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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.
Sand Hill Kitchen
Serving scratch-made Southern fare, this hidden gem offers many soul food staples like buttermilk fried chicken, biscuits & gravy, and meatloaf with some southwest flare. Try their award-winning fried chicken sandwich! 491 Sardis Road
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.
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.
Chai Pani literally means “tea and water.” It's slang in India for going out for a cup of tea, a tasty bite, a snack, or “a little something.” In Downtown Asheville it means innovative, fun, affordable and delicious Indian cuisine from four time James Beard nominated chef Meherwan Irani. 22 Battery Park Avenue
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
This casual full-service vegetarian-friendly restaurant with two locations in West Asheville features Caribbean inspired pasta dishes, rice dishes, daily specials, and desserts. Enjoy a variety of local microbrews and wine. Open daily 11:30 AM-10 PM. 751 Haywood Rd
The Hop Ice Cream Cafe
This local ice cream cafe has served up hand-crafted cones since 1978. A local favorite, Hop offers free family entertainment and events at each of their 2 locations in Asheville. Parents can enjoy their coffee and espressso bar while kids enjoy the kid-friendly space with toys and things to do.
(1 mile round-trip, easy) A quick walk to the summit has a big payoff with spectacular views from several rock platforms to explore safely. Take a picnic! Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 305.
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
Go to these spots for authentic Thai staples like pad Thai, tom yum, drunken noodles, red curry, and other creative Asian fusion dishes.
(197 Hilliard, Asheville, South Slope) Hi-Wire is open every afternoon with four-year round beers: Prime Time Pale Ale, Hi-Pitch IPA, Bed of Nails Brown Ale and a pilsner lager, Hi-Wire Lager. They also offer seasonals. Visit their second brewery with a tasting room and beer garden in Biltmore Village, 2 Huntsman Place.
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.
(5 miles loop, easy) This woodland hiking trail is wide and mostly level, located adjacent to the Cradle of Forestry near Looking Glass Rock. Great spot for wildflowers.
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.
Silver Run Falls
Near Cashiers in Nantahala National Forest is a beautiful 25-ft. waterfall that cascades into a family-friendly pool with a small, sandy beach. A short walk from roadside parking.
Cabin & Cottage Rentals: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find log cabin, condo or cottage vacation rentals by ponds or with mountain views in the First Peak of the Blue Ridge - many options near the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
(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.
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.
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!"
Vegan and Vegetarian
Asheville is certainly a mecca for Vegans and Vegetarians. See our top restaurants for plant-based cuisine with plenty of organic and vegan options on the menu.
Nantahala Gorge Canopy Zip Line Tour
Take an exciting zipline tour in the Great Smoky Mountains. The 3-hour zip line flight is powered by gravity and a gradual 3 percent elevation change. The 1/2 mile air time canopy tour takes you through multiple ecosystems.
Ideal for kids 6 and up, this hands-on program uses Legos to help kids develop problem solving and critical thinking skills as they build machines and other constructions, utilizing engineering, architecture and physics. Their mobile program can be found at local schools, events, camps, parties and more.
Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest
(2 miles loop, easy) See an old growth cove hardwood forest with 400-year old towering poplar trees. Near Lake Santeetlah in the Nantahala National Forest, it is about 100 miles west of Asheville.
For a taste of the big island, this newcomer eatery crafts Hawaiian dishes (including poke), cakes, and pastries paired with specialty cocktails. Their Synergetic Smores feature marshmallows in rotating flavors, and house-made Graham crackers and chocolate. Open for lunch and dinner Tues-Sat, 11:30 AM-3 PM, 5-9 PM, Sunday 11:30-3 PM, 5-9 PM. 27 Foundy Street, Suite 20
Explore one of the oldest towns in Western North Carolina, with historic antebellum homes and a downtown filled with shops, restaurants and one of the best children's museums in the state. And it's the site of the first minted gold coins in the USA!
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.
Mineral & Lapidary Museum, Hendersonville
Featuring many diverse underground treasures like raw minerals, meteorites, 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. (400 N Main St)
Cradle of Forestry for Kids
Located in Pisgah National Forest near Sliding Rock, learn all about our forests and environment at the location of the nation's first forestry school. Watch a movie, explore 15 hands-on exhibits, ride the fire fighting helicopter simulator and go underground to see animals. Paved hiking trails take you by a locomotive and historic buildings. The Adventure Zone is especially designed for children and adults with autism.
Ramen and Noodle Bowls
Enjoy a bowl of happiness with delicious ramen and noodles at these top restaurants. Asheville chefs spice things up with an Appalachian twist by using local, seasonal and fresh ingredients.
Oak & Grist Distilling Company, Black Mountain
Located just 20 mins from Asheville in Black Mountain, Oak & Grist crafts are regionally inspired, 100% scratch-made whiskey and gin using traditional Scottish distilling techniques. Book a tour online or stop by their tasting room. Hours: Mon-Thurs from, 12-6 PM and Fri-Sat, 12-8 PM.
One World Brewing
(10 Patton Avenue, Asheville) Small-batch, hand-crafting nano-brewery and ale house located underneath the Farm Burger in downtown, near Pack Square. With a 1.5-barrel system with 10 fermenters in constant rotation, 10 taps feature 1 local cider and 9 rotating OWB taps. Mon-Thurs 12-11 PM, Fri/Sat 12 PM-12 AM, Sun 12-9 PM. West Asheville location: (520 Haywood Rd)
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.
(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.
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.
Wolverine Paintball Park
Geared for kids 8-11, this paintball course allows kids to play a fun game of tag, as they mark their opponents using a lower impact paintball gun. Party Pack Jr includes a private group with 6 players, equipment, paintballs and referee. Pizza and drinks add ons available. Package is $180.
Modern Muse Gallery
Browse and see the artist at work in this 3,000 sq ft studio and art gallery in Asheville’s River Arts District. The gallery showcases the works of founders, Sandra Bottinelli and Pearl Renken alongside local and regional artists of varying disciplines. Open year-rough to shoppers and collectors. 191 Lyman Street, 110
Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center
See art exhibits at this downtown Asheville gallery and learn about the fascinating history of Black Mountain College. 56 Broadway
Swim or float in a pool below the 12-foot waterfall in DuPont State Forest. Jump from a rope swing and walk behind the falls.
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
NC Arboretum, Asheville
The Arboretum offers a variety of unique experiences while children discover the wonders of nature in a safe, enriching environment. Rent Discovery Backpacks, available for kids to use with tools to aid in their exploration of trees, insects, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Programs like Week Naturalist, ecoExplore, Discovery Camp and more engage kids in hands-on experiences with nature.
Gay Asheville: LGBTQ Guide
Find top Asheville area places to stay including LGTBQ owned places, top things to do, wedding info and much more for vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Orchard at Altapass
This 101-year old apple orchard turned Appalachian Cultural Center celebrates the people, music, art and natural beauty of the Blue Ridge mountains. Shop for local mountain art, jams, jellies, sauces, sweets, gifts and more. Listen to music and pick up your apples!
Mast General Store
This favorite stop for tourists and locals is an old-fashioned general store with the latest products, including clothing, fun gifts, cooking accessories and a huge candy section. Downstairs is a great outdoors department with all the major brands. 15 Biltmore Avenue.
This casual and cozy bistro serves sushi, stir-fries, dumplings, soups and other Japanese fare with an organic, non-GMO focus. Vegan and gluten-free options available. Enjoy the outdoor patio! 87 N Lexington Ave.
This long running food truck serves Creole and New Orleans-inspired southern soul food like Biscuits & Gravy, Fried Green Tomatoes, Grits, Shrimp and more. You can find them parked at Highland Brewing, New Belgium and Wedge at Foundation. For a full weekly schedule, see their website.
Early Girl Eatery
A local's favorite in Asheville since 2001, featuring area farmers from day one. Southern dishes served in a friendly diner vibe. Breakfast all day. Meat & two dishes with plenty of veggies. Made from scratch cakes & pies too! Two locations: 8 Wall Street downtown & 444 Haywood Road West Asheville
Alexander's Ford Overmountain Trail
(1.5 miles, easy) Hike a section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail that was used for by local militia heading to an important battle in the Revolutionary War.
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.
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.
This hidden waterfall flows beneath an historic stone arched bridge on NC Highway 215 over the West Fork of the Pigeon River, about four miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Also see cascades above the bridge. A beautiful roadside setting.
Melt Your Heart
Gourmet grilled cheese is the specialty of this eatery on wheels! Enjoy classics with specialty options like smoked gouda pimento or cream brie. Or specialty sandwiches like their ham and smoked gouda sandwich with caramelized onions and stout mustard. You can find them at Wedge at Foundation 7 days a week. See their weekly hours on Facebook.
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
Sky Lanes, West Asheville
Make it a family date at this West Asheville bowling alley, open daily with lots of options for kid-friendly bowling, including bumpers and assist ramp. In-house Bar & Grill menu has a wide variety of bowling alley munchies like nachos and fries, and items like salads, sandwiches, burgers and more. Games: $4, shoe rentals start at $3.
Smoky Mountain Sk8way
Parties include admission, skate rental, inflatables, prize tokens for each guest and roller skating games. Tables, paper goods, balloons, and drinks are also included with pizza purchased separately. No outside food, cake and ice cream welcome. Packages start at $119.
Picnic at Crabtree Falls
Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 349: The Crabtree Falls area has a large picnic area. A little north of the picnic area, there is a campground with a 2.5-mile hiking trail to beautiful Crabtree Falls. The trail goes by the base of the Falls, and there are some rocks for small picnics there. The picnic area is open from mid-May through October.
Founded on the traditions of 19th century Waldensian settlers from Italy. Stop by the Visitor Center in the historic Rock School for things to do including Waldensian Museum, Trail of Faith, Old Rock School Art Galleries, and model train museum.
Vance Birthplace State Historic Site
This pioneer farmstead about 12 miles north of downtown Asheville features the birthplace of Zebulon Baird Vance. Tour the five-room log house and its outbuildings are furnished to evoke the period from 1795-1840.
Chimney Rock Park
Children, ideally ages 5-12, explore nature-based, hands-on activities at this state park with trails, rock climbing, animals and more. They offer two birthday party packages that include admission, animal demonstrations, scavenger hunt and designated picnic area. Options to add climbing walls are available. Packages start at $300.|
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.
Pisgah Inn Restaurant
Open April-October, Pisgah Inn is the only restaurant on the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC. Located at 5,000 feet elevation, enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days per week. Windows frame a panoramic mountain view. Also pick up a picnic-to-go. 24 miles from downtown Asheville. Milepost 408.
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
(5.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) Atop Mt. Sterling (5,842 ft. elevation) is the historic, 60-ft. tall steel fire lookout tower with nice views. You will climb 2,000 ft. in elevation.
Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective
This hard-working, non-profit group works with performance artists and groups to present works which confront issues of social diversity in a provocative way by providing opportunities for audiences to explore visions of our diverse world. Shows are at the 65-seat black box BeBe Theatre at 20 Commerce Street in downtown Asheville.
All Souls Pizza
This beloved pizzeria specializes in heavenly woodfired pies with seasonal ingredients, and a masterful crust (they mill their own flour with local grains). They also offer an array of salads, polenta and pasta dishes. Family-friendly! Open for lunch Fri-Sun 11:30 AM-5 PM, Dinner Tues-Sun 5 PM-10 PM. 175 Clingman Ave
B&Bs & Inns: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find a great vareity of historic B&Bs and inns in the towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, the First Peak of the Blue Ridge. Includes award-winning Pine Crest Inn and Orchard Inn with exquisite dining.
Traditional Artist Directory
Use this guide to find the finest traditional craft artisans, musicians, dancers, and storytellers in the North Carolina mountains. The directory contains listings for more than 400 artists and groups, many available for hire for entertainment at your wedding or reception.
This small batch pottery studio and gallery is a must-stop to browse and shop unique, handmade pieces for your home. Collections include bowls, plates, vases, mugs, teapots, sugar bowls, and more!
Rumbling Bald Trail
(1.5 miles, moderate) Hike this loop trail in Chimney Rock State Park to the boulders and cliffs of Rumbling Bald Mountain, a popular rock climbing spot. Free access area near Lake Lure.
Green Sage Cafe
A local favorite, 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. Enjoy fresh juices, sandwiches, salads, soups, coffee drinks and more. Look for the solar panels on the roof! 5 Broadway Avenue.
Bricks 4 Kids
Ideal for kids 6 and up, this hands-on program uses Legos to help kids develop problem solving and critical thinking skills as they build machines and other constructions, utilizing engineering, architecture and physics. The party comes to you at your preferred location, whether it’s at your home, a park pavillion, church, etc. Parties include a host, 90 mins of structured party activities, along with free play. Party packages start at $185.
Burke County & Morganton
Home to Linville Falls, Linville Gorge, Lake James and South Mountains State Park, find limitless outdoor adventures including hiking, biking, fishing, boating and more.
This authentic tearoom serves from over 100 varieties of fresh loose leaf tea and herbs, along with a vegan and vegetarian menu. They host classes, tea tastings, and also have locally made pottery for sale. They have two locations: 78 N Lexington Ave in downtown Asheville and 707 Haywood Rd in West Asheville.