How to Spend a Fall Weekend in Asheville, NC (with or without the Kids)

Plan a memorable fall weekend with or without the kids.
Asheville brims with independent shops, farm-fresh eateries, and a distinctive mountain vibe (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)
Photo: ExploreAsheville.com

Asheville is an ideal spot for a weekend getaway, especially in the fall when the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains are bursting with autumnal color. People come from far and wide to enjoy this mountain town in North Carolina, where outdoorsy activities abound for all ages and there are all kinds of good things to eat and drink, too.

Things to do in Asheville in the Fall

For a fall memorable weekend escape (with or without the kids), here are five can’t-miss things to do in Asheville.

1. Visit the Biltmore

Visiting the Biltmore Estate is one of the top things to do in Asheville (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)
Visiting the Biltmore Estate is one of the top things to do in Asheville (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)

You can live like a Vanderbilt (at least for a day) when you tour the Biltmore Estate, a 250-room French Renaissance chateau dubbed “America’s Largest Home.” From October through early November, the autumn leaves are at their peak colors, both at the Biltmore Estate and the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.

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In addition to the jaw-dropping mansion itself, there are 8,000 acres of grounds and gardens to explore at the Biltmore Estate (visiting the special fall floral displays in the formal gardens are one of the best things to do in Asheville this time of year). Biltmore tickets also include admission to Antler Hill Village, where the kids enjoy visiting with farm animals and watch blacksmithing demonstrations, and the adults can sample reds and whites at the Biltmore’s winery.

2. Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville sits near the southern end of this nearly 500-mile route that travels through the Appalachian Highlands in North Carolina and Virginia. Frequent pull-offs and overlooks offer scenic vistas that will have you reaching for your camera or inspire you to pull out your picnic blanket.

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You’ll also encounter starting points for hikes ranging from short treks to cascading waterfalls (try Skinny Dip Falls or Graveyard Fields) to harder climbs that pay off with sweeping views (like the Mount Pisgah or Fryingpan Mountain Tower trails). It’s free to drive the parkway, and whether you spend an hour or a day, the fall foliage and gorgeous landscapes won’t disappoint.

3. Drink craft beer

The vibrant craft beer scene in Asheville boasts dozens of local brews that can be sipped on a crisp autumn day, ideally outdoors while enjoying pleasant temperatures and fall foliage. Head to OG local brewery Highland Brewing for seasonal sips like the Clawhammer Oktoberfest Märzen lager and its Gaelic Ale, dubbed “Asheville’s first beer.”

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Or try Wedge Brewing Company‘s two locations in the eclectic River Arts District, offering indoor and outdoor seating and a wide selection of beers. And while it’s not strictly local, the Sierra Nevada taproom in the Asheville area offers a forested setting well-suited for autumnal imbibing. Most breweries in Asheville are family-friendly, with lawn games and outdoor space to help keep the kiddos entertained.

4. Admire the local art

Shopping in Asheville (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)
Shopping in Asheville (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)

Cooler temperatures make fall an ideal time to stroll Asheville’s funky River Arts District. More than 200 artists create here in studios situated in historic buildings along the French Broad River. The whole family might be enthralled by a glass artist at work, hardwoods being turned into bowls and furniture, or a ceramist sitting at the potter’s wheel.

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Another artsy thing to do in Asheville is visiting the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway, which showcases jewelry, pottery, textiles, and other pieces made by artists and craftspeople of Southern Appalachia. Catch some of those artisans at work during daily demonstrations in the lobby from March through December.

5. Enjoy quintessential fall activities

Trail running in Bent Creek (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)
Trail running in Bent Creek (Photo: ExploreAsheville.com)

Indulge in some quintessential fall activities by visiting an Asheville-area farm. Head to the Orchard at Altapass or Sky Top Orchard for some apple picking, fall-themed eats (apple cider doughnuts, anyone?), and scenic views. Or stop at Cane Creek Valley Farm for pick-your-own produce or flowers followed by an ice cream cone or milkshake.

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Tours, goat meet-and-greets, and cheese tastings are on offer at Round Mountain Creamery, while Sideways Farm and Brewery serves beers made with ingredients grown on-site and hosts food trucks on weekends. There’s also a Sunday Brunch Market on the first and third Sunday of the month from May through October.

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Beth Luberecki
Beth Luberecki is a Florida-based freelance writer who writes about travel, business, and lifestyle topics for a variety of publications and websites. She enjoys exploring destinations close to home and farther afield with her husband and teenage daughter. Visit her website at bethluberecki.com or find her on Instagram at @bethluberecki.

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