Why It’s Awesome: Asheville is casual, laid back and filled with great places to eat and drink. An artistic city that’s a haven for history buffs and foodies, your family will have so much fun exploring the area and taking in the natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Where to Stay: Families can rent an Airbnb downtown or check out the Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate which is family-friendly with modern rooms and a swimming pool. Located in the Biltmore Village, kids will have plenty to do from checking out the playground to farmyard visits. The Restoration Hotel in Asheville is brand new and another great option in the center of downtown.
What to Do: Older kids will love learning about the history of the Biltmore Estate (fun fact: it’s the house in Richie Rich!). Kids of all ages will have fun frolicking in the gardens, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (the same guy who designed Central Park). The beauty of the house is great to experience in all seasons so there’s no bad time to go. The estate has many activities kids will want to participate in, from biking and hiking to falconry (ages 8 and up). The Blue Ridge Parkway is one scenic drive that won’t make them ask, “Are we there yet?”. The views of the Great Smoky Mountains are unparalleled. Try this drive in the fall. Hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains or swim under a waterfall.
There are a multitude of hikes for all levels and lengths in these beautiful mountains. In summer, take a tube ride (paddleboard or kayak, too) down the French Broad. This “lazy river ride” has some minor bumps the kids will love! Rent electric bikes and head off on the French Broad Greenway or take a tour through downtown neighborhoods. If you’ve got younger kids, KidZip offers the country’s first zip line for children 4-10 years old!
What Else to Explore: Asheville has plenty of family-friendly events and some are even free like the Downtown Asheville Drum Circle on Fridays in warmer months in Pritchard Park. Head to Splasheville when the weather’s warm to cool off in the fountains in Pack Square Park or visit Elijah Mountain Gem Mine. Grab a casual meal at 12 Bones Smokehouse. Asheville is famous for food trucks and Foothills Food Truck has the best burgers and tallow fries. Don’t miss Asheville Chocolate for handmade truffles. No trip to Asheville is complete without a stop at Chai Pani—this restaurant serving Indian street food was named the best restaurant at the 2022 James Beard Awards. They don’t take reservations but the food is worth the wait.