Load up the kids and head to Asheville, North Carolina, the edgy, artsy, and inviting mountain town where you’ll find something fun to do around every bend! Asheville is the ultimate playground, with an almost unlimited selection of adventures it’s an ideal destination for active and family-friendly getaways.
What makes Asheville a great destination for kids? Luckily, I spend summer months in Asheville which gives me time to dig a little deeper and get the inside scoop on the best attractions, places to eat, and things to do in Asheville with the kids.
So, check out these 15 tips for kid-friendly family fun, and some of the attractions are pet-friendly too!
1. Asheville Pinball Museum is tops on the list primarily because many locals don’t even know about it. More arcade than a museum, pay a flat $15 fee, $12 for kids 10 and under, and play as much as you like from the collection of over 80 pinball and classic video games without any quarters or tokens needed.
2. Asheville is a great place to access the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway for incredible views of the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains. Pack a picnic and stop off at any of the numerous observation areas to soak in the beautiful mountain vistas.
4. Don’t miss Sliding Rock, an awesome natural water slide, also in the Pisgah National Forest just north of Brevard. There are 2 observation platforms and lifeguards are on duty during the season. This is one place where you’re invited to “take the plunge” down a 60-foot slippery cascade into the 50-60 degree, 7-foot deep pool. Entry is $3.00 per person for sliders and observers.
5. Try tubing, paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing on the French Broad River with French Broad Outfitters.
6. Explore the local flora and fauna at the free Botanical Gardens of Asheville with an Investigation Passport for the kids (ages 4 – 10) that you can pick up at the garden’s visitor center. Then, round out the day with a trailside picnic on the provided benches and tables, or bring a blanket and make your own spread.
7. Borrow a geocaching packet, a discovery day pack, join a Wee Naturalist Program or just take a hike to explore the beautiful cultivated gardens and miles of nature trails at The North Carolina Arboretum. Many trails are leashed dog-friendly too.
8. Bring anything you can bang and join the lively Friday Night Drum Circle (starts around 6 pm in Pritchard Square Park April – October.) Watch people dance to the thunderous rhythm of the dozens of drums, or better yet, join in by playing or dancing!
9. Take a blanket and stake out a spot for great free outdoor music at Saturday evening’s Shindig on the Green. In its 53rd year, Shindig on the Green is the place where locals and visitors alike come together downtown around sundown, about 7:00 pm for those who wear a watch and goes until around 10:00 pm. Concessions are available. This is a no-frills way to experience the music and dance traditions of Southern Appalachia.
10. Kids of all ages love cooling off at Splasheville, Asheville’s interactive water fountain located downtown in Pack Square Park. With arching sprays of water that fly up randomly, this is a perfect way to get soaked and cool off. The fountain generally runs daily from 9 am to 9 pm April through November.
11. Head to nearby Bryson City and view the scenic mountains from a vintage train ride on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.
12. Take little ones on a rainy day to Mountain Play Lodge, a super-fun indoor playground and party place.
13. Head over to McCormick Field and take in a baseball game with the Asheville Tourists. The Tourists play in the Class A South Atlantic League and are a farm team of the Colorado Rockies. There are many great promotions throughout the season, so you’re sure to find something to suit your style.
14. Stop by for delicious and hand-crafted vegan, gluten-free, goat’s milk or regular ol’ ice cream in luscious flavors at The Hop. Check the schedule of weekly children’s events too.
15. Plan on spending an entire day at the pet-friendly Biltmore Estate to take advantage of the extensive grounds, restaurants, as well as a house tour. There’s a farm, children’s maze, horseback and bicycle riding, and lots more family-friendly activities. Don’t skip the house tour which is so over the top even the kids will appreciate it.
Asheville is such a fun city to visit with plenty to do with your little ones. Have you visited other kid-friendly attractions in Asheville that are super fun? Let me know in a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to the blog!
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