Top 5 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk, North Carolina You Can’t Miss

North Carolina’s Banner Elk is a genuinely special place, right in the middle of one of the most gorgeous regions throughout the American South. Banner Elk is known as a regional ski hub, as well as the beating heart of Tarheel State heart country. You’ll find plenty of things to enjoy here no matter what the season. Banner Elk is right for you if you’re into hiking and camping, fishing and skiing, riding horses, or just taking wine tours. That’s Why I decided to list the best things to do in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Banner Elk is right for you if you’re into hiking and camping, fishing and skiing, riding horses, or just taking wine tours and meeting friendly folks who are fascinating to be around. This locale is a certified gem. It’s a popular place, but it’s also not overrun, so you can balance socialization with solitude and scenery.

Banner Elk

When it’s winter, you’ll have lots of places to go skiing or just enjoy local serenity. These slopes aren’t beginner bunny hills, but there are plenty of those for anyone trying to start. You can do trial skiing or cross-country, with both intermediate and advanced options available.

Banner Elk is a small town in North Carolina’s the Blue Ridge Mountains. It lies right between Beech Mountain Resort and Sugar Mountain Resort on the west side. In town, The Banner House Museum exhibits period furnishings, tools, clothing, and other artifacts from a 1860s cabin built by a husband and wife.

To the southwest, Wildcat Mountain has a giant hot tub and a giant playground. To the northeast, Grandfather Mountain offers hiking and hunting trips. To the northwest, the Native American village of Moccasins has lovely cabins for quiet reflection. Just east of Banner Elk is another historic site: the Hiawassee National Recreation Area. Hiawassee was a winter home and summer home to Hiawassee Indians. The Indian village is preserved as a natural heritage site.

a house on the banks of a river in Banner Elk, north carolina
By Mark Clifton | Wikimedia Commons

Things to Do in Banner Elk

Water Activities at Wildcat Lake

Banner Elk has plenty you can do, and much of what is open to you will be what lands between your preferences and the season you come here. Wildcat Lake is a 13-acre lake popular for swimming, boating, and fishing. There’s even a beach with summertime lifeguards. Tufts Memorial Park sits nearby for grilling and picnicking, or just letting the kids play outside and enjoy the crisp Smokey Mountain air and scenery.

Related Read: Hiddem Gem in North Carolina You Can’t Miss

High-Country Wine Trail

Visit up to five different wineries local to Banner Elk along the High-Country Wine Trail, and you don’t have to drive to them all! Guided tours can take you by horseback, or take a shuttle or bus tour along several of them. Each winery also features independent schedules and special events, along with daily tastings and picturesque settings for outdoor weddings and events.

Lees McRae Summer Theater

Lees McRae Summer Theater is a place for downtown drama and culture when the summer months roll through. Schedules combine classic plays with local choices, so you can catch a great show within walking distance of the downtown area’s best diners and bars. Enjoy small city culture with the great outdoors all at once.

Zip Lining at Seven Devils 

Seven Devils is a nearby spot that locals love, as do any visitors who discover it. Multiple zip line courses await you with aerial views of breathtaking vistas. One of them is considered by many to be the region’s best zip-line of all.

Grandfather’s Trout Farm

Grandfather’s Trout Farm is where you should be to make the kids learn how to love fishing in the trio of stocked trout ponds. Never miss the Pedalin’ Pig BBQ if you want to chow down on Southern barbecue that’s always made just right. These are just but a handful of many options that give Banner Elk its reputation as a great place to visit. You’ll find so many more.

When Should You Visit?

This comes down to what part of the year you can visit, but also depends on the specific local attractions that you find appealing. If you want to go skiing, then you have to come in the winter. Many call this the ski capital of the whole South, so you get lots of choices. Downtown Banner Elk is also very bountiful with things to do, and the local wineries are known to do outdoor tours even in the middle of winter.

Anything that’s not a winter sport is open and active all summer long, although the fall has some pretty popular festivals too. The weather is usually pretty mild. Those coming from more northerly climates might be worried about heat and humidity, but the mountain elevations make this place far more gentle than other parts of the state.

You only have to do a little research into the many attractions here to get a sense of what might be something you prefer. You certainly won’t have to worry about a shortage of options. Tourism here is vibrant every month of the year, depending on when you can come and what you’re looking for.

Friendly residents, a bustling area economy, and an abundance of businesses and activities make Banner Elk a popular and memorable destination.

Where Can You Stay?

The Banner Elk region of North Carolina has an abundance of rental possibilities if you want a place to stay. However, they’re not all the same. Hotels can cost you an arm and a leg, and the quality of service can range from impersonal to inconsistent. Where Airbnb is permitted, it can also be a roll of the dice. You might just spend too much for questionable circumstances.

FindRentals.com, on the other hand, is a great choice. This website vets all of its offerings so they know that everything is completely reputable and trustworthy in advance. They also partner up with local people responsible for vacation rental management and ownership in and around Banner Elk. That gives FindRentals.com access to relationships, service, and knowledge on the ground that you won’t get anywhere else. This website also lets you see a wide range of choices that have already been verified.

You can find luxury cabin rentals, in-town houses, rental homes, country houses, and luxury apartments among the many options. When you know how FindRentals.com operates and verified the properties they show, then you know that this is the single best place to find many high-caliber rental choices for this area in North Carolina. You won’t just get a comfy place to sleep at night and some privacy, but in fact a housing memory sure to set a high standard for all your future vacations.

There aren’t many things worse to go through than what could have been a great trip that gets tripped up by thin walls, itchy beds, and dodgy lodging that didn’t let everyone unwind and enjoy each other.


There are so many things to do in and around Banner Elk that you should put most of your effort into figuring out what to do more than where to stay. You’ll need a great place to stay where you can rest and recuperate from your daily adventures, so use FindRentals.com to find a base of operations from which you and your family can strike out every day to make memories in your brief but banging time in Banner Elk.

The next time you get the chance to take a vacation, give Banner Elk a try. You’re sure to love it enough to come back for all the things you miss the first time or just didn’t know about.

Last Updated on June 20, 2023

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