Where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway

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Few American roads have an aura like the Blue Ridge Parkway. Lined by road trip attractions, it twists and turns its way through Virginia’s and North Carolina’s colorful Blue Ridge Mountains. But where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway for the best experience?

From north to south, options for where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway are Waynesboro, Roanoke, Blowing Rock, Asheville and Cherokee. In and around these towns, you find delightful lodging.

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Waynesboro, VA (Milepost 0)

The northern entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway is positioned in the sleepy community Afton. But Afton is such a tiny place that you need to be a little bit flexible with your radar when you look for your first Blue Ridge Parkway hotel.

Luckily, the well equipped neighbor Waynesboro happily steps in. Just 4 miles (6 km) from the parkway entrance, Waynesboro offers appreciated Blue Ridge Parkway hotels and amenities, such as stores and restaurants.

As the parkway is situated away from bigger cities and travel hubs, most travelers begin their journeys far away from its actual start. To begin the drive refreshed, a night in Waynesboro is easily motivated.

You don’t want to be tiered when you enter the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s just a too special of a drive for that.

Pick Waynesboro for: The northern end.

Best hotels in Waynesboro

Best Western Plus

Spacious and comfortable are the two words that best describe Best Western Plus in Waynesboro. It’s not the most unique place to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it certainly provides the good night’s sleep that you need ahead of your first miles down the parkway.

The Blue Ridge Parkway snaking through yellow and orange forest during fall
Fall at the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Roanoke, VA (Milepost 120)

Roanoke is another Virginia option for where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway. At Milepost 120, the town nestled in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains is a superb base before the journey continues further south.

If you drive the Blue Ridge Parkway from start to end, some rest is well deserved after the first 120 miles (193 km). But even if you aren’t, Roanoke is a mountain city with a lot on its plate.

The Roanoke Star, or the Mill Mountain Star, is the Virginia equivalent to California’s Hollywood Sign. Up on Mill Mountain, the star dutifully guards its surroundings.

For a close view, you can drive, bike or hike all the way up. If you choose the latter, it’s a 3.4 miles (5.5 km) out-and-back hike from the Mill Mountain Star Trailhead.

For more extensive hiking, the Appalachian Trail, which runs for nearly 2,000 miles (3,219 km) from Maine to Georgia, calls your name.

There are several access points for the Appalachian Trail around Roanoke. Among them, the Mcafee Knob Trailhead on Catawba Mountain stands out as a great choice for jaw-dropping vistas.

From the Mcafee Knob Trailhead, it’s an 8 miles (13 km) round trip to the McAfee Knob. The unique rock overhang perch is one of the most photographed spots along the entire Appalachian Trail.

But Roanoke is not only about outdoor activities. It’s also a cozy town with all the accommodation options and restaurants you need to kick back before you get back to America’s favorite drive.

Pick Roanoke for: Milepost 120.

Best hotels in Roanoke

Hotel Roanoke

Hotel Roanoke, located in the city’s heart and first opened in the 1800s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As soon as you enter its lobby, full of historic touches, it strikes you what a unique Blue Ridge Parkway hotel you have found. Hotel Roanoke is a place where history and luxury elegantly meet.

Black Lantern Inn

The Blue Ridge Parkway is closely associated with cute bed and breakfasts, and the Black Lantern Inn is one of them. Set up with lovely level of detail, it’s an oasis that makes guests return. For a home-away-from-home feeling, the Black Lantern Inn is one of the best places to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Holiday Inn Express

If you’re after a you-know-what-you-get kind of place, the Holiday Inn Express in Roanoke is a great choice. At the hotel, you enjoy modern rooms and have the downtown of Roanoke just 1 miles (1.6 km) down the road.

Close-up of the brightly shining Roanoke Star at the top of Mill Mountain
The Roanoke Star.

Blowing Rock, NC (Milepost 292)

The North Carolina section is the most elevated part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. In the small town Blowing Rock, at an elevation of 3,566 feet (1,087 m), you can really feel that.

Just outside Blowing Rock, often referred to as the Crown of the Blue Ridge, the rock formation behind its name is located. The actual Blowing Rock is, in fact, one of the oldest travel attractions in North Carolina.

The Blowing Rock cliff reaches out above John’s River Gorge. From the overlook, it’s 3,000 awe-inspiring feet (914 m) down to the distant river below.

Make sure to bring your camera for this one.

In the quiet mountain setting of Blowing Rock, another favorite sight is Moses Cone’s Flat Top Manor. Once home to textile mogul Moses Cone, the manor, which nowadays belongs to the National Park Service, is a place for history buffs.

But the Moses Cone property also invites you to some casual hiking. On the historic estate, you find 25 miles (40 km) of trails to check out.

Yes, Blowing Rock is a quiet town. But for quintessential Blue Ridge Parkway scenery, Blowing Rock is an outstanding destination that for its small size overachieves tremendously.

Pick Blowing Rock for: Milepost 292.

Best hotels in Blowing Rock

The Manor

The Manor provides large, inviting suites on Main Street in Blowing Rock. At the hotel, which offers easy access to town attractions, you enjoy the very definition of contemporary. It’s one of those really unique places to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Mountainaire Inn

Looking for something rustic that goes hand in hand with the setting high up in the mountains? If so, Mountainaire Inn demands your attention. Only steps from shops and restaurants, this is low-key yet welcoming Blue Ridge Parkway lodging.

The actual Blowing Rock revealing unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains
The actual Blowing Rock

Asheville, NC (Milepost 383)

Asheville is an established option for where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The city at Milepost 383 is not only conveniently positioned before the final drive down the parkway, it’s also a popular getaway destination on its own.

Downtown Asheville plays a big part in Asheville’s charisma. From its variation of stores and boutiques to celebrated eateries and bars, it’s a fun place to be along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

But you can’t spend all your Asheville time in the downtown area. Asheville is a North Carolina city with several other draws.

On the first page of Asheville’s visitor brochure, you find the grand Biltmore Estate. Once built by George Vanderbilt II, it’s America’s largest privately owned home. Prepare for a truly grand sight.

Outside Asheville, a contrasting natural attraction is Chimney Rock State Park. At the top of the park’s Chimney Rock, you enjoy views that have featured in the movie blockbuster Last of the Mohicans.

With both a vibrating downtown area and surrounding attractions, Asheville is a town where a few days pass in no time. So if you want to spend one or two extra nights somewhere along the parkway, Asheville is a great choice.

Pick Asheville for: Milepost 383.

Best hotels in Asheville


For the ultimate access to attractions in Downtown Asheville, you don’t need to look past Kimpton. In the heart of Asheville, it’s a comfy hotel ringed in by restaurants, bars and shops. As a nice bonus, the Kimpton also offers stunning views of the surroundings.

Hampton Inn Biltmore

Rather want to stay near the huge Biltmore Estate? From the modern Hampton Inn, which is located in the Biltmore Village area, it’s just a mile (1.6 km) to the Biltmore Estate entrance.

Cabins of Willow Winds

Adjacent to the parkway, you find the Cabins of Willow Winds. Just 6 miles (10 km) from Downtown Asheville, these cabins offer a contrasting reality. They make you feel like you’re in the middle of a forest, yet top Asheville attractions are only a short drive away.

Natural smoke plumes hanging just over the tree tops of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Peaceful parkway surroundings.

Cherokee, NC (Milepost 469)

Well done, you made it all the way down to Milepost 469 and the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. At road’s end, you find the final option for where to stay on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherokee.

Even though the Blue Ridge Parkway adventure might be over, the scenery certainly continues past Cherokee. The town is where the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park intersect.

The Smokies, United States’ most visited national park, make up a grand extension to America’s favorite drive.

Fun things to do in Great Smoky Mountains include climbing Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee, and viewing the area’s iconic black bears. The celebrated Cades Cove, like a park in a park, is a hotspot for wildlife viewing.

Cherokee in particular offers superb access to the southern part of the Smokies. This more off-the-beaten-path region, compared to the busier north, encompasses the deep Fontana Lake and picturesque Tom Branch Falls.

For more conventional northern park exploration, consider the places to stay in Great Smoky Mountains across the wilderness. Up north, you find the fun-filled Tennessee towns Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.

Pick Cherokee for: Milepost 469.

Best hotels in Cherokee

Great Smokies Inn

At the northern end of Cherokee, the Great Smokies Inn is a final outpost before the wilderness takes over. As the hotel also is closest to the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, its location is a solid A.

Rivers Edge Motel

Rivers Edge Motel lets you wake up to the sound of a rippling river. It’s a low-key place to stay, but next to Oconaluftee River, it’s still an oasis at the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Black mama bear walking with three cubs through the Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee
Great Smoky Mountains NP begins where the Blue Ridge Parkway ends.

Sights along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Now you know everything there’s to know about where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway. But what are the best sights when you take the awe-inspiring Blue Ridge Parkway road trip?

Milepost 0: Entrance at Afton

The entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway is where it all begins. If you had a long trip to get here, consider a night in Waynesboro before you get going.

Milepost 62: Natural Bridge

In Natural Bridge State Park, the 215 feet (66 m) tall Natural Bridge is exactly what it sounds like: a rock forming a natural bridge.

Milepost 120: Roanoke

Roanoke charms you with a historic downtown area and natural sights just up the hill. The shining Roanoke Star and renowned Appalachian Trail are top Roanoke attractions.

Milepost 176: Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill has become a Blue Ridge Parkway institution. It’s a restored millhouse, which also is famous for its tasty pancakes.

Milepost 292: Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock might be a tiny town, but it’s a much appreciated option for where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway. In Blowing Rock, you find the actual Blowing Rock and Flat Top Manor.

Milepost 304: Linn Cove Viaduct

Linn Cove Viaduct is an S-shaped Blue Ridge Parkway bridge. To make the most of this stop, take in the spectacular views from the nearby trails.

Milepost 316: Linville Gorge & Falls

Linville Falls, positioned in Linville Gorge, is the most famous waterfall along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As the waterfall culminates, it crashes down 45 feet (14 m) to the pool below.

Milepost 355: Mount Mitchell

Do you want to check out the tallest Blue Ridge Parkway spot there is? Mount Mitchell is at 6,684 feet (2,037 m) not only a Blue Ridge Parkway highlight but also the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

Milepost 383: Asheville

Just Downtown Asheville makes the town a great place to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway. However, the Asheville fun doesn’t stop there. The Biltmore Estate and Chimney Rock are other remarkable Asheville attractions.

Milepost 420: Black Balsam

The Black Balsam Knob offers some of the best views along the entire Blue Ridge Parkway. From the Art Loeb Trailhead, it’s just 0.7 miles (1.1 km) up to the totally unobstructed summit.

Milepost 469: Cherokee

Cherokee marks the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. But as Cherokee is home to Oconaluftee Indian Village and functions as a gateway to the Smokies, you can easily extend the adventure.

Wooden Mabry Mill community building set in front of a swath of tall trees
Mabry Mill community building.

Final words about where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Blue Ridge Parkway, extending from Virginia to North Carolina, is a bucket list journey. Lined by homey Blue Ridge Parkway accommodations and unique roadside attractions — this is how every drive should be.

As you drive down the parkway, it doesn’t take many turns before you realize why it’s called America’s Favorite Drive.

But when you plan and book places to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway, have in mind that it, just like it should be, is a slow-paced drive. The full 469 miles (750 km) route takes 10 hours plus to drive from start to end, so make sure to allow several days for your parkway adventure.

Where to stay along the Blue Ridge Parkway FAQ

Where should I stay when driving the Blue Ridge Parkway?

From north to south Waynesboro, Roanoke, Blowing Rock, Asheville and Cherokee are welcoming towns with lodging along the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you drive the entire Blue Ridge Parkway from start to end, several different bases are needed.

How long is the Blue Ridge Parkway?

The Blue Ridge Parkway runs for 469 miles (750 km) from Afton in Virginia to Cherokee in North Carolina. It’s a drive that connects Shenandoah National Park in the north to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the south.

On the parkway, the speed limit most often is 45 miles (72 km) per hour, which translates to between 10 and 11 hours of driving. But as you not always can or want to keep the speed limit, after all you’re on America’s favorite drive, it’s wise to budget for at least 13 hours.

How many overnight stops do you need for the Blue Ridge Parkway?

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a unique drive that you absolutely don’t want to rush through. It’s not only about the miles on the road but also about the attractions and towns along the way.

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to allow a week or more for the entirety of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Although it’s possible to take the drive quicker, less time makes it a challenge to make the most of the journey.

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