Between Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties, there is always a way to spend your time aside from sitting in a hotel room. Outdoor adventures abound, there are local landmarks to discover and air conditioned activities to take advantage of.

The following list is by no means exhaustive, but here are a few highlighted ways to spend the day in the High Country.

 Places to have funAuto racingSaturday nights are meant for the dirt track at Mountain View Speedway, Watauga County’s only auto racing speedway located at the Watauga County Fairgrounds east of Boone. Prices are $10 for adults, $2 for kids age 6-11. Kids age 5-younger are free. For more information, call (828) 773-6896.

Want to take to the track on a smaller scale? Try racing go-cars at Fun ‘n’ Wheels, located at 2788 Highway 105 in Boone. It’s open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and its hours are from 10:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m.

High Country LanesHave a competitive side and not into outdoor activities? Bowling is the perfect way to spend some time. The High Country Lanes is open at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday, and is open at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The lanes are also open Sundays from noon until 11 p.m.

Located across from the Wellness Center in Boone, call (828) 264-3166 for more information.

Cardinal LanesIf you’re in Ashe County and need a quick bowling fix, Cardinal Lanes is located at 787 U.S. 221 Business in West Jefferson. For more information, call (336) 846-7077.

Swimming poolThe Robbins Pool, located in Broyhill Park at 173 Lakeside Drive in Blowing Rock, is the only outdoor, public-use pool in Watauga County.

The pool is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m and from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m for public swim Monday-Friday. It will also be open Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon until 8:30 p.m.

Roller skatingWilcox Skating is located at 6880 U.S. 421 in Vilas west of Boone. For more information, call (828) 297-3296.

Miniature golfSunrise Mountain Mini Golf course, located at 1675 N.C. 105 is open during the summer. For more information, call (828) 265-4653.

Daniel Boone Native GardensWant to get back to nature, but in a slightly different setting? Try the Daniel Boone Native Gardens.

Located near downtown Boone at 651 Horn in the West Drive, the Native Gardens features a collection of native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. More than 200 specials of plants bloom throughout the growing season.

The Native Gardens is open May-October and a $2 donation is asked for people ages 16-older. Dogs are not permitted except for service animals, and wheelchair access is available at the Rockery entrance. For more information, call (828) 264-1299.

Tweetsie Railroad Wild West Theme ParkTweetsie Railroad Wild West Theme Park features Tweetsie Railroad itself, a historic railway that circles the park.

The park also has live entertainment based on the old west, refreshments, rides and the Deer Park Zoo where kids can feed the animals. The zoo has dozens of animals, not counting the “visiting” squirrels, rabbits and birds who close in looking for free food.

The park also has the famous “Ghost Train” during Halloween.

Mystery HillScientists have tried to explain some of the mysteries at Mystery Hill. Water and balls flow and roll uphill. Other unexplainable things happen at Mystery Hill, located between Boone and Blowing Rock on U.S. Highway 321. The biggest mystery is why you haven’t been yet.

 Outdoor AdventuresHiking/walking trails Rocky Knob Mountain ParkOne of the several great places to take a hike, Rocky Knob Mountain Park, located just east of Boone, is one of the most popular areas to hike a variety of trails that are either for beginners or expert hikers.

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is a 185-acre park with not just hiking trails, but also trails for biking. Open from dusk to dawn, the only thing to stop you is the weather.

Boone United TrailBoone United Trail, located at 471 New Market Blvd. in Boone, offers a 2.5 mile loop through a hardwood forest for anyone wanting a relaxing hike. The trail begins behind the United Methodist Church, goes halfway up the summit of Howard’s Knob and returns to the church.

Brookshire ParkBrookshire Park has a walking trail surrounding an open field that is used for regular recreation and for youth soccer in the fall. The trail extends into some open land and past two soccer fields, including the one used by Appalachian State’s men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Howard’s Knob County ParkHoward’s Knob County Park, located north of Boone, offers trails to hike and picnic trails. Howard’s Knob also overlooks the town of Boone, offering an overall look at the town.

Grandfather Mountain

State ParkGrandfather Mountain in Avery County has several hiking trails that fit all abilities. The views from these trails are spectacular, with miles of visibility on nice days.

People can also go camping on Grandfather Mountain and see wildlife that inhabits the famous area.

Rock Climbing/cavingRock Dimensions is a good place to start to find out the best places to go rock climbing or to learn the sport. For more information, call (828) 265-3544.

Rock Dimensions also offers instructors to guide individuals or groups through a cave in Eastern Tennessee.

In case the weather is not conducive to outdoor climbing, there is Center 45 Climbing and Fitness off of Bamboo Road, which is just off of of U.S. Highway 421 east of Boone. It has climbing walls with different skill levels. For more information, call (828) 386-1550.

For more detail on climbing opportunities in the High Country, turn to your Summer Times indoor or outdoor climbing sections.

 GolfBoone Golf ClubFor 61 years, the Boone Golf Club has been the premiere golfing destination in Watauga County. Located south of Boone just off of U.S. Highway 321, it is an 18-hole golf course that is open to the public. The phone number is (828) 264-8760.

Mountaineer Driving Range & Golf CenterNeed to sharpen your swing before hitting the links? The Mountaineer Driving Range & Golf Center, located at 115 Beverly Heights Ave., just off of the Highway 105 extension, is a good place to get some practice time in before heading to the course.

Jefferson LandingJefferson Landing, located in Ashe County, is a semi-private course located off of U.S. 221. It is the longest course in the High Country at 7,110 yards.

For more information, call (336) 982-7767.

Mountain Aire Golf ClubAnother golf club in Ashe County, Mountain Aire Golf Club is the third oldest course in the High Country. For more information, call (336) 877-4716.

Willow CreekA nine-hole course located off N.C. 105 has three holes that are more than 200 yards and has five water hazards. For more information, call (828) 963-6865.

Sugar Mountain Golf ClubThis course is owned by the village of Sugar Mountain and is open to the public. For more information, call (828) 898-6464.

Mountain Glen Golf ClubA place that was built following a devastating fire in Newland, Old Mountain Glen is open to the public. For more information, call (828) 773-5804.

For more detail on these and other courses, turn to your Summer Times golfing section.

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