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Family-Friendly Activities in and around Asheville
Looking for some family fun in or around Asheville, North Carolina? Check out our list of the top family-friendly outings for exploring Asheville with kids! Western North Carolina is a virtual outdoor playground with parks and gardens, kid-friendly hikes, whitewater rafting, ziplining, biking, and more.
Downtown After Five
Enjoy live music, food, and beer at this big outdoor concert in downtown Asheville. Free admission, 5-9 PM.
Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas
Located in West Asheville, Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas features eight signature ramen bowls and multiple tapas, including poké bowls, gyoza, and tempura sweet potato. Find a great selection of sakes, plus many local brews. 630 Haywood Rd
This quaint mountain village at 3,700 feet elevation has great restaurants, breweries, shops, Wildcat Lake beach, and many events including the Woolly Worm Festival in October. Near Beech Mountain skiing and Grandfather Mountain hiking.
Dread Life Kitchen, Hendersonville
Serving up soul food in Hendersonville, owner Raynard Walker offers comfort food favorites like wings, shrimp and grits, mac-n-cheese, smoked meats, collards, and more with a Caribbean twist. Dine-in or pick up a meal to bring home, along with home-made lemonade or sweet tea. They also offer catering for events! 3591 Chimney Rock Rd, Hendersonville
50 Late Fall & Holiday Events
November & December: Find many events during our long holiday season, including Christmas at Biltmore, giant light displays and the Gingerbread House competition.
An Evening of Romance, Bent Creek Lodge
Upon arrival your room will have romantic soft candlelight, gourmet truffles, soothing music and a dozen roses. They do the work and you'll get the credit!
Sachi Massage and Wellness
Serving Asheville and Hendersonville, this wellness center is dedicated to bringing you health and wellness at affordable prices. They offer everything from couples massage with the sounds of tranquil waterfalls and soothing music to a peaceful, healing Himalayan Salt room. Add aromatherapy to your massage for deep relaxation.
Elk in Cataloochee, Great Smoky Mountains
Watch the elk in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best time is just before sunset. Take a picnic and tailgate. Also, tour historic buildings or hike.
Asheville Art Classes & Lessons
Take an afternoon- or week-long painting or pottery class/workshop in Asheville at studios in the River Arts District. Group or private lessons are designed for beginners and experienced. Take home a souvenir of art that your create!
Japanese, Sushi & Poke
Whether you’re gathering around the grill at a hibachi steakhouse, have a hankering for sushi take-out, or want a colorful poke bowl, find our top picks for Japanese restaurants in Asheville.
Enjoy plenty of fishing spots, whether novice or experienced. Full- and half-day guided trips, tying classes and classes geared toward women.
Blue Ridge Parkway Top 50
Drive the Parkway north or south from Asheville and quickly climb the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge to see breathtaking vistas. You can reach elevations of 5,000+ ft. Our mile-by-mile guide of the Parkway covers the 193-mile section near Asheville. Along the way, plan to stop to visit the Folk Art Center or discover one of the other fun things to do along one of the most scenic drives in the United States.
French Broad River: 15 Ways to Enjoy
Find some of our favorite ways and places to enjoy the river, beginning at the source of the French Broad River (near Rosman, NC), and following the river downstream to the Tennessee state line (about a 70-mile section!)
Restaurants in Brevard
Find a variety of places to eat and drink in Brevard including upscale dining casual eateries, pubs, food trucks, bakeries, coffee shops, and more!
Touring America’s Largest Home is easily the number one indoor attraction in Western North Carolina. Experience the beauty of Biltmore House and its century-old gardens where the Vanderbilt family once strolled. Come see why George Vanderbilt chose Asheville as the site for his famous estate. Explore Biltmore's 8,000-acre Blue Ridge Mountain backyard, taste award-winning wines, dine and shop. See our extensive guide with many photos and tips.
Asheville’s largest curated, pop-up market for antiques, art, vintage decor, jewelry, and beyond is in the River Arts District. Rain or shine. 10 AM-4 PM. (1 Foundy Street)
Biltmore Ticket Specials
See the latest seasonal ticket specials and deals to tour Biltmore House, gardens, and winery on our Biltmore Guide. Often, you can save $8/person or more if you buy tickets 7 days in advance! Senior & military discounts too.
McFarlan Bakery, Hendersonville
Since 1930, this old-school bakery has delighted customers with its long, glass case filled with baked goods — apple fritters, doughnuts, assorted cookies, cakes, pies, and more. (309 N Main St)
Daytime admission to Biltmore not only gets you access to America’s largest home but also the opportunity to explore the estate’s 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain beauty. Discover Biltmore’s rustic side with an array of outdoor adventures like biking, hiking, Segway tours, horseback riding, river float trips, carriage rides, sporting clays, and Land Rover experiences.
Bearwallow Mountain Trail offers a one-mile hike to exceptional views. At 4,232 feet above sea level, with a grassy meadow summit, the mountain features a nearly 360-degree view that includes Mount Mitchell and Mount Pisgah. The trail also provides a bird's-eye view of Hickory Nut Gorge, downtown Hendersonville and the South Carolina high country. A historic fire tower occupies the summit, along with grazing cows.
Climbing Camps, Cultivated Climbing
This 5-day summer camp focuses on climbing for all skill levels. Activities include indoor climbing, outdoor climbing, biking, tubbing, and more. June-August 2022. 9 AM-5 PM, ages 6-16. Starts at $500/session.
Falconry Package, Sourwood Inn
Stay two nights at this mountaintop inn on 100 acres, just 10 miles from downtown Asheville, and enjoy a unique falconry experience complete with Rocket Girl (in pic) flying to your glove.
Anniversary Package, 1889 WhiteGate Inn
The perfect way to celebrate your love on any occasion. Includes a two-night stay in this historic B&B near downtown Asheville, roses, hand-dipped chocolate strawberries, artisan baked cake and romantic dinner for two. Use Promo Code: Anni1
Rates: Start at $270
Rates: Start at $270
This bird sanctuary is a wonderful wildlife oasis in the very busy north Asheville area. Walk a 3/8-mile boardwalk through a wetland area and by the lake, complete with sitting areas along the way to soak up the views and watch birds.
Top 100 Art Festivals & Events
See our favorite art festivals, events and shows this year in Asheville and surrounding towns in the western North Carolina mountains.
Virtual Experiences in Asheville & Western NC
Enjoy some virtual experiences in Western NC including outdoor video tours, fitness, meditation, museum tours, kid resources and more.
18 Scenic Drives
See gorgeous countryside, mountain views and charming communities on a windshield tour via national and state scenic byways near Asheville. Lots of opportunities for stops along the way.
North Mills River Recreation Area, Horse Shoe
This area is part of Pisgah National Forest and is located in Henderson County, just 13 miles from downtown. The area has picnic sites, campsites, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, fly fishing, and tubing. Trails range in difficulty level from easy to strenuous.
Ensemble Stage, Banner Elk
Enjoy professional theater in the mountains based at the Historic Banner Elk School. This local theater troupe is known for high-quality performances with a robust year-round schedule of events.
Intimate Wedding Packages, Simple I Do's of Asheville
Create romantic memories of your big day on a mountain peak, by a waterfall or even at a brewery. Elopement and small wedding packages suit your personal style with custom vows, a short video of the ceremony, beer or champagne, photography, commemorative gifts and more.
Rate: From $495
Rate: From $495
Asheville Art Museum
Explore world-class special exhibitions and the museum's outstanding collection, showcasing the very best of 20th and 21st century American art in the heart of downtown Asheville.
West Asheville Yoga
Known as the sweetest little yoga studio in Asheville, this studio honors all paths of yoga and features multiple classes throughout the week, including Yoga Basics, Morning Vinyasa Flow, Yoga for Resiliency, Prenatal Yoga, Kundalini Yoga with a meditation and gong bath, and more. This small neighborhood studio is the original donation-based yoga studio.
Point Acupuncture & Apothecary
Founder Alison Colberg L.Ac. Dipl. O.M. practices Daoist influenced Classical Chinese medicine which includes acupuncture, herbalism, essential oils, nutraceuticals, medical qi gong, functional medicine, stone medicine, nutritional therapies, and medical intuition as well as several adjunct techniques. They have a full dispensary of Chinese medicinal herbs for unique, custom formulas for each client's individual needs.
Western North Carolina Nature Center
Kids of all ages will love this 42-acre wildlife park, providing a home for 60+ animals native to this region, including foxes, bears, wolves, bobcats, cougars, river otters. Don’t miss the Red Panda Exhibit!
Asheville Community Yoga
This nonprofit yoga center offers donation-based classes and workshops, focusing on yoga and healing arts. They offer all-levels yoga classes, including yoga for kids, meditation, private yoga therapy, and more. Yoga mats and props provided! Visit the onsite Karma Cafe for a nourishing post-yoga meal or shop at the onsite thrift shop Zen & Now for preloved yoga clothing.
This is the coolest town on our list for temperature (highest town in the eastern USA at 5,506 feet elevation). While it's very popular for skiing and snowboarding each winter, they have an impressive trail system for hiking and mountain biking in the summer. Summer golf and scenic chairlift rides too. Each fall, follow the yellow brick road at Autumn at Oz.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
Hike, mountain bike or horseback ride a multitude of trails to see many waterfalls and lakes on 10,000 acres. Plus, picnic on mountaintops and swim at Hooker Falls. Visitor center, free admission.
Planning Your Move to Asheville
Find information for planning your move to Asheville and Western NC including counties, county services, utilities, schools, community resources, and more.
Grandfather Mountain Package, Banner Elk
Stay in your choice of 3 popular lodging accommodations and receive two tickets to walk the Mile High Swinging Bridge, visit the nature museum and see the spectacular views atop this famous peak.
Rates: From $110
Rates: From $110
Combo Pass, Adventure Center of Asheville
Enjoy a full day of fun that includes multiple outdoor activities near downtown. Combo pass is $123/person for the Full Zip Tour and the Treetops Park. Express Zip and Treetops Park is $103/person. And Kid Zip and Treetops Adventure Park is $83/person.
Shop 75 national and local outlets in this beautiful, new outdoor shopping village. It's located on I-26, just six miles from Biltmore and seven miles from downtown Asheville. It's pet-friendly, and there are many events and sales throughout the year.
The largest downtown in western North Carolina outside of Asheville is filled with historic buildings and updated streetscapes with flowers and art. Find many spots for outdoor dining and a big variety of quality shops and galleries along a six-block stretch of Main Street. Don't miss two street festivals, the Garden Jubilee and the huge NC Apple Festival.
(507 Haywood Rd) This craft beer collective in West Asheville is the perfect spot for beer snobs, offering a variety of hard-to-find craft, world-class craft beer. Choose from their 20 rotating taps and extensive bottle selection of craft beers, wines, meads, sakes, and ciders. Open daily 12-11 PM.
Asheville Urban Trail
(1.7-mile loop, easy) This outdoors museum is a self-guided walking tour on the sidewalks of downtown Asheville, leading to 30 sculptures that depict local history.
Vanderbilt Wine Club, Biltmore Winery
Save up to 25% on Biltmore Wine and get exclusive access to tasting events, receive special wine shipment of 3 bottles each season, and save on wine purchased at the estate. Choose from Red, White, Mixed, or Sweet. Membership is free, minimum of 2 shipments.
Rate: From $35/shipment depending on wines selected
Rate: From $35/shipment depending on wines selected
10 Reasons to Move to Asheville
See why Asheville receives countless accolades for being one of the best places to live in the United States, including our friendly small towns and communities high in the hills.
Jackson County Top 30
So many things to do - art, train excursions, heritage sites and more! Includes the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva, Balsam, Cullowhee, Glenville and Sapphire.
10 Reasons to Get a Biltmore Annual Pass
Biltmore is a little slice of heaven and as any local can tell you, using the annual pass just twice almost makes up its value, plus it comes with so many great perks and exclusive discounts you can’t find anywhere else. Read on for the top reasons to get your annual pass, and find out how to get discounted annual passes, for a limited time.
Hole-in-One Golf Package, Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure
Stay on Lake Lure for two nights with plenty of amenities including a beach, boating, spa and pool. Included are golf rounds at both of their courses, range balls and breakfasts.
Rate: From $290/person, double occupancy
Rate: From $290/person, double occupancy
Top 50 Summer Events & Festivals
June, July, August: From street festivals to outdoor concerts, check out our top summer picks for Asheville and the surrounding NC mountain towns. Most are free.
This team picks the perfect outdoor location for couples that love nature, including waterfalls and mountaintops. A variety of packages include professional photography session with gorgeous scenery, videography and custom ceremony with an officiant. Book weekdays (Mon-Thurs) for more private settings at some of the most iconic mountain locations.
Rate: From $1250
Rate: From $1250
Botanical Gardens at Asheville
This 10-acre garden near the University of North Carolina in Asheville features Southern Appalachian plants, and includes peaceful hiking trails in the middle of the city.
Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
We are lucky enough to have six rivers near Asheville that are good for rafting and kayaking. Find professional companies that provide rafting guides, so no experience is necessary. You can even learn how to kayak in the rapids or paddleboard on a lake.
Romance Package, Orchard Inn
This grand couples getaway at an historic inn in the cool small town of Saluda includes two weekend nights in a private cottage, couples massage, elegant dinner for two in their farm-to-table restaurant, bottle of French Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, breakfast each morning.
Traveling with your dog? See our Pet-Friendly Guide to Asheville and the North Carolina mountains that includes lodging, hiking, Biltmore, kennels, dog parks and more.
Award-Winning Restaurant Gift Cards, AIR
Asheville’s Independent Restaurant Association (AIR) is all about food in Asheville and making a difference in the kitchen and in the community. Consider a gift card from AIR’s many award-winning restaurants and experience how AIR is food in Asheville…and so much more.
Downtown Asheville Condos
Find condos in downtown Asheville with easy access to award-winning restaurants, galleries, music, and lively community.
Top 75+ Outdoors - Asheville & NC Mountains
Explore our mountains with hikes, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and many thousands of acres of national forest and park land. Get outside in the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains with our 70 favorite things to do.
South Mountains State Park
(2-40 miles, easy, moderate, strenuous) This state park near Morganton has 40 miles of hiking trails. Our favorite is High Shoals Falls 2.7-mile loop trail to a beautiful 60-foot waterfall. Combine several trails for a much longer hike.
Ride Kanuga, Hendersonville
The newest addition to Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center is Ride Kanuga mountain bike park. Founded by world-champion downhill racer Neko Mulally, the park features 12 downhill-specific trails suitable for all ability levels.
Dancing Bear Toys, Hendersonville
This beloved WNC toy store is not only a place to shop but also a place for kids and adults to play. From classic toys to the newest, hottest items on the market, you’ll find them here. (418 N Main St)
Lake Julia at DuPont State Forest
This 99-acre pristine, secluded lake is located in the Southern portion of DuPont State Recreational Forest and is the largest lake in the forest. The hike to the lake is three miles round trip from High Falls Access Area. Trails are easy to moderate.
Annual Membership, NC Arboretum
Receive many wonderful benefits and save with an annual membership to the North Carolina Arboretum Society. Attend special events and educational programs and receive benefits such as free parking, discounts, special mailings, e-newsletter and reciprocal privileges with 200 American Horticultural Society gardens nationwide.
Rate: From $70/couple
Rate: From $70/couple
Seclusion Package, Pinecrest B&B
Book a 2-night couple’s getaway at the beautiful Pinecrest Bed & Breakfast in Asheville. Package includes self-check-in, charcuterie tray and a bottle of wine upon arrival, daily hot breakfast delivered to your room, in-room couple’s massage, 1 picnic lunch with hike itinerary, and unbeatable hospitality! Click for rates.
Kid-Friendly Restaurants in and around Asheville
Find plenty of kid-friendly restaurants in Asheville with extra “kid perks” like casual settings with outdoor space, play areas, arcade games, and more.
HVL Pedal & Brews, Hendersonville
Earn your pint of beer aboard Hendersonville’s pub cycle. HVL Pedal & Brews books tours to downtown breweries and tasting rooms. Five breweries lie within pedaling distance.
Noir Collective AVL
Located in the historic Black business district known as “The Block” in downtown Asheville, this boutique shop and art gallery was created by and for Black entrepreneurs. It’s a safe space for Black-Owned Businesses in Asheville to showcase their arts, services, products, and more.
Shop 'til you drop with a huge variety of stores, galleries and outlets in the Asheville area. Find plenty of local, unique shops with items you won't find anywhere else. See the best areas to hit.
Acupuncture & Healing Arts in and around Asheville
Find a big variety of healing modalities around Asheville for the ultimate holistic health options including reiki, sound healing, coaching, Ayurveda, reflexology, acupuncture, and more.
Spend a day exploring downtown, with hundreds of locally-owned shops and galleries, museums, restaurants, breweries, and pubs. Visit Pack Square Park, dance at the Drum Circle, go to a festival or enjoy street performers. See our favorite things to do!
Family Reunions in Asheville and Western North Carolina
Find the perfect setting for a family reunion getaway in Asheville and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains with access to mountain perks like hiking trails, rivers, lakes, ski resorts, national parks, swimming holes, waterfalls, and unique places to stay.
Odyssey Teen Adventure Camp, Asheville
Get your teens outdoors with activities like rock climbing, paddling, rafting, hiking, mountain biking, and caving at Odyssey Teen Adventure Camp! This teen day camp is designed specifically for rising 9th–12th-grade students who are seeking outdoor adventure, team building, and leadership opportunities. OTAC seeks to nurture a love of the outdoors in high school age campers, as well as help build confidence, strength, skills, and social intelligence.
Dillsboro Things to Do
Enjoy a variety of things to do and see in Dillsboro including riverfront shops, restaurants, art, pottery, galleries, fun festivals, excursions on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, and more.
Asheville Yoga Center
The region’s largest and oldest yoga center, this studio offers over 100 classes a week, with four yoga studio rooms plus a boutique offering high-quality apparel. With a solar-powered campus and a variety of other green features, Asheville Yoga Center is committed to sustainability. Mats and props provided in each class.
Sylva Things to Do
Browse Sylva’s main street with independent shops and galleries for unique finds, a variety of restaurants, and four walkable breweries that host weekly events like live music, trivia, and even yoga. Also find a variety of ways to pamper and relax, including spas, a meditation center, and even guided forest therapy walks!