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About Marion & McDowell County

Where “Main Street Meets the Mountains” is an accurate description of historic downtown Marion. Mount Ida is positioned at the end of South Main Street with a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountain range to the north. The Marion Community Building includes an outdoor children’s park, splash pad, and tennis courts. Marion’s Mount Ida is an official site on the North Carolina Birding Trail, as is Lake James State Park, located just minutes from downtown Marion. Marion’s downtown area is recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

The City of Marion’s local culture is preserved through weekly, monthly, and annual events, such as the Thursday Night Bluegrass Jam at the Historic Marion Depot. With June, comes the annual Livermush Festival celebrating famed livermush producer, Hunters Livermush.

The Parkway is easily accessible via either Highway 221 North at Linville Falls, Highway 226 merging with the Parkway at the North Carolina Museum of Minerals, or by way of Highway 226A joining the Parkway just below the community of Little Switzerland.

Area Visitor Centers


Stories from Marion & McDowell County

July 15, 2019
If you're wondering where to go swimming during your Blue Ridge Parkway trip, we've rounded up all the best spots. It's important to note that while there are some beautiful waters located right on the Parkway itself, swimming is not allowed in Parkway waters. But there are no shortage of great swimming holes nearby, as well as guided rafting tours, kayak rentals, tubing, and some beautiful lakeside rentals.