Asheville is a fantastic place to live and play - but you don’t have to live in Asheville proper to reap the benefits! The greater Asheville area is made up of charming towns with many housing options. Your ideal home could be in one of these small towns with its own unique charm! Whether you’re in Buncombe County or nearby Henderson or Haywood County, you’re sure to find the right property. (Feature photo: Hendersonville)
Learn more about what Asheville area towns have to offer below. With any of these towns, the proximity to hiking trails, rivers for paddling and fishing, and countless parks for picnicking and camping goes without saying. That’s a given when living in the Blue Ridge Mountains! See our Outdoor Guide for more.
Nine miles north of Asheville, you’ll find Weaverville with its quaint downtown feel. It began as a farming community in the 1800s and now boasts around 4,000 residents. With a mix of technical industries and bustling independent shops and restaurants, it’s got a great local feel for citizens and visitors.
Like many North Carolina towns, the mayor and an elected town council and manager make legislative decisions. Overseeing five departments, management is focused on making Weaverville a distinct town with its own identity and great appeal to its residents, first and foremost. Because of its well-maintained public parks like Lake Louise Park and Main Street Nature Park, Weaverville appeals to families with children.
The median home price in 2019 was $315,000 in Weaverville, with over 350 closings. Although it’s a small town, there is an activity and event for everyone.
Head east from Asheville on I-40. After about 15 miles, you’re in Black Mountain, an art and music lover’s dream. Named for the range of mountains that border it to the north, this town of 8,000 is perfect for foodies. Over 35 restaurants make Black Mountain delicious, and Pisgah Brewing’s craft beer and outdoor concert venue offer lots of fun. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy golfing at the Black Mountain golf course and walking the path around Lake Tomahawk.
Black Mountain was voted the prettiest small town vacation in America by Trip Advisor readers
Black Mountain, established in 1893, is run by an elected mayor and board of aldermen. The council-manager governing body oversees legislation to keep the town feeling like home for all residents. They focus on safety for their citizens as well as creating an “Entrepreneurial Friendly Community.” With manufacturing facilities, two colleges, and other industries, you can bring a business or find a career in Black Mountain. You’ll find support for your business through the active Chamber of Commerce.
In 2019, over 300 new listings appeared on the real estate market. Homes sold for a median price of $287,700, making it an affordable choice that still offers a wonderful quality of life. In nearby Swannanoa, the median price was $245,000, so you may look there if you like the Black Mountain vibe. Also check out Montreat, a small mountain village near Black Mountain.
Although Candler is an unincorporated community in Buncombe County, it has grown into its own. West of Asheville, Candler is technically located in the Township of Upper Hominy. Settled as a mill town fed by the French Broad River and Hominy Creek, Candler is known for beautiful valleys and its views of Mt. Pisgah and beyond.
A hot air balloon ascends out of Candler with views of Mt. Pisgah by Asheville Hot Air Balloons
Many people buying homes in Candler do so for the secluded areas and acreage while still keeping within a 20-minute commute to Asheville. The area is popular and has a wide variety of home types to choose from at a range of prices. The median sale price was $257,000 and buyers closed on 271 properties in 2019. If you’re looking for a quiet place to plant your raised beds and enjoy mountain views, Candler is worth a look!
Just west of Candler in Haywood County is Canton. Known for its paper mill, Canton boasts a long history of industry and hardworking citizens. The small town is only 3.8 square miles but has a lot to offer for those looking for a place to start a business. Incorporated in 1891, Canton’s council-manager governance also features a board of aldermen working to preserve the integrity of the town. With the combination of the low cost of living, a thriving business community, and continuous economic development, Canton has a lot to offer.
Families enjoying the Fall Festival in Canton
Canton’s 4,500 citizens don't just work hard, however. With six golf courses in the county to choose from, a number of historical sites and museums, and the famed Cold Mountain to explore, there are opportunities to play and learn. And what’s a great WNC town without a brewery? Locals love Bearwaters Brewery for its proximity to the Pigeon River - paddle or float your way there!
In 2019, Canton’s median home sale price was $195,000 and almost 200 buyers took advantage of that. Bring your family to Canton and revel in the country feel. Canton is growing in popularity, so it’s best to grab your dream home there now.
Head to Transylvania County 28 miles southwest of Asheville, and you’ll find the quirky city of Brevard. The county seat, Brevard borders Pisgah National Forest and has become a cultural destination. Known as “the land of waterfalls,” it’s perhaps more widely recognized for its celebrated white squirrels. They even have a White Squirrel Festival! The mayor and city council form the local government, working hard for all 8,000 citizens. Brevard was formed as the county seat in 1861 but wasn’t incorporated until after the Civil War. Town founders built the historic brick courthouse in 1884, and it still stands today.
Currently, Brevard is a hotspot for bicyclists with trails, parks, and greenways. While preserving the local ecosystem and historic landmarks, Brevard residents can exercise and enjoy the ride. Due to its proximity to both Greenville, South Carolina and Asheville, Brevard is also ideal for business. The Transylvania Economic Alliance provides resources and incentives for those looking to start a business or move an existing one to the Brevard area. Due to this, it has been a magnet for those who want to enjoy a quality of life while running a business.
Over 340 potential new business owners and suspected bicyclists closed on homes in Brevard in 2019. The median price was $290,000. Although it’s a bit of a commute from Asheville, the city of Brevard is a great choice.
It’s not Asheville, nor is it Hendersonville… it’s Mills River! This town in Henderson County is often overlooked but has an ideal location and a hometown feel. The council-manager governing body keeps residents busy with activities and networking opportunities, so you’ll definitely know the neighbors. They’re currently creating the Mills River Valley Trail, a multi-use trail running for three miles through the heart of Mills River.
The 7,000+ residents find it’s a quiet place to raise a family. With activities like gem mining, hiking, and exploring the rivers and lakes, there's a lot to do. In 2015, Sierra Nevada opened its East Coast brewery in Mills River, which has quickly become one of the town’s biggest employers and noted attractions. The LEED-certified facility draws residents and tourists to for tours of the gleaming copper-accented brewery and to dine in its vast restaurant.
Outdoor gardens at Sierra Nevada in Mills River
With its location and newfound popularity, Mills River homes fetched a median price of $387,500 in 2019. Newly-built homes and gated communities can keep your family safe, so when 183 homes went on the market in 2019, 117 sold.
Do you like apples? If so, you’ll probably like Hendersonville. The seat of Henderson County, this small city is 22 miles south of Asheville. Even with over 14,000 residents, Hendersonville retains its small-town feel. Apple orchards, wineries, and farms make the area bountiful, and the historic downtown has something for everyone. Read more on Hendersonville's Wine Country.
Hendersonville's Main Street full of blooms
Citizens of Hendersonville pitch in to keep the town strong by serving on local committees and volunteering through the Friend of Downtown Hendersonville program. This keeps their multiple parks and frequent events running and engaging for all. The city was incorporated in 1847, and local history buffs love to learn more at the Heritage Museum and the Genealogical & Historical Society.
Homes in Hendersonville sold for a median price of $275,000 in 2019. The lower pricing and broad appeal make this charming city appealing from younger folks to retirees. Local industry has expanded beyond farming, and the Pardee hospital system employs thousands of skilled locals.
If you’re looking for a mountain retreat, you’re sure to find it in Waynesville. This artsy town 31 miles west of Asheville has a lot to offer its residents and is the county seat for Haywood County. Although over 10,000 people live there, you won’t feel crowded. Town officials uphold the artistic and cultural history in Waynesville through public works, Art Walks, and other programs. The famed Folkmoot International Dance & Music Festival takes place every year, and citizens help to keep rich traditions alive.
Downtown Maint Street in Waynesville
Nearby town Clyde is generally mentioned along with Waynesville, but the towns are distinct from each other. Both are Haywood County towns in the Smokies with charming downtown areas, but Clyde’s Appalachian-Americana appeal stands out. While Waynesville has the art, Clyde upholds musical traditions like fiddling in high regard.
The median sale price for homes in Waynesville was $243,000, while Clyde homes were slightly less expensive at $215,000. The county seat was definitely the more popular choice, with 529 sales closed over Clyde’s 156. This is also due to the larger number of homes available in Waynesville. Dust off your art supplies and musical instruments and find a new home in Haywood County!
Though it was once just a pit stop for those traveling from Asheville to Hendersonville, Fletcher has been growing in its own right since the 1860s. Since it’s close to the Asheville airport, the location is great for frequent travelers. Its council-manager governing body values history, citizen engagement, and rural character. Fletcher’s parks and recreational areas, business groups, and networking events make it a town for all to enjoy.
Folks come out for Screen on the Green at Fletcher Community Park
With a plethora of resources for businesses, the town is ideal for entrepreneurs. It is home to manufacturing and industrial facilities, and officials are developing a mixed-use downtown area for higher visibility. With growth actively happening, it’s a great time to settle in Fletcher and help it flourish.
In 2019, 272 buyers bought homes at a median price of $318,500. Since the location works so well for commuters to both Asheville and Hendersonville, Fletcher seems to be the best of both worlds.
With so many towns to choose from, you may have a hard time deciding where to live in Western North Carolina! However, the town that works best for you will become evident as you familiarize yourself with the area. A skilled real estate team can help you decide. Wherever you end up in the Asheville area, you’ll thrive in the clean mountain air.
Tamsen Todisco is a freelance writer and graduate of A-B Tech and UNC Asheville. She's lived in Asheville since 2008 and has been writing about Asheville Real Estate for Asheville Real Estate News since 2019. She's also produced content for the Asheville coworking and hospitality industries.