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Picnic at Craggy Gardens
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 365: Located 24 miles from downtown Asheville is Craggy Gardens. Before you reach the visitor center, a road on the left takes you to a large picnic area with many picnic tables and some beautiful hiking trails. Pink and purple rhododendron bloom in June. The picnic area is open mid-May through the end of October. For a picnic with a 360-degree mountain view, continue north on the Parkway past the Craggy Visitors Center and hike to the top of Craggy Pinnacle. Take a jacket, it is always 15-20 degrees cooler atop the summit than down in the city. Great spot for sunrise and sunset.
Blue Ridge Parkway Hiking
There are many hikes hidden along the Blue Ridge Parkway that takes you through lush forests, by waterfalls and to mountaintops with sweeping views. See our Top 15 Parkway Quick Hikes with big rewards.
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.
COMPASS at Montreat College, Black Mountain
Choose among summer immersion programs in Cybersecurity, Exercise Science, Herpetology, Audio Production, Business Entrepreneurship, Creative Writing, Criminal Justice, Theatre, and Outdoor Education. 2 week-long sessions: June 19-24, 2022. Grades 9-12. Cost starts at $695/week.
Up Country Brewing Co
(1042 Haywood Rd, Asheville) They specialize in making beers that perfectly accompany any outdoor activity. Open Wed-Sun. Live music many nights. West Asheville.
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.
(2.5 miles roundtrip, strenuous) Hike to Stairway Falls on the Horsepasture River from Gorges State Park via the trail to Rainbow Falls in Pisgah National Forest.
Flat Rock Playhouse
See a fabulous professional show at the State Theatre of North Carolina, about 30 miles south of Asheville, with an eight-month season of plays including Broadway musicals, comedy and drama.
North Carolina's only natural limestone caverns feature stalactite, stalagmite formations and an underground stream. Guided tours.
Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center
Tucked away in small village near Fontana Lake and Nantahala River is an amazing gallery that showcases the work of 180+ area artists and hosts a great summer concert series. Many artist studios nearby.
Waynesville Recreation Center Indoor Pool
Have a pool party anytime of year at this indoor water park and pool in Waynesville. All pool parties are available on Saturdays only and rentable for 2 hours at a time. Option to add a private room with a kitchen is available. Party reservations start at $55.
WNC Nature Center
Children can share their birthday with wolves, cougars, otters, and other native animals at the Nature Center. Party includes a 2 hour room rental, 20 guests, table/chairs, fridge/freezer use, self guided tour of the Nature Center. Parties are $225.
Moe's Original Bar B Que
Featuring award-winning Bama-style, wood smoked pulled pork, ribs, turkey, and chicken, this hidden gem is off the beaten path, but well worth a visit! Traditional Southern sides made fresh daily, along with tasty desserts. 4 Sweeten Creek Rd
There are dozens of farmer's markets throughout the mountains. The biggest by far is the Western North Carolina Farmers Market that is open every day in Asheville. In downtown, the City Market on Market Street is every Saturday 8 AM-1 PM and the French Broad Co-op Market is Wednesdays 2-6 PM. Find more markets and pick up the Local Food Guide by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project.
This healing clinic draws from ancient teachings, practices, and modern research to offer comprehensive healing for each patient. Practices include body and energy work, herbal remedies, dietary counseling, stress management, and meditation instruction.
Sunny Truth Farm, Mars Hill
This camp allows kids to learn and play in an outdoor setting where they interact with nature through games, art, science, and farm animals. It’s held on 150 acres of land comprised of meadows, forest, springs, and trails to explore. Themed weekly sessions run June-August, 2022. 8:30 AM-3 PM, ages 5-10. $100/week
This favorite downtown Italian restaurant is filled with the aromas of house baked artisan bread and mouth watering cuisine. Focuses on fresh ingredients, biodynamic and organically-produced wine selections. Offers traditional recipes from Italy, featuring hand-tossed pizzas, savory pastas, housemade desserts, gluten-free and vegetarian options. 27 Broadway.
Camp Cedar Cliff, Asheville
This Christian-based camp offers a variety of overnight camps for rising 2nd-10th graders. Depending on age, camps include whitewater rafting, zipline tours, archery, swimming, rope courses, and more. 1-2 week sessions, June - August 2022. Ages 5-16. Cost: $450-$1700
Fork Lore, Biltmore Park
Located inside the Hilton in Biltmore Park Town Square, they fuse southern comfort with modern sophistication, inspired by the chef’s grandmother’s kitchen. How about bananas foster French toast, eggs benedict many ways, and a variety of egg dishes from a nearby organic farm? Don't forget a mimosa or Bloody Mary. Serves breakfast 7:30-10 AM Monday-Friday and 7:30 AM-2 PM on Saturday/Sunday. 43 Town Square Blvd.
Aquarium & Shark Lab, Hendersonville
This inland aquarium is home to 275 fish, invertebrates, reptiles, and salamanders with 2 dozen exhibits, including a shark study tank. With focuses on education, enrichment and exploration, there are many programs for students of all ages to learn about aquatic life. Kids can observe reptile, shark, and stingray feedings and even see pufferfish training! Admission is $4-5, children 2 and under are free. (511 N Main St)
Parker-Binns Vineyard and Winery
This family-run vineyard is located in the foothills and has a very relaxed atmosphere. Try wines in their tasting room and on outdoor patios with mountain views. They use all their own grapes: Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Chambourcin, Petit Manseng, and Muscat. 2275 Whiteside Rd, Mill Spring, NC 28756.
This casual Thai restaurant has served up classic dishes with big flavor for over 10 years in Asheville. Enjoy flavorful classics like Green Curry, Pad Thai, and Mango Sticky Rice, along with a diverse sushi bar. Enjoy lunch specials and outdoor dining! 535 Merrimon Ave
Waterfalls for Kids
Find safe, kid-friendly waterfalls that are easy to access or only require a short hike to get to with perks like wading pools for splashing, areas for picnics and more.
Asheville Treetops Adventure Park
Open all year, ages 4+ can play in the trees with 77 challenge elements on 7 aerial trails including climbing, jumping, swinging and rappelling. 5 minutes from downtown at
the Adventure Center of Asheville including night climbs.
the Adventure Center of Asheville including night climbs.
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)
Slick Rock Falls
This cascade near Cove Creek Falls flows across an overhanging cliff in Pisgah National Forest. It's a short walk from the road. You can walk behind it when water is not too high. Located near the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education.
Picnic at Beacon Heights
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 305.2: Talk about a picnic with a view! Take a short 1/2-mile hike to a large rock summit with plenty of room for a picnic while taking in wonderful views from several vantage points. This hidden jewel on the Parkway is accessed from a small parking area, so most folks miss it.
Tamarind Thai Cuisine
Owned and operated by Bangkok native, Gai Wilson, this South Asheville restaurant offers a classic menu of fresh ingredients and authentic Thai cuisine. Traditional dishes include the Red Curry, Crispy Basil Duck, and Tom Yum. Try the steamed dumplings! 330 Rockwood Rd #112
Located in downtown’s South Slope, this doughnut and coffee shop is off the charts with fun flavors like orange creamsicle and chocolate glazed with pretzel crumbles. They offer a classic menu of espresso drinks, signature drinks, and pour over style coffees. Find a variety of vegan, cake, and yeast doughnut options. See their weekly menu on their Facebook page. 32 Banks Ave, Ste 106
Penland School of Craft
Take a tour or sign up for a class at this internationally-known school for art and craft, tucked away in the mountains near Spruce Pine. Their multiple galleries are free to visit with amazing works created by students and teachers.
Scandals Nightclub Legendary Drag Shows
Since 1982, Asheville's largest high-energy dance club has premiered the best drag shows anywhere around. Their late night showcast of Kings & Queens will make your night truly entertaining and unforgettable!
Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack
Feast on some “Tennessee style” hot chicken and southern soul food. They prepare their unique fried chicken to order, so it’s not spicy unless you want it that way! Ingredients are sourced locally and classic American recipes are made from scratch daily. Two locations in Asheville: West at 1455 Patton Avenue, and South at 3749 Sweeten Creek Road, Arden.
Zaniac Summer Camps, Asheville
Kids learn to code, build robots, design & print in 3D, fly drones, compose music, go to space in Minecraft & More! Beginner and Advanced Weekly Camps available. Full and half-day camps available. June-Aug, Grades K-8. $279-$449/week
With two locations in North and West Asheville, this eatery serves up southern fare using locally sourced ingredients. Comfort items include fried chicken biscuit, cheesy grits, catfish po’boy and more. Also find plenty of vegan options available. 371 Merrimon Ave and 219 Amboy Rd
(1 mile roundtrip, moderate) Near Chimney Rock, hike to the summit of this bald mountain with wonderful views. It's an easy drive from downtown Asheville!
Bull & Beggar
Savor high-end, European inspired Appalachian cuisine with a raw bar and craft cocktails at this popular restaurant next to the Wedge Brewery. Or go casual with the popular “Burger Mondays” for a half-priced double cheeseburger and fries. Be sure to make a reservation, they fill up! Open daily 5 PM-10PM, with brunch on Sundays 10:30 AM-2:30 PM. 37 Paynes Way
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.
Mandala Springs Eco Retreat, Blue Ridge Parkway
This 30-acre eco-retreat surrounded by national forest is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway with some of the best fall color views in the Blue Ridge Mountains! Enjoy camping, glamping, tiny home rentals, trout stream, hiking, and more! They also have onsite yoga classes and bodywork treatments.
Late Night Food
Looking for restaurants and bars serving late night food? Find our top picks in downtown Asheville, West Asheville and beyond - whether you’re craving pizza, tacos, Southern comfort food, or a classic late night burger and fries.
Located at the base of Roan Mountain and the mile-high scenic drive, this town has several galleries and studios. Home to the Rhododendron Festival. Penland School of Crafts is nearby.
The Grey Eagle Taqueria
This taqueria located in The Grey Eagle Music Hall & Pub, features Latin-American cuisine with gluten-free and vegan options. Enjoy local brews or a fresh-made margarita with tacos, burritos, rich soups, fresh guacamole and more. Open daily 11 AM-8 PM. 185 Clingman Ave.
Blue Ridge Conservancy
They partner with landowners and communities to permanently protect natural resources with agricultural, cultural, recreational, ecological and scenic value - with more than 20,000 acres in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey Counties.
Located in Asheville’s South Slope, this brewpub showcases a rotating selection of small batch beers and late night menu for those nighttime munchies. Enjoy their great indoor & outdoor space. Open Sun-Thurs until 12 AM, Fri/Sat until 1 AM. 101 S Lexington Ave
(2.8 miles roundtrip, moderate) Hike back in time as you discover the rock foundations of Rattlesnake Lodge, an early 1900s family retreat. The hike is only a 30-minute drive from downtown Asheville. You can extend the hike since it is part of the Mountains to Sea Trail. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 375.
This locally loved, art filled coffee house serves freshly roasted coffee, specialty drinks, beer, wine, house baked goods and snacks. Try their fun seasonal drinks like the Mexican Mocha with cayenne pepper. They have two locations: Downtown Asheville: 74 N Lexington Ave / West Asheville: 976 Haywood Road.
Mela Indian Restaurant
This popular, award-winning Indian hub in downtown Asheville stands out for their authentic tandoori dishes, offered in an airy, modern setting. Locals love their lunch buffet and favorite dishes include their chicken masala and tandoori chicken with a mango lassi. 70 N. Lexington Avenue
Picnic Atop Table Rock
Have a picnic on one of the biggest tables in the country! The rocky summit of the elongated rock summit provides plenty of spots on the rim of the Linville Gorge, with a moderate 2.2-mile round-trip hike.
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.
Known for their upscale craft cocktails, this bar and restaurant offers a late night menu with comfort food favorites like burgers and tater tots, along with creative munchies like chickpea fries and ramen. Late night menu is available: Mon-Thurs until 12 AM, Fri/Sat until 2 AM. 29 N. Market St
This downtown cafe and bakery serves fresh breads, pastries, salads, sandwiches, soups, and more. Shop the pantry for local and regional foods, housewares, and artisanal products. They’ll even pack a picnic for you to take on your mountain adventures! Open Mon-Fri 7:30 AM-4 PM, Sat/Sun 8 AM-5 PM. 10 S Lexington Ave
Creekside Taphouse, Asheville
Located in the Haw Creek neighborhood of East Asheville, this taphouse specializes in burgers, wings and brews. This large, casual setting is great for kids with games, large outdoor space with patio, volleyball court, playground area and flowing creek. Kids and dogs are welcome! 8 Beverly Rd
Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria, Asheville
Enjoy fresh New York style pizza, along with lasagna and sandwiches at this long-time local's favorite with 40+ beers on tap. Kitchen features late night hours for locals and tourists alike. Live music, billiards, and darts. 42 Biltmore Ave
Since 2003, this cajun-southern eatery has been serving dishes of the Louisiana bayou with staple Southern comfort foods like BBQ pork and fried green tomatoes. Try their Bloody Mary Bar, available everyday until 4 PM. Dog-friendly seating available. 22 College St
(6.5 mile loop, strenuous) This twin waterfall near Looking Glass Falls features two 100-foot cascades in view of each other, reached via a beautiful 4.5-mile roundtrip or 6.5-mile loop hike on the Buckhorn Gap Trail. It's near the Pisgah Forest Horse Stables, and they offer guided horseback rides to the falls.
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.
Mikes on Main, Hendersonville
Step inside this retro soda shop and travel back a few decades to the era of soda jerks in paper hats and big band music. (303 N Main St)
Fed by Greenland Creek, this falls features multiple sections of sliding cascades, totaling 45 feet in height. The waterfall’s namesake, Carlton McNeill died at age 86 in 2007 after years of living in and caring for the hiking trails and scenery of Panthertown Valley. It’s hard to find a veteran hiker of the area who doesn’t have a memory of McNeill stumbling out of the woods to give them a hand with their expedition.
Best Massage & Bodywork in Asheville
A top destination for massage therapy and bodywork, find the best massage in and around Asheville for the perfect wellness getaway. Western North Carolina (WNC) features a wide diversity of world-class licensed and insured massage therapists specializing in holistic wellness and healing arts.
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.
The People’s Acupuncture of Asheville
Located close to downtown Asheville, this community supported acupuncture clinic offers a casual and supportive group setting for treatment. They offer acupuncture treatments on a sliding scale making it affordable for those who need it. They also offer a variety of medicinal herbs for purchase!
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.
Weekend Getaways: Discover Top 40 Coolest Mountain Small Towns Near Asheville
There are lots of options if you want to plan a few fun day trips while you are in Western North Carolina. Explore our favorite cool small towns in the NC mountains near Asheville, each with its own personality, local shops and restaurants, friendly residents, and relaxed atmosphere.
Ashejam Music Festival
This 3-day music and art festival features Americana, bluegrass, funk, hip hop, jam, roots blues, rock’n roll, and more at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher, NC. Find plenty of art, crafts, food trucks, and more!
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!
Enjoy scenic horseback trail rides in the Asheville area with miles of trails, experienced guides and gentle horses. For the more experience riders, there are hundreds of miles to explore.
The Gathering at Paint Rock Farm
This 3-day festival weekend features live music, arts, camping, and family-friendly activities in Hot Springs, NC. Camp for the weekend or come for a day. Click for ticket options and details.
Fontana Lake & Dam
Located in the Great Smoky Mountains, enjoy fishing, boating, camping and swimming in this beautiful lake. Drive or walk across the highest dam east of the Rockies and stop by the Visitor Center to learn more about it.
Bryson City, Smoky Mountains
Find much to do! Ride the train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad before you explore their downtown shops and galleries, or paddleboard down the river. Nearby Deep Creek in the Smokies features camping, hiking, trout fishing, and the ever-popular tubing. Raft the Nantahala River. And that's just the beginning!
Give Camping Comfort, SylvanSport
Give the gift of camping comfort with products that make outdoor adventure accessible. What started as an idea to create an innovative pop-up camper has evolved into a line of award-winning adventure trailers and camping accessories. Check out their innovative gear, designed to enrich multiple areas of your life.
Fun for Children
There are plenty of outdoor adventures for children of all ages, including a special KidZip, educational trails, nature centers and more.
Find the best places to tube down a river on a hot summer day, including the French Broad River through Asheville, Deep Creek in the Smoky Mountains and Green River Gorge - with rentals and shuttle services.
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.
Connemara Hiking Trails, Hendersonville
Hike to the top of Glassy Mountain via a five-plus-mile trail system located on the grounds of the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in Flat Rock.
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.
Hands-On Learning & Children's Museums
Find children's museums and other hands-on learning centers in Asheville and Western NC including STEM-focused, interactive play, science museums, aquariums, 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!