Planning a trip to Little Switzerland NC? Then we have the best things to do in Little Switzerland for you!
Maybe you have been dreaming of a trip to Europe? Or have always wanted to visit Switzerland. Little Switzerland is a quaint taste of Europe. Set within the blue mountains in North Carolina, Little Switzerland has sweeping views, decadent shops, scenic hiking and memorable places stay. Whether you want to make this a day trip or the central hub of a bigger trip we have you covered!
We have the best things to do in Little Switzerland, where to stay in Little Switzerland and suggestions of things to do nearby!
What is Little Switzerland in North Carolina?
What began as a resort town in 1909, Little Switzerland has managed to maintain it’s small town charm. The ‘Switzerland Company’ was established by North Carolina State Supreme Court Justice Heriot Clarkson.
In it’s original conception the parameters set out established that there would only be one property per lot. And no alcohol would be served at the resort (this has since changed!).
A lot of time has passed since then and the Switzerland Company has had to fight to preserve it’s resort a couple times since then. You may notice that this area has the smallest portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. That is on purpose. Back in the 1960s the Switzerland Company fought back against the extension of this large road through their territory. They were moderately successful in that the road would only come so close and only be so large. Which means you get to enjoy a serene little unincorporated community.
Where is Little Switzerland located?
Little Switzerland is located in North Carolina in both the McDowell and Mitchell counties. It is an unincorporated community.
It is a great place to make a day trip to or to stay the night as it has easy access through the mountains to some great places nearby. You can head to Boone North Carolina and check out the best things to do in Boone in about an hour of driving.
Little Switzerland is also only an hour north east of Asheville North Carolina. And it is a beautiful drive! Mile post 334 on Blue Ridge Parkway is where you will find the turn off for Little Switzerland. A little further along, at mile post 333.1 is the Little Switzerland tunnel. There are lot of things to do near Little Switzerland.
How long to spend in Little Switzerland?
How long to spend in Little Switzerland is completely flexible. Easily pop in and spend a few hours here to absorb the atmosphere, do some shopping and soak up the views.
You could also, just as easily, make this your central hub for visiting the blue ridge mountains. Stay here for a few nights and make day trips out of heading out to other places.
You could drive an hour to Asheville and find the best things to do in Asheville. You could head into the Blue Ridge mountains and find some beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails. Or drive an hour up to Boone to enjoy all the great attractions they have there. All while enjoying your sweet Little Switzerland to come rest at the end of the day. And we have where to stay in Little Switzerland covered for you as well!
Best things to do in Little Switzerland?
We have some great Little Switzerland attractions for you. From food to scenic drives, restaurants, and hikes there is a little bit of everything.
Drive through the Little Switzerland tunnel
Driving through the Little Switzerland Tunnel is one of the best things to do in Little Switzerland. Located at mile post 333.1 on the Blue Ridge Parkway it is easy to find.
Be sure to access this via the Blue Ridge Parkway. Many unsuspecting travellers have found themselves driving over the tunnel rather than through it by following the wrong directions from navigation. Stick to the Blue Ridge Parkway and you’ll be fine!
There is a small place to pull over so that you can safely take pictures. Always keep an eye out for traffic as this is a main roadway.
The tunnel itself has a beautiful rustic interior that lets light glisten beautifully when it’s wet. The entrance on the one side also gets beautiful icicles in the right winter weather. This is one of the Little Switzerland attractions that everyone is sure to see.
Eat at Switzerland Inn Chalet Restaurant
The Switzerland Inn Chalet Restaurant is a great place to add to your things to do in Little Switzerland. There is a beautiful outdoor terrace to eat on. The beautiful stone terrace has a sun shade over it for those hot days and looks out over the mountain valleys. The view is incredible.
If you want to sit on the terrace you can enjoy lunch or dinner. The indoor seating also has a breakfast menu. There are great options on the menu. From ribs to vegan options and even a children’s menu. The restaurant does a great job at catering to different preferences and dietary needs. And they also have catering options if you are looking at hosting an event in the area!
This is a great place to eat while you are enjoying the Little Switzerland attractions. You will love having a literal taste of Switzerland here!
Visit the Little Switzerland general store
Be sure to stop be the Little Switzerland General store while enjoying the best things to do in Little Switzerland. Located across from the town post office and connected to the Switzerland Cafe the general store is a small but mighty shop.
Here you will find food such as imported wine, candy, fine cheese, and more. They also have a lovely collection of local crafts for you to peruse. It is a great place to find a little item to take home to remember your trip or to give as a gift. Be sure to check out their special collection of North Carolina craft beers as well! They have done a great job keeping the place locked in time as you step into this classic general store.
If you are feeling a little hungry, the connected Switzerland Cafe has a great menu. The quiche of the day is always a great bet. Or explore the menu more to find something new to try. Their sandwiches are fantastic and can be taken to-go if you are anxious to get to your next stop. Or, if you want some time to sit back and think what to do in Little Switzerland next, then, grab a seat and relax. You’ll enjoy the time!
Grab sweets from ‘The Swiss Shoppe’
This cute and eclectic shop with details in pink is definitely one of the things in Little Switzerland that you should do. he Swiss Shoppe is a candy and ice cream shop with a magical feel to it.
From the fun Photo Booth to the artisan candy, chocolates and fudge to the best ice cream flavours you will have a tough time deciding what to try! So try a few things! The staff are great and you can try little spoons of ice cream before you decide.
We suggest you pick your favourite ice cream flavours for a cone to enjoy while you are there. Then purchase some hadn’t dipped chocolates and fudge to take home! And, while you are at it, don’t forget to make a stop at the Photo Booth for a photo memento of one the Little Switzerland attractions!
Visit Book and Beans
This is one of the things to do in Little Switzerland that is just what the name suggests! At Book and Beans you will find a cozy place to sit and enjoy one of the books from the shelf and drink your favourite espresso.
Book and Beans is an absolute treasure in Little Switzerland. It is everything a good book store should be. It is stacked with books – old and new – tucked into corners, up ladders, and on balconies. There are cozy chairs and fireplaces. For a book lover it will feel like you found a haven where time stands still, receipts are written out by hand and you just might find that vintage book that you’ve always wished you’d find. With more than 30,000 volumes of books you are sure to find your next favourite read.
Located next to the General Store, Books and Beans is easy to find. You will enjoy the feeling of being on a treasure hunt when you step through the door. And don’t forget to check out the art gallery upstairs as one of the things in Little Switzerland that you should do!
Drive the Diamondback 226A
Driving enthusiasts should not miss adding the Diamond back 226A to there things to do in Little Switzerland. This 12 mile stretch of road should not be taken lightly.
In those 12 miles this road packs in 190 hairpin turns, rocky outcrops, sheer drops, and dense green scenery. The road itself is two lane and paved. You will also have views of the sumptuous forest as you enjoy the climb on the Diamondback. And it is quite the climb! You’ll be going up about 2000 feet in elevation!
The Diamondback starts at Marion in McDowell County and connects up to Blue Ridge Parkway at mile post 334 where you can head on in to Little Switzerland. This drive will be one that you will definitely remember as one of the best things to do in Little Switzerland.
Go shopping in Little Switzerland
If one of the things to do in Little Switzerland that you would like to do is shopping then you have some fun and local options. We will highlight a few!
The Trillium Gallery is great for a variety of goods. They have a great selection of hand crafted goods from both national artists and local artists. You’ll find unique pottery, beautiful jewelry, blown glass and even wearable goods. There are so many unique options that are one of a kind.
Other shopping options you will want to check out are Books and Beans, The General Store, The Little Switzerland Trading Co. and Spruced boutique. There is a great variety for everything you could be looking for from food to decor to clothes. You don’t need to wonder what to do in Little Switzerland or what to buy because there are a lot of options here.
Visit the church in Little Switzerland
One of the things you can do in Little Switzerland is visit the little red church. This church is an episcopal church called Church of the Resurrection.
The church is on the grounds of the Switzerland Inn. It’s easy to find. You can park in the parking or the shops and the Inn and then look for a map of the area or for a sign that points in the right direction.
The plans to build the church started in 1912 when a woman put forward money to build it as a memorial for her husband who was an episcopal priest. When the idea was approved by the Hon. Herriot Clarkson (who was the founder of the Switzerland Company) the church began being built. It was completed June 13, 1913.
A great job has been done to maintain the little chapel and it is a darling place to visit. Definitely one of the Little Switzerland attractions.
Hike Crabtree Falls
While looking for things to do in Little Switzerland definitely stop by Crabtree Falls. This scenic hike is only a 10 minute drive from Little Switzerland and is one of the awesome things to do near Little Switzerland.
The hike is a 2.5 mile loop. It is a densely forested area with ferns blanketing the ground. The crowning jewel of the hike is the cascading 60ft waterfall. The way the water falls over the rocks creates some really lovely slow shutter photos! And it is just a very stunning waterfall.
The hike itself can be a bit strenuous but so worth it. It will be all downhill for the first mile to get to the falls and then a steady uphill climb to loop back. If heading there with GPS set the Crabtree Falls Campground as your destination to get to the start of the hike. This is also a great place to soak in the autumn leaves if that happens to be the season of your trip.
Visit the Museum of North Carolina Minerals at Emerald Village
Things to do in Little Switzerland would not be complete without a visit to the Emerald Village. This is such a favourite! At less than 10 minutes to drive to this is one of the things to do near Little Switzerland that you won’t want to miss.
Emerald Village is a genuine mine and is fun for more than just rock enthusiasts. It’s incredibly family friendly and even dog friendly.
At the Emerald Village you will find a lot of things to do that make this one of the things to do near Little Switzerland that is so worth the trip. You can visit the NC Mining Museum or pan for gold. There is also the gemstone mine, the Discovery Mill Building and more. All the experiences are very memorable. But, one of the tours that is incredibly unique is their night time tour. Book this tour in advance to head into the caves at night time. Your guide will shine black light in the caves to reveal incredible colors that are not visible in the day light!
You are sure to love your visit to the Emerald Village.
Where to stay in Little Switzerland?
Even if you don’t plan on spending several days in Little Switzerland we still recommend you find places to stay in Little Switzerland. This is because it has an awesome location! So you can enjoy the laid back, quaint vibe of Little Switzerland and still explore out to other areas. For example, the blue ridge parkway, Boone and Asheville are all easy distances from Little Switzerland!
The Perch Cabin with Hot tub and Panoramic view
The Perch Cabin with Hot tub and Panoramic view is literally perched on the side of the mountain. Due to its’ location those staying need to be 12 and older. But it is an awesome plays to put your feet up at the end of each day.
The interior is everything you would hope of a cabin. With rustic wood walls and a big stone fireplace you are sure to feel warm on even the coldest of nights. And, if that weren’t enough, you can enjoy a soak in the hot tub that looks out over the mountains. The view is absolutely stunning in all seasons.
Book here: VRBO
Historic Stone “Chalet Switz”
Soak in all sorts of Swiss charm in the Historic Stone “Chalet Switz”. This historic cabin is at the top of a 4000 foot mountain and is only a 20 minute walk to Little Switzerland. Since you are the cabin at the top there isn’t any traffic coming by which helps this chalet to feel extra secluded.
The Historic Stone “Chalet Switz” used to be an observation tour and is packed with charm. Whether you are enjoying your morning coffee in the breakfast nook, enjoying a good book curled up next to the fire, or relaxing in bed and gazing out the window you are sure to love your time here.
Book here: VRBO
‘La Petite Chalet’ Cottage
The two bedroom ‘La Petite Chalet’ Cottage in Little Switzerland is packed with charm! From the wood beams on the ceiling to the furniture to the decor (including lovely lace curtains!) there are so many details to delight in.
In the yard you will be able to enjoy beautiful landscaping and rustic decor. You can spend your evenings lounging around the fire pit in the yard. And you can spend your mornings soaking in the view from the gazebo. The ‘La Petite Chalet’ Cottage in Little Switzerland is a romantic and charming gem in Little Switzerland.
Book here: VRBO
Whether you are planning to stay a few hours or staying for the weekend we know that you will love Little Switzerland.