,000, Roanoke is the largest city on the Blue Ridge Parkway, with loads of great shopping,
The Blue Ridge Music Center was established by an act of Congress in 1985 to celebrate the rich cultural history and ongoing musical traditions of the
For me, the monolithic majesty of Grandfather Mountain preceded itself. On a few occasions in the past, my wife Emma and I visited friends who
The short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from just east of Boone NC to just west of Blowing Rock is particularly packed with
The Cradle of Forestry in America was originally known as the Biltmore Forest School. It was founded in 1898 by Carl A. Schenck, a German
The Southern Appalachian Historical Association was formed to preserve the history and cultural heritage of Watauga County and the surrounding areas in the North Carolina
[Updated August 12, 2021] The Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited national park unit in the USA, attracting more than 15 million visitors each
[Updated July 27, 2021] With only one or two Blue Ridge Parkway hotels in North Carolina, it’s not easy to find accommodations along the world-famous
Emerald Village is located just 31 miles from Asheville and three miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The family-friendly attraction proved to be one of
[Updated July 29, 2021] “You don’t choose Asheville… Asheville chooses you.” This enigmatic insight from Peter White, co-owner of the Black Walnut Bed and Breakfast
[Updated September 14, 2021] In our opinion, taking a Blue Ridge Parkway road trip is one of the finest romantic getaways or family vacations the
As a tourist destination, the Blue Ridge Parkway specializes in three things: spring blooms, autumn leaves, and jaw-dropping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. While
Located in North Carolina between Blue Ridge Parkway mile markers 238.5 and 244.7, Doughton Park is actually the largest recreation area along the famous road.