With rustic cabins, intimate restaurants and gorgeous mountain ranges, Asheville, North Carolina, is perfect for a romantic getaway. But, after the kids come, it’s also a great family vacation destination, too. There are plenty of kids attractions, including indoor playgrounds, interactive museums and enough outdoor activities in Asheville for kids that they will be too exhausted to throw any tantrums. So, if that sounds like a dreamy family vacation, read on for the best things to do in Asheville with kids.
Kids Attractions in Asheville
Visiting the historic Biltmore Estate should be high on your list of things to do in Asheville with kids. America’s largest home was built by George Vanderbilt in the late 1800s, and it sits on 8,000 gorgeous and kid-friendly acres. Be sure to buy the kids’ audio guide to the Biltmore House, which is narrated by the family’s Saint Bernard Cedric. Bonus: admission for kids 16 and under is free—and they get free grape juice at the winery. So, be sure to have a well-deserved glass (or two) at the nation’s most-visited winery.
Sneak in some learning with your family fun at Asheville Museum of Science. This small but mighty hands-on kids attraction has a STEM lab, dinosaur and fossil dig and special section just for toddlers.
Take a walk on the wild side at WNC Nature Center. The zoological park has regional wildlife like otters, reptiles, coyotes and American black bears. Plus, it hosts great kid-friendly events, including ones that are sensory inclusive.
Mountain Play Lodge is a great indoor playground in Asheville. It offers a mini Asheville, giant six-slide jungle gym and two themed party rooms. The playground is accessible for adults, so you can get in on the action, too.
Best Restaurants in Asheville for Kids
One of the best restaurants in Asheville for families is Tupelo Honey Café. Southern fare includes shrimp and grits, chicken and biscuits and fried green tomatoes. And, both locations have a fantastic kids menu sure to please even your pickiest eater.
The family will love visiting Double D’s Coffee and Dessert. It’s housed in a 1963 double-decker bus from England. Here you can get coffee to fuel you through a day of exploring Asheville with family, as well as smoothies, ice cream and baked goods.
Biscuit Head isn’t just a clever name. Its Southern biscuits are literally that huge. There’s lots of biscuits and gravies to choose from (including ones that are gluten-free).
For some Carolina ’cue beloved by locals, hit Luella’s Bar-B-Que. There are two locations in Asheville. Everything is yummy, but make sure the kids aren’t wearing white that day!
Try Asheville’s version of Minnesota’s beloved cheese-stuffed burger at Juicy Lucy’s. In addition to the ones on the menu, there’s a special one every month. Plus, there are wings, pork, salads and a kids menu. Save room for one of their specialty or adult shakes or the coconut “hamburger” cupcake.
Best Hotels in Asheville for Kids
The Biltmore isn’t just a great family-friendly attraction in Asheville. With three different overnight accommodations, it’s also one of the best hotels in Asheville for kids. Free guest activities include movies, bonfires, morning yoga, hikes and tours. Plus, there are kids menus at all Biltmore estate restaurants.
The more casual Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate has a Summer on the Farm package with breakfast, bike rentals and exclusive farm experiences. The whole family can craft, meet farmyard animals, gather eggs and take a wagon ride.
Omni Grove Park Inn is another great family-friendly hotel in Asheville. It has indoor and outdoor pools, tennis, guided history tours and more. Plus, its Kids Crew program gives them milk and cookies your first night, coloring menus at its restaurants and a backpack full of goodies to keep them occupied. More importantly, its gigantic subterranean spa is kid- and device-free so you can truly recharge.
Another accommodation for your family vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains is Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds. Stay in a one-, two- or three-bedroom cabin where amenities include fireplaces, hot tubs, kitchens, a movie library and games. In addition, the property has playgrounds, a trout pond, streams, waterfalls and gardens.
Outdoor Activities in Asheville For Kids
Being surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains means there’s lots of outdoor activities in Asheville for families. For instance, take a scenic drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, making sure to stop at its many overlooks for great family photo opps. Or, tire everyone out by hiking or biking the many trails in the area. The Hard Times Loop Trail, for example, is actually one of the easier and more family-friendly hikes in Asheville.
If you’re a thrill-seeking family, have a tree-based adventure at Navitat. Get eagle-eye mountain views on the 1,250-foot Tree Top zip line tour. Or, fly up to 65 mph on the 3,600 Mountaintop Tour.
Similarly, Adventure Center of Asheville has KidZip, a tree-top kids attraction for kids 10 and under with nine zip lines and four climbing elements. In addition, the family can also hit the mountain bike park, go whitewater rafting and more.
Gigantic Pisgah National Forest has rivers, waterfalls and endless trails. But, you’ll all love cooling off on Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural mountain slide that ends in a seven-foot-deep swimming hole.
One of the best outdoor family attractions in Asheville is Shindig on the Green. This free music festival has been taking place for more than 50 years at Pack Square Park. The all-ages weekly event has Southern Appalachia music, dancing, storytelling and food.
Also at Pack Square Park is Splasheville. The interactive play fountain has 21 water jets that spray 12 different ways. So, the kids will love trying to outrun the next blast. In addition, the family can hit one of the city’s public pools to beat the heat if visiting Asheville in summer.
Other Things to Do in Asheville With Kids
See if you’ve got a pinball wizard in the family at Asheville Pinball Museum. There are more than 80 pinball machines and vintage arcade games that are free to play with the price of admission. Note: just 80 players are allowed in at a clip, so there’s often a wait.
If your kids are older or not easily spooked, a Haunted Asheville tour is a fun change of pace. The classic family-friendly walking tour goes through downtown and is the only way to access the Asheville Mystery Museum. There’s also a Biltmore Village mystery tour and supernatural tour.
Be sure to visit the River Arts District on your family vacation in Asheville. You can watch artists at work in their studios or take a creative workshop. But make sure to take in all the murals and outdoor sculptures. Bonus: There are lots of places to eat here, too.
Take them out to a ballgame. The Asheville Tourists, the minor-league team of the Colorado Rockies, play at McCormick Field in Asheville.
Turn the kids into treasure hunters at Asheville’s Best Gem Mine. They can pan for semi-precious rocks and minerals at this indoor and outdoor mining facility. The best part? You can get their findings made into keepsake jewelry.
Spend a whole day at Fun Depot, another family entertainment center in Asheville. It boasts indoor and outdoor go-kart tracks, mini golf, laser tag, inflatables, playgrounds, climbing walls and much more.
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