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Outdoor Gear Made in the NC Mountains
Find outdoor gear companies that manufacture and operate here in the Blue Ridge Mountains! These companies support the local economy by providing jobs and by sponsoring outdoor industry events, competitions, and professional outdoor athletes in the NC Mountains.
This rooftop restaurant and bar in downtown Asheville pairs Cuban cuisine with Asheville flair. Brunch favorites include Bistec a Caballo, Vaca Frita Hash Con Huevos, Empanadas de Picadillo o Pollo, and their famous El Cubano sándwich. Traditional breakfast dishes such as pancakes, eggs, and omelets also available. Don't forget their Cuban Daiquiri, Brunch Punch, or Bloody Mary. Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Downtown Asheville, adjacent to Grove Arcade, their outdoor terrace has fantastic mountain views. Serving Weekend Brunch from 7 AM -2 PM each Saturday and Sunday. 15 Page Avenue
Black Balsam Knob
(1-10 miles, moderate) For sweeping 360-degree views, hike across these bald mountaintops. Almost entirely devoid of trees above 6,000 ft., the summit is more reminiscent of New England than North Carolina. Black Balsam Knob is part of the 30-mile Art Loeb Trail, so you can hike as far as you want. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 420.
See our Top 20 Things to Do on Valentine's Day and Week in Asheville and the North Carolina mountains, with a photo tour of romantic getaway ideas.
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.
Highland Brewing Company
Head to Asheville's original craft brewery for great live music venues inside and outside, along with their tasting room with 15 of their brews on tap. You can tour the brewery, too.
Craggy Gardens Hikes
(1.5 to 3 miles, moderate) For one of the best panoramic mountain views in western North Carolina, hike the 3/4-mile Craggy Pinnacle Trail to the observation area. Also hike the Craggy Gardens Trail between the picnic area and visitor center through rhododendron that bloom in June. Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 364.
BREW-ed Brewery & History Walking Tours
Take the only brewery tour in Asheville led by a certified beer expert! Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special access to Asheville's breweries and learn the stories behind the pints. On the short walks between breweries, your guide will share stories of the early days of Asheville.
Southern Appalachian Anglers
Take a full-service, guided fly fishing or bass fishing trip near Asheville. You can enjoy the Appalachian Mountains by boating and/or wading in North Carolina's stream-fed lakes and rivers. Professional fishing guides ensure exciting fishing on the best pristine rivers in WNC.
Blue Ridge at The Omni Grove Park Inn
Feast on a farm-to-table artisanal buffet at this historic resort with mountain views. The Art of Breakfast buffet features two big rooms filled with countless options. Open at 6:30 AM daily. Reservations recommended for the popular Champagne Sunday Brunch 12 Noon-2:30 PM (longer hours for holidays including Easter & Mother's Day). 290 Macon Avenue
Located in a quiet historic neighborhood, just one mile from downtown Asheville. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and koi ponds, the inn is the perfect combination of old and new. On-site spa, bike... read more
Adventure Center of Asheville: Outdoor Family Fun!
Open all year and just five minutes from downtown and 10 minutes from Biltmore, ride 11 zip lines from treetop platforms and adventure towers. Walk three sky bridges amidst 150-year old trees. Along the way, learn about the history of Asheville and the forest. After warming up on some shorter zips, enjoy a 1,200-ft. side-by-side zipline with panoramic views of the city and mountains.
Learn about Asheville’s rich African-American history through this interactive driving or walking tour that tells a powerful story of resilience. Created by artist, poet, and visionary DeWayne Barton, Hood Tours also creates opportunities for grassroots economic development, community green spaces, and initiatives that benefit Black communities in Asheville.
Brevard Music Center Summer Festival
Choose from 80 public concerts, staged operas and musicals during a seven week period (mid June through early August) at their campus in Brevard, 32 miles from downtown.
Pillar Rooftop Bar
Atop the Hilton Garden Inn at the corner of Charlotte and College streets, this “garden-to-glass” bar offers signature craft cocktails, regional beers and sustainable wines. Enjoy the southern fusion cuisine, sharing small plates and sipping cocktails with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Easy walk from Pack Square Park. 309 College Street
The Gift of Wellness, Namaste in Nature
Namaste in Nature gift certificates promote health and happiness via the most uniquely Asheville experience that combines yoga + hiking + meditation with the best waterfall and mountain views in Western North Carolina. Ideal for bachelorettes, birthdays, couples, self-care, DIY retreats and beginners.
Lake Junaluska Golf
Play by a beautiful lake in the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains. The 18-hole course is 5,034 yards and par 68. Green fees start at only $18. Stay a few days with a variety of lodging options, from hotels to cabins. Located near Waynesville and Maggie Valley, a 30-minute drive west of Asheville.
Black Wall Street AVL
Visit this marketplace in the River Arts District, which hosts pop-ups from Black-owned businesses 10 AM-2 PM each Saturday. They also host a series of events throughout the week. 8 River Arts Place
Looking Glass Falls
Roadside 60-ft. waterfall in Pisgah National Forest along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. Enjoy from the parking area or take the steps down for an up-close look. 10 miles from Blue Ridge Parkway.
Gallery of the Mountains
Located inside the historic Omni Grove Park Inn, this gallery showcases American handmade crafts by more than 100 local and regional artists living in the Southern Appalachians. Discover curated collections of finely crafted jewelry, pottery, home décor, unique gifts, and Asheville-made mementos. 290 Macon Ave.
Kolo Bike Park at Adventure Center of Asheville
This outdoor playground is open year-round and just five minutes from downtown. Kolo is a sampler pack with 4 miles of trails with challenges, jump line, pump tracks and skills areas for beginner and advanced riders. Bring your own bike or rent one. Combine your ride with a zipline canopy tour or a Treetops Adventure Park climb.
Tupelo Honey - South Asheville
Located near Biltmore Estate, they have become a neighborhood favorite Southern food restaurant in South Asheville - with responsibly sourced ingredients and craft cocktails. Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch will make you say, “Shoo Mercy, that was good!” 1829 Hendersonville Road.
Downtown Asheville Festival of the Arts
See 100+ regional, local and national artists and craft artisans with fine jewelry, a big variety of art and hand-crafted apparel and decor. Downtown Asheville (80 Court Plaza). Free admission. 10 AM-5 PM.
Labor Day Weekend Events
Find Labor Day Weekend things to do and events in the NC mountains in and near Asheville for a great holiday getaway.
The Foundation Performing Arts
The "big city" 1,300-seat performing arts center is located on the Isothermal Community College Campus in tiny Spindale and features an impressive Mainstage Performing Arts Series featuring music, dance, comedy, theatre and more.
STORM Rhum Bar & Bistro
Find a warm, cozy atmosphere where the food and service will delight your senses. Enjoy handcrafted cocktails, ample wine offerings, a selection of local draft beer, an extensive rhum list, and of course, delicious food prepared by Chef Owen McGlynn. Free parking in their private lot downtown. 125 South Lexington Avenue.
Tryon Beer Fest
A festive time with outdoor oyster roast, games, live music, and a great selection of craft beers and ciders. Downtown Tryon. 1-6 PM. Tickets: $35/person through August. $75 after Sept 1. Tickets capped at 1,000.
Lake Lure & Rutherford County Guide
Order a free copy of the award-winning travel guide to the Rutherford County foothills that includes Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Forest City and much more!
Bee-to-Honey Farm Tours
This unique hands-on tour of Killer Bees Honey Farm above Pisgah National Forest includes putting on a bee suit, pouring your own honey and a delicious honey tasting and pairing. Located near Lake Toxaway and Brevard. Small groups, advance reservations only.
Wolf Ridge Ski Resort
The closest ski resort to downtown Asheville with 15 runs, a terrain park, and 4 lifts. Opening Day is December 10, 2021. Located in Madison County just 5 miles from I-26, 30 minutes north of Asheville.
This popular summer swimming hole in Banner Elk includes a white sandy beach, swimming pier and fishing dock. The adjacent Tufts Memorial Park has a bath house and picnic tables. Owned by the Grandfather Home for Children. No admission fee, but they appreciate donations.
Russian Chapel Hills Winery
This vineyard rests below the beautiful St. Anna Chapel, which is part of the Eastern Diocese of the Russian Church. They use all of their own grapes for seven varietals, including reds Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and whites Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Plus, they have a Muscadine dessert wine. 2662 Green Creek Drive, Columbus, NC.
Roan Mountain Picnics
Picnic with the rhododendron each June. Or picnic along the Appalachian Trail atop one of the balds with panoramic views.
Great Smoky Mountains Top 20 Attractions
See our favorite attractions and things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains in the western North Carolina - inside the national park and just outside.
Clingmans Dome Observation Tower
See the 360-degree scenic view from the tallest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via a half-mile walk or enjoy views from the parking area. Open April-November.
Christmas at Biltmore
See the final week of the elaborate holiday decorations inside Biltmore House. Open New Year's Day.
American Museum of the House Cat
See a fascinating collection of 10,000+ cat-related curiosities, including many rare and fascinating antiques, collected by "CatMan2" for the past 20 years. One of the few museums in the country dedicated to felines. Near Dillsboro.
Tumblestone Waterfall Tours
Get picked up at your accommodation in the Asheville area for a guided, half-day waterfall excursion that will take you to three impressive waterfalls in two protected forests. Plus, ride on a very scenic portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Licensed & Insured.
Black Mountain Rag to Chimney Rock
Take exit 64 off Interstate 40 at Black Mountain to follow N.C. Highway 9 South, named for an old fiddle tune and musical term. A "rag" is a tune with multiple twists and curves up and down the scales. In 16 miles, arrive in Bat Cave and turn left on U.S. 64 to Chimney Rock with spectacular views of Hickory Nut Gorge as you drive. Continue to Lake Lure to walk across the Flowering Bridge and along the beach before you return.
Living Alchemy Ayurveda
Find optimal wellness through ancient wisdom with Ayurvedic health consultations, clinical massage, yoga therapy, and cleanse and renewal programs. They specialize in women’s health, digestive health, and pain management.
Great Smoky Mountains Hotels & Resorts
Book a vacation in one of these top hotels and resorts by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina side.
Located on a family-owned farm in the foothills, their tasting room is open year-round and features a variety of estate-grown wines, such as the estate premium Epic, a Petit Manseng white wine, and Patriot Red, a Bordeaux Blend. Also, hike a two-mile section of the Overmountain Victory National Trail. 2012 Sandy Plains Rd, Tryon, NC. Reservations required.
Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival
Held on the Village Green in the middle of Cashiers at peak color time, see the works of 100+ artists while enjoying live music and great food. The free festival is open 10 AM-5 PM on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Experience 190 steep, climbing curves in just 12 miles, climbing 1,900 feet in elevation. Take N.C. Highway 226A from U.S. 221 north of Marion to Little Switzerland at the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Diamondback is loaded with switchbacks looping almost 360-degrees, making it extra fun for motorcyclists.
Mardi Gras Parade
Everyone is invited to participate in, or simply spectate this family-friendly spectacle. This fun parade in downtown Asheville is led by this year's King and Queen, with dancers, roller skaters, drummers and krewes of colorful characters. 3 PM
Welcome to the Land of the Waterfalls! There are so many waterfalls in nearby state and federal parks (with no admission fee) to discover. While many require a walk or hike to reach, several are roadside. Take one of our waterfall drives to enjoy several. See our favorite 60!
Ride the Train
All aboard the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad train excursion for a ride through quaint mountain towns, past sparkling rivers and through deep mountain forests. Ride in an open air car or in climate-controlled first class with lunch service. And don't forget the Polar Express train!
Picnics by The Rhu
Take in the sights and mountain views with a picnic basket from The Rhu in downtown. Picnics include house-baked breads and pastries, local cheese and meats, and salads made from fresh, local produce. Many choices! Order in advance for quick pick-up. 10 South Lexington.
Round Mountain Creamery Farm
Meet the goats and learn all about the goat-to-cheese process at this dairy farm south of Black Mountain. Tours by appointment, any day of the week. Featured on the Food Network.
Biltmore Horseback Trail Rides
Take a guided expedition through the Biltmore Estate to match your skill level. The western-style, one-hour guided ride is perfect for beginner to intermediate-level riders. A private three-hour trail ride with picnic lunch is designed for someone with riding experience. Offered daily. Two-day advance reservations are required. Available for 2-4 people ages 8 and up. If you’re bringing your own horse to explore 80 miles of Estate trails, please visit Biltmore’s Equestrian Center.
Smoky Mountain Elk Fest
Go to Maggie Valley to celebrate the elk and our great outdoors with a big festival on Saturday and other special tours and events.
The Center for Art & Inspiration, Hendersonville
This destination for theatre and the arts presents a big variety of professional shows and classes, including Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, international touring acts, concert series, repertory theatre and more. Check their calendar for upcoming events. 125 South Main Street, Downtown Hendersonville
(1.4 miles round-trip, strenuous) For our favorite 360-degree mountain view along the Blue Ridge Parkway, hike to the top of this 5,892-ft. peak at Craggy Gardens. Trailhead at Milepost 364.1.
This beautiful lake town near the Great Smoky Mountains is home to trails, boat tours, golf, gardens and a big variety of lodging options, including lakefront hotels and cabin rentals for a Methodist church retreat.
Wehrloom Honey Bee Farm
Visit this farm for all-natural raw honey products and watch bees at work in their observatory, located in Robbinsville, NC. Self-guided and guided tours available.
Jerusalem Garden Cafe
Enjoy authentic made-from-scratch Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes in downtown Asheville, transporting your senses to faraway lands. Weekend international brunch has a Southern twist with baharat biscuits and gravy, egg and lamb gyros, French toast and crepes stuffed with seasonal ingredients. Pair with a mango mimosa or hand-brewed Turkish coffee. 10 AM-3 PM on Saturday and Sunday. See pics & video. 78 Patton Ave.
Cabin & Vacation Rentals
Get away to a remote cozy cabin or cottage, a unique vacation rental downtown or with mountain views, or find a big house for a family or friends group getaway in and near Asheville and Biltmore.
Canton Labor Day Festival
Big celebration in Canton since 1906. Sunday features music festival, art, and food, 12-9:30 PM at Sorrells Park, and free gospel concert at Colonial Theatre. Monday features a big Labor Day Parade at 10 AM, plus a music festival and car show, 12 PM-9 PM. 20 minutes west of Asheville.
Yellow Creek Falls
Hike just a third of a mile to reach this 50-ft. waterfall in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville and Lake Santeetlah. It's a great summer swimming hole, too!
Blaze Dance Studio
This South Asheville dance studio offers a fun and supportive environment for Aerial yoga (flying yoga), flexibility training, pole dancing, open studio sessions, and more. Private sessions and parties are also available. Try the fun Friday night workout for just $5.
Chimney Rock Hikes for Kids
Great Woodland Adventure trail has 12 Wildlife Discovery Stations along a half mile winding hike. Meet live animals at the Discovery Den at the trailhead. Take the elevator to the Chimney top for amazing views. The Hickory Nut Falls Trail is easy for most.
Hooker Falls, DuPont State Forest
Located near Triple Falls, it is an easy 1/2-mile roundtrip stroll from the parking area. While it's only 12 ft. tall, it's wide and cascades into a beautiful pool that is a popular swimming spot.
Waynesville & Maggie Valley Visitors Guide
Order the 56-page free "Visit NC Smokies" guide to Haywood County, home to small towns of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde - in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
(5 miles loop, strenuous) Just a mile from the trailhead to Looking Glass Rock is a rewarding loop trail that takes you to the top of another rock face with panoramic views. From John Rock, you have a great view of Looking Glass Rock. And you'll find many fewer hikers here.
Skinny Dip Falls
**Currently closed***Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway via a 3/4-mile hiking trail, Skinny Dip has beautiful waterfalls, a jumping off rock and several areas to soak and wade in very cool mountain waters.