North Carolina : Safety by City
- Chapel Hill
- Elizabeth City
- High Point
- Hope Mills
- Kill Devil Hills
- Kitty Hawk
- Morehead City
- New Bern
- Rocky Mount
In the High Country of North Carolina, the town of Boone is as much a historic town as it is a natural wonder while still embracing the creativity of humans.
It’s no wonder Boone is ranked as one of the best small towns in the South.
The historic downtown, with its charming storefronts and local businesses, exudes a sense of timelessness.
This commitment to authenticity extends to the community’s dedication to showcasing local crafters, be it in art galleries, unique boutiques, or locally sourced culinary experiences.
One of the standout features of Boone is its remarkable setting within the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The surrounding landscapes offer a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, whether they’re drawn to hiking, biking, or simply soaking in the breathtaking views.
While any season is a great time to visit Boone, the fall foliage here is stunning.
As the town is surrounded by mountains, there is no bad view in town.
Boone is also a college town, with Appalachian State University having more students than the town has residents!
That means there are about 40,000 living here at any given time, plus the thousands of tourists who come each year.
This Southern escape is so popular that the term “Boonerang Effect” has been used to explain why people who come here once keep coming back.
Warnings & Dangers in Boone
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low overall risk here. Crime rates are consistently low looking back a decade, and the things-to-do list just keeps growing.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Watauga County uses a bus system called the "AppalCART" with routes available throughout the year, but many more when the university is in session. Taxis and rideshares will be easy to find. Downtown is walkable, but you'll want a rental car to explore the region on your own timeline.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Fewer than two pickpockets or purse snatchings on average have happened over the past ten years, and just two of those were in the past five years. It's definitely a low risk.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM
The High Country gets a mix of weather throughout the year, which can be dangerous. Winter storms, even minor ones, can make the hilly roads dangerous. Ice storms can knock out power and shut down entire towns. Spring brings a severe weather season with the risk of severe thunderstorms and occasional tornadoes. Especially with so many outdoor activities, this is a medium risk.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
This is another low risk. Even in the year with the highest robberies of the past decade, the risk was still just half the national average.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
While domestic terrorism can happen anywhere, there's a low risk of international terrorism in this small town surrounded by mountains.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
You'll want to be familiar with rental scam tactics, so you can avoid them here. That's when scammers post fake homes for rent and then try to get your money and personal information, only for you to find out there is no rental home, and you can't get the money. Otherwise, the risks are mostly focused on residents. Staying informed about fraud is the best way to keep the risk low.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Here's another low-risk, with a place that women have been traveling to solo, with small kids, and in groups for decades.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Boone's 2022 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. In addition, the utility has won water quality awards for more than a decade.
Safest Places to Visit in Boone
ExploreBoone.com is the official tourism website for the town.
A visitors guide is available to download for free and without having to give your email address or phone number.
The site also has some suggested itineraries for families, couples, etc.
Step back in time at the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum.
Nestled within Daniel Boone Park, this living museum recreates an 18th-century mountain community.
Interact with historical reenactors, explore cabins, and gain a firsthand perspective on the challenges and triumphs of early settlers.
The scenic Blue Ridge Parkway runs right through Boone, offering beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains.
Stop at one of the many overlooks and take in the breathtaking views of rolling hills and forests extending for miles.
For an easy hike with great rewards, walk the paved 1-mile roundtrip path to Rough Ridge Overlook, where you can see Grandfather Mountain and miles of untouched wilderness.
A visit to Grandfather Mountain should also be on the list.
It’s among the tallest in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has a mile-high swinging bridge at the top.
See wildlife and local plant life at the Wilson Center for Nature Discovery.
Summer visitors shouldn’t miss Horn in the West, an entertaining outdoor drama that depicts Daniel Boone’s adventures in the 18th century.
Performed in an open-air amphitheater, the play brings history to life with action, music, and pyrotechnic effects.
Cool off with a refreshing tubing trip down the Watauga River.
Local outfitters like Watauga River Outfitters provide tubes, life jackets, and shuttle service, so you can drift lazily downriver for a few hours.
For more adventure, ride the rapids on an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip.
Embrace winter at Appalachian Ski Mountain.
This destination transforms into a snow-covered wonderland, offering skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.
With a range of slopes catering to different skill levels, it’s a haven for both seasoned enthusiasts and beginners eager to experience the thrill of the slopes.
A day trip to Blowing Rock is a wonderful addition to a Boone visit.
The town is named after an unusual rock outcropping called The Blowing Rock that juts out over a gorge 3,000 feet above sea level.
Popular attractions include the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, Tweetsie Railroad theme park, and the surrounding Pisgah National Forest.
Places to Avoid in Boone
You don’t need to worry about bad parts of town or dangerous neighborhoods in Boone.
This is a safe town to visit from a crime-concern standpoint.
Avoid going on any trail without researching it.
Some of the options here range from half a mile and easy to strenuous 5+ mile trails.
You don’t want to tackle a trail above your ability levels.
For example, the hike to the top of Grandfather Mountain has ladders and cables to climb.
You should also be prepared for ticks, mosquitoes, and snakes on the trails here.
Bears do roam this area too.
Do you know what to do if you come face to face with a black bear?
You’ll want to carry bear spray and bear-proof food containers for your snacks.
Also, avoid leaving your car doors unlocked.
If the thought of a thief rifling through your vehicle isn’t enough, how about a hungry bear who opens the door but can’t figure out how to escape?
Finally, this is the South.
Time moves a little slower here.
People speak slower and with an accent at times.
They are very friendly and might ask you a lot of questions.
That’s why it’s called Southern hospitality!
Safety Tips for Traveling to Boone
- Boone does have its own police department, and you can reach them by phone at (828) 268-6900. Feel free to email any questions to email@example.com. It’s wise to follow them on Facebook @boonepolice.
- The police department does have a section of its website where crime statistics are supposed to be. As of this publication, they haven’t been updated since 2020. You can always use the North Carolina NIBRS system to check crime data, but that’s not an easy task if you don’t love digging into data.
- Use the Emergency Services section of the town’s website to sign up for Hyper-Reach notifications. This will send emergency alerts like weather and major accidents to your mobile device. The program is free, and important to stay weather-aware while you visit.
- Boone has a mix of parking options with either meters or kiosks to pay. You can use a credit card. Parking is free on Sundays.
- Watch out for deer on the roadways in this mountain town. Deer don’t make any noise and can quickly jump across a road. September through December is the season most likely to involve deer vs. car accidents. Never try to pet or feed a deer.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway is a popular drive near Boone, but this road goes nearly 470 miles. Unless you’re on a very long road trip, you won’t drive the entire stretch. The parkway is part of the National Park Service, so you can read about that on the nps.gov designed website.
- The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission issues fishing licenses, which are required to fish in any body of water in the state. You will be choosing from an inland or coastal license, so be sure to get the right one.
- DriveNC is the name of the travel website for North Carolina. You’ll get real-time traffic reports, weather updates, road closures, and other important travel information. When you’re in North Carolina, you can also dial 511 for recorded road updates.
- If you want to go whitewater rafting, it’s safest to do it with a local expert guide. They know the waters better than anyone and can help you with the right safety equipment.
- This is a very pet-friendly area, but some trails won’t allow dogs. Restaurants might let dogs eat with you on outside dining desks, but always check first. Never leave a dog in a hot car while you go for a hike.
So... How Safe Is Boone Really?
The beauty and tourism activities in Boone hide an underbelly of poverty.
More than 55% of the town’s residents live in poverty, and the average income is a paltry $25,000 a year.
The influx of people moving to Boone isn’t helping either since they are building homes or buying property that the locals can’t afford.
Similar things are happening in other states like Maine and Montana, where deep pockets and more tourists should mean a better community for all.
What really happens is the people who live there (in this case, for generations) are being priced out of affordable housing.
Even the people who work at the restaurants and businesses you’ll visit likely come from another town because the jobs don’t pay enough to live in Boone anymore.
Yet, somehow Boone has managed to not only keep low crime rates but also cut violent crime by 25% since 2012.
Less than 20% of violent crime victims were unknown to their attacker.
That backs up the low risk of a tourist visiting here.
Even thefts, which can be sky-high in poverty-stricken towns, are below the national average.
A quarter of all thefts are car break-ins, and another 13% are bicycle thefts.
The local struggles will be widely unseen during your trip.
Just know the townspeople are struggling, and your visit is at least bringing tax dollars to the community.
How Does Boone Compare?
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- Visas - A passport paired with a visa or visa waiver is required for all international tourists. Those attending the university will need a student visa, not a tourist visa.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar here. Plan to exchange currency at your home bank or the international airport before you arrive in this small town. Some ATMs will also allow you to get USD.
- Weather - You'll get four seasons here, so dress accordingly. It's important to bring bug spray throughout the year, and sunscreen is important too. Hiking boots should be well-worn before you tackle the nearby mountains. Dress casually and comfortably. This isn't a fancy town.
- Airports - You'll have to drive about two hours to get to a commercial airport, but if you're willing to do that, you have several options. Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville and Tri-Cities (TN) are all within two hours.
- Travel Insurance - We always recommend travel insurance to tourist destinations. You want coverage for delays, cancelations, injuries, accidents, and car trouble.
Boone Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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