The Andy Griffith Show ended in 1968, but look no further than Mount Airy, N.C., to find Mayberry. Here, residents have embraced their favorite hometown boy, Andy Griffith, and what he did for their small town. Based on his memories growing up in Mount Airy, Griffith created one of the most popular sitcoms of all time.

His influence has taken over the town. Travelers from around the world come to Mount Airy. The Visitors Center has tracked guests from all 50 states, plus far-flung locales such as Australia, New Zealand and Thailand. Mount Airy is only 99 miles north of Charlotte, making this destination an easy day trip to experience the real Mayberry.

Try out these experiences:

Squad Car Tour

At Wally’s Service Station on South Main Street, hop on a Squad Car tour. In a 1962 vintage Ford Galaxie, just like Barney’s, you sit back and listen to a friendly guide who narrates the history of Mount Airy and shares fun facts about the show. On this 40-minute tour, you will be driven by the home where Andy Griffith grew up, Floyd’s City Barber Shop, the Andy Griffith Museum and the world’s largest open-faced granite quarry.

Right next door to Wally’s, stop by a replica of Mayberry courthouse for some fun photo opps. You can sit behind Andy’s desk and step into Otis’ jail cell. There is no additional cost for this activity.

Floyd’s City Barber Shop

Stop at Floyd’s. It’s still a working barbershop, so a haircut will cost you. The owner, Russell Hiatt, was Andy Griffith’s barber, and is one of the barbers who inspired the character Floyd on the show.

Russell was the owner of the barbershop until his death last year. His son, Bill, runs the shop and is happy to accommodate visitors who stop by for a photograph.

Andy’s Childhood Home

Follow your GPS to 711 East Haymore St. where you’ll find Griffith’s childhood home. Many stop for a quick photo, but a true Griffith fan can book a stay here through The Hampton Inn. Decorated in 1930s-40s style, it has two bedrooms and one bath with Griffith memorabilia at every turn.

Lunch at Snappy’s

Serving diners since 1923, Snappy’s is Mount Airy’s oldest eating establishment and the only Mount Airy business mentioned on the show. With this in mind, its enormous popularity isn’t surprising. So, go early or expect to wait in a line for their world famous pork chop sandwich and much more.

The Andy Griffith Museum

Here at the museum, you’ll find the largest collection of Griffith memorabilia. This place is packed with items from his life and career in movies, television and music. Enhance your visit with an audio guide for a more thorough experience. Mount Airy resident Betty Lynn, the actress who played Thelma Lou, makes monthly appearances and graciously signs autographs and allows photographs with fans.

Other worthy stops in Mount Airy

Along quaint Main Street, take a yummy break at Miss Angels Heavenly Pies. The owners gather apples and peaches from their own orchards for truly made-from-scratch sonker desserts – deep-dish fruit pies.

Named after an Andy Griffith Show episode, The Loaded Goat is a popular sports pub and grill. You can expect a lively atmosphere at this downtown restaurant.

If you’re looking to quench your thirst, go to Mayberry Spirits, known for crafting smooth, single malt whiskeys. They are open for limited hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

About 15 miles outside of Mount Airy, drive to Dobson for a spectacular dining experience at Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards. Not hungry? Then enjoy the vineyard’s beautiful grounds, which offer walking trails past vineyards and around a lake.

Photos: Sara Kendall

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Sara Kendall writes about travel, parenting and lifestyle. She is just as passionate about photography as she is about writing, so you will find her writing paired with her beautifully captured images. Sara’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications including the following CLT ones – Charlotte Observer, Charlotte Parent and Epicurean Charlotte. Need travel inspiration? Check out Sara’s travels at latitudecrossing.com.

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