The following Destination Inspiration about Fancy Gap, Virginia is courtesy of RV Family Travel Atlas.
Fancy Gap, Virginia
Fancy Gap, Virginia is nestled in the mountains alongside milepost 199.5 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It serves as the perfect base camp for exploring a stunning section of the parkway, which is a total of 469 miles long, and stretches from the southern end of Shenandoah National Park to the eastern side of Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It is close to Mount Airy, the birthplace of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for “Mayberry,” the beloved setting of the legendary Andy Griffith Show.
Our family stopped at Fancy Gap last summer for a brief visit on our way to the Great Smokies, and after three days we didn’t want to leave. We are sure you’ll love it there, as well. Here are some quick tips for planning your visit.
Fancy Gap KOA
We recommend staying at the Fancy Gap KOA, a charming campground with helpful hosts. It is located at the top of Fancy Gap Mountain where you’ll find temperatures an average of 10-15 degrees cooler on account of the elevation. The campground is just minutes away from the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
If you are travelling with your favorite pup, make sure to reserve one of their awesome “back yard sites” with large, shaded, and private fenced areas for your dog to relax and play. If you are traveling without your furry friend, ask for a shaded site lined with flowers so you can take pretty pictures of your RV!
On your first morning take the short drive across state lines to Mount Airy, North Carolina and take the “Mayberry Squad Car Tour.” You will learn everything you need to know about the town and Andy Griffith. Not a fan of The Andy Griffith Show? You will be by the end of the tour.
Don’t panic if the squad car breaks down right in front of Andy Griffith’s boyhood home like it did on our tour. If Don is your driver he will radio Melvin to come pick you up in the other squad car. If Melvin is driving, he will radio Don. Remember, the vintage Ford squad cars are from 1962.
Mayberry Replica Courthouse
After the squad car tour, head right next door to the Mayberry Replica Courthouse inspired by the one in the show. If your kids have been misbehaving, throw them in the clink. Actually, throw them in the clink no matter what. It makes for a great picture.
Drive back to Main Street and get in line for a table at Snappy Lunch, where Andy Griffith ate as a boy. Order “The World Famous Pork Chop Sandwich.” It is delicious and dirt-cheap. Our family of five filled up at Snappy Lunch for less than 25 dollars.
Floyd's Barber Shop
Pop in next door for an old school haircut at Floyd’s Barber Shop where the locals are friendly and funny. Now you’re looking good for a casual stroll up and down Main Street. Be sure to pick up Season One of The Andy Griffith Show, which is for sale at almost every shop in town.
The Gap Deli at the Parkway
On the way back to the Fancy Gap KOA, stop at “The Gap Deli at the Parkway” for dinner. If you’re not yet hungry, grab some sandwiches or salads to go. Or, if it’s Friday evening, skip the deli and enjoy the amazing homemade BBQ served up by the campground owners’ son, who also happens to be a pitmaster.
Wake up early and beat the crowds to Mabry Mill, milepost 176.2, the most photographed spot on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Snap some postcard-worthy pictures while the light is still good.
Take a morning stroll on the Mountain Industry Trail at Mabry Mill and learn about its history at the interpretive stations, then hike the Round Meadow Creek Loop Trail. Both hikes are beautiful and easy for families. Enjoy a country-style lunch at the Mabry Mill Restaurant before hopping back in the car.
Blue Ridge Music Center
Drive south to the Blue Ridge Music Center at milepost 213 and check out their free “Mid-Day Mountain Music” series which runs from noon to 4PM every day from late May to October. For music fans, this will be the highlight of your trip. The sound of bluegrass in the summertime is intoxicating so pull up a rocking chair and stay for a while.
A Night Under The Stars
Head back to the campground for a relaxing game of checkers at The Fancy Gap KOA’s breezy outdoor patio area. After you finish a game, play another one. Let the kids stay up a little bit past bedtime. The fireflies will come out and light up the night. You can count them together.