Cool Summer Getaways: Things to Do & Events

Sugar Mountain Summer Panoramic

Get away to the village of Sugar Mountain high in the Blue Ridge Mountains (elevation ranges from 4,000 to 5,300 feet) for cooler temperatures, big views and plenty of things to do each summer. Stay in a vacation rental on Sugar Mountain and fill your days with sweet fun – from adventurous explorations to relaxation in the cool breezes.

As one of the highest peaks in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sugar Mountain is one of the coolest places in the South (in many ways)! Sugar Mountain’s average high in July is 73 degrees, compared to 90 in Charlotte and 85 in the lower mountains around Asheville.

Whether you are looking for a Blue Ridge Mountain getaway with your spouse or a big family, we have a large variety of vacation rentals – condos to cabins – to fit your lodging needs and dreams. See places to stay.

Below, find our Top 30 Things to Do within a 20-mile radius of Sugar Mountain during the summer months of June, July and August (Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend):

Top 30 Things to Do: Sugar Mountain & Blue Ridge High Country

Scenic Chairlift Ride at Sugar Mountain NC

Golf: Play on one of the best 18-hole public courses in Western North Carolina right here in Sugar Mountain. The par-64 layout maximizes every view and mountain brook. Very affordable rates! Read more.

Tennis: Located adjacent to our Golf Shop are our six tennis courts meticulously maintained of fast-dry, Har-tru clay. No membership required! Read more.

Scenic Chairlift Rides: On many summer weekends (including Memorial Day & Labor Day), ride the ski lift up to the top of Sugar Mountain at 5,300 feet. Take a picnic to enjoy the big views and hike out to the rocky summit. Read more.

Mountain Biking: On summer weekends, the ski slopes at Sugar Mountain Resort are adapted to one of the most thrilling Bike Parks in the South. Ride the lift to the 5,300-foot summit and ride down 1,200 vertical feet on a network of trails. Read more.

Soaking in Views: Our homey vacation rentals make it very easy just to sit on your deck or balcony all day with a good book. Soak in the views, rock your cares away and enjoy our fresh mountain air. Find a vacation rental.

Scenic Drives: Cruise the famous Blue Ridge Parkway or lesser traveled country roads for plenty of mountain scenery from your car. Stop along the way at overlooks and attractions. The drive to Valle Crucis takes you to the famous Mast General Store. See our Blue Ridge Parkway Trip Guide.

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster: Take an exhilarating ride down the first coaster in the North Carolina mountains, located at the base of Sugar Mountain. No experience necessary. Read more.

Wilderness Run Adventure Course: An aerial playground for both kids and adults, located beside the Alpine Coaster. Explore the treetops via easy, immediate and advance routes with 28 obstacles to navigate while safely harnessed at all times. Read more.

Restaurants: Find 25 delicious local dining options within 5 miles – including Italian, Mexican, Asian, bar & grills, barbecue, steaks, seafood and farm-to-table. Most have outdoor dining and take-out. See our restaurant guide.

Gem Mining: At Sugar Creek Mining Company at the main entrance to Sugar Mountain, grab a bucket and head to the flume line. Their staff helps you sort your gemstones, identify them and even create a piece of jewelry. Read more.

Grandfather Mountain: Our famous next door neighbor is the ultimate place to hike, see wildlife and walk across the Mile High Bridge. The trailhead to the famous and challenging Profile Trail is just two miles from the main Sugar entrance. Read more.

Whitewater Rafting Sugar Mountain

Whitewater Rafting: At the base of Sugar Mountain, find High Mountain Expeditions for rafting and kayaking trips on the Nolichucky River, Watauga River and Wilson Creek. Or go tubing on the New River. Read more.

Hiking Trails: Find many great trails for all skill and fitness levels in the surrounding Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway – see our Top 20 Trails for day hikes.

Waterfalls: See five waterfalls near Sugar Mountain – along with details on how to find each. Go waterfall hunting!

Wineries & Breweries: Sample wines at three wineries near Sugar Mountain in beautiful mountain settings with plenty of outdoor space and live music: Banner Elk Winery, Grandfather Vineyard and Linville Falls Winery. For local beer, head to Kettell Beerworks in Banner Elk with a dozen brews on tap. See our Winery Guide.

Picnics: Pick up picnic goodies at one of our many restaurants or a grocery store, then head to the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Tate-Evans Park in Banner Elk or ride the lift to the top of Sugar. On Sugar, go to Williams Park for a picnic pavilion and walking trails.

Alpaca Farm Tour: At Apple Hill Farm, take a guided walking tour to see a variety of farm animals and take home some Alpaca yarn, socks and more. Read more.

Wildcat Lake Beach: Yes, we have a sandy beach in the mountains for swimming and sunning – just a few miles from Sugar. Read more.

Ziplines: Ride 20 ziplines at Hawksnest at speeds up to 50 MPH. They are just 8 miles from the Sugar Mountain main entrance. Read more.

Dive-In Pool & Water Park: This public complex in Newland (about 9 miles from Sugar) is fun and economical for a day of splashing around. Read more.

Rock Climbing: Learn from the pros from Edge of the World with climbing and rappelling in Little Lost Cove Cliffs in the Wilson Creek Wilderness Area. Read more.

Tweetsie Railroad Amusement Park: Experience wild west adventure for kids of all ages with steam locomotive train ride, classic amusement rides, zoo, gem mining and a variety of live entertainment. Located about 18 miles from Sugar Mountain. See our Tweetsie RR Guide.

Art & Antiques: Stroll through some outstanding galleries and antique shops along NC Highway 184 (Tynecastle Highway) between Sugar Mountain and Banner Elk, plus NC 105 heading to the Foscoe / Boone area.

Village Visitor Center
Located near the village main entrance and open 24/7, our Outdoor Info Kiosk has plenty of brochures and updates about our area for many other things to do. Also, see our illustrated Village of Sugar Mountain map for a quick overview.

Sugar Mountain Summer Events

2024 Summer Events & Festivals

Grillin & Chillin: Weekly Summer Concert Series
Memorial Day (May 29), Every Wednesday June 7-Aug 30 & Labor Day (Sept 4) 2023
Gather at the Golf & Tennis Club at Sugar Mountain every Wednesday night during the summer for free live music on the big deck – complete with dancing and inexpensive dinner option. Read more. Find plenty of other options for live music at wineries, restaurants and nearby towns.

Lees-McRae Summer Theatre
Go to Broadway in the mountains with professional musicals – just a few miles away in Banner Elk. Three shows in July. Read more.

Fine Art & Master Crafts Festivals
July 19-21 & August 16-18, 2024
Located in front of the Sugar Mountain Resort lodge! These juried art festivals feature an eclectic gathering of unique hand-crafted wares from fine artists and master crafters. Food trucks too. Read much more!

Art on the Greene
2024 Dates: May 25-26, July 6-7, Aug. 3-4 & Aug 31-Sept 1
Visit with artists at this outdoor art festival and take home crafts such as metal, glass, ceramic, wood, watercolors, soaps, candles and much more. 2.5 miles from Sugar Mountain. Read more.

July 4th Weekend
Enjoy plenty of fireworks on Sugar Mountain and surrounding towns – plus art, music and more. On the mountain, join the fun at the Summit Crawl & Fireworks. Read more! In nearby Banner Elk, watch the 4th of July Parade.

Concerts in the Park – Banner Elk
Mid June – August Thursdays
Enjoy outstanding local and regional bands playing classics and fun dance music suitable for all ages, from Southern Rock to Oldies and Soul/Funk. Food vendors are on site. Free. Read more.

FORUM at Lees-McRae College
June 19-August 7, 2023: This fun, summer concert series on Monday evenings include a big variety of nationally touring bands, musicians and singers. Read more.

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
July 11-14, 2024
The biggest event of the summer near Sugar Mountain is America’s grandest Scottish Games, held in a spectacular mountain setting reminiscent of Scotland. This very unique festival brings bagpipes, tartan plaids, multiple stages of live music, crafts, food and traditional wares. Watch continuous athletic competitions, dancing, piping parades, sheep dog demonstrations and much more. Read much more.

Sugar Mountain Golf Classic Tournament
August TBA
Be a part of this amateur championship tournament! Hosted by the Sugar Mountain Golf Club with two days of individual medal play. Read much more.

Ensemble Stage Theatre
This intimate professional theater in Banner Elk brings a broad range of live theatrical presentations of the highest possible quality at an affordable price. Read more.

Looking ahead: Fall Color Guide | Winter Things to Do

More info: What weather to expect?