Asheville is one of my favorite cities. When I lived in the mountains north of town, it was my getaway for, well, everything. After all, it’s one of those cities that seems like it hit the lottery—it has great weather, great food, beautiful landscapes, a thriving art and culture scene, a castle…there’s almost nothing Asheville doesn’t have. But it’s not the luck of the draw; the city has worked hard to become the artsy outdoor enclave it is today.
As a result, this is a great stop for families. Whether you and the kids love the outdoors, museum-hopping, or other kinds of activities, odds are you’ll find it here. Here’s what to do on a three-day trip.
Like we said, Asheville has everything—and that includes lots of different weather patterns; pack layers.
If you only have time for one thing, make it the Biltmore.
On your first day, take some time to get to know the city. Wander through downtown, maybe stopping at the Pinball Museum or the kid-geared Museum of Science, grabbing barbecue at Buxton Hall, and scoping out the shops in Grove Arcade. An e-bike or Segway tour is a fun way to see it all.
Today, get out into Asheville’s gorgeous surroundings. There are several kid-friendly waterfalls in the area: at the 75-foot (33-meter) Dry Falls you can walk behind the water; Looking Glass Falls has a natural pool for swimming; and Tom’s Creek Falls is a two-tiered cascade at the end of an easy hike.
After breakfast at Biscuit Head, visit the Biltmore estate—it’s America’s largest home, and, really, more like a French Renaissance castle. There’s 8,000 acres of grounds to explore full of nature trails, stables, fishing ponds, and gardens. At the adjacent Antler Hill Village there’s also a creamery, a playground, and more.
Sneak in one last outdoor adventure by paddling or tubing down the French Broad River. Alternatively, you could tour a working cattle ranch, go horseback riding, visit the North Carolina Arboretum, or hang out at the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, seeing how many waterfowl species you can spot. One thing’s for certain: There’s no shortage of ways to have fun.