Best Things To Do in Marshall, NC

Marshall, North Carolina is about a 25 – 30 minute drive (a little over 20 miles) from downtown Asheville. In other words, it’s a great spot for a day trip from Asheville! The downtown area of Marshall is fairly small. A quick drive down Main Street will only take a few minutes but it’ll give you a good overview of the town. Find a place to park and get out and walk to explore some of the shops, restaurants and cafe’s. After that, consider hopping back in the car and checking out some of the other places on our list, all of which have a Marshall address but that aren’t in downtown. Keep reading to see our list of the best things to do in Marshall, NC.

French Broad Adventures | 9800 US Highway 25

Rafting, ziplines, canyoneering, and climbing…what more could you want in an adventure center? The best part about French Broad Adventures is that you just have to show up. You don’t have to own any of the gear. They’ll get you outfitted and paired up with a guide so that you can have a fun and safe adventure. They flung open their doors in 2002 and are now the largest outfitter on the French Broad River. Want to do more than just one adventure? If you book a whitewater rafting and ziplining tour during the same week you can save 10%. Visit their website for more details.

French Broad Exchange | 63 South Main Street

a glass window has several items taped to the window. the largest, at the top of the window is a white sign that says "French Broad Exchange: Used Books and Other Stuff." Below that are comic strips that have been taped to the window as well as hand-written quotes. A tiny bit of the brick building shows at the right hand side of the photo.
Long live independent bookstores like this one in downtown Marshall, NC.

The French Broad Exchange is formerly known as the Marshall Junk Shop. It’s a fun and interesting collection of odds and ends, paintings, books, magazines, cast iron skillets, trinkets and more. The French Broad Exchange is a great place to stop by when you’re in Marshall simply because you never know what you might find.

Madison County Arts Council | 90 South Main Street

The Madison County Arts Council is a place of information as well a place of gathering. They host events such as A Tribute to the Madison County, NC Fiddlers and offer youth classes such as ballet and theater. In addition to these events and classes, they also work hard to promote local artists through shows. One of the coolest things they help out with is wART FM, a local radio station that is actually currently seeking volunteer DJ’s. Click here to learn more and visit their events calendar to see what they’ve got coming up.

The following places are some of the best things to do in Marshall, NC but they’re not downtown. You’re going to need to drive to get to them. We think they’re worth the effort, though.

Mad Co. Brew House | 45 North Main Street

Small craft batch beers and pizza, what more could you ask for? Going to Mad Co. Brew House is one of the best things to do in Marshall. It’s a great spot for a post-hike beer or bite. It also lays claim to being the first brewery in Madison County, having opened it’s doors in 2016. There’s often live music, karaoke, and trivia so check out their calendar online before you go. And if you don’t feel like drinking there you can get a growler or two to go.

Marshall High Studios | 115 Blannahassett Island Road

a photo of the exterior of Marshall High Studios. The building is two stories tall and made of brick. A yellow handrail goes up to the building and a white sign with yellow letters says Marshall High Studios.
This old high school in Marshall, NC has been converted into art studios and is one of the best places to visit in Marshall.

One of the best things to do in Marshall, NC is to visit the Marshall High Studios. They’re located on the 10 acre Blannahassett Island inside the old Marshall High School. The building itself is a 27,000 square foot school that has been turned into a lovely light-filled space for artists and makers. Each studio and artist maintains it’s own hours so be sure to call or e-mail before you visit to make sure they are open. Also, consider visiting the Marshall High Studios Facebook page to see if there are any upcoming events such as the Potters of Madison County, the Marshall Handmade Market and more.

Mossy Mountain Bikeworks | 133 South Main Street

A photo of the inside of Mossy Mountain Bikeworks. There are two bikes hanging from the ceiling in the right hand corner of the photo. On the ground are many bikes lined up neatly. There are tires in a row hanging from the ceiling at the back of the shop. Brown ceiling fans also hang from the ceiling. Some t-shirts that are bright green and blue are on a rack and lots of small bike parts are on the wall.
Put this bike shop in downtown Marshall, NC on your list of things to do!

Your one stop shop for all things cycling in Marshall is located on main street. They sell bikes both new and used, perform repairs, and lead guided tours. They also have information on self-guided tours. If you decide to ride bikes in Marshall, definitely wear a helmet and use lights. There aren’t many bike lanes in this part of North Carolina and the shoulders of the roads are often non-existent. Still, if you’re up for it, the scenery is gorgeous and the hills will get your heart rate up!

Prama Institute & Wellness Center | 182 Ananda Girisuta Drive

a blue and white sign on a wooden pole points the way towards the Prama Institute. The blue arrow points to the left towards a dome shaped building made of wood. A slate gray path made of stones winds its way towards the building.
A quite place for reflection awaits you at the Prama Institute

If you’ve been looking for a place to deepen your yoga practice, you might have already heard of the Prama Institute. It’s one of the premier wellness retreat and conference center’s in the southeast. The retreats combine yoga, meditation, and juicing. They also hold silent meditation retreats. Both the Institute and the Wellness Center are located on 120 acres of really beautiful property with trails and many places to walk, sit, meditate and gather one’s thoughts. To sign up or learn more about their classes, visit their website.

Sandy Bottom Trail Rides | 1459 Caney Fork Road

One of the best things to do in Marshall, NC is to get out of town and go for a horseback ride through some of the most beautiful country in Madison County. Sandy Bottom Trail Rides will get you set up with a guide and a horse or even an ATV if you are unable or do not want to ride on their Polaris. On rides that last 2, 3 or 4 hours, you will be treated to a stop at the Little Pine Garnet Mine which is a historic 200 year old mine. While there you’ll have time to dig for garnets and explore the mine. We think it’s one of the most unique and interesting things to do in Marshall.

Star Diner | 115 North Main Street

An old-fashioned metal sign stands on a metal pedestal and reads "Sorry NO GAS". Behind the sign is an old truck with wooden rails and a wooden truck bed. Star Diner is on the truck. Behind that is a two-toned old car with a yellow hood and green paint. Behind the cars is a brick building painted white. Red signs point the way into a restaurant advertising Steaks, Seafood, Bar.
Visiting this old gas station turned restaurant, Star Diner, is one of the best things to do in Marshall, NC.

While there aren’t a ton of dining options in downtown Marshall, the ones that exist are awesome. Headed north and west along Main Street, keep your eyes peeled for the old gas station that’s been converted into a restaurant. You’re looking for the Star Diner, one of the best places to eat in Marshall, NC. If you’re walking or your windows are down, you’re likely to smell it before you spot it! Sunday brunch is a solid option for kicking off your weekend. You can also visit the Star Diner Wednesday through Saturday for lunch or dinner and order anything from the lobster fettuccine to the spice crusted sea bass to the buttermilk cheese pie. This is the place to go if you want delicious food owned by locals.

Van Life Conversions | 216 B South Main Street

a photo of the exterior of the building housing Van Life Conversions. The building is slate gray with some horizontal wood paneling. There is a blue dolly with red wheels propped up against the building. A yellow and brown banner hangs about two navy blue doors. The foreground is gravel.
Camper van conversions are happening in Marshall, NC!

Being that this is a van life blog we love going to Marshall to check out what Van Life Conversions has on their lot! Every single time we’ve visited they’ve had a number of rad looking vans in various stages of progress. And in addition to custom camper van builds and they even work on skoolies. Check ’em out and make an appointment with ’em if you’d like to discuss a build.

Walnut Island River Park | 3042 Old Marshall Highway

Technically this river park is located in Alexander, NC but we put it on our list of the best things to do in Marshall, NC because it’s only 7.3 miles south of Marshall. It’s a great spot for a picnic, grilling out, accessing the river with your kayak, and even fishing. It’s open during daylight hours, seven days a week.

Zuma Coffee and Provisions | 7 North Main Street

Great drink and comfort foods await at the cute corner coffee shop in Marshall. Zuma recently celebrated 20 years in business! Plus, they’re one of the best places to eat in Marshall. They’re open Monday – Saturday and you can get everything from coffee, smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, soup, and more. They’ve also got take-home and bake options. Be sure to check out their daily specials and if you’re in a rush, order online and it’ll be ready when you arrive.

Best Things to Do in Marshall, NC Recap

Please like, pin or share this post about the best things to do in Marshall, NC and leave a comment if you have a recommendation for us. We’re constantly working to update our posts and keep them current.

Looking for other fun day trips near Asheville? Check out our posts on Weaverville and Black Mountain!

Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are travel writers, photographers and the authors of Authentic Asheville.

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LGBTQ Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

I’ve been visiting Rehoboth Beach, DE since the late ’90s. Even now it’s still one of my favorite places to go. Caroline and I have been there in every single season and have been going there together since 2016. There’s a bunch of great places to eat, the beach, the boardwalk, and best of all it’s a queer-friendly LGBTQ town. Keep reading to what we recommend for the ultimate LGBTQ Rehoboth Beach, DE experience.

LGBTQ Friendly Bars in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Rehoboth Beach isn’t huge but despite its small size, it does have a number of gay bars, many of which have been in business for several decades.

Aqua Bar and Grill | 57 Baltimore Avenue

This pet-friendly spot is a cool place to chill for those looking for an LGBTQ safe space in Rehoboth Beach. As of now they’re a seasonal place. After their New Year’s Eve bash they close down until warmer temperatures return. If you’re in town for a few days, check ’em out, especially if they’re hosting an event such as the very popular Battle of the Bachelors.

Blue Moon | 35 Baltimore Avenue

a photo of the exterior and entrance to Blue Moon Restaurant and Bar. The building is light blue with yellow doors, trim, and a yellow awning. There are three planters in front of the building.
Blue Moon in Rehoboth Beach has been in business for over 40 years and is one of the best gay friendly restaurants in town.

You can’t talk about gay-friendly restaurants in Rehoboth Beach without mentioning Blue Moon. It’s been in business as long as I’ve been visiting, having kicked open it’s doors in 1981. The restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Rehoboth and has an extensive wine list to match the upscale food. It makes a great spot for a date and/or a night out with a group of friends. Bingo is regularly on the calendar but so are drag shows and other fun events, many of which you’ll need to make a reservation for in advance.

Diego’s Bar and Nightclub | 37298 Rehoboth Avenue Extension

The outdoor patio at Diego’s Bar and Nightclub has a tropical vibe to it with lots of seating options and sand beneath your feet. Saturday night shirtless dance parties are a big draw during the summer – they typically start at 9:30pm. If you can shake your hangover, there’s Sunday Funday Happy Hour specials to look forward to and of course year-round seasonal/holiday parties. Run by life partners Darryl and Joe, this is one gay bar in Rehoboth you won’t want to miss out on.

Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats | 320 Rehoboth Avenue

Beer. But not just any old beer. This is craft beer at its best. Dogfish was one of the first non-Miller Lite’s I ever tasted. I remember going to visit the one in downtown Rehoboth before they ever expanded and remodeled. It was a smaller place, often standing room only on the weekends and when there was live music. And every now and then you’d catch a glimpse of the guy who started it all, Sam Calagione. Fast-forward to today and Dogfish is still cranking out delicious, off-centered ales, and is a welcoming space for the queer community in Rehoboth.

Want to visit the brewery and take a tour? It’s just a short drive from Rehoboth to Milton, DE. The address is 6 Cannery Village Center. There’s outdoor space for cornhole, a tasting room, and plenty of easy and free parking.

northbeach | 125 McKinley Street

Technically, northbeach is in Dewey Beach. But it’s so close to Rehoboth (it literally buts up next to Rehoboth Bay) and it’s gay-friendly and we’ve been going there for a really long time and love it…so it makes the list. There’s a dance floor that gets hot on the weekends and lots of outdoor space to hang out. You can expect tons of picnic tables and umbrellas, corn hole, a fire pit, even a place to rent kayaks or SUPs. If you like to play while you drink this is a great spot to visit. northbeach recently started having drag shows on Wednesdays during the summer so check out their calendar to see what’s happening while you’re in town.

Port 251 | 251 Rehoboth Avenue

Self-described as “Where the boys are” meets Florence Aperitivo Bar and a full restaurant, Port 251 has quickly become a go-to spot for the queer community in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. There’s an outdoor, covered patio, karaoke, drag shows, and live music throughout the week. The vibe is friendly, laid-back, and casual so come as you are, grab a drink, and have a little fun.

The Pond Bar and Grill | 19266 Coastal Highway, Unit #1

One of the first gay bars I ever went to was the Frog Pond in downtown Rehoboth. That was many years ago and I had so much fun I lost my favorite sweatshirt and had a massive hangover. Since then the Pond Bar has dropped the Frog part and has also moved to a different location with more space. Though it’s not strictly a lesbian bar, this gay-owned and operated business still draws a crowd that’s overwhelmingly women. If you’re looking to meet someone while in Rehoboth Beach, the Pond Bar and Grill is a good starting place. Bonus: There’s live music on most nights after 9pm.

The Purple Parrot | 134 Rehoboth Avenue

A photo of the exterior of the Purple Parrot. The building is purple with lime green trim. There is an outdoor breezeway covered with a tarp to the right of the building. A couple of red bull tables are in front. A big sign out front says open and hiring all positions.
Drag, karaoke, drinks, food, and lots of people watching all go down at the Purple Parrot, one of Rehoboth’s most popular LGBQT bars.

Do you want your beer poured by a shirtless … oh wait, you’re going to the Purple Parrot for the specials and the biergarten! The Purple Parrot is one of the best LGBTQ spaces in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The vibe is beachy and fun (think: Key West) and their Sunday brunch is one of the best in town with $5 mimosas and bloody marys. Come thirsty and hungry.

Gay Friendly Things to Do in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

There’s an endless amount of options of things to do in Rehoboth Beach, including, well, going to the beach and the boardwalk.

North Shores Beach

While you won’t find a sign that says “Lesbian Beach” the beach at North Shores has been known to be a popular sport for women. To find it, head north out of Rehoboth. If you get to Gordon’s Pond, a state park, you’ve gone too far.

Poodle Beach

A white lab puppy stares at the camera on a leash that's the same color as his harness, dark teal. The dog is on the sand in the beach and a house is blurred out in the back. A person holds a leash and is wearing black pants, black shoes, and a white zip up hoodie.
Poodle Beach in Rehoboth is a hot spot for the LGBTQ community as well as dogs.

Poodle Beach has long been a place for gay men to visit. Again, there’s no sign but it’s the place to visit if you’re looking for a queer space in Rehoboth Beach. In the summer it’s a guarded beach that also usually beach volleyball games going on. To get here, head to the south end of the boardwalk near Queen and Prospect Street. It can get really crowded at the height of summer. Bonus: it’s dog friendly!

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk in Rehoboth is a must visit while in town. It’s almost a given that you’ll check it out since it’s near the beach and it’s home to some of the best food and drink in Rehoboth. The whole thing is about a mile long and is a great spot for taking a walk while catching a sunrise with coffee. There are frequent walks and runs that take place on the boardwalk. Check out the boardwalk calendar to see if something is going on while you’re in town.

Go Shopping at the Tanger Outlets

The entire state of Delaware is tax-free making it a great spot to go shopping. Luckily, the Tanger Outlets are a short drive from downtown Rehoboth. There are several sections of them and avid shoppers could easily spend an entire day checking out all of the stores. If it’s raining, visiting the outlets is what almost every single person in town will decide to do so if you want to avoid crowds and fighting for that last pair of jeans on the rack, pick a sunny day. Click here for their digital coupon book.

Visit CAMP Rehoboth Community Center | 37 Baltimore Avenue

a photo of the exterior of CAMP Rehoboth Community Center. The sign is hanging from the outside of the white building. It's logo bears the LGBTQ rainbow colors.

CAMP Rehoboth is located right next to Blue Moon in downtown Rehoboth. This non-profit is dedicated to “…creating a positive environment inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities in Rehoboth Beach and its related communities.” CAMP Rehoboth does everything from fundraising for other non-profits to providing information and acting as a resource for the queer community, to helping fund art projects for the LGBTQ community. They have a regularly updated calendar of events some of which are free to attend.

LGBTQ Friendly Places to Stay in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Figuring out where to stay, especially when you’re looking for LGBTQ friendly lodging can be a hassle. But it’s worth doing some research so that you can have not only a good experience but a safe one. We’ve done some of the work for ya. Here’s a couple options of LGBTQ friendly places to stay in Rehoboth Beach.

Atlantic Sands Hotel and Conference Center | 1 Baltimore Avenue

This hotel is not only conveniently located to downtown Rehoboth, it’s also got beach access and an oceanfront pool. It’s Sandcrab Beach Bar also has beer, wine, and cocktails for you to sip on throughout the day and on into the night. Parking and wi-fi are both free as well as access to the Club Room which is a public reading room complete with a fireplace. Bonus: The Atlantic Sands Hotel is the host hotel and proud sponsor of Rehoboth Bear Weekend.

Rehoboth Guest House | 40 Maryland Avenue

A photo of the exterior of the Rehoboth Guest House. The building is made of gray siding with white and yellow striped awnings. There are two LGBTQ flags flying outside.

The Rehoboth Guest House is a gay-owned and operated bed and breakfast. They have 14 rooms but they are not handicap accessible and they do not accept pets. It’s located just two blocks from Rehoboth Avenue which is the downtown area of Rehoboth. This makes it a great spot for getting to the beach and walking into town for a bite or a beer. Your stay includes a hot breakfast. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available. Parking is free. Note: the Rehoboth Guest House is 18 years+ only.

Gay Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Recap

The next time you’re looking for a beach getaway, consider heading to the little state of Delaware. Rehoboth Beach is a great destination for the LGBTQ traveler with numerous restaurant, bars, and outdoor activities to choose from.

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