Posted on: October 17, 2023 Posted by: Sarah Giavedoni Comments: 0
discover the best towns in haywood county nc

Last Updated on October 17, 2023

Haywood County, NC is a great place to experience traditional mountain living with all the conveniences of modern life. Small, tight-knit communities dot the area. And winding roads lead to the county seat of Waynesville or point toward the nearby regional hub of Asheville, located one county east.

For experiences off road, locals and visitors alike enjoy the natural beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pisgah National Forest. Adventures await along mountain biking trails and whitewater rafting rivers. The highest elevations along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway can be reached in Haywood County, as well.

Waynesville is the largest city in the county. But surrounding neighborhoods and towns in Haywood County offer small-town charm and mountain amenities. Learn about five of the best mountain towns for great living in Haywood County, NC.


High mountain peaks surround the town of Waynesville and its quaint, historic Main Street. Downtown Waynesville is a pedestrian’s dream, with much from which to choose. Fine shops, art studios and galleries, cafés, fine restaurants, and breweries sit along Main Street’s tree-lined brick sidewalks. The town was once billed as the Gateway to the Smokies and is now the seat of Haywood County.

On the west side of Waynesville is Hazelwood Village, which has merged with the town but maintained its own identity and evolved into a revitalized retail district. Hazelwood is home to the Folkmoot Friendship Center, which serves as the headquarters for the Folkmoot international dance and music festival. Waynesville is also home to the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts, which is located in the historic Shelton House.

Read more about Waynesville.


After decades as a quiet mill town, Canton has enjoyed an economic resurgence thanks to new businesses and changing demographics. The town’s charming downtown district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but offers a fresh face to small-town living. Visitors are drawn to the historic downtown and recent business development, while new residents are attracted to the area’s affordability and quality of life.

Read more about Canton.


The oldest structure in Haywood County sits in Clyde, a hamlet that lies between Canton and Waynesville. The Shook-Smathers House, home to the Shook Museum, was built around 1820, with decades of additions producing the structure we see today. The home’s attic chapel hosted many storied circuit preachers over the years. A number of them left their mark in the unique collection of signatures that decorate the chapel’s walls.

Read more about Clyde.

Lake Junaluska

The unincorporated community of Lake Junaluska is centered around the 200-acre namesake lake and surrounded by 1,200 acres of rolling hills and valleys. Nature’s beauty abounds, with ducks, geese, swans, a butterfly garden, and a rose walk along the path encircling the lake. There are many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, with more than 2.5 miles of public walking and biking trails and an available 1.5-mile extension. The community has a longstanding reputation as a summer haven thanks to regular events and programs at the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center.

Read more about Lake Junaluska.

Maggie Valley

Maggie Valley sits just 10 miles outside of Waynesville. This quaint mountain delight sprang up to cater to visitors and still rolls out the welcome mat to travelers today. The town is an epicenter of old-time mountain fun. You can find everything from family restaurants and fine dining to foot-stomping Appalachian song and dance and some of the best snow skiing in the South. Nearby Cataloochee Valley is home to a growing elk population.

Read more about Maggie Valley.

Find what feels like home in Haywood County, NC

Haywood County, NC boasts the highest average elevation of any county east of the Rockies. The ridge lines feature 18 mountains topping 6,000 feet or higher. These ridges bring snow in the winter and cooler temperatures in the summer, qualities that have attracted tourists and residents for centuries.

Haywood County has been home to many families for upwards of eight generations, and it can be your home, too. From luxury estates to mountaintop cabins to homes within walking distance of revitalizing downtowns, homes in the county are appreciating quickly. Find the best towns and homes in Haywood County, NC to match your chosen lifestyle.

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