13 Things to Do in Asheville with Kids

Things to do in Asheville with kids

We’re planning our weekend trip to Asheville, NC in September. I have heard about Asheville before because it’s home to the Biltmore Estate – one of the largest home in the US. What I didn’t know was there are so many things to do in or around Asheville with kids. Who would have thought this little gem in the Blue Ridge Mountain can be a fun destination for a whole family. Check out my list of family-friendly things you can do with your kids in Asheville.

13 Things to Do in Asheville with Kids

1. Western North Carolina Nature Center – Is it a Zoo? Is it a garden? It’s a living museum for plants and animals natives to the Appalachian region. This nature center has a lot of events planned throughout the year. Kids will get to learn and understand more about the nature environments through hand-on and sensory programs. The price is very affordable for the whole family (Adult -$8 , Kid (3-15) -$4 and discount for Asheville resident and senior).

2. The Health Adventure – A unique health and science museum for children. This museum explores the wonder of our human body and encourage curiosity in kids to learn and raise awareness about our health and science. There are different programs and also traveling program throughout the year. And the benefit of small town museum, the price is relatively affordable (Adult -$8.50 , Student (12&up) -$7.50 , Kid (2-11) -$6).

3. Chimney Rock Park – Enjoy NC’s newest State park at Chimney Rock Park. Go up to the top of the rock to enjoy the amazing, panoramic view. Family with small children don’t be afraid there is an elevator to take you up to the top within 30 seconds. For family with bigger kids and love the adventure, the Outcropping trail will take you there in about 20 minutes. There are several hiking trails for different preference. Great Woodland Adventure Trail and Hickory Nut Falls Trail are highly recommended for family hiking. A tip for family with small children, bring backpack carrier or rent it at the park for $8 as the trails are not suitable for stroller use.

4. Biltmore Estate – One of the most popular attraction in Asheville, at 175,000 square feet and 250 rooms, it’s the largest house in America. The Biltmore Estate consists of the Biltmore House, the winery and the manicure garden. It will be a great day trip for a family. Kids will enjoy roaming around the property with over 8,000 acres. There are plenty of activities provided throughout the year. The price tag might be steep but I think it’s well worth the visit. Check out their website for events and special discount.

5. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad – Having a train lover son, we always look out for fun activity wtih train. The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad is a perfect excursion for a visit to Asheville. Kids will enjoy scenic train journey through the Great Smoky Mountain. There are special train event throughout the year being the Thomas Train Ride, the Snoopy Easter ride or the Polar Express on Christmas. Check out their website for more details.

6. Asheville’s Fun Depot – A place for the arcade lover family. This family entertainment center has various indoor and outdoor fun attractions ranging from indoor/outdoor go-carts, laser tag, bounce house or bumper car. It might not be for everyone but if you are looking for something indoor and out of the heat, this might be a place. The pricing has different options based on your preference. Check out the website for more details.

7. Apple Picking – Apple picking is a fun and affordable activity to do with kids. Kids love to do thing by themselves and what a better way than picking your own apples. There are several apple orchards in the area. J.H. Stepp Farm Hillcrest Orchard has been in business for quite sometimes. From their website, it looks like a fun place to take the kids to enjoy a day out in the Fall.

8. Grove Arcade – Shopping and people watching at the historically renovated Grove Arcade. Enjoy boutique shopping, exceptional dinning and regional art and crafts. Then sit back and relax and let the kids run wild.

9. Asheville Outdoor Center – Enjoy a calm water float along the scenic French Board River through the Biltmore Estate property. This is a perfect outdoor activity for family with small children who can’t participate in the popular whitewater rafting yet. There are various types of activities offering from kayaking, rafting, tubing, or canoeing. The best part is AOC is located in Asheville so you don’t have to drive too far.

10. Biltmore Village – Visit the original Biltmore village originally built for housing the Vanderbilt’s employees. Stroll along the brick sidewalks with tree-lined street, check out unique shops and have lunch or dinner at one of many locally owned restaurant. This charming village will give you the victorian-era ambiance that you might think you have been transported back in time.

11. Blue Ridge Parkway – Drive along the famous Blue Ridge Parkway and stop along the lookout to witness the marvelous beauty of mother nature at best. You can start from Asheville and drive all the way to the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountain Park.

12. Botanial Garden of Asheville – Kids love to roam and where is a better place than in the botanical garden with all the beautiful flowers and plants. Best of all, there is no admission fee.

13. Pisgah National Forest – This national forest is home to Sliding Rock, the Natural Water Slide. It couldn’t have been better than sliding down the naturally worn slab of rock to the pool

As for the accommodation, here are a list of 5 family friendly hotels in Asheville downtown area.

Asheville Things To Do

About Amy Querido

Amy is the owner & author of The Q Family Adventures Travel blog, family blog chronicles her family trips, tips and tricks. She hopes to inspire family to travel with kids one adventure at a time. Connect with Amy on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.


  1. All of this is Asheville? Who would have think?

  2. @Jen: Yup.. I didn’t think I will find so many things to do either. It’s so closed to my town so we might have to do a couple trips. :)

  3. What a beautiful view!

    Apple picking sounds lovely. I had no idea they had apple trees in NC.

  4. I LOVED visiting the Biltmore Estate. I remember this sparkling grape juice that was made on site… Yum!

  5. if you are coming to Asheville with kids, make sure to stop by “splasheville,” which is the new splashing fountain in front of the downtown courthouse. it’s specifically for kids and there is a large lawn for picnicking.

  6. Very helpful information! We are looking forward to our trip to Asheville NC next month. Thank you very much for sharing!

  7. This is great information – thank you very much!! We live right near Asheville and have done many of these but haven’t done some listed so we will indeed try them out! Thank you again.

  8. chantel says:

    ….. I would love to see a list of things to do w/ kids in the winter! We are driving up from Florida in hopes of some snow after Christmas… May change plans though, seems like asheville is a lot more expensive than we imagined (and we are used to high prices in west palm!)

    • Disclaimer: I do not have kids (yet). But I live in Asheville and work in an outfitters, so have faced this question from parents. In an attempt to create appeal for this city in a parent’s eye, here are some winter options, weather permitting: The North Carolina Arboretum ($8/car), the Cradle of Forestry (FREE for kids 15 and under, $5/adult 16 and up, also in Pisgah National Forest, with a view of the gorgeous Looking Glass Falls on the way in), and Gorges State Park (more waterfalls/hiking). The River Arts District in West Asheville has some neat art studios, and a wicked brewery to boot- The Wedge makes great beer and is very kid friendly. In the spirit of the arts, sign them up for a class at The Village Potters (828-253-2424). Please know that there is even so much more to this sweet place! Thanks for considering us. (And please consider the Nantahala Outdoor Center in the warmer season!)

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  16. Thanks for the wonderful information! We’re just going to be passing thru the area for one day, but I think we’re going apple-picking, which isn’t something we get to do where we live. My kids will love this!

  17. scott davis says:

    There is nothing to do with little kids in Asheville. I am a native. The so called fun parks have no covers and are painted dark colors so after 10:00 a.m. it’s so hot the slides etc. will burn you. There’s a pay to play but it’s expensive and not little kid friendly. Asheville doesn’t want any kids that are not old enough to play soccer. Last election for city officials an older gentleman; whom is a native, wanted something for small kids but he was out voted. Cecil Brothwell from Illinois wanted to legalize pot so he was elected. Tell you anything about Trasheville??????

  18. Hi! Great blog post, and I am an Asheville Native! Just wanted to note that unfortunately, the Health Adventure is no longer open. But, in close by Hendersonville (downtown area) there is Hands On Childrens Museum.

  19. Since your visit we have answered the call for more family friendly activities and adventures! Zipline adventure for families with kids 4-10 plus full size zipline canopy tour for older kids, Treetops Adventure Park is a giant obstacle course in the trees with over 60 challenges for kids, teens, and adults, Kolo Bike Park offers over 4 miles of flow designed bike trails and obstacles, and Tree Quest is a climbing wall type adventure but includes a tree climbing structure instead of artificial walls. All this in one place just a mile from downtown Asheville on 225 acres. Check out the Adventure Center of Asheville.

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