There’s a certain grittiness to the town of Roanoke that makes it feel like the industrial town it once was. Old brick buildings still stand strong amongst aging freight yards where countless locomotive cars race pass. The Roanoke Valley has long been known as a prominent hub on the map because of its location just west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Today however, there is a new light shining on Roanoke. Though elements of the past are still present today, Roanoke is wasting no time rebuilding a progressive, outdoor community that has a little something for everybody.

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There is no way to accomplish all there is to do in Roanoke in just one day. You can mountain bike on Mill Mountain, fish the Roanoke River, or catch a sunrise on Roanoke Mountain and never have to get in a car. The accessibility to adventure from downtown Roanoke is unparalleled. The Appalachian Trail is about 15 miles outside of town where the infamous McAfee Knob and Tinker Cliffs stand beautifully above an epic Virginia landscape. Carvins Cove is about 10 miles from Roanoke and offers about 60 miles of fast, flowy trails to explore. Roanoke Mountain Adventures is an excellent guide service in town that can get you suited up and ready for any adventure you seek. They’ll have maps and all the information you’ll need to get started.

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Stay

Though there aren’t any campgrounds within 45 minutes of Roanoke, there are excellent options for accommodations. Dirtbags be warned—don’t try and sleep on the Mill Mountain Parkway or the Blue Ridge Parkway no matter how tempting one of the pull-offs may look. You’ll need to drive to the Appalachian Trail trailhead just outside of Catawba, hike about 1 mile north, and shack up in the AT shelter there. If you’re looking for some classic southern style B&Bs then go to either Rose Hill Bed and Breakfast or the Black Lantern Inn. Both are beautiful, early 20th century homes located right downtown.

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Eat

Roanoke has awesome restaurants. There are too many to list, but here are our favorites. For breakfast there are two spectacular options. Scratch Biscuit Company does coffee and biscuits very well, so well in fact you’ll need to buy two biscuits. Don’t worry though it’ll only cost you $4.00. If you’re looking for a diner scene with phenomenal service and a “knock your socks” off breakfast, then The Roanoker is your place.

For lunch, you could choose either Fork in the Alley or The Green Goat. Fork in the Alley has wood-fired pizzas, burgers, and great sandwiches. The location to Mill Mountain makes it a must-stop after bombing a descent down some fun singletrack. The Green Goat is a bar and grill type place as well, but they have incredible salads, also with great proximity to the greenway and Roanoke River.

For dinner, head to Wasena City Tap Room and Grill for a beer and huge dinner menu (conveniently located next door to Roanoke Mountain Adventures). Overwhelmed by the menu selections? The burritos are excellent.