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See the top places to eat if you have celiac disease, are gluten-sensitive, or just prefer to eat gluten-free food. Even find certified gluten-free kitchens where you don’t have to worry about any cross-contamination.
Swim and sun on a sandy beach in the mountains at Lake Lure, near Chimney Rock. Nestled in the Hickory Nut Gorge, the lake is surrounded by lush mountain tops and sheer granite cliffs. Rent a pontoon or electric boat, canoe or kayak at the marina.
Downtown Asheville Picnics
The best place in downtown Asheville for a picnic is Pack Square Park. Get takeout from many nearby restaurants or pick up a gourmet picnic.
North Carolina's only natural limestone caverns feature stalactite, stalagmite formations and an underground stream. Guided tours.
Located in the heart of Downtown Asheville, Chestnut offers a unique take on hand-crafted food and cocktails. The palette is best described as Southern American with a variety of ethnic twists. The menu changes monthly and features a wide range of local and seasonal produce and proteins. Open 7 days a week for dinner only starting at 5 PM. To make a reservation, visit the website or call 828-575-2667. 48 Biltmore Avenue.
Camp Wayfarer, Flat Rock
Christian-based camp that includes creative arts, horseback riding, swimming, sports, archery, and wilderness adventures. Sessions range from 5-day to 4 weeks with mini sessions for grades 1-6 and even an expedition out west for 8-11 graders. Ages 6-16. Cost: $1,800-$7,200
Indoor Activities for Kids
Find a variety of indoor activities for kids including indoor playgrounds, swimming, STEM centers, hands-on learning and children museums.
Since 1999, they bake a wide variety of artisan tradition French breads daily. Choose from an array of house-made croissants, danishes, eclairs, cheddar-scallion biscuits, sticky buns, bagels and other pastries. And pair it up with locally-roasted organic coffee or espresso. Opens at 7 AM for early risers. Two locations in downtown Asheville: 60 Biltmore Avenue & 88 Charlotte Street.
Harrah's Cherokee Restaurants
A variety of restaurants satisfy any craving or appetite, all adjacent to exciting casino action. Chef's Stage Buffet is sure to please even the pickiest eaters, with interactive stations that offer tastes from around the world -- Italian, Mexican, Asian, barbeque, a soup and salad bar, and desserts. Other options include Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Selu Garden Café and BRIO Tuscan Grille.
Nantahala River Jump Off Rock
Enjoy riverside sunning and splashing at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Just a few miles up river is Jump Off Rock. There is a small parking area along U.S. Highway 74. If you are rafting, you can park your raft, climb and jump!
Ultimate Ice Cream
It’s all about flavor at this ice cream shop on historic Charlotte Street in the famous Grove Park Inn area. Small, local dairy farms provide the creamery necessary to create fun flavors like Goat Cheese Bing Cherry and boozy ice cream like Pumpkin Whiskey. Each flavor of the month benefits local nonprofits. 195 Charlotte Street
Jackson County Mountains Guide
Order a free 73-page visitors guide for the Sylva, Dillsboro, Lake Glenville, Cherokee and Cashiers areas, including info on fly fishing, hikes and waterfalls in Jackson County, NC.
Looking Glass Rock
If you are a looking for a nice reward after a challenging hike, head to this well-known rock face summit in Pisgah National Forest. You will ascend about 1,700 feet in just over three miles. The views from the top are well worth the effort. There is plenty of space to relax on the rock face with your picnic! Then it's downhill all the way back to the car.
Tropical Gardens Mini Golf
This popular, adventure-filled miniature golf course offers a great setting for a birthday party. They also have batting cages, gameroom, sno-cones and more. Parties can be reserved for 1 hour and include decorated gazebo,1 round mini golf, drinks, and paper products. See website for prices.
Voted #1 Romantic Restaurant by Travel & Leisure, this Western Mediterranean tapas restaurant in downtown Asheville sets the mood for love. Enjoy the warm ambiance while indulging in farm-to-table tapas and exotic fine wine. Be sure to make reservations, they book up on weekends. 85 W Walnut St
Off the Wagon Dueling Piano Bar
Their musicians impress with their repertoire of thousands of popular songs from the last 50 years. It's an all request show. Rock-and-roll and sing-along while you enjoy cocktails, wine or a craft beer in their beautifully restored historic building on one of the last brick-paved streets in downtown Asheville. 22 North Market Street.
West Asheville Restaurants
With a reputation for being cool and hip, West Asheville has fantastic local restaurants and pubs - especially along the main drag of Haywood Road. See our favorites.
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.
Asheville Pinball Museum
Featuring many diverse underground treasures like raw minerals, meteorite, gemstones and fossils the museum is a great place to take kids to see the many exhibits and especially highlights like a tyrannosaurus rex skull, a mastodon tusk and teeth, and a wooly mammoth leg bone.
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!"
Waynesville Recreation Center Indoor Pool
This indoor pool and water park is open daily throughout the year, making it a great way for kids to be active on rainy day or snow day. They also do pool parties! A family day pass is $20, and good for up to 6 people. Other pool pass options available.
Emerald Village & Mining Museum
A fascinating collection of gem, mining and historical exhibits, including an underground mine tour. Pan for gold and minerals. Located near Little Switzerland, a few miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
RAD Skatepark, Asheville
This large, indoor skate park in the River Arts District offers a safe, supervised environment for skaters and riders of all ages. Kids may bring skateboards, bikes, or scooters to ride. Parents may drop off and pick up kids or stay and observe in the lounge. RAD also offers lessons and skate camps. Admission starts at $10.
Smoky Park Supper Club
Enjoy scenic views of the French Broad River in an elegant and airy space made from shipping containers on two acres of land. Grab a drink and watch the sun go down over the river on their sweeping deck (your dog is welcome outside, too!), and enjoy inventive seasonal, woodfired American plates. Open Tues-Thurs, 5-9 PM, Fri/Sat 4-10 PM, Sun 10:30 AM-9 PM. 350 Riverside Dr.
Farm Visits & Tours
Visit farms and learn about their local food. See buffalo and alpacas, sample local cheeses, watch bees make honey, visit wineries, pick apples and more. Plus, tour historic farms at Biltmore and in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Located in Madison County, this college town has a quaint downtown of historic buildings and homes. Enjoy many educational and cultural opportunities at the university, including stage plays, art exhibits, the national clogging champions.
The Admiral, West Asheville
One of West Asheville's original and favorite full service elevated neighborhood restaurants, The Admiral offers a daily changing global menu, known for innovative dishes. Hors d’oeuvres include duck liver mousse and bone marrow, along with dishes like the smoked mackerel and pork shank. Sip an after dinner cocktail, fireside on the patio. 400 Haywood Road
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.
Sunny Point Cafe
A favorite local spot in West Asheville since 2003, discover innovative comfort food with made-from-scratch products and a farm-to-table approach. They even grow some of their ingredients in their adjacent garden. Favorites include the huevos rancheros, cornmeal hot cakes, French toast and their killer shrimp and grits. Open every day at 8 AM and breakfast menu served until 2:30 PM. 626 Haywood Road.
Jackson County Green Energy Park
Tour this fascinating arts facility that is powered by methane gas captured from the old town landfill, providing heat for blacksmith forges, metal foundry, glassblowing, greenhouses and heating. Their gallery features art made on-site.
This 150-ft. waterfall cascades down a mountainside beside the road, so you enjoy it from your car as you drive by! It's located near Columbus, about 10 miles from Pearson's Falls.
Hike the Appalachian Trail at Max Patch or Lover's Leap, soak in natural hot springs, go horseback riding, raft down whitewater rapids, ski, bike, fish, camp and explore the unspoiled mountains just north of Asheville.
WALK (West Asheville Lounge & Kitchen)
This causal local hang out serves everything from wings and burgers to salads, tacos and sandwiches, with regular vegan and vegetarian menu options available. Local craft beers on draft, cocktail specials and 2 billiard tables. Weekly specials include Taco Tuesday and Sunday Brunch. Open Mon-Thurs 11:30 AM-1 AM, Fri/Sat 11:30 AM-2 AM, Sunday 10:30 AM-12 AM. 401 Haywood Rd
See multiple cascades at the roadside Waterfalls Park in Newland, complete with picnic tables. Three falls total about 50 ft., with a short trail to get a closer look at the different tiers.
All About Aerospace, Asheville Parks & Recreation
Campers will learn about the forces of flight, how rockets blast off, and the design of aircrafts through hands-on STEM activities. July. 8:30 AM-5:30 PM, ages 8-12. $50/session
Lake James State Park
(.5 to 3.5 miles, easy to moderate). This state park with a beautiful lake has seven hiking trails and a beach for relaxing afterwards.
Lazoom Kids Comedy Tour
All aboard the big purple bus for this kid-centric comedy tour featuring a blend of Asheville’s history and humor. Geared for kids 5–12, the tour includes magic, jokes, and more with outlandish tour guides leading the way. Tour is 1 hour, kids 3 and under are free. Kid tickets are $17.
Still Point Wellness Massage and Float Spa
Experience deep relaxation with Salt Water Floatation (sensory deprivation) and stress relief with Esalen Massage. Detoxify and destress with a Far Infrared sauna session, or explore how thoughts manifest in the body with Somatic Psychology. Personalized packages for couples and individuals.
Cafes & Bistros
See the best bistros in our “Paris of the South” - including traditional bistros with French and European cuisine and a big variety of small restaurants and cafes with many culinary styles.
Whaleback Swimming Hole
This secluded swimming spot in Pisgah National Forest is just 5.5 miles from Sliding Rock, down river from Cove Creek Falls near Looking Glass Rock.
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!
Pack's Tavern, Asheville
Established as a go-to spot in downtown for good beer, delicious food and a great view overlooking Pack Square Park in a beautifully restored 1900s building. Offering multiple dining spaces: expansive North Bar with 32 taps and big TVs, South Bar with TVs and free live music every weekend, and a romantic outdoor patio. 20 South Spruce Street.
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.
Diamond Brand Gear, Asheville
This 138 year old company manufactures hand-crafted durable outdoor gear made from a wide range of materials,from heavy to high performance to ultra-lightweight. Products include tents, bags, packs and more.
Laurel River Trail
(7 miles roundtrip, easy) This scenic creekside trail follows Big Laurel Creek as it flows to the French Broad River in Pisgah National Forest near Hot Springs.
French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Savor hand-crafted, artisanal, organic chocolates and pastries in this extremely popular emporium, served with wine, beer, coffee or tea. Or sip liquid truffle chocolates. Next door, Chocolate + Milk features the best ice cream in town. Skip the long lines at the Lounge and pick up truffles there! 10 South Pack Square
Savor some of Carol's sweet creations while you sip your coffee. Located in the Grove Arcade, she features made from scratch soups, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pies and more. 1 Page Avenue.
Trade & Lore
Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, this coffee shop on Wall Street serves up hot coffee and specialty drinks made from freshly roasted beans from Mountain Air Roasting. Try a delicious baked good courtesy of The Rhu, a local bakery. They also host fun pop-up events and educational classes. 37 Wall St
Montford Park Players Shakespeare Festival
North Carolina's longest-running Shakespeare Festival presents free theatre under the stars all summer long at the Hazel Robinson Amphitheater in Montford. Located in a park near downtown Asheville.
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
Sunny Point Cafe
A favorite local spot since 2003, discover innovative comfort food with made-from-scratch products and a farm-to-table approach. They even grow some of their ingredients in their adjacent garden. Favorites include the huevos rancheros, cornmeal hot cakes, French toast and their killer shrimp and grits. Open daily 8 AM-2:30 PM. 626 Haywood Road.
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
Green River Tubing
Rent a tube and set sail for a lazy day on the beautiful Green River near Saluda. Choose from three- to six-mile float trips. It's great for beginner kayakers, too. Tubing companies provide transportation. Stop at the jump-off rock to rope dive!
Smoky Mountain Sk8way, Waynesville
This large skating rink offers open skate sessions, bounce houses, obstacle course, arcade games, snack bar a more with various themed events. Find a variety of skate rental options, including skate trainer for beginners. Admission + skate rentals start at $9. (Closed Mon-Wed)
Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation
Primary fundraiser and trusted steward of the Blue Ridge Parkway, they preserve the past, enhance the present, and safeguard the future of the 469-mile scenic drive. Show your love and support of the Blue Ridge Parkway with their NC specialty license plate for your car.
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.
(32 Banks Avenue, Asheville, South Slope) Catawba opened its big, seven-barrel specialty brewery and tasting room downtown in 2015. They also have a place in Biltmore Village. They have a dozen of their brews on tap. Open every day. Their main production facility is in Morganton.
Hiking at Carl Sandburg Home
(Up to 5 miles, easy to moderate) The trail network at Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in the village of Flat Rock takes you through the farm by ponds, barn with goats, historic home and to the top of Glassy Mountain. Free admission.
We are lucky to have so many chocolatiers in the Asheville area. The hottest stop is the French Broad Chocolate Lounge in downtown and their nearby chocolate factory. And don't miss longtime favorite, The Chocolate Fetish. Check out the stops on our Chocolate Lover's Tour.
This roadside waterfall can be viewed from the top on a walkway along US Highway 64 at Lake Toxaway, located between Brevard and Cashiers.
All Sevens Brewing / Westville Pub
(777 Haywood Road, West Asheville) This local's favorite neighborhood bar has more than a dozen taps pouring a frequently-changing variety of local and regional craft beers including those from their brewhouse known as All Sevens Brewing.
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.
This tiny town in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains has a famous school, church fresco, historic buildings with gallery and weaving museum, plus much more. Near Spruce Pine and Banner Elk.
Fox-N-Otter Adventure Escapes, Asheville
This locally owned, family-friendly business creates brain-twisting puzzles where participants try to escape perplexing scenarios. Younger children are welcome, puzzles are geared towards kids ages 10-15. Single admission is $28/person, with group packages available.
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.
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.
This Italian-inspired eatery in the center of downtown Asheville fuses the traditions and philosophies of Italian cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. The seasonal menu serves family-style, hearty traditionals, along with new Italian dishes. Fantastic wine selection. Reservations strongly recommended. 24 Wall St
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.