Get Your Fall On

There’s no better place to soak in the fall season than North Carolina. Every year, nearly 70,000 tourists visit our mountains each day during the peak of fall season to see the leaves change colors. That’s an estimated 5.2 million leaf peepers each year! With so much to experience over the next couple of months, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite fall stops.

Ghost Train:

Photo Courtesy of Only In Your State

The history of the Tweetsie Railroad dates back to 1882 when the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad began operating in Johnson City, Tennessee. Years later, the railroad was extended to Boone, North Carolina and was eventually dubbed “Tweetsie” by mountaineers who were subjected to the constant “tweeting” sound of the trains.

An attraction this old makes for some great ghost stories. In Blowing Rock, North Carolina, board the Ghost Train, running Friday and Saturday nights from now until October 29. Tweetsie’s Ghost Train® Halloween Celebration is a spectacle for guests of all ages, with dance parties, trick-or-treating and the new Palace Spooktacular Show for younger children. If you dare, you can hop aboard the Ghost Train, explore the Haunted House and stroll through the Freaky Forest. After dark, all are invited to experience the amusement rides at the Creepy Carnival. Make sure to purchase your tickets in advance!

Autumn Leaves Festival™:

Photo Courtesy of Mount Airy Downtown

Known as Andy Griffith’s hometown, this is the real Mayberry, North Carolina! Also known as Mt. Airy, thousands of visitors stop by for the Autumn Leaves Festival every year. This year, the festival will line the historic, nostalgic streets of Mayberry October 14-16. A tradition that began more than 50 years ago, the festival got its start as a celebration of the end of apple and tobacco harvesting seasons.

With the Blue Ridge Mountains as its backdrop, the festival features more than 200 artisan vendors, “Food for the Soul,” including ham biscuits, collards, cornbread, barbecue, Amish doughnuts, pretzels, and music! Admission to the festival is free, but have your wallet ready for some early Christmas present shopping.

Carolina BalloonFest:

Photo Courtesy of Charlotte Magazine

Look up! The Carolina BalloonFest is taking over the skies of Statesville, North Carolina, October 14-16. Every day, throughout the duration of the weekend, more than 40 hot air balloons will ascend into the sky. A balloon glow is held on Friday and Saturday nights, a hot air balloon competition on Saturday and Sunday morning, and tether balloon rides available all weekend. Enjoy live entertainment, a ninja nation obstacle course, axe throwing, a skydiving exhibition, an artisan and marketplace village, kids’ zone, walk-in balloon, and a wine and craft beer garden. You’ve got a busy weekend ahead of you!

As both a festival and nonprofit organization, Carolina BalloonFest relies heavily on the support of the Iredell community and its volunteers. Get your tickets and give back!

North Carolina State Fair:

Photo Courtesy of NC State Fair

Last, but certainly not least, we could go on and on about the N.C. State Fair. In 1832, the State Agricultural Society held the first-ever State Fair in Raleigh. Over the span of four days, the largest attendance day saw 4,000 visitors. In 2022, the N.C. State Fair is the largest 11-day event in the state, welcoming more than 800,000 attendees to experience its musical performances, food vendors, game booths, carnival rides, commercial and agricultural exhibitors. Consistently ranked among the top 25 fairs in North America, we’ll see you at the fairgrounds in Raleigh October 13-23.

Skip the lines and purchase your tickets online ahead of time! Ticket and package options are available for groups!