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Find hiking trails ideal for children that aren't too long or strenuous with kid-friendly highlights like waterfalls, picnic areas, paved trails for strollers and more. Also find tips for hiking with kids in Western NC!
This skinny waterfall on Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 362 is visible from an overlook. Falling along a cliff across the valley, it's most visible after heavy rains and with leaves are off the trees.
Retrocade, West Asheville
With a large selection of classic and modern video games, pinball machines, air hockey, skee-ball and more, this family-friendly business welcomes people of all ages. It’s a great place to do family game night. They have a variety of local craft beers, wine or sodas. Play all day for $10.
Osega Gymnastics, Fletcher
This active camp (available in full and half-day options) is fun for kids of all skill levels with a once a week visit to the pool for full-day campers. Activities include daily ninja & gymnastics lessons, games, arts & crafts, and free play in the gym. Weekly sessions run June-Aug, 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, ages 3-14. $95-$160/week
Old Europe Pastries
This old world coffee shop has been serving European-style pastries and locally roasted coffee for 25 years in Asheville! Find an array of sweet offerings like tiramisu, cheesecake, pies, cupcakes and more to pair with coffee or one of their specialty espresso drinks. Their downtown location is convenient and great for people watching! 13 Broadway St
Western North Carolina Air Museum
See award-winning restored, antique replica and vintage airplanes at the Hendersonville Airport. Take a close-up look to airplanes and talk to people who love them.
Shadow of the Bear
See this unique fall natural phenomenon in Jackson County just for a few weeks each year, evenings along US 64 near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest.
The Hop Creamery & Cafe
Kids scream for ice cream at this local creamery and cafe, offering two locations for birthday parties! Packages include rental space for 2 hours, host, and decoration with options to add balloon artist, face painting, ice cream bar, games and more. Packages start at $50.
Harrah's Cherokee Casino
Play a huge variety of games and 3,800+ slots, along with live action tables for Blackjack, Craps, Roulette and more. Find a big variety of great restaurants, hotel, spa, shopping and more.
Isa's French Bistro
Executive Chef Peter Crockett brings culinary finesse to the table, preparing innovative, seasonally-inspired French cuisine with a local twist. Menu favorites include Escargot & Bone Marrow, Steak Tartare, Scallops Au Poivre, Steak Frites, Lamb Chop, Cedar Salmon Niçoise and Duck A L’Orange. Located downtown, the covered sidewalk patio is great for outdoor dining. Friendly bar and large wine selection. Private dining in The Cellar for groups of 8-120. Complimentary Valet Parking at Haywood Park Hotel next door. Serving Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Weekend Brunch. Sun-Thurs 7 AM-9 PM, Fri/Sat 7 AM-10 PM. 1 Battery Park Avenue.
Dalton Distillery, Asheville
As downtown Asheville’s first legal distillery, Dalton Distillery features top-shelf rum and vodka. They also have fun specialty liquors like agave vodka, apple vodka, and coffee infused rums made from local roasters. Their full-service bar features a patio, billiards, arcade games and table tennis. Bar is open daily, 5 PM-2 AM.
This favorite local hangout features creative American fare, local beer and craft cocktails.Their delectable Vault Burger features 100% grass-fed beef from local farms, taking home local awards year after year. Enjoy the patio or sit at the walnut bar inside. They’re open until 2 AM, perfect for a late night cravings. 7 Rankin Ave
Ridge Haven, Brevard
With access to hundreds of acres of trails, streams, and views, this Christian camp offers wilderness activities, lake activities, rope and obstacle courses, swimming, archery, games, and more. 5-day camp sessions: May-August, 2022. Rising 3-12 grades. Cost: $310-$520, with the added cost of activity choices.
Asheville Music Hall
This mid-size concert venue is in the middle of downtown with a 360-person capacity. They host many musical legends and have a full restaurant and bar downstairs. Its an all-genres venue that provides an intimate, live music experience for all music fans. 31 Patton Avenue.
Asheville Art Museum
Designed for young visitors, the Art PLAYce is a creative space for everyone to play and learn together in a sensory-rich environment with free exploration of colors, shapes, textures, and patterns. Kids can try out a variety of one-of-a-kind interactive pieces created by regional artists, or make art of their own. See family programs like Tot Time, Artful Adventures, Baby & Me and more.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
This fascinating National Park Service site honors the accomplishments of Carl Sandburg and wife Lilian. Tour their home with all original furnishings, visit the goat farm and hike trails at Connemara. Many programs. Located in Flat Rock, just south of Hendersonville.
Suwana's Thai Orchard
Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, this Thai restaurant utilizes authentic cooking styles and fresh ingredients to create the warm, smooth and savory flavors of Thailand in each dish. Enjoy abundant portions and try the Crab Rangoons to share! 11 Broadway St
Sky Lanes Bowling Alley
This West Asheville bowling alley offers a great place for kids to have fun, bowl and maybe even get a strike! (Bumpers available) Kids birthday packages are offered from 11 AM-4 PM and includes shoe rental, 1 hr of bowling, food and drink. $12/child.
Fonta Flora Brewery
(317 North Green, Morganton) This microbrewery is striving to create a totally unique North Carolina/Appalachian style of beer. By utilizing local grains and foraging the countryside for wild flora, we are taking brewing back to its agricultural roots.
Enjoy a slice at this pizzeria in the heart of downtown Asheville with your K-9 friend. The large, friendly patio welcomes dogs and humans, alike. They serve pizza, calzones, hoagies, salads and have a great local beer selection. 50 Broadway St.
House of Flags Museum
A very unqiue museum that displays 300+ flags with detailed stories for each. From military to international, it's an impressive collection. See all 27 official U.S. flags, from 13 to 50 stars, and the accompanying state and territory flags. Open Tuesday & Thursday 10 AM-1 PM and Saturdays 10 AM-4 PM. Donations accepted. (33 Gibson Street, Columbus)
This contemporary, farm-to-table restaurant in the heart of downtown Asheville’s historic Pack Square serves local, seasonal and sustainable cuisine that is 100% gluten-free. Try one of their artisanal cocktails or choose a glass of wine from local vineyards. Enjoy dinner and weekend brunch! 1 Biltmore Ave.
Wilderness Cove Tubing
Tubing the Green River in Saluda is an exciting float that includes class I & II rapids. Enjoy the splashing water, great swimming holes and relaxation, with tube rentals and shuttles available for 1-, 2-, 3- or 4-hour floats. Memorial Day through Labor Day weekends.
Camp Cedar Cliff, Asheville
This Christian day camp includes themed weeks, games, splash days, archery, bb ranges, swimming, and more. 2nd-5th graders will get to experience hour-long trail rides with horses, as well as practice riding skills. Lunch and snacks included. Weekly sessions run from June-August 2022. 8 AM-5 PM. Grades K-5th. $350/week.
Blue Dream Curry
Located in downtown Asheville next to Pritchard Park, this casual eatery serves up global curries, small plates, soups and more. Enjoy local beer from rotating taps, kambucha, coffee and tea. Plenty of vegan options. 81 Patton Ave
High Five Coffee Bar
Formerly called the Dripolator, this local's favorite is on the other side of I-240 with their own parking area. Their barista's are Counter Culture Coffee-trained to craft only the finest beverages. 190 Broadway Street.
This large, interactive space in Rutherfordton offers fun indoor and outdoor exhibits where kids can learn and stimulate imagination through hands-on playing. There are 14 different interactive exhibit areas geared for kids 10 and under. For kids 11 and up they offer a hands-on maker space called The Factory that offers workshops. The Factory is one block KidSenses.
Since 1994, Salsa’s has been a favorite downtown destination, serving up Mexican-Caribbean cuisine with fresh, local ingredients. Sip on a Mezcal Margarita, bite into a savory burrito, or share signature salsas with corn tortilla chips. 6 Patton Ave
Little Bee Thai
This beloved local food truck turned restaurant with a local following known for their fresh, seasonal menu. From classic Pad Thai to global curries, there is something for everyone, including weekly specials like Tom Kha soup on Wednesdays and fresh, North Carolina-caught seafood specials on Fridays. 45 S French Broad Avenue #190
For delicious southern and soul comfort food, head over to these finger lickin' good places for buttermilk biscuits, crispy fried chicken and sweet tea.
Cedar Rock Falls
This 20-foot waterfall is along one of our favorite hikes up to the summit of John Rock. To reach the falls, hike about mile from the Fish Hatchery and Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.
A longtime French bistro with comfort food using local ingredients. A romantic, intimate and charming setting. Enjoy fresh mussels prepared multiple ways, Escargot, Burgundy’s signature stew Boeuf Bourguignon and their famous fries. Dine al fresco along bricked walkways. Pair hand-selected French wines. 62 Lexington Avenue.
Picnic at Biltmore Estate
With thousands of acres to explore, there are plenty of options for picnics! While there is not an official "picnic" area, spread a blanket along one of the hiking trails, along the river, or in gardens (except the Walled Garden). For a more secluded picnic, take the Deer Park Trail that begins by the South Terrace. Other great spots include the Lagoon (pic), the Diana statue atop the hill facing the house, and the gazebo on Bass Lake. Bring your own or order a picnic at the Bake Shop, located adjacent to the Biltmore House.
Bottinelli Fine Art
Browse and see the artist at work in this studio and art gallery in Asheville’s River Arts District. Sandra Bottinelli paints in oils using classic techniques to modernize her subjects with a focus on color and the many moods it conveys. 129 Roberts Street, 2B7
Log Hollow Falls
(1 mile round-trip, easy) Located near Looking Glass Falls, this 25-ft. waterfall is often missed since it's off the beaten path in Pisgah National Forest.
This family friendly pizza restaurant in West Asheville offers signature and build-you-own pizza pies, along with a great local beer selection and extensive wine list. Kids can enjoy the arcade! 285 Haywood Rd. Suite 10
Setrock Creek Falls
Located a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway (exit at Milepost 344) on NC Highway 80, a 1/2-mile hike takes you to this 75-ft. waterfall. Nearby is Roaring Fork Falls.
Hickory Nut Gap Farm
This working farm offers beautiful scenery and a naturally engaging space for active children. The Party Shack space on the farm has a covered area and picnic tables, with nearby treehouse, tunnel slides and creek for splashing. Add ons like horseback riding and birthday party catering are available. Packages start at $125.
Urban Orchard Cidery
(210 Haywood Road, West Asheville) Visit one of the few “True Cider Bars” in the nation. Their taproom offers several varieties of their naturally gluten-free hard apple cider on tap.
This chef-driven, locally owned restaurant elevates vegan dining in Asheville with their picture-worthy dishes of delicious, scratch-made vegan food. Enjoy foods like smoked portobello, curries, ravioli, and even “queso!” Enjoy the patio in warmer months. Dinner only. 165 Merrimon Ave
Wheels Through Time Museum
See hundreds of classic motorcycles and automobiles in Maggie Valley in one of best transportation museums in the country. This massive collection includes more than 300 of America's rarest and most historic classic motorcycles.
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area
Designated by Congress in recognition of our region's unique character, culture and natural beauty, they protect, preserve, interpret and develop the unique natural, historical and cultural resources of Western North Carolina. Explore with their Blue Ridge Heritage, Music and Craft Trails.
(8 miles round-trip, strenuous) Hike the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap north four miles to this rocky ridge with spectacular views in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You climb about 1,600 ft. in elevation, but it's gradual.
All Day Darling
Located in Asheville’s historic Montford neighborhood, this cozy bistro offers fresh coffee and baked goods, smoothies, salads, dinner specials, cocktails and more. Enjoy beer or wine on the patio in the warmer months! Open daily 7 AM- 9 PM. 102 Montford Ave.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
The Museum of the Cherokee Indian shares the history and culture of the Cherokee people and sets the scene for the Cherokee Heritage Trails. See impressive exhibits that take you from 11,000 years ago to the present. The nearby Oconaluftee Indian Village is also a must visit for families.
Find the best food trucks that are going fender to fender to bring you delicious, unique comfort food on wheels. They are inspired by a variety of global influences with plates like gourmet grilled cheese, tacos & burritos, Thai, BBQ, hot dogs, Lebanese, Korean street food and even brunch.
The Usual Suspects Sandwiches
This woman-owned, locally operated food truck serves delicious, hot sandwiches and burgers made fresh. Choose from their lineup of signature sandwiches or create your own sandwich. Try a sweet sandwich like The Smooth Operator with Nutella, bananas, and marshmallows- grill to perfection! Vegan options are available. See their weekly schedule on their Facebook page.
Gwynn Valley Camp, Brevard
This overnight summer camp for kids located on a working farm offers farm activities, nature lessons, hiking, sports, blacksmithing, climbing, archery, crafts, and more. Programs focus on sustainability, community, outdoors, wilderness, and leadership. 7-day to 3-week sessions, June-August 2022. Completed grades: K-10th. Cost: $2,050-$5,550/session
The Little Gym
This indoor gym for kids offers a variety of 1.5 hour party packages includes up to 16 guests, two hosts, set-up/clean-up, juice boxes, t-shirt and water bottle for birthday child. Add-ons include themes, paper products, invitations and more. Packages start at $240.
The Market Place
Asheville’s original farm-to-table restaurant, this downtown fixture since 1979 offers an seasonally-driven menu featuring organic ingredients from area farms and artisan producers. Enjoy extensive wine list, craft beer and cocktails too. Recommended by The Food Network, USA Today, The New York Times, Southern Living and more. 20 Wall St
Top 10 Hikes, Great Smoky Mountains Park NC
From world-renowned hiking trails like the AT to lesser-known gems, see our favorite 10 hikes from the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, nearest the Asheville area.
This American bar and restaurant features regional ingredients on their menu, along with specialty cocktails. Their Animal House Burger placed in the 2018 WNC Battle of the Burger, putting their winning patty on the map. Enjoy the seasonal patio or stay late for the DJ dance parties on the weekend. Open until 2 AM nightly. 68 North Lexington Ave
WNC Cheese Trail
The WNC Cheese Trail includes several small cheesemakers and farms near Asheville. Sample cheeses and buy some to take home. Looking Glass Creamery is an easy drive from downtown Asheville.
Southern Appalachian Repertory Theatre
SART is a professional theatre company in residence at the historic Owen Theatre at Mars Hill University, just 18 miles north of Asheville. Presents 4-5 shows a year, including plays, musicals and original works about Southern Appalachia.
(147 Coxe Avenue, Asheville) Wicked Weed opened their nearby barrel house and sour tap room in the South Slope in late 2014 to store 1,000+ wine and bourbon barrels. This tasting room has 16 taps for sour and wild beer. Open daily. Read more about the South Slope Brewing District.
Julian Price Park
(2.7 miles and 2.3 miles, easy) Hike around a beautiful lake or to the top of Green Knob. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 297.
Twisted Laurel Downtown
Feast on Mediterranean comfort foods like handmade pasta and smoked meats in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere across from Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville (130 College Street) and in Weaverville. Each with dog-friendly patios and a very popular Doggie Menu so your pup can enjoy a meal out with you!
Vegan and vegetarian soul food are at the heart of this downtown eater that serves lunch, dinner, and late night food. Rosetta’s is a local favorite with affordable, plant-based fare. 116 N. Lexington Ave
Pigeon River Adventure Center
Enjoy outdoors exploration with whitewater rafting, zip line canopy tours or Jeep tours in the Great Smoky Mountains. Or do all three without moving your car with their "Triple Adventure!"
The Learning Center at PARI
This former NASA campus in Pisgah National Forest is now a fascinating space and science center open for camps, events and occasional tours. See exhibit galleries, a gem and meteorite collection, hands-on research and star gazing nights. Previously called Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.
Cove Creek Falls
Located near Daniel Ridge Falls is a waterfall on a beautiful two-mile hike that includes a second, smaller cascade. It's also located near the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.
New Belgium Brewing
(21 Craven Street, Asheville) Sample brews in the riverside Liquid Center Tasting Room, located just across the French Broad River from downtown Asheville. And take a free, 90-minute brewery tour.
In the heart of downtown Asheville, this farm-to-table restaurant welcomes pooches with a dog menu including house-made dog biscuits, entrees and even serves a bacon-soy ice cream dessert! 1 Biltmore Ave.
This fast-casual joint serves a variety of fresh-made tacos from ingredients like grilled fish, steak, spiced pulled pork, slow cooked rotisserie chicken, and chorizo. Vegetarian tacos include avocados, black beans, sweet potatoes, and roasted poblano peppers. Try the breakfast tacos! Pair your taco with a mexican coke or house margarita. 132 Charlotte St
If you’re looking for a fancy night on the town, check out these upscale restaurants. Find award-winning chefs, local ingredients, creative dishes, relaxed ambiance, fine wine, craft cocktails and more. Perfect for celebrating an anniversary, birthday, romantic date night.
Asheville Distilling Company, Asheville
Inspired by the moonshiners of Western North Carolina, this distillery produces Appalachian inspired moonshine, whiskey and bourbon under the Troy & Sons brand. They are located next to Highland Brewing Company in East Asheville. Free tastings are Fri/Sat 5-6:30 PM, no appointment needed. Group tours available by appointment.
Battery Park Champagne Bar
Sip a fine wine, Champagne or cocktail while you peruse thousands of used and rare books in this "Book Exchange" in the historic Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville. Many nooks for great conversations. 1 Page Avenue
Green Sage Cafe
This certified green restaurant nurtures the well-being of its customers through its fair-trade organic coffee and tea, organic beer and wine, natural and organic local food for breakfast and lunch. Look for the solar panels on the roof! 5 Broadway Avenue.
See the best places for an Italian feast paired with good wine. Enjoy favorite dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna, chicken parmesan, at these authentic Italian restaurants offering Old World cuisine.
French Broad Brewing Co.
(near Biltmore Village, 101 Fairview Rd, Asheville) Sample their year-round European-style beers: the Wee-Heavy-Er Scotch Ale, 13 Rebels ESB, IPA, Ryehopper, Gateway Kolsch, and Anvil Porter. Tasting Room also has an assortment of seasonal specialties, and frequently a beer on cask. Open daily.
Bear's Smokehouse Asheville
This smokehouse in Asheville’s South Slope offers award-winning K.C. Style BBQ with signature items like brisket burnt ends, smoked sausage, loaded baked potatoes, and more. They also offer vegan options like tempeh and Impossible Meatloaf and a variety of craft beer to enjoy! Open 7 days a week with online ordering and delivery available. 135 Coxe Ave
All Souls Pizza
This wood-fired pizzeria located in the River Arts District of Asheville features pizza dough made with freshly milled grains and high quality, seasonal ingredients. They also offer an array of salads, polenta and pasta dishes. Family-friendly! 175 Clingman Ave