The easiest way to get to Spruce Pine is via NC Highway 226. Beware that this is a steep grade up and it was a challenge to get back down the mountain on this road with our rig. We used up a lot of brakes even being in the lowest gear. There are warning signs before you descent and make sure you take the opportunity to review them when traveling in a large vehicle such as an RV.
For this trip we stayed at Bear Den Campground, a handful of miles north of Spruce Pine directly off of the parkway. While you may use your GPS to get to the general area, I wouldn't recommend using it to get you to the campground. By following ours we ended up on the wrong side of the highway a few miles from the actual campground. Also make sure you research this campground in advance and note the milepost information they provide. Apparently due to parkway restrictions on signs, there is no obvious sign to the entrance of Bear Den. There is a post with a vertical sign on it that is not too easy to spot.
Once you turn onto the entrance road, beware that it is one lane in many places and since it is primarily dirt and gravel it can also be rough at times. After you make it through that challenge for about 1/2 a mile hoping to not meet any vehicles it opens up to the entrance to the campground. Many of the interior roads are narrow with tight turns so if you are towing a car as we were, I recommend unhooking it at the office and driving it to your campsite. This is to be expected as you are in the mountains.
The sites are nicely spaced and not on top of each other although ours wasn't real level. There was nice natural growth between the sites that gave us a slight sense of isolation which is what you hope for in a mountain trip. The campground appears to be kept up well and the staff is friendly and professional. We were even given a friendly notice one night when there were high winds expected so we could take the necessary precautions to prevent any damage to our equipment.
While driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway on the way to the campground you will pass the Orchard at Altapass. This is a great place to pick up some fresh fudge, apples and souvenirs. There is also live music on many weekends during the season that they are open.
We took the opportunity to drive up to the top of Mount Mitchell, the highest point East of the Mississippi river. It is a nice drive to the top with a restaurant along the way. Once you get to the top there is a steep climb on a newly paved path to get to the summit but it is worth it if you get a chance on one of the rare days to get a view when there is no fog or clouds to block the way. We stopped for lunch at the restaurant on the way back down. The food was fair priced and a fair quality but it is located with a nice view. The Blue Ridge Parkway South takes you to Mount Mitchell from Bear Den and there are numerous great views and pull outs along the way. It was about a 45 minute drive.
We also took the opportunity to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway North of Bear Den. As with the southern drive there are numerous great views and pull outs here also. You will want to check out the Lynn Cove Viaduct which was the last part of the parkway completed. There is a parking lot near here with a Ranger station and a walking trail that takes you under the viaduct and connects to one of the many hiking trails in the area. You'll also want to take the opportunity to see Linville Falls although you should note that this is a very 'touristy' area and has been busy every time we've been here. There are numerous trails that take you to different views of the falls. While heading north a good place to stop is in Boone to eat at the Dan'l Boone Inn. We find their family style food to be very good although it is quite expensive for a family on a budget.
All in all this is a great area of the Blue Ridge Parkway and western North Carolina to explore for numerous days.