Cvandyke / Shutterstock
Soaring to almost 6,000 feet, Grandfather Mountain is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. The state parks system owns 2,456 acres of Grandfather Mountain, and has conservation easements for 4,000 acres, but another part is privately owned and managed. Admission is charged for the private section, which is famous for its Mile-High Swinging Bridge, a 228-foot-long foot bridge that sways over a 1,000-foot drop into the Linville Valley. Winds as high as 121 mph have been recorded at the bridge. The Natural History Museum has exhibits on native minerals, flora and fauna, and pioneer life. There are 12 miles of hiking trails and some 100 picnic tables. The annual Singing on the Mountain, (fourth Sunday in June) is an opportunity to hear old-time gospel music and preaching, and the Highland Games (second weekend in July) bring together Scottish clans from all over North America for athletic events and Highland dancing.
Blue Ridge Pkwy. and U.S. Hwy. 221, Linville, North Carolina, 28646, United States
828-733–4337-private attraction; 828-963–9522-state park