A Year-Round Guide to Franklin and Nantahala

Editor’s note: hours may vary depending on the season. Find delicious bites in your region. Western      Central      Eastern   Western   Chimney Rock State Park — Chimney

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Editor’s note: hours may vary depending on the season. Find delicious bites in your region. Western      Central      Eastern   Western   Chimney Rock State Park — Chimney

9 Spots for Delicious Bites After a State Park Adventure

Editor’s note: hours may vary depending on the season.

Find delicious bites in your region.

Western      Central      Eastern




Chimney Rock State Park — Chimney Rock Brewing Company

Enjoy a view of the French Broad River after your Chimney Rock hike at this brewery that offers unique beers inspired by the landscape. After you order the River Otter IPA (named after the family of fuzzy visitors who frequently play in the currents, of course) be sure to get a platter of their crispy fish and chips.

461 Main Street
Chimney Rock, NC 28720
(828) 436-7047

As they did a half-century ago, diners gather under The Bluffs’ A-frame ceiling — tongue-and-groove paneling set on a timbered frame held together by wooden pegs. photograph by Stacey Van Berkel

New River State Park — The Bluffs

As the first restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this spot was a staple for hungry hikers, motorists, and families for more than 60 years before it closed. Now, it’s serving up delicious dishes once again. After working up an appetite by walking the Riverbend Trail, be sure to order some fried chicken, sweet tea, and cathead biscuits.

45338 Blue Ridge Parkway
Laurel Springs, NC 28644
(336) 372-7875

Grandfather Mountain State Park — Banner Elk Cafe and Lodge

Stop for a meal at the Banner Elk Café after taking in the beautiful views on Grandfather Mountain’s Mile-High Swinging Bridge. Fill up on the Mountain Man breakfast: two pancakes large enough to fill a plate by themselves, two eggs, crispy bacon, and heavenly cheese grits.

324 Shawneehaw Avenue South, Highway 184
Banner Elk, NC 28604
(828) 898-4040




Lake Norman State Park — Julia’s Talley House

Step onto the porch of this gray clapboard house and you’ll feel like you’re home for dinner. There’s always fried chicken to pass around family-style or in the cafeteria-style buffet line — perfect for a comforting post-hike meal.

305 North Main Street
Troutman, NC 28166
(704) 528-6962

The Durham Food Hall is home to eight chef-driven restaurants. photograph by Eric Waters

Eno River State Park — Durham Food Hall

Can’t agree on where to eat after your hike by the river? Head to the nearby Durham Food Hall, which is home to a diverse mix of dining and drink concepts. Order roasted oysters from Locals Oyster Bar, Louisiana red beans and rice from Lula & Sadie’s, or Margherita pizza at Napoli. For a nightcap, try Riggs Lounge or the Auctioneer Bar.

530 Foster Street, Suite 1
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 908-9339

William B. Umstead State Park — Sunny’s Diner

After venturing out on some of 5,600-acre William B. Umstead State Park’s trails, head half-a-mile away to fill up on eggs, country ham, bacon, and pancakes at this traditional diner.

8710 Glenwood Avenue, No. 104
Raleigh, NC 27617
(919) 787-7715




Fort Macon State Park — Crystal Coast Brewing Company

After an early morning walk around Fort Macon, head to this taproom at 10:30 a.m. for a restorative yoga session followed by a beer or a mimosa. We like the Breakwater Coffee Brown Ale — you can call it breakfast.

219 West Fort Macon Road
Atlantic Beach, NC 28512
(252) 296-2841

The doughnuts at Britts Donut Shop are worth standing in line for. photograph by Millie Holloman Photography

Carolina Beach State Park — Britts Donut Shop

Top off a morning spent fishing and exploring with legendary homemade glazed doughnuts that have earned local and national accolades. It’s no surprise that lines extend down the Carolina Beach Boardwalk from the moment the iconic shop opens full-time on Memorial Day.

11 Carolina Beach Avenue North
Carolina Beach, NC 28428
(910) 707-0755

Jockey’s Ridge State Park — Food Dudes Kitchen

With Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Nags Head Woods Preserve, Run Hill State Natural Area, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial all within a four-mile radius, adventure is never far from this Caribbean- and Mexican-inspired restaurant. The laid-back atmosphere draws hikers, surfers, and beachgoers for fish tacos, jerk chicken wraps, and homemade desserts.

1216 South Virginia Dare Trail
Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
(252) 441-7994

This story was published on Mar 15, 2022

Our State Staff

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