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6 Can’t‑Miss Stops on a Drive Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Linn Cove Viaduct Grandfather Mountain North Carolina Usa Blue Ridge Parkway
When planning a fall getaway, it matters where you stay

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Stretching 469 miles through the mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in America. Road trippers who make the journey are rewarded with breathtaking overlooks, epic hiking, unique cultural opportunities, and a bevy of brewehries, cideries and wineries.

Autumn is the perfect time to explore the Parkway as the trees come to life in beautiful colors. If you’re looking to make the journey this fall, here are six spots you won’t want to miss—plus hotel suggestions to make the most of your stay.

Milepost 0: Shenandoah National Park

The Blue Ridge Parkway starts at the southern end of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park, making this natural playground the perfect first stop on your journey. Venture to Dark Hollow Falls, hike Old Rag Mountain, keep a lookout for black bears and groundhogs, and brake for baked goods bursting with the region’s most prolific fruit: blackberries.

Photo Credit: Jon Bilous/Shutterstock

Where to stay: Hampton Inn by Hilton Waynesboro/Stuarts Draft is located near the beginning of the Parkway, as well as many local wineries, making it the ideal place to stop after a day full of fun.

Milepost 120: Roanoke, Virginia

As you twist and turn through the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll soon find yourself in Roanoke. Make your way to the city’s most iconic landmark, the Mill Mountain Star. This beacon is a sight to behold at any time of day, but especially at sunset as the city is awash in hues of orange and the illuminated star is brought to neon life.

Where to stay: Once the sun goes down, settle into a historic room at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, Curio Collection by Hilton.

Milepost 213: Blue Ridge Music Center

Usa  Virginia  Blue Ridge Parkway. Men Playing Instruments At Blue

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Music Center offers a museum with an interactive exhibition highlighting the historical significance of the region’s music. The center also offers free live music from noon to 4 p.m. every day, featuring local musicians who play, sing, and tell stories about the songs, people and traditions of the area.

Photo Credit: Danita Delimont/Shutterstock

Where to stay: After a day of musical exploration, head into downtown Galax to check out a show at the Rex Theater before checking into Hampton Inn by Hilton Galax.

Milepost 297: Blowing Rock

North Carolina’s oldest attraction, Blowing Rock, was once heralded by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! as “the only place in the world where snow falls upside down.” While an autumn visit will likely prove to be snow-free, when you’re standing on Blowing Rock you’ll definitely be aware of the sensation that wind is blowing upward from the rock, which hangs over Johns River Gorge at a height of 4,000 feet above sea level.

Where to stay: After admiring this stunning marvel of nature, head to nearby Boone where you can enjoy more mountain views and a stay at Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Boone.

Milepost 384: Asheville, North Carolina

Blue Ridge Parkway Asheville  North Carolina  Usa Downtown Skyline At Dusk.

Head across the scenic Linn Cove Viaduct, through the Pisgah National Forest and into the outdoor wonderland that is Asheville. Offering impressive hiking and adventure opportunities at every turn, Asheville is equally renowned for its vibrant arts scene, craft breweries and award-winning dining. With so many eclectic offerings, you’ll want to spend a few days in this dynamic destination.

Photo Credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Where to stay: Marvel at the grandeur of America’s largest home on a tour of Asheville’s castle-like Biltmore Estate, and explore its stunning gardens before checking into the nearby Hilton Garden Inn Asheville South.

Milepost 462: Oconaluftee Indian Village

As you near the end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, be sure to stop at the Oconaluftee Indian Village. Here you can travel back to the 18th century as you learn about the Cherokee people and their way of life in the North Carolina mountains. Guided tours provide an educational look at crafting demonstrations, special shows and traditional dance performances.

Where to stay: Schedule a stay at the nearby Hampton Inn by Hilton Cherokee before finishing your drive or continuing into Great Smoky Mountains National Park for even more adventure!

When planning your fall road trip, remember that Hilton Honors members can earn up to 5,000 Points and save on qualifying car rentals from Alamo, Enterprise and National. And if you rent a car for five or more days between Aug. 15, 2022 and Oct. 5, 2022, you’ll receive 1,000 Bonus Points on top of the Points you already earn.