How to Plan the Best N.C. Roadtrip: A Chimney Rock Guide

There are so many reasons why Chimney Rock is one of the best road trips in N.C. In a few hours, you can ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway, explore the state’s most iconic landmarks, and even make your way to the bustling city of Asheville. If you’re ready to hit the open road, then read on for a complete itinerary. While you’re packing bags, remember to bring along a copy of our free Chimney Rock/Lake Lure Vacation Guide. Inside, you’ll find everything you need for the perfect mountain getaway, including recommendations on restaurants, hiking trails, special events, and more.

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Chimney Rock: One of the Best Road Trips in N.C.

Step 1: Take the Most Scenic Route

For the ultimate North Carolina mountain road trip, you need to take a ride on The Blueridge Parkway. The route begins in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park but is accessible from multiple mileposts throughout North Carolina. The mountain views don’t get much better than this! There are hundreds of roads that cross the parkway’s path, but the main entrances can be accessed from Asheville, Cherokee, Boone, and Roanoke, VA. For a detailed list of entrances, visit the National Parks Traveler’s website. Driving on the parkway is all about the journey, so remember to stop frequently, take photos, and enjoy the ride!

Step 2: Explore the City With a Road Trip to Asheville, N.C.

Asheville is one of our favorite day trips in N.C., and it is only a 40-minute drive away from Chimney Rock. After driving on the parkway, take the time to stretch your legs and explore the city. If you are traveling to the area for the food, beer, and art, then Wedge Studios in the city’s River Arts District is an excellent place to visit first. For recommendations on where to eat afterward, read our blog on Asheville restaurants!

Step 3: Continue Your Journey to the Hickory Nut Gorge

The Hickory Nut Gorge at Chimney Rock State Park is one of North Carolina’s best-kept secrets. This 6,800-acre park highlights the best of Western N.C. Here, you’ll find hiking trails, beautiful waterfalls, and spectacular panoramic views of the Hickory Nut Gorge, Lake Lure, and the Blue Ridge Foothills. Take a deep breath! That’s fresh, North Carolina mountain air! This beautiful park is only five minutes away from The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant, the final stop on your road trip!

Take It Easy at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant

At the end of one of the best road trips in N.C., don’t let the fun stop there. Join us at our restaurant for a savory, Southern-style dinner. Scallops at The Esmeralda RestaurantAfterward, kick up your feet and relax in a premium mountain-view room or cabin. Daily breakfast, our luxurious whirlpool hot tub, and award-winning cuisine at our restaurant are a few ways to enjoy your stay. If you are ready to hit the open road and explore Western North Carolina, check our vacation specials, and remember your free vacation guide. We hope to see you soon at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant!