Day Trip to Cooleemee

Cooleemee Makes a Great Day Trip

If you live anywhere from the Piedmont Triangle to Charlotte, Asheville to Mooresville—or anyplace in between— you will find plenty of attractions in Cooleemee to fill an enjoyable, memorable day. This former cotton mill town is serious about preserving and sharing its proud history and natural heritage.

Cooleemee’s Textile Heritage Museum

Located in the historic Zachary Holt House at 131 Church Street (just off Marginal Street). In the setting of the former mill manager’s large brick home, its exhibits allow visitors to explore just what a cotton mill town was like in its prime.

The Mill House Museum

Just one block down Church Street sits a typical four-room mill house built in 1905. A tour guide takes you back in time to the world of a mill hand’s family in the early 1930s. Hundreds of local, period artifacts help tell the story—from iron beds, feather ticks, chamber pots, handmade toys, and a wood cookstove. In the yard, you will find a clothesline, garden plot, and smokehouse.

Cooleemee’s museums are open Tuesdays from 1-4 and then by appointment only. All tours are guided and begin at the Zachary House. Admission to the Mill House Museum is by donation. Call (336 ) 284-6040 for more info or to set up a group tour in advance.

RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls – “The Bullhole”

RiverPark opens on the riverbank opposite Cooleemee. These 30+ acres on the Rowan County side feature an impressive stone dam, a sandy beach deposited there by a flood, and good fishing in the spring and fall. Get details about entry fees, park rules, reservations, and more at the RiverPark page.

Many bring their bathing suits to swim and “ride” the little rapids. There are scattered picnic tables and benches along its beautiful wooded trails and the handsome big shelter can be rented, perfect for family reunions or church gatherings. The restrooms are located near the main parking area.

Contained grilling is allowed in the park except under the main shelter.

The park is open from April – October: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Tuesday through Sunday. The park is open Mondays for Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. November – March: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Friday through Sunday. The park is closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Swimming and water activities are at your own risk—there is no lifeguard on duty.

RiverPark urges its patrons to wear an old pair of tennis shoes in the river to prevent accidents on the granite bedrock bottom, known for its slippery moss. Please note the park rules when you enter.

There are regular police patrols who enforce rules that include:

  • No littering
  • No drugs
  • No alcoholic beverages
  • No glass containers

See the RiverPark page for reservation details or call Aaron Thies at Town Hall at (336) 284-2141 or email him:

Directions to River Park
From town, take NC Highway 801 South across the S. Yadkin River, turn right on Needmore Road, right on Erwin Temple Church Road and keep going until you reach the parking area.

Stop at Davie Discount Drugs for a coke and some directions. Good advice can also be found at Cooleemee Hardware Store over a Cheerwine and a pack of peanuts. Both are located at the Cooleemee Shopping Center on NC Hwy 801 near Marginal Street.

Warning: We are a small town so although Mapquest and Google Maps will get you to Cooleemee they are not always helpful when you get off the highway.