Asheville has plenty of activities to keep you entertained, but it’s also perfectly situated a short drive from myriad day trip destinations. Whether it’s small towns brimming with historic buildings, restaurants and specialty shops, or larger cities boasting varied entertainment options and amenities, there’s lots to take in from your Asheville home base. Following are a few of our favorites.
This historic town in Madison County 20 miles north of Asheville, with easy access to trails along the French Broad River, packs an eclectic punch into its compact downtown. Lined with historic buildings including a century-old courthouse, Main Street In Marshall features artists’ studios, interesting shops, music and dance venues and galleries. Stroll to Blannahassett Island, just over the river, to enjoy more artists’ studios, as well as picnic areas and fishing.
Tucked in the heart of Transylvania County just under an hour from Asheville, Brevard boasts unique boutiques in the downtown area – offering everything from children’s toys to salvaged furniture to antiques. In addition, the walkable downtown district offers a range of restaurants and cafes. The city is famed for its ideal access to some of the most beautiful natural attractions – think mountain bike trails, waterfall hikes and epic views – in Western N.C.
About 16 miles east of Asheville, downtown Black Mountain has a wonderful collection of shops, restaurants and breweries, and the hiking and mountain biking opportunities are abundant.Black Mountain is known as the front porch of Western North Carolina because of its downtown’s quaint charm and stunning location in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This town, just 39 minutes from Asheville, offers a range of restaurants and shops, as well as music and dancing. Famed for its festivals, car shows and arts & crafts fairs, as well as Cataloochee Ski Area, Maggie Valley is a favorite year-round destination. Visit Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum, or explore the town’s Quilt Trail, which connects the community by promoting its quilting, rural heritage and storytelling using colorful blocks installed on barns and buildings.
Greenville’s vibrant downtown (just a little over an hour from Asheville) offers everything from one-of-a-kind shops, boutiques and art galleries to museums, tours and outdoor activities. Greenville also boasts a major performing arts center, 17,000-seat arena, 340,000-square-foot convention and exhibition center, and nationally recognized museum collections.Falls Park on the Reedy in the heart of downtown has riverside gardens, a suspension bridge and waterfall views.
Pigeon Forge, Tenn.
An 88-mile drive from Asheville is Pigeon Forge, home of Dollywood, country singer Dolly Parton’s Appalachian-themed park. The city’s other attractions include country music entertainment, comedy shows, and unique, family-friendly entertainment – think lumberjack competitions and Hatfield & McCoy “dinner feuds.”
Filled with historic buildings and vibrant streetscapes, Hendersonville – half an hour from Asheville – offers many outdoor dining options, as well as unique shops and galleries, along Main Street. Hendersonville’s downtown is part of the Main Street Program, aimed at revitalizing central business districts across the country through historic preservation, attention to design, and thoughtful recruitment of businesses.
Knoxville (116 miles from Asheville) is a treasure trove of history. Tour Civil War-era homes, take historical tours, or visit the Museum of East Tennessee History for interactive exhibits as well as regional art, textiles and Civil War artifacts. Downtown’s Market Square district features 19th-century buildings with shops and restaurants, along with award-winning theaters and music venues.
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