100 Things to Do in Madison County

Located in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina with the scenic French Broad River running through it, Madison County offers countless ways to enjoy the experience of visiting our area. Whether your interest is in the outdoors, visual or performing arts, traditional music, history, architecture, or agri-tourism, we have something that will make your visit a memorable one.

This list is a starting point for 12 Ways to Appreciate Local Music19 Ways to Enjoy the Outdoors11 Ways to Celebrate at a Festival,  6 Ways to Explore Country Roads15 Ways to Discover the History of the County8 Ways to Find a Place to Relax, 6 Ways to Experience the Visual Art Scene, 4 Ways to Learn Something New, 13 Ways to Study Historic Buildings and Places. Browse through the website or stop in at The Madison County Visitor Center when you come to visit our area.

  1. Go whitewater rafting  on the French Broad River
  2. Listen to a free bluegrass music jam at Zuma
  3. Take in a  Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre play
  4. Ski or snowboard the slopes at Wolf Ridge
  5. Dance (or just tap your toe) to traditional music at the Depot
  6. Take a picnic to Max Patch Bald—the 2nd highest spot in the county
  7. Shop for antiques or local crafts
  8. Soak in the natural hot mineral springs
  9. Fish one of the many secluded streams—stocked with trout
  10. Attend an Arts Council concert
  11. Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail
  12. Visit the Civil War sites along the Civil War Trails
  13. Stand on the Old Buncombe Turnpike (Drovers’ Trail)
  14. Take a driving tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains & the  Pisgah National Forest
  15. Walk through our 100-year old Courthouse designed by Richard Sharp Smith, Biltmore House head architect
  16. Browse the galleries for local artists’ work
  17. Buy local produce, baked goods, and crafts at one of the Farmers Markets
  18. Eat some southern comfort food in one of the many restaurants
  19. Go on a horseback ride
  20. Attend the annual Heritage Festival celebrating our cultural history
  21. Stay in a cabin, inn, or bed & breakfast
  22. Visit where Cecil Sharp collected ballads in 1916.
  23. Attend Bluff Mountain Festival for food, fun and free music
  24. Drive the North Carolina Scenic Byway on I 26
  25. Go sledding or tubing in the snow
  26. Practice your shooting skills at Fowler Farms Sporting Clays
  27. Celebrate the Appalachian Trail at Trailfest
  28. Browse the local craft booths at Art on the Island Festival
  29. Glide through the trees on a Zipline
  30. Walk by the oldest buildings on the Mars Hill University campus—the oldest educational institution in Western North Carolina still on its original site
  31. Experience traditional music at the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival
  32. Take a tour of one of the local farms
  33. Visit a working artist’s studio
  34. Try your hand at finding garnets in the Little Pine Gem Mine
  35. Walk the Laurel River Trail or one of the other hiking trails in the county
  36. Play a round of disc golf at the Mars Hill University Disc Golf Sanctuary
  37. Discover petroglyphs on Paint Rock
  38. Take in a panoramic view of Hot Springs from Lovers’ Leap Rock
  39. Watch the Bailey Mountain Cloggers perform
  40. Ride your bike in the Hot Doggett 100 (or just cheer them on)
  41. Have some fun at the Marshall Mermaid Festival, either to watch or participate
  42. Participate in hands-on wildlife educational adventures
  43. Enjoy the spectacular view from the NC State Welcome Center on I 26
  44. Wander through Weizenblatt Gallery on the Mars Hill University campus
  45. Kayak or canoe down the French Broad River
  46. Enjoy the outdoors at a local campground
  47. Visit the location of the original Allanstand—the foundation for the Southern Highlands Craft Guild
  48. Stand where the Minstrel of Appalachia, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, lived
  49. Visit the site of a World War I German Internment Camp
  50. Take a dip in an old-time swimming hole on the Laurel River Trail
  51. Pick berries at a local farm
  52. Take a self-guided walking tour of the town of Mars Hill
  53. View some of the buildings remaining from the Dorland Bell School
  54. Drive the NC Scenic Byway along NC Highway 209 through Trust and Luck
  55. Fish for small mouth bass and muskie in the French Broad River
  56. Cut a Christmas tree at a local tree farm
  57. Go to our Madison County Fair
  1. Enjoy music and local beers at The French Broad Brew Fest
  2. Take a class to learn pottery
  3. Marvel at the tiny St Jude’s Chapel in Trust
  4. Drive by the county’s first hospital White Rock Presbyterian Hospital
  5. View the historic Anderson Rosenwald School in Mars Hill
  6. Shop and admire all the ceramic artists at the Potters Market in April
  7. Visit the sites which tell the tragic story of the Shelton Laurel Massacre  during the Civil War
  8. Explore changing exhibits at Mars Hill University Rural Heritage Museum
  9. Enjoy a fine dining meal in a historic house in Hot Springs
  10. Fish off the pier on Blannahassett Island in the French Broad River across the bridge from downtown Marshall
  11. Stop by the latest exhibit at the Liston Ramsey Center for Regional Studies on Mars Hill University campus
  12. Take a Self-Guided Tour of the town of Hot Springs
  13. Drive the North Carolina Scenic Byway along the French Broad River (the third oldest river in the world)
  14. Attend “The Fiddlers Tribute Concert” at the Arts Center in March
  15. Wander through the Arts Council gallery’s latest exhibit
  16. Stand on the Appalachian Trail right in downtown Hot Springs
  17. Watch rodeo riders compete at the Marshall Rodeo July 4th weekend
  18. Visit the site of historic resorts which attracted the rich and famous to Hot  Springs since the mid 1800s
  19. Enjoy a concert at historic Ebbs Chapel Performing Arts Center
  20. Take a self-guided walking tour of the town of Marshall
  21. Fish in a trout pond (no fishing license required)
  22. Stop by the local newspaper office located in an old railroad car in Marshall
  23. Climb the Rich Mountain Fire Tower—constructed by boys from the Hot  Springs CCC Camp in the 1930s—for great views
  24. Relax in a pew in Dorland Memorial Presbyterian Church, a National Register Historic Building built in 1900 designed by Richard Sharp Smith
  25. Drive by the many barn quilts decorating barns and buildings in the county
  26. Walk across the Old Red Bridge in Hot Springs
  27. Grab your gear for the downhill bike trails
  28. Celebrate the French Broad River at the French Broad River Festival
  29. Marvel at the carvings on the Broyhill Chapel door (Mars Hill University) which were designed and hand-carved by then-president Dr. Fred Bentley
  30. Take your dog to Dog Daze in Marshall
  31. Visit the site of the first 9-hole golf course in North Carolina
  32. Spend the night at a local farm
  33. Read about the detailed stories of Hot Springs’ history at the Hot Springs Welcome Center
  34. Take a guided van tour or drive a self-guided tour of our historic barns
  35. Use the walking path on Blannahassett Island
  36. Celebrate “Fat Tuesday” at Marshall Gras
  37. Follow clues to a geocaching container in the beautiful rural areas of the county
  38. Take a yoga or niya class at various places in Madison County
  39. Examine the Bascom Lamar Lunsford collection at Mars Hill University Renfro Library’s Liston Ramsey Room
  40. Wonder at the sight of hundreds of fireflies in a meadow in the month of June
  41. Tune into wART FM 95.5 radio station
  42. Research genealogy at the Madison County Library in Marshall
  43. Stop by the Visitor Center—a renovated service station in downtown Mars Hill