The best things to do in Asheville are a mix of immersive nature-tripping, memorable historical sites, tastes of some of the greatest beers in the world, a colorful world of art, and a luxurious accommodation to remember for a lifetime.
Asheville is home to a variety of activities that will have every traveler get a taste of what a dream vacation truly is. From the elegant Biltmore estate, sections of the impressive Appalachian Trail, white-water rafting adventures, and endless craft beers, at every turn you find yourself something interesting to fill your weekend getaway.
Planning a trip to Asheville means managing your time well to get the most of what the place has to offer. You can get overwhelmed by all the exciting things. A day or two might not be enough but you can manage still to achieve the best escapade of your life if you pick the top things to do.
We have ranked all activities in Asheville to help you prepare an itinerary that screams only the most outstanding and well-vouched for by tourists.
Stick around and find out all the best things to do in Asheville in the following sections.
10. Asheville Night-Time Walking Ghost Tour
Common Departure Point: Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway St. Asheville, NC
For some when you say night-time walking ghost tour, you will earn looks like you are crazy chasing after scary stuff but not in Asheville North Carolina.
You can take a spooky stroll in downtown Asheville to learn about frightening but fascinating tales of ghosts and haunted buildings. Downtown Asheville has historical places that became famous because of ghost sightings.
A walking ghost tour is one of the best things to do in Asheville at night with the important historical facts that you will learn about the city and the part that makes it unique among the other US states.
One place is the Omni Grove Park Inn which is said to be haunted by a woman. They call the ghost the Pink Lady of the Omni Grove Park Inn as she appears, according to those who have felt her presence, in a pink mist or a pink ballgown. Her story was a tragic one, with her falling to her death from a fifth-floor balcony.
Another haunted place is the famous Jackson building which claimed many lives. Included in the point of interest around town when it comes to the spooky supernatural are Thomas Wolfe’s ghost and even a ghoul from an old jail.
During the night-time walking ghost tour when you visit Asheville, you will be in the hands of an expert local guide who knows about the town’s nook and cranny. You will learn not just about ghosts but the rich history of downtown Asheville.
Another exciting part of the tour, as one of the best things to do in Asheville NC, that you only see in movies involves the use of a ghost-hunting experience. Make sure to take photos of your ghost-busting paraphernalia.
Among the places where you will drop by during the tour include Pack Square, the Grove Arcade, Basilica of Saint Lawrence, Thomas Wolfe Memorial, and Pritchard Park.
9. Scenic E-Bike Tour in the Mountains
Common Departure Point: 99 Riverside Dr. Asheville, NC
Your time in Asheville NC will be well-spent not just by appreciating the breathtaking mountain views in the distance but by being in the mountains and drinking the rejuvenating nature pill all around you.
An e-bike tour in the mountains is a relaxing activity when visiting Asheville that will have you leisurely admire the soft breeze against the backdrop of the Appalachian mountains. You will have half a day of exploring the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, pass by quaint Asheville Villages, and continue to Patton Mountain.
There will be guides who will be with you during your cruise. Also, unlike mountain biking where you have to exert extra effort, an e-bike allows you to relax more and take in the views from far up. You will see spectacular city views and extraordinary landscapes from the ascend and especially when you descend.
As you ride to the mountains, you will also learn interesting facts and the history of the surrounding area from your guide.
Once you reach the top, you can stop by a historic hotel and get yourself and your loved one some refreshing drinks.
The scenic e-bike tour in the mountains should be at the top of your Asheville itinerary as there’s nothing better than hours of appreciating what Asheville’s nature has to offer.
8. Exploring the Asheville Downtown Through Day Tours
You heard about the ghost night tour so it’s time to discover about the popular day tours that will make your vacation the most fun trip ever. The following are the day tours that you can choose from as among the best things to do in Asheville NC:
2-Hour Guided Segway Tour of Asheville
Common Departure Point: 36 Montford Ave. Asheville, NC
As one of the most comprehensive tours, a 2-hour segway tour of Asheville Carolina with a guide will give you an in-depth look at the town’s beauty nestled in the North Carolina mountains, including the River Arts District, which is a haven for artists.
The guided segway tour of the historic downtown Asheville will also take you to Asheville’s most popular neighborhoods. There are a lot of things to see and do while on the tour, making it one of the top activities in Asheville NC.
During your 2-hour tour, you will see about 30 landmarks and attractions, making it the perfect opportunity to explore and photograph some of Asheville’s most iconic places.
Some of the stops during the tour include the Vance Birthplace, Biltmore Village, Grove Park Inn, Pack Place, Basilica of St. Lawrence, and Thomas Wolfe Memorial.
The guided segway tour of Asheville in Western North Carolina is a great way to see the best of what the city has to offer when it comes to historic places without having to walk for miles. You can also opt for a self-guided walking tour.
Electric Bike Brewery Crawl of Asheville
Common Departure Point: 99 Riverside Dr. Asheville, NC
Asheville is a haven for craft beer lovers and is even considered “Beer City USA”. There are about thirty breweries in the city and during your trip, you should not miss out on getting yourself a refreshing drink. There are several elevated brewpubs and some even host events like weddings.
Among the best breweries in Asheville include Wicked Weed with Funkatorium location with tours and tasting, Highland Brewing which is an original craft brewery, and Burial Beer Company Asheville downtown’s first nano-brewery.
The other highly acclaimed breweries are Hi-Wire Brewing, Catawba Brewing Company, and Pisgah Brewing Company.
Now if you’re a big beer lover and you want to get a taste of not just one brewery, the electric bike brewery crawl in downtown Asheville will have your sample from different breweries. It’s more fun in Asheville if you get to taste more beers.
The electric bike brewery crawl of downtown Asheville NC will let you enjoy the best of what the city has to offer in terms of craft beer.
During the tour, you will visit different breweries from a relaxing electric scooter ride, all within walking distance of each other. You will also get to try a variety of local beers, learn about the brewing process, and tour the facilities.
The electric bike brewery crawl of Asheville is a great way to sample the local beer and learn about the brewing process.
7. Kayak Tour at Lake Lure
Common Departure Point: Asheville Visitor Center, 36 Montford Ave Asheville, NC
Lake Lure is one of the loveliest man-made lakes in the USA with phenomenal surrounding views of mountaintops and granite cliffs.
This lake is located at the foothills of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains and offers the most awesome spots for outdoor adventures.
The lake is a famous beach spot from Memorial Day through labor day with a water slide and waterpark to boot. There are several hiking and biking trails around the lake including another one of the first-rate Asheville attractions, Buffalo Creek Park with approximately 10 miles of hiking trails. There’s also a Weed Patch Mountain Trail if you’re looking for more hiking adventures.
With all the activities around the lake, one thing that you should not forget is to have time to enjoy the lake itself. One great way that many visitors love to do during their weekend lake vacation is a kayak tour.
The Kayak Tour, one of the best things to do in Asheville NC, allows you to explore the waters at your own pace as you gaze at the scenic views of the Asheville mountains around the place. You will even be guided by an expert naturalist that will have you learn about the wildlife in the area.
During your tour, after you have scoured the waters, make sure to take a plunge at the lake and have a refreshing swim.
6. Birding at Beaver Lake
Common Departure Point: Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, 1056 Merrimon Ave Asheville, NC
Asheville Carolina is a marvelous place for birding activities all year-round and one of the best things to do in Asheville NC. The best time to do so is in the spring as the birds are migrating north.
Beaver Lake is one of the loveliest Asheville attractions and a great place for birding as it has a 605-acre lake that serves as a sanctuary for more than 200 species of birds. The place is also open daily for public use with no admission fee making it a very budget-friendly activity.
The best time to do birding here is in the morning as most of the birds are more active during that time.
During your visit, make sure to bring your binoculars for a better viewing experience of the different kinds of birds in the area.
You can also get yourself an affordable tour around the area especially if you forgot to bring your binoculars or if you don’t own one. The tour usually will have a guide that will give you all the best birding spots and give you more information about the different species of bird around the area.
Depending on the season, some of the birds that you will get to see include warblers, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and more.
5. Guided Horseback Ride through Flame Azalea and Fern Forest
Common Departure Point: You will travel from Asheville North Carolina but the jump-off point for Horseback riding is at 276 Arrowmont Trl, Cullowhee, North Carolina
Who wouldn’t be excited about a horseback riding adventure in the mountains? Horseback Riding is one of the best things to do in Asheville North Carolina.
There are a lot of places where you can enjoy horseback riding. One of the most common places is the Flame Azalea and Fern Forest.
This place is perfect for those who want to experience horseback riding in a forest setting as it has over 12 miles of bridle trails that are open to the public.
The best time to go horseback riding here is during the spring as it is the season where the flowers are in full bloom making the place more picturesque.
You will have the best views of and from the Blue Ridge mountains and past the amazing things to see in Asheville such as the white-pine forest, fern groves, and wild flame azaleas.
If you’re not confident in riding a horse by yourself, there’s no need to worry as you can sign up for a guided tour. The tour, as one of the top things to do in Asheville, will have a professional guide that will accompany you during your horseback riding adventure in search of the best view in Asheville.
The tour will also include a safety briefing before the activity so you don’t have to worry about getting injured during the ride.
The horses are all well-trained and the most gentle horses that you’ll ever meet. Even beginners and children are welcome on this guided horseback ride.
4. Mountaintop Yoga & Meditation Hike in Asheville
Common Departure Point: From Asheville North Carolina to Bearwallow Mountain Trail, Hendersonville, NC.
Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Asheville North Carolina and there are ways to make the hike more exciting when partnered with another fitness activity like yoga and meditation. One of the best places to do this is at the Bearwallow Mountain Trail. Hiking on the trail is a must-do in Asheville for those who love to be in the rejuvenating embrace of the mountains.
This place is perfect for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just relax in nature. The trail is not too difficult as it’s only 2.6 miles long with an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet.
The best time to do this hike is during the summer as the weather is perfect for a moderate hike and you’ll get to see a lot of wildflowers during your journey.
During your hike, you will be doing different yoga poses and meditation exercises that are perfect for beginners. You don’t have to worry about the yoga poses as the guide will be there to assist you and make sure that you’re doing it correctly.
The whole hike will take about 3 to 4 hours, and it is recommended that you wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
Don’t forget to bring your water bottle as well to stay hydrated during the hike.
3. Scenic Driving Tour of the Blue Ridge Mountains
Common Departure Point: Asheville Visitor Center 36 Montford Ave Asheville, NC
Looking for another way to soak in the beauty of the Blue Ridge is to have a relaxing driving tour. The tour usually has a chauffeur-driven tour that will allow you to focus on just the magnificent sceneries. Your driver is also a certified Blue Ridge Parkway naturalist that will provide information on the places you want to know more about so don’t hesitate to ask questions to learn more about the wonderful Asheville.
The most popular route is from Asheville to Cherokee which is about an hour’s drive one way.
On this route, you will pass by through the Pisgah National Forest and will get to see a lot of different plant and animal life.
You will also get the chance to stop at different lookout points to take in the breathtaking views of the mountains. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the wild ponies that roam around the area.
2. Waterfalls and Blue Ridge Parkway Hiking Tour with Expert Naturalist
Common Departure Point: 162 Craven St Asheville, NC
Asheville North Carolina is a top place for vacation if you want to do waterfalls hopping. Pisgah National Forest alone has over 250 waterfalls. Aside from the exceptional waterfalls in Asheville, you can do a combo tour on the famous Blue Ridge Parkway to have a day of fun-filled adventure.
Your expert naturalist guide will take you to panoramic mountain views of the Southern Appalachian Mountains Hiking Trails, breathtaking meadow hills, magnificent waterfalls like the Sliding Rock Falls, and biodiverse trails that will give you the most immersive experience of the flora and fauna of Asheville North Carolina. To add to your outdoor activities for the day, you will also have the chance to swim in some swimming holes in the area so make sure to bring your swimming essentials.
This is a great activity for families, beginners, and experts as the guide will be able to adjust the difficulty of the hike depending on your level.
The tour takes about 3 to 4 hours, and it is recommended that you wear comfortable clothing and shoes as well as bring your water bottle to stay hydrated during the hike.
1. French Broad Gorge Whitewater Rafting Trip
Common Departure Point: 521 Amboy Rd Asheville, NC
With professional outfitters, you can go river rafting on the French Broad River, which is one of the oldest rivers in North America. The French Broad River winds past Asheville and offers one of the best whitewater rafting experiences.
This activity is at the top of the list because visitors who tried the activity can vouch for the exhilarating feeling of being in the rapid waters.
The trip is not just all crazy churning waters and adrenaline rush, there are relaxing spots where you can have a smooth glide before you enjoy a good adrenaline rush.
The start of the trip is usually from Barnard River Park and then to Pisgah National Forest. The Whitewater rapids are considered to be under an intermediate level in class II and class III.
This river runs through the stunning French Broad Gorge, which is about 10 miles long and has a 300-foot drop.
The trip, as one of the most fun things to do in Asheville NC, takes about 2 to 3 hours, and you will be given all the necessary equipment that you need for rafting. No experience is necessary as you will be given a brief tutorial before the trip.
This is a great activity for families and groups of friends as you will get to bond with one another while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
After the whitewater rafting trip, you can also take a relaxing dip at the French Broad River and enjoy a bottle or two of beer crafted from one of the town’s best breweries.
More Fantastic Attractions in Asheville North Carolina
When we mentioned tons of activities in Asheville, we’re not exaggerating as the place has a swarm of attractions. The following are the best attractions in the mountain town of Asheville North Carolina that you can include in your itinerary if you prefer to have jam-packed do-it-yourself tours:
Asheville Parks and Forests
Asheville NC offers several parks to explore the great outdoors as follows:
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the United States’ most visited national parks with diverse plants and animals lives. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park alone will keep your hands full of activities from hiking, camping, photo galleries to see, books, music, and many more.
Pisgah National Forest
Pisgah National Forest has some of the best hiking trails too along with wonderful waterfalls, whitewater rivers, and hardwood forests. You can also drop by the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute to stargaze and experience a dark sky after spending a day in Pisgah National Forest.
Chimney Rock State Park
The Chimney Rock State Park is a must-see with its striking views of the Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. You can explore different trails, take a ride on an elevator to the top of the Chimney, or join in ranger-led programs.
Grandfather Mountain State Park
The Grandfather Mountain State Park is another favorite spot for breathtaking views, especially from the top of the mountain. You can join in different ranger-led programs here too and explore diverse ecosystems.
Mount Mitchell State Park
This highest peak East of North Carolina will give you magnificent views of the Black Mountains. The Mount Mitchell State Park is open all year round and has several activities that you can join in winter, spring, summer, or fall.
Pack Square Park
The Pack Square Park in the city center of Asheville is a public square filled with a variety of activities and historic monuments. Drop by to have a closer look at Asheville’s pride.
Pritchard Park, located in the heart of Asheville’s downtown area, is a great place for to people watch or join in some activities. The park has an open-air amphitheater that hosts different performances throughout the year.
Richmond Hill Park
Richmond Hill Park is one of Asheville’s newest parks with its wonderful playground, basketball courts, and picnic tables. The park is perfect for families with small children or groups of friends.
Riverlink Park The Riverlink Park has a great greenway along the French Broad River that’s perfect for strolling, running, or biking. The park also has an amphitheater that hosts different events and concerts.
Botanical Gardens in Asheville
Asheville also has extraordinary botanical gardens to explore as follows:
Bonsai Exhibition Garden in North Carolina Arboretum
The Bonsai Exhibition Garden has around 100 bonsai specimens collected not just from America but also from Europe and Asia. There are also exhibits of plants native to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
North Carolina Arboretum’s National Native Azalea Collection
NC arboretum also boasts a native azalea collection that will leave every visitor in awe. The collection has around 60 species and 200 cultivars of azaleas that will make any nature lover happy.
The Craggy Gardens in Blue Ridge Parkway has a fantastic floral display. The time to visit to have a look at the purple blooms of Catawba rhododendrons is around June. But even outside June, there are other flowers to see such as violets, Turkscap lily, and May-apple.
Museums in Asheville North Carolina
Knowing more about Asheville and its colorful past means going to the awesome museums around town. Here are the best museums to see in Asheville North Carolina:
Asheville Pinball Museum
Asheville Pinball Museum as the name suggests offers 70 available classic arcade games to those who want to have a good time. You can also visit the museum just to take a look at the awesome pinball displays.
Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum
Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum, the only antique car museum in Asheville will have you transported back in time with prized collections of automobiles such as 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, 1940Buick Century, and 1928Chandler Sedan.
Asheville Museum is perfect for those who would like to know more about the city’s African American heritage. The museum is open on Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Rivers in and near Asheville
Asheville is known for its French Broad River but other rivers add to the allure of visiting the town as follows:
Mississippi River is one of the main rivers in Asheville and is great for fishing, swimming, or just enjoying the views.
Green River Gorge
The Green River Gorge is a great place for hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking. The river is also a popular spot for kayaking and canoeing.
Nantahala River is one of the most beautiful rivers in Asheville with its clear waters and scenic views. The river is perfect for swimming, fly-fishing, and tubing.
As you can see, Asheville has a lot to offer in terms of outdoor activities and attractions. The city is also rich in history and culture, making it a great place to visit for everyone.
With so much to do in Asheville, North Carolina, you’ll never find yourself bored!