photo by Appalachian Exposures
Tourism is a varied and growing industry in Mitchell County, increasing 17% from 2009-2015, with more local emphasis on development since.
Visitors can pursue several kinds of 4-season outdoor recreation such as hiking, bicycling, fishing, paddling, floating, or even going for a scenic drive, all in spectacular settings. Visitors can also shop or take advantage of the many restaurants in Spruce Pine or Bakersville, that range from casual to fine dining. Many people visit to see the work of hundreds of local artists, either at the Penland School of Crafts or at studios affiliated with the Toe River Arts Council. Festivals make up a big part of the tourist attractions in Mitchell County, with the Blacksmith Festival, the Rhododendron Festival, the Barbecue and Blue Grass Festival, and others occurring throughout the year.