North Carolina is a state of extremes, like having the largest zoo in the world, and bragging rights for the highest peak east of the Mississippi (Mount Mitchell). But not many people realize the Tar Heel State is also home to the highest town east of the Mississippi. The town may be small (only 321 year-round residents) but it’s loaded with things to see and do. Take a look at some of the fun things to do in Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

Whether you’re a leaf-peeper and more inclined to head to this mountain retreat in the fall, or you would enjoy all four seasons on top of eastern America’s Highest Town, Beech Mountain has loads to see and do. What are some of your favorite things to do in Beech Mountain, North Carolina?

For a nearby attraction to add to the agenda, the famous Mile High Swinging Bridge on top of Grandfather Mountain is less than 30 miles away.

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More mountain towns in North Carolina

What are the highest points in the High Country?

The highest-elevation towns in the Appalachian Mountains have amazing views, and while Beech Mountain is the highest-elevation town east of the Mississippi River, there are a few higher points that offer some incredible views. Here are a few of the highest points in the High Country of the eastern United States:

  • Mount Mitchell, NC: Mount Mitchel clocks in at 6,684 feet, making it the highest point east of the Mississippi. Head to Mount Mitchell State Park and follow a 300-yard trail that leads to the summit for breathtaking views.
  • Roan Mountain, North Carolina, and Tennessee border: The second highest point that is easily accessible at 5,946 ft. Enter Roan Mountain State Park and drive to the top where you can take a short trail to reach the overlook.
  • Grandfather Mountain, Linville, NC: Reach the top of this 5,946-foot mountain by hiking over Mile High Swinging Bridge to see incredible views of the valley below. The land around Grandfather Mountain is considered a Biosphere preserve due to its 73 rare and endangered species. If you enjoy wildlife and wild views, this is a delightful place to hike and explore.
  • Tater Hill, Vilas, NC: It might sound like an insignificant little "hill" based on its name, but it is one of the most epic areas to go hang gliding and paragliding. At 5,585 feet, it is no slouch in the elevation department either.
  • Elk Knob, Todd, NC: This little "knob" is the fifth highest point east of the Mississippi, at 5,566 feet. Take a 1.9-mile out-and-back trail to the summit for gorgeous views. Elk Knob State Park has numerous other hiking trails, a picnic area, and even backcountry camping to enjoy.