Discover NC: Mt. Airy

My house no longer has diapers and my littlest one no longer requires naps. This means that vacations can be much more pleasant. It means that we can take a day trip or a weekend excursion without hauling an extra bag or two of stuff. I, for one, am ready.

First on my agenda is exploring my state. I’ve lived here for 25 years and there are so many places I haven’t seen. Some of them just a stone’s throw away from Raleigh.

Like Mt. Airy.

Mt. Airy is a little over two hours away from Raleigh. Depending on your mood (or your family’s flexibility) you can make this a day trip or an overnight weekend excursion. (I vote for overnight. I don’t like spending that much time in the car going to and from.)

downtown mt airy

If you haven’t heard, Mt. Airy is the home of Andy Griffith and is loudly and proudly described as the real Mayberry. (Mayberry is not a real town, but Andy used his hometown to influence the look and feel of Mayberry for the show)

Plan a day

Start with breakfast at Barney’s Restaurant on Main Street (they serve lunch and dinner too!) or

After breakfast, take the famous Squad Car Tour (only $35 per carload). The squad car will take you past Andy’s home, and then down main street to see Floyd’s Barber Shop, Snappy Lunch, the Old Jail and the Andy Griffith Museum. You’ll also get your photo in front of the squad car. I know my kids will LOVE this.

Squad Car Tours 2004

For lunch, hit up the Mayberry Soda Fountain for a hot dog and a milkshake or old fashion soda. Don’t forget to stop in Opie’s Candy Shop, which I’m sure will be my children’s favorite stop of the entire day.



If you’re there on a Saturday, be sure to catch a horse and buggy ride provided Mayberry Mules and Wagon Rides. Tours are only on Saturdays and make sure to call ahead to ensure the rides are not canceled due to inclement weather.

For your afternoon, drive a short distance (about 15 minutes) to Pilot Mountain. Take a snack and hike the short trail to the mountain.

There are several dinner options, but Copper Pot is reliable and family friendly or you can hit up Trio for something a little nicer, but still good for families.

In terms of places to stay, big Andy Griffith fans can rent out  the Andy Griffith Homeplace through the Hampton Inn Mount Airy, you can rent a cabin for the weekend through White Sulphur Springs Cabins we have them listed online or you can stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, like the Sobatta Manor. You also have the option of the famous Mayberry Motor Inn that has the famous Aunt Bea’s Room.

Couples Trip

No kids? Anniversary trip coming up? No problem.  Mt. Airy has three wineries in town – Old North State, Olde Mill and Round Peak Vinyards. Want more? There’s at least 20 more wineries in the surrounding Yadkin Valley.

If you’re planning a trip soon, be sure to check Mayberry Days (September 25-27) and the Autumn Leaves Festival in October.

Been there? Headed that way? Be sure to come back and let me know how your trip was and your favorite spots. We hope to make it there sometime this fall.


This is not a sponsored post. All photography was provided by All opinions are my own. The Discover NC image was downloaded from Flickr under the Creative Commons license.

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  1. amanda says

    We loved to visit My. Airy. We went the first time, totally by accident, to Mayberry Days and then went back just about every year for the rest of our time in NC. It’s such a fun town. We always went in the fall and included a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and a stop to buy a bushel of apples.

    Thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane!

  2. says

    Fun suggestions of what to do in Mt Airy! This is on my “to see” list. I grew up in VA, but have now been an NC resident over half my life and there are lots of places (Mt Airy included) I have yet to get to.

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