If you appreciate vibrant art, mother nature, and craft beer – this is the place for you! Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville provides endless adventure for any age. While you could spend weeks here, we suggest three days for a quick jaunt to explore this hotspot.
This bustling scene is a melting pot of art, architecture, culture, craft beer and a food scene that rivals any city in the country. With more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the U.S., Asheville was first named Beer City USA in 2009.
Maybe best known for the jaw-dropping Biltmore Estate, we discovered that even without a visit to George Vanderbilt’s country home, Asheville is a city brimming with opportunities for young families.
We have compiled a list of the three A’s: Accommodations, Adventures, and Appetite! If you have any questions about Asheville or our trip please shoot us an email!
Located in the heart of Downtown Asheville, we stayed at the Cambria Hotel. This is THE place to stay – it is within walking distance of everything downtown (over 100+ restaurants) and has views that are unbeatable. At checkin they gave us champagne – now that is one awesome way to be welcomed!
The boutique accommodations are modern, sleek, and spacious. The staff was inviting and friendly, always making conversation with our children (this was huge for us). Our room was always clean and they put our kiddos stuffed animals front and center of the beds each day. We had panoramic mountain views – it was hard to close the blinds each night.
This hotel served as a convenient jumping off point for exploring the city on foot – which was helpful to easily walk off all the calories we consumed (haha just kidding – not). Valet parking is available in an attached garage for $17 per night.
On the fourth floor is Hemingway’s Cuba which is where we ate breakfast al fresco every morning. You will think you are in Cuba until you see the Blue Ridge Mountain skyline! Delicious Cuban food with an Asheville flare and a fun atmosphere made this a great way to start our mornings.
Devil’s Courthouse Hike – Located at milepost 422.4 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, this hike has a short but strenuous trail climbing a half-mile to its peak with wonderful panoramic mountain views of four states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Half is paved, other half is gravel and rocks. We carried both children up in carriers, on the way down our 4 year old completed it herself.
Sliding Rock – About 45 minutes outside of Asheville, this 60 foot mountain water slide that ends in an 8 foot deep pool of 50 degree water (brrrr). We had a great time – there is a “slow” side and a “fast” side. There is a very long line in peak season but it moves fairly quickly. This is fun activity for the whole family, though my daughter would not go a second time because of the water temperature!
Looking Glass Falls – Only 2 miles from Sliding rock, this is one of the most popular and beautiful waterfalls in North Carolina. This roadside waterfall is just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard, NC. Great area for the kiddos to play in shallow water, but it is very rocky so bring some water shoes.
Highland Brewing – Yes, this is a brewery, but is also an adventure. We came to Highland on our way into Asheville because they were having a kid’s festival. There was face painting, live music, a bounce house, and hula hoop acrobats – it was a lot of fun for everyone and the beer is great!
River Arts District (RAD) – Multiple studios are housed under one roof in a former tannery, a cotton mill and other manufacturing and agricultural facilities – experiencing the work of more than 180 artists an accessible adventure. Be sure to check the times, we arrived a bit early and only a couple were open. Highly recommend – our girls are very into art and one of the artists allowed all their artwork to be touched (bonus – we got to go into his studio which was amazing!).
Wake Foot Sanctuary – This was a new one for me – I was able to sneak away from the kiddos for an hour and have a spa experience all to myself. Oh. My. Gosh. GO HERE! I haven’t been so relaxed on vacation in a long time! I fell asleep briefly, if that says anything about how comfortable I was. They put your feet in a hot soak tub, serve you tea, and allow you to relax and unwind with a warm neck pillow (oh and the awesome massage as well). Super cute store with essential oils, body scrubs, and delicious cookies/chocolates. Do yourself a favor and make an appointment!
Lexington Glassworks – Something about glass blowing puts me in a trance. We were so excited to visit here, but sadly the glass blowers were on lunch break so we did not get to watch anything – their work is amazing though!
Sierra Nevada – Yes another brewery – but also quite an experience. We opted for the self-guided tour and it was a good way to see everything with the kids. The most amazing part is at the very end – the packaging. It wasn’t even running (be sure to go weekdays before 5pm closing) and I was in awe of the complexity of it all! They have a restaurant, outdoor garden, concert facility, and small children’s play area with sand (though it is not shaded and was very hot).
Early Girl Eatery – We came to this restaurant for my birthday and it was SO good! They use local ingredients to create delicious Southern-inspired comfort food, and they serve breakfast ALL day – yes please! I highly recommend Early Girl Eatery to anyone visiting Asheville, the food is delicious, the staff is friendly and attentive, and they are super kind to littles (they got crayons and coloring sheets). They also have little cakes they sell which are divine – happy birthday to me! Try the bacon gravy, seriously, just do it.
Hemingway Cuba’s – Located on the fourth floor of Cambria Hotel they serve delicious Cuban food with an Asheville flare. Large portions and beautiful views go together very well in our book 🙂 At night this was a great place to grab drinks and watch the sunset over the mountains.
Wicked Weed Brewing – This is a happening spot and was very crowded, if you have kids we recommend going around back to the outdoor space. We did not try the food but it looked good. My husband and I had conflicting opinion on the beer – he enjoyed it, while I was not a fan of several on our flight.
Archetype Brewing – We visited the downtown location and enjoyed some fantastic beer here. The space is rustic and warm, it is very welcoming. We came on a Sunday and there was a men’s bible study group, they were happy to spend some time chatting with our little ones. This is a great event space as well. Might be some of the best beer we had in Asheville!
Asheville Pizza & Brewing – Great food, hoppy beer, a full bar, and a huge covered patio made this a fun place for dinner. Our girls decided to talk to every person they saw with a dog (A LOT) and we enjoyed some of the best pizza we have ever had in NC – the Magnum P.I.E (ham, bacon, pineapple & a coconut crust… drool).
Aloha Cafe – We came here because I was craving a poke bowl – and it exceeded my expectations! Delicious food and kind people.
Dolly’s Dairy Bar – Looking for something sweet after Looking Glass Falls & Sliding Rock? This is your place – our kids were about done after a LONG morning of adventure, so why not have ice cream for lunch?!
Oskar Blues Brewery – Close to Looking Glass Falls in Brevard – they have a big outdoor patio and food truck. We enjoyed stopping here after a fun day exploring the outdoors.
White Duck Taco Shop – This place is a great culinary experience – the tacos come out quick and with a double tortilla. Great atmosphere and vibe to this place, and great prices as well!
Until next time…