Looking for ideas for what to do on a weekend escape, family vacation or girlfriends' getaway to Asheville and the mountains? Since there are so many things to do and everyone has a different vision of the "perfect" getaway, here are 40 ideas to help you plan your trip:
Hiking & Outdoor Adventures
- Take a hike to fully appreciate the outdoor splendor of the North Carolina mountains. There are trails for all fitness levels, ranging from multi-day treks on the Appalachian Trail to short strolls in Nantahala National Forest. See our Top Hikes for plenty of choices.
- Take a zip line canopy tour and soar like an eagle through and above the trees
- Go whitewater rafting down one of our many rivers.
- Bring your mountain bike (or rent one) to explore a huge network of trails.
- Go fishing with a guide in a mountain river or beautiful lake.
- See waterfalls below!
Waterfalls & Swimming Holes
- Hunt for waterfalls in the North Carolina mountains. With our Top 60 Waterfalls list, you'll stay busy for many weekend.
- Take a waterfall drive to see several in one day.
- Glide down Sliding Rock, a natural waterslide in Pisgah National Forest has been the favorite summer pastime for generations.
- Cool off on hot summer days in a mountain swimming hole.
- Hike, bike or ride a horse to beautiful waterfalls in DuPont State Forest.
- Explore one of our 6 Great Lakes near Asheville.
Mountain Scenery Windshield Tour
- Take a leisurely journey on one of our Sweet 16 Scenic Drives.
- Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive".Since there is 170 miles in the Asheville area, this could fill up a weekend quickly. Slow down to enjoy a leisurely drive with many scenic overlooks and attractions along the way.
- Drive to the top of Mt. Mitchell the highest mountain in the eastern United States. See the views from the observation deck and walk through Alpine forests.
- Enjoy waterfalls from the roadside, including Looking Glass Falls near Brevard and Dry Falls near Highlands (and drive behind Bridal Veil Falls).
- All aboard for a scenic train excursion in the Smokies and along mountain rivers on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.
- Exploring all of Biltmore Estate could take days. Allow a half day to tour the house (along with the shops and lunch at Stable Cafe).
- Stroll through the gardens and Conservatory with blooms during every season.
- Tour and taste at the Winery, then see the exhibits and shops at Antler Hill Village.
- Book a second day to explore the outdoors via bikes, hiking, Segways or on the river in a raft or board.
- Tour other House Museums in the area.
- Stay in hotel or resort that offers special Biltmore ticket offers or packages.
- For more beautiful, historic architecture and plenty of amazing art, head to downtown Asheville to explore the galleries.
- To visit artists at work, go to the nearby River Arts District. Dozens of studios and galleries are open every day, with many more open on weekends and Studio Stroll weekends.
- Take an art class and return home with a new hobby.
- Go to one of our Top 80 Art Festivals and Tours throughout the year.
- See the many murals in Asheville.
Food & Drink
- Tasting your way through our diverse culinary scene will definitely keep you busy with many farm-to-table restaurants with local food and world-class chefs. See our Foodie Favorites guide to get your started.
- Sample the local brews at dozens of craft breweries in Asheville and western North Carolina. See our Top 50 Beer Guide to get started.
- Enoy a wine tasting at some of our favorite mountain wineries.
- For the ulitmate way to start the day, stay in a Bed & Breakfast inn and awake to a gourmet breakfast just a few steps from your room.
- Tour the big Western North Carolina Farmers' Market or stop by a weekend tailgate market.
- Pack a picnic and head out to one of our Favorite Picnic Spots.
- In the fall, visit the apple orchards.
Small Town Ramble
- See our Top Mountain Small Towns near Asheville to explore with many things to do and friendly locals to meet.
- During the holiday season, go to our Top Christmas Towns in western North Carolina.
- Find the grand historic courthouses in our towns.
- Like to learn about local heritage and history, check out our Top 35 Museums and landmarks.
Pamper & Relaxation
- Get a massage in a tranquil setting. See our top picks for spas.
- Stay in a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains with books, games and views.
- Soak in the mineral waters in Hot Springs or the Japanese style hot tubs at Shoji Retreats.
- Relax with an hour of tranquility in a Salt Cave.
- Find one of our Top 15 Mountain Views and soak in the scenery.
For many more ideas, see our 300 Things to Do in Asheville and the mountains of North Carolina.