About Wilkes

Having been established in March of 1778, Wilkes County has grown into a community that boasts a rich heritage, heartfelt traditions, and a sound historical base within the State of North Carolina. Privileged to be the location of countless historical homes, historical trails, street festivals, arts and craft festivals, and many other yearly traditions, Wilkes County has formed an extraordinary balance between life outdoors, happiness in music, the pursuit of popular interests such as crafting, shopping, fine dining, and art, and the overall thrill of living in an ideal hometown atmosphere. 
Courthouse, white columned facade

Get Outdoors

For those who love the outdoors, Wilkes County is truly the place to be. Being able to choose from a long list of possible adventures in outdoor fun, there is definitely something for everyone. Hikers, bikers, boaters, hunters, and fishermen, have the opportunity to enjoy their passions, at the beautiful surroundings of W Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir. Having received the Natural Resource Management award in 2007, W Kerr Scott, provides a one of a kind, alluring atmosphere, with all of the amenities that an outdoors man could ever dream of experiencing. Areas on the lake provide attractive settings for camping, family picnics, recreational swimming, and casual strolls in the woods. W Kerr Scott is also home to an outdoor amphitheater, which opens each year to provide entertainment and insight to our county’s rich history. Through well directed and choreographed plays such as the historical tale of Tom Dooley, young and old can experience the best in outdoor entertainment, while gaining knowledge of the history that made Wilkes County what it is today.       

Jam to Music

Music lovers will be amazed at the many opportunities presented to them, here in Wilkes County. Regardless of whether you play your own instrument, or desire to be only a spectator, Wilkes County’s Home Town Opry provides a weekly opportunity for music lovers to get a taste of true mountain music. Each week, musicians are given the opportunity to showcase their talents, while being encouraged and nurtured by the warm crowd of onlookers that arrive each Friday morning for the taping of the show. For those that desire an even more adventurous opportunity,  the avid music lover or performer, can rest assured that the stories and sounds of the mountains are alive and well, as Wilkes County is host to a World renowned music festival known as Merlefest. Beginning on Thursday, in the last week of April and lasting through Sunday, visitors from as far away as Finland, arrive year after year to participate in this memorable event. Located on the campus of Wilkes Community College, Merlefest has been the stage for music artists such as Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Nickel Creek, and the founder of the festival, Doc Watson. What began as a local bluegrass festival has grown into a Mecca for music lovers of all ages.

Go Out to Eat

Dining in Wilkes County provides a multitude of options, ranging from the most formal of settings, to a true southern meal, prepared and served on red checked table cloths. Wilkes has a variety of restaurants that range from the most well known establishments, to the dramatic dining experience of a formal meal.

Visit the Shops

Time will escape you as you visit the various shops and stores that are a part of Wilkes County. Being an advocate for small business, Wilkes is proud to be the home for many unique shops that combine the flair of country charm, with the individual tastes of the owners. Antique shops, unique small gift shops, and the most popular retail organizations, provides us with ability to please even the most difficult of gift recipients. Don’t forget to check out our craft stores, where folk art is alive and booming. There is truly something for everyone in our shopping selection.