23 Best Things To Do In Asheville With Kids (2024)

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Uncover the best things to do in Asheville with kids, including outdoor activities, museums, and farms. Meet a dinosaur, zipline, and sit in a plane.

Is Asheville for kids and families? You bet! Asheville is a terrific destination and home for families with children of all ages.

From short and easy hikes along the Blue Ridge Parkway to fun museums perfect on a rainy day, families can find something for everyone within any budget.

As AVL locals – and with our good friend and favorite mom blogger, Tori – we are sharing the best kids’ activities in Asheville, NC.

Create lifetime memories full of adventure. Learn new things, and eat delicious food.

Plus, see where you can pet animals, catch a baseball game, and watch sharks eat. Zipline, mountain bike, roller skate, enjoy holiday lights, and pick apples. Let’s get started!

Best things to do in Asheville With Kids with mural of orange monarch butterfly with black outlined on gray wallPin
Uncover the best things to do with kids in Asheville from locals.

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Our Top 5 Picks For Asheville Kids’ Activities:

What do we look for in great kid-friendly activities and attractions? Our families love fun things to do for both younger and older children as well as sunny and rainy day activities. We also aim for mostly budget-friendly and even free attractions. Biltmore is, of course, an exception.

Our top 5 things to do in Asheville with kids:

  • Seeing animals at the WNC Nature Center
  • Exploring the Asheville Museum of Science
  • Enjoying one of the many kid-friendly hikes across WNC
  • Playing arcade games at the Asheville Pinball Museum
  • Apple picking in the fall or watching an Asheville Tourist Game in the spring

Of course, Asheville is full of terrific things to do for all ages. Even as locals, we never grow bored here. We could go for months and even years without repeating an activity just to try new hikes, restaurants, and day trips.

23 Best Things To Do In Asheville With Kids

Each family-friendly activity will share the best age range, type of attraction, budget, and time to enjoy. $$$ will be over $50, $$ is around $17 – 20+, and $ will be $1 to $15+, taking into account add-ons, food, parking, and additional tickets needed.

1. Tour Biltmore Estate

Great For All Ages | Indoor & Outdoor Historic Site & Tourist Attraction | $$$ Tickets | Full To Half Day

If you’re thinking that America’s largest home, full of antiques and breakables, isn’t going to make your Asheville with kids itinerary, think again. Biltmore is a must for us.

Visitors may be surprised to learn just how kid-friendly the Vanderbilts’ Biltmore Estate really is.

Families can spend an entire day at the estate and barely scratch the surface of Biltmore’s family-friendly offerings.

For starters, tour the main house. While young children, especially, may not appreciate the architecture, they will certainly get a kick out of the basement bowling alley, pool, and oversized children’s nursery.

Plus, for slightly older children, there’s an audio tour narrated by Cedric, the Vanderbilt family’s Saint Bernard.

What kid wouldn’t love hearing about Asheville and Biltmore from the perspective of a pet? The audio tours that incorporate storytelling always make us smirk at their cheesy and fun depictions.

Beyond the home tour, families can spend some pent-up energy frolicking through the gardens or on one of the many Biltmore estate trails.

In Antler Hill Village, find Pisgah Playground, Biltmore Farmyard, and scheduled demonstrations that are sure to engage the kids. The baby chicks make us smile.

For kid-friendly Biltmore Estate restaurants and dining, head to Stable Cafe and Village Social. Both feature children’s menus. Of course, grab an ice cream treat at The Creamery.

While the Biltmore is one of the pricier Asheville kids’ activities, it’s more than worth the ticket price for the abundance of value.

As annual passholders, we visit Biltmore frequently. Read all of our Biltmore Planning Guides.

Biltmore | 1 Lodge Street, Asheville NC 28803

2. Meet WNC’s Wildest Animals

Great For All Ages & Younger Children | Indoor & Outdoor Zoo | $ Tickets | 2+ Hours

One of the most popular things to do in Asheville with kids, the Western North Carolina Nature Center showcases the various animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Find animal exhibits, including the American Black Bear, Red Wolf, Red Panda, Bobcat, and more. Enjoy interactive learning exhibits and nature play areas. We love watching the otters somersault in the water and the black bears chill in the sun.

Practice balancing on natural beams, and make music with nature’s instruments. Climb in spiderweb-shaped jungle gyms. The options are endless when nature is your playground.

More kids’ activities include age and grade-appropriate nature packs and activity sheets with scavenger hunts.

If you are a Buncombe County library card holder, get free admission with their ZOOM Pass program.

Read about more of Asheville’s top attractions, especially if you are sightseeing with the entire family.

WNC Nature Center | 75 Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805

3. Hike Along A Waterfall

Great For All Ages | Outdoor Hiking & Waterfalls | DuPont Is Free | 2+ Hours

Adventuring families will love to know that there is no shortage of kid-friendly hikes in the area and that hiking in Asheville with toddlers is indeed possible.

Popular and adaptable for all experience levels, DuPont State Forest offers a multitude of hikes, including the three-waterfall hike.

For newbies, try Hooker Falls, a short hike leading down to a waterfall where kids may splash in the river (there are no lifeguards on duty, though, so exert caution).

You can easily add Triple Falls and High Falls here from the same access area; just be sure to park at “Hooker Falls Access Area.”

Our family made it through all three with a four, two, and one-year-old. While the hiking packs come in handy, much of the trail is feasible for their little feet.

Additional family-friendly hikes in Asheville include:

  • Catawba Falls – 1.5-mile, out and back (temporarily closed for 2023)
  • Bent Creek Experimental Forest & Lake Powhatan – Variety of trails
  • Chimney Rock State Park – Pay to enter; variety of trails
  • Laurel River Trail – Choose your length/mostly flat near Marshall and Hot Springs
  • The NC Arboretum & Biltmore Estate Trails – Pay to enter; variety of trails

Though not stroller-friendly, Chimney Rock has an elevator to shorten your hike and provide easy access to the views. It is a tad frightening at the top if you don’t love heights like us, but the views are incredible.

While we initially visited Chimney Rock for The Last of the Mohicans scenery, as do many others, we enjoyed finding some quieter trails at the top of Chimney Rock.

Read more about all of Asheville’s top hiking trails.

4. Zipline, Mountain Bike, & Climb

Ages 4+ | Outdoor Adventure & Recreation | Free to $$$ | 2+ Hours

Lake Powhatan Hard Times Trail Bent Creek Experimental Forest with lake surrounded by treesPin
Families can enjoy the biking trails around Lake Powhatan.

Just five minutes from Downtown Asheville, the Adventure Center of Asheville offers some of the top-rated adventurous activities in Asheville for kids and teens.

Zipline through the canopies, learn to mountain bike, and climb through the trees in an elevated obstacle course with 77 challenges.

For younger kids, KidZip offers the country’s first zip line for children four to ten years old. Families with children four and over can also take advantage of the various white water rafting tours available.

However, these adventures come at a higher price tag, making this option a nice treat.

Free and easy-to-moderate mountain biking trails include:

  • Bent Creek Experimental Forest
  • The North Carolina Arboretum
  • Swamp Rabbit Trail (Greenville, SC)
  • Biltmore Estate Trails
  • RAD Riverwalk

On the weekends, you’ll catch parents teaching their children how to mountain bike on the easier and shorter trails at Bent Creek Experimental Forest.

Old Fort also opened their new Gateway Trails, which might be great for beginner teens with professional training and hardcore mountain bikes.

The trails are labeled as “easy,” but we find them quite difficult as novices. The switchbacks are honestly a bit terrifying at that speed if you only have basic skills like us.

The Adventure Center | 85 Expo Dr, Asheville, NC 28806

5. Visit A Farm Or Apple Orchard

All Ages | Outdoor Farm | Free & Pay As You Go | 2+ Hours

There is no shortage of thrilling outdoor things to do with kids in Asheville or around the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains.

During the fall, enjoy plenty of seasonal activities, especially if you love farm animals and apple picking.

In fact, apple orchards are a part of our family’s annual fall traditions. We love fueling up with a cider donut or slushie before picking Gala or Jonagold apples for our apple crisp.

Hendersonville – about 45 minutes from Asheville – is known as “Apple Alley.” This is where you’ll find the most (and best) apple orchards near Asheville.

We highly recommend a visit to Sky Top. Sky Top Orchard boasts U-pick apples, an apple cannon, a bee train, hayrides, animals, cider donuts, and a bamboo forest.

Other apple orchards also promise corn mazes and pumpkin patches. We’ve gotten lost in Stepp’s Hillcrest corn maze for well over an hour.

Most orchards have farm stores selling farm fruits and vegetables, gourmet items, and fun fall decor.

Just know that all of the apple orchards stay extremely busy on the weekends. We prefer to go on weekdays, early in the morning.

A few more of our favorite orchards include:

  • Jeter Mountain Farm – They have a large indoor playground for little kids; this is a “luxury” orchard; it’s beautiful and massive
  • Stepp’s Hillcrest – Many church and school groups come here; they have the best corn maze in WNC

Discover more fun things to do in Asheville throughout the month of October. This is when the area sees peak fall foliage. By far, it’s our favorite time of year in Asheville.

Sky Top Orchard | 1193 Pinnacle Mountain Rd, Flat Rock, NC 28731

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6. Play With A Giant Light Bright

Younger Children | Indoor Museum | $ | 2+ Hours

Hands On Children's Museum Hendersonville NC with image of white brunette male with sunglasses and hat in front of their red sign with apple and hand printPin

Looking for baby, toddler, and preschool kids’ activities in Asheville?

Head to Hands On! Children’s Museum in Hendersonville, NC, about 40 minutes from the heart of Asheville.

Discover a giant Light Bright, dress up and perform on the Play Stage, immerse your little ones in the music of the Sound Zone, or let loose in the Imagination Playground.

There’s also a grocery store, post office, vet center, a miniature Kilwin’s Ice Cream shop, a nature nook, and Mt. Hands On, an 850-square-foot mountain and waterfall right inside the museum.

Hands On! is the perfect introduction to WNC.

Asheville for kids doesn’t get any better than this; play and let loose in the museum, and then visit the places that inspired the museum.

Read more about Hendersonville’s museums, restaurants, and attractions.

Hands On! Children’s Museum | 318 N Main St, Hendersonville, NC 28792

7. Stroll & Picnic At The NC Arboretum

All Ages | Park & Garden | $$ Parking Pass | 2+ Hours/Half A Day

For easy-to-access Asheville kids’ activities, The NC Arboretum showcases fun seasonal special exhibits (LEGO installations one year!), botanical gardens, and Winter Lights around the holidays – s’more-making included.

While the floral and tree exhibits will be quite a sight for visitors of all ages, our little ones especially enjoy hiking through Bent Creek, geocaching, and exploring the Nature Discovery Room.

Littles can also join the Arboretum’s initiative, ecoEXPLORE, in which kids discover and document plants and animals at the arboretum and beyond to earn badges across North Carolina.

Whenever we visit gardens and arboretums, we keep our kids engaged with an “eye spy” game. This lets them focus on finding patterns and colors in nature while the adults get to marvel at the natural scenery, as well.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch, and check out the special events to make the most of your day.

From November to January 1st, our family loves the Arboretum’s Winter Lights Festival. Drink peppermint hot chocolate in the gardens at night as holiday lights dance to music.

It’s one of our top winter traditions, sparking all of that Christmas magic. We’ve debated if can make our own garden gnome at home – they are our favorite.

As annual members, grab our guide to learn all that you can do at The NC Arboretum.

The North Carolina Arboretum | 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806

8. Play Arcade & Video Games

Older Kids & Teens | Arcade & Museum | $ Entrance Fee | 1+ Hours

Appalachian Pinball Museum Hendersonville NC with dark room filled with lighted pinball arcade gaming machinesPin
Play vintage pinball machines!

For one of the most unique museums in Asheville for kids and teens (and, OK, adults, too!), head to the Asheville Pinball Museum. This is also the perfect indoor Asheville activity for families.

A play-all-you-wish arcade, this museum offers over 75 retro pinball machines and classic arcade games. Find some of your favorite gaming consoles. We could play Donkey Kong and Frogger all day.

Alternatively, play all day for $10 per person at Retrocade. Find over 5000 video games, pinball, billiards, skeeball, and more.

Know though, that while Retrocade is a fun and appropriate setting in Asheville with kids, after 9 PM it’s an adults-only joint.

While you will usually find hand sanitizer on site, we suggest bringing your own too. This is a more germ-filled activity.

Read more about all of Asheville’s great museums and historic sites that teens might enjoy. A few we recommend not showcased in this article include:

  • Asheville Art Museum – Contemporary and fine art (might be boring for little children)
  • Estes-Winn Antique Car Museum – Cool antique cars and it’s free

Asheville Pinball Museum | 1 Battle Square St, Asheville NC 28801

Retrocade | 800 Haywood Rd #100, Asheville, NC 28806

9. Watch Sharks & Stingrays Feed

Younger Children | Indoor Aquarium | $ | 1.5+ Hours

Vacations with kids can add up. If you are curious about inexpensive things to do in Asheville with kids and the surrounding areas, consider taking a day trip to Hendersonville to check out the Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO.

This is the first inland aquarium in WNC. Children under 2 are free, kids 2-4 are $4.75+, and visitors 5-65 are only $6.75+.

Meander through the majestic ocean life exhibits. Let the little ones get up close with the touch tank. See a shark and stingray feed, or catch the reptiles when they’re brought out for personal encounters.

Aquarium and Shark Lab | 11 N Main St, Hendersonville, NC 28792

10. Rock Out With A Dinosaur

Younger Children | Indoor Museum | $ | 1.5+ Hours

Asheville Museum of Science For Kids with dinosaur bones surrounded by exhibitsPin
Little geologists will love Asheville’s Science Museum.

Exploring Asheville with kids is pretty easy and fun considering that the city is full of family-friendly and interactive museums. Be sure to visit the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) in Downtown Asheville.

Our little science lovers love the hands-on exhibits and scavenger hunts to make navigating the museum engaging and educational.

Become a geologist, dig for fossils, and learn about the French Broad River and its ecology. Afterward, climb and explore the forest-themed indoor playground.

Don’t forget to say hi to the Teratophoneus Curriei, a giant dinosaur skeleton; we don’t think you’d be able to miss him!

Plus, take advantage of the Little Explorers Club, an in-house and free preschool program on the first and third Friday of every month – with ever-changing activities and themes.

Asheville Museum of Science | 43 Patton Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

11. See A Meteorite With T-Rex

Older Children & Adults | Indoor Museum | Free | 30 Minutes+

Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County with white hand holding up a cracked geode with gems insidePin
Pay a small fee to crack your own geode.

You may not think that rocks and minerals will fascinate Asheville’s youngest visitors, but Hendersonville’s Mineral and Lapidary Museum has a way of making paleontology fun.

If you’re looking for Asheville things to do with kids who love dinosaurs, they will especially enjoy the fossil displays.

Encounter dinosaur eggs, a T-Rex skull, a sabertooth cat skeleton, mastodon bone and tusk, and a 6 foot 7-inch tall wooly mammoth bone.

Plus, learn about and see the Hendersonville Meteorite. Marvel at the various geodes, which include a several-foot-high amethyst specimen.

We even cracked our own geode with friends. The suspense of wondering what is inside is worth the fee. Our geode was beautiful!

And, while in this area, don’t miss Hendersonville’s delicious restaurants like Mikes On Main, one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in the Asheville area.

Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County | 400 N Main St, Hendersonville, NC 28792

12. Sit In A Plane

All Ages | Indoor Museum | Free | 45+ Minutes

Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville NC with white brunette woman in old plane with library of plane books in the backgroundPin

If you are heading to Asheville with kids, young and old, the Western North Carolina Air Museum is one of the best free Asheville kids’ activities.

This is the perfect place to get up close and personal with North Carolina’s aviation history. Plus, kids (and adults) can even sit in some of the planes.

With twenty or so aircraft on display, visitors will be happy to know that there are no glass cases or ropes keeping you at a distance. Just watch your head.

Explore a simple, unassuming museum dedicated to preserving flight history and encouraging visitors to get up close and personal with it.

Especially find WWI replica planes as well as recreational aircraft donated over the years. Along with a little library, spy exhibits including ejection seats and model airplanes.

Friendly docents will tell you more about the planes. Buy a fun trinket in the small gift shop, and leave a donation, if you can.

Western North Carolina Air Museum | 1340 E Gilbert St, Hendersonville, NC 28792

13. Climb Through A Jungle Gym

12 & Younger | Indoor Playground | $ | 1+ Hours

Where can you discover a miniature Asheville, complete with a kid-sized Biltmore and a three-part jungle gym?

For indoor things to do in Asheville with kids, head to Mountain Play Lodge.

Let the littles enjoy soft play equipment, climbing obstacles, and a toddler area, all while discovering the magic of Asheville.

Perhaps the kids will be more inclined to enjoy Biltmore Estate once they’re done climbing through the pint-sized version, Cedric the Saint Bernard included.

Jungle gyms are accessible to adults, so join in the fun, and remember to bring socks as they are required.

Mountain Play Lodge | 3389 Sweeten Creek Rd, Arden, NC 28704

14. Laugh Along On A Big Purple Bus

Ages 5 to 12 | Comedy Tour | $$ Tickets | 1+ Hours

LaZoom Comedy Bus Tours Purple BusPin
Did you know that LaZoom offers Lil Boogers Kids’ Comedy Tours?

Wanting to learn more about Asheville’s history, take a guided tour, or sit down for an hour… but worried about entertaining the kids? LaZoom has a solution.

Hilarious and educational, LaZoom’s Lil Boogers Kids’ Comedy Tour perfectly blends comedy and the history of Asheville for kids.

Geared specifically for children 5-12 years old, families will explore much of Asheville while being entertained by comedic skits, zany tour guides, and special guest appearances.

Younger children are welcome as well, and lap children under three are free.

LaZoom Kids Comedy Tour | 76 Biltmore Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

15. Take A Train Ride Through History

All Ages | Museum & Tour | $ to $$ | 2+ Hours

Grab the entire family and take a train ride through history. The open-air train ride is a perfectly unique Asheville experience, especially for those train-loving littles.

Learn about the railway history of WNC, and hop aboard some of the old train and trolley cars.

Two-hour train rides begin at $100+ for a family of four and will increase in price with additional riders.

Plus, if you’re searching for seasonal kids’ activities in Asheville, you’ll find fall-themed events, as well as a Jingle Bell Trolley Ride in December, complete with hot chocolate, cookies, and a visit from Santa.

Craggy Mountain Line | 111 Woodfin Ave, Asheville, NC 28804

16. Slide Down A Waterfall

Older Children | Outdoor Hiking & Adventure | $ | 30 Minutes

Sliding Rock Pisgah National Forest NC with fall foliage, lifeguard platform, and waterfall with railing going up left side of rockPin
Enjoy a natural waterslide in the Pisgah National Forest at Sliding Rock.

Families seeking more outdoor Asheville kids’ activities might be interested in Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterslide in the Pisgah National Forest.

Ride a smooth slab of rock down into an 8-foot pool for a thrilling, natural experience in the heart of the woods. During the summer, the cool 50-60 degree water is the perfect reprise.

What kid wouldn’t line up to try that at least once?

Sliders, including all children, must know how to swim. Kids seven and under must ride with an adult; life jackets are allowed.

While Sliding Rock is open year-round, there is only a lifeguard present from May through September. During this peak season, visitors will be charged $5+ per person. It is free during the off-season.

Sliding Rock is also close to additional family-friendly waterfall hikes including:

  • Moore Cove Falls
  • Skinny Dip Falls
  • Daniel Ridge Falls (the shorter trail; not the loop)
  • Looking Glass Falls (drive/walk-up waterfall)

We especially love catching a surprise rainbow at Moore Cove Falls, and Looking Glass Falls will freeze in the winter. For our family, Looking Glass Falls has that “wow” factor.

Sliding Rock Natural Waterslide | 7851 Pisgah Highway, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

17. Watch Shakespeare In The Park

Old Children & Teens | Outdoor Theater | Free/Donation Based | 1.5 to 3+ Hours

Asheville Shakespeare in the Park Playbill with white hand holding up newspaper material playbill in front of Shakespeare stage with Pericles and Macbeth performed by Montford Park PlayersPin

While not every show is kid-friendly, Shakespeare in the Park, performed by the Montford Park Players, is one of the most fun things to do with kids in Asheville – especially for older teens.

May through October, shows start at 7:30 PM and run Friday through Sunday. They will also occasionally host more family-friendly performances at 5:30 PM like The Sword in the Stone.

Not all shows are written by Shakespeare either, including our favorite, The Little Prince. We most appreciate the kitschy decor and dances. This isn’t your average Shakespeare or theater.

Even better, the event is free – although generous donations are highly encouraged. Sit outside under the stars with a picnic, and bring or rent lawn chairs.

There are on-site restrooms, and we highly recommend this activity for the literary travelers in your family.

Nearby, enjoy all that gorgeous Historic Montford has to offer, including older homes, Free Little Libraries, and parks.

There is a playground and baseball field before entering the Hazel Robinson Amphitheatre. We like to eat at Nine Mile or Tall John’s before attending a performance.

18. Cheer For The Asheville Tourists

All Ages | Outdoor Recreation & Sports | $$ | 3+ Hours

Asheville Tourists Baseball Game with baseball McCormick Field at night with players around the basesPin
Watch the Asheville Tourists play.

Catching a baseball game at McCormick Field is by far one of the best things to do in Asheville with kids, especially if they are sports lovers.

Cheer for the Asheville Tourists, AVL’s minor league baseball team, and try to grab a picture with the furry mascot…or a walking baseball?!

Tickets are budget-friendly, and family members will find souvenirs, craft beer, and all of that deliciously bad-for-you baseball food.

Watch those cheesy in-between-innings and 7th-inning-stretch shows, and stay for as long as you like. Yes, we still do the wave…

We suggest watching a game on a cooler and dry day. It can get hot and steamy in the mountains!

McCormick Field | 30 Buchanan Pl, Asheville, NC 28801

19. Spend A Day At The Lake

All Ages | Outdoor Recreation & Lakes | Free | 1+ Hours

Lake Morse Trail Lake Lure NC with white brunette male in blue shirt and tan shorts on paved path with Chimney Rock in backgroundPin
Plan Chimney Rock and Lake Lure together.

For more kid-friendly things to do in Asheville, Western North Carolina’s lakes provide beautiful picnic spots, walking trails, and boat rentals. Ride bikes or lay out on a mountain beach.

Where should you start?

Beaver Lake in North Asheville is home to a 2.1-mile perimeter trail and bird sanctuary – although there are no restrooms for littles. We love Beaver Lake for its up-close bird encounters and will pack a book to hang out under the trees.

Or, head to Lake Lure near Chimney Rock or Lake Junaluska for boating, fishing, and more. Plus, closer to the summer, a few of these lakes boast mountain beaches, including Lake James State Park.

Of course, please follow all posted rules and keep a vigilant eye on family members around the water. Many of the lakes do not have lifeguards. Some have facilities.

Discover even more terrific day trip itineraries from Asheville for all ages.

20. See All Of The Winter Light Displays

All Ages | Indoor & Outdoor Activities | $ to $$$ | 1.5+ Hours

There are plenty of family things to do in Asheville at Christmastime (November & December). After the fall, it’s our next favorite time of year in the NC Mountains.

Biltmore House lights up for magical Candlelight Christmas Evenings; we enjoy the magical lights and blazing fireplaces. And as mentioned above, The NC Arboretum hosts Winter Lights in the gardens.

From November to January, The Omni Grove Park Inn features its famous National Gingerbread House Competition, serving up hot chocolate with incredible mountain views.

Omni Grove Park Inn Gingerbread House competition in Asheville with dragon and knight scene made completely from gingerbreadPin

We can never believe the level of intricacy of these gingerbread houses. We’ve seen dragons, everyday household pets, Peter Pan and gang, and storybook retellings.

Families across Western North Carolina pile into cars hoping to find and chop the perfect Christmas tree while enjoying cocoa and shopping at holiday pop-up stands.

Of course, the highlight of the season includes those vibrant light displays. Drive through the lights at Lake Julian or head to Tryon for Shadrick’s Christmas Wonderland.

Forest City has been named the #1 Western North Carolina Christmas town, and much of Asheville festively decorates for the season.

21. Spend An Afternoon In The Park

All Ages | Outdoor Parks | Free | 1+ Hours

For outdoor kids’ activities in Asheville, why not head to one of Asheville’s great public parks?

French Broad River Park provides shaded picnic tables, easy walking trails, and a dog park with little and big dog sides. It’s our favorite park to walk along the French Broad River.

Carrier Park promises a playground, easy and paved trails perfect for biking, picnic areas, and even a hockey rink. We head here to rollerskate and rollerblade. The Velodrome is unique and fun – with lanes.

Our overall favorite area for fun, the new RAD Riverwalk in Asheville’s hipster arts district, has bike lanes, picnic tables along the French Broad River, and a wide walking path. Enjoy swinging benches or launch a float down the river.

Of course, just be mindful of the littles around the river. There are no lifeguards, and the water can be dangerous.

And, if you are touring WNC’s towns and cities, the Park at Flat Rock (about a 40-minute drive from Asheville) has a huge wooden playground, picnic areas, and flat walking trails.

Plus, Flat Rock is full of family-friendly things to do, including more hiking, seeing farm animals at the Carl Sandburg home, and nearby museums.

22. Devour Dessert

All Ages | Food & Drink | $ to $$ | 30+ Minutes

Of course, one of the best things to do in Asheville with kids is to eat treats! Grab dessert with the entire family.

For Asheville donut shops, we suggest Vortex Doughnuts in Downtown, Hole Doughnuts in West Asheville, and Duck Donuts in North Asheville.

If you are craving gelato or ice cream, don’t miss Sunshine Sammies for ice cream sandwiches. Or, head to The Hop for ice cream and shakes.

Both have the best vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free options. Plus, The Hop shares a space with Pop Bubble Tea. It’s colorful, sweet, and fun.

Of course, everyone knows French Broad Chocolate Lounge for hot cocoa and truffles, and Asheville Chocolate is our favorite spot for chocolate, coffee, and gelato on a relaxing afternoon.

23. Roller Skate To Music

Younger Children & Up | Indoor & Outdoor Recreation | Free to $$ | 1.5+ Hours

Smoky Mountain Sk8way Waynesville NC rink lit up with black lights, icicle ceiling lights, and red concession stands with purplish floorPin
Spend an afternoon roller skating at the Smoky Mountain Sk8way in Waynesville, NC.

Another one of the best Asheville kids’ activities is roller skating! Plus, skating is making a comeback here in AVL.

As mentioned above, Carrier Park has both a skating rink and “Mellowdrome,” perfect for beginner skaters. Both are largely flat and smooth with minor tree and leaf debris.

However, if you love indoor skating rinks with those colorful strobe lights and trendy music, head to Smoky Mountain Sk8way in Waynesville – about a 45-minute drive from Asheville.

Rent skates or bring your own along with quarters to lock up your personal items.

Thursday through Sunday, the Sk8way offers public skate hours, skating lessons, special events, and even an adults-only skate night. Personally, we love the 80s and 90s tunes. Jock jams, anyone?!

Host a Birthday party, or enjoy the Fun Zone, which features an obstacle course, inflatables, an 18-hole mini-golf course, and an arcade with 40+ games.

Smoky Mountain Sk8way’s cafe serves up kid-friendly food, including pizza, nachos, fries, burgers, and hot dogs. They do not allow outside food and drink.

For more skate-related things to do in Asheville for kids, RAD Skatepark is another great option, filled with ramps and bowls for all levels.

Pay per session, or get a membership. They also offer lessons and a summer skate camp.

Their youngest participants tend to be 5+ – you’ll see more tweens and teens here, though – and it’s OK to drop your children off if you feel comfortable.

Next door, there is also a free, public outdoor skatepark.

Smoky Mountain Sk8way | 9025 Great Smoky Mountains Expy, Waynesville, NC 28786

What are your favorite things to do with kids in Asheville, NC?

What kid-friendly Asheville activities do you love? Do you have any Asheville family traditions? Let us know in the comments.

Tori Curran Explore With Tori white woman with long dirty blonde hair in light blue shirt with baby in hiking pack on backPinPin

Tori Curran

Tori (pronouns: she/her) is a mom to two boys, living in New York but adventuring everywhere, usually with a toddler on her back. She's an avid traveler, nature junkie, and writer, encouraging families to get outside and start exploring the world. When she's not hiking or traveling, you can find her lost in a book, watching Bravo reruns, or obsessively decluttering her home. Tori owns the family and adventure blog, Explore with Tori.

Christine and Tom selfiePin

Christine Frascarelli

Christine (pronouns: she/her) is the owner and lead writer of Uncorked Asheville. After falling in love with those gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Christine and her husband Tom decided to call Asheville, North Carolina home. When her pointy Italian nose isn’t stuck in a book, Christine is adopting all of the kitties, getting lost in the forest, and drinking an ESB. She has a BA in English and History from Smith College, her MLIS from USF-Tampa, and is a former U.S. Fulbright Scholar - Indonesia. Christine also owns The Uncorked Librarian LLC with books and movies to inspire travel.

6 Comments

  1. This was a fantastic list, loved the short and to the point write up on each place. I bookmarked at least half of them on a Google maps list for our next trip.

    1. Hey Karen, Thanks so much. We always appreciate the kind feedback. I hope you have a great visit, and if you have any questions while planning or here, please feel free to drop me an email: [email protected].

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