Day Trips! Plan a Day Trip Adventure in Western North Carolina

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Are you trying to fit a couple of day trips in? NC mountains, small towns, hiking trails, and waterfalls should definitely be on your to-do list when creating your itinerary for your upcoming day trips in WNC. Here is our list of popular year-round day-trip destinations in Hendersonville, Asheville, and Brevard for families. This list includes everything from museums for kids to outdoor activities and much more! Plus, it’s just a short drive to all of these destinations from Upstate, South Carolina.

This article includes:
Day Trip Ideas: Asheville, NC
Day Trip Ideas: Brevard, NC
Day Trip Ideas: Hendersonville, NC
Day Trips in North Carolina Parks

This guide is intended as a reference. While we will update it as necessary, the prices and hours listed here should always be verified by checking the official websites.

NC Arboretum Greenhouse
Greenhouse at the NC Arboretum

Day Trips in WNC: Asheville, NC

Front of Biltmore castle

For more fabulous things to do and places to eat in Asheville, NC, don’t miss our Guide to Asheville, NC.

Biltmore Estate

Hours: Vary by attraction.
Shop, dining, and other location and activity hours vary.
Holiday hours will be listed on the website.
Admission: Admission to the Biltmore House for adults (16 and up): start at $79.
Prices vary based on season and events
Youth under 16 are free from May 26th through September 4th, 2023.
Note: Discounts are available on the Biltmore website for advance purchase tickets.
Website: Biltmore Estate
KA review: Travel Review on Biltmore.

Asheville Botanical Gardens

Hours: Garden: Open dawn to dusk, 365 days a year
Visitor Center: Open most afternoons (varies by month; see website for details)
Admission: Free (donations encouraged)
Website: Botanical Gardens

Asheville Museum of Science

Hours: Sunday: 1 – 5 pm
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday: 10 – 5 pm
Tuesday: CLOSED
Admission: $10 per person. Children 2 & under Free
Website: Asheville Museum of Science

Folk Art Center

Hours: Open daily: 10 am – 5 pm
Admission: Free
Website: Folk Art Center

Grove Park Inn

Visit Asheville’s historic inn for overnight accommodations, dining, craft beer options, special events, or just to tour. One of Grove Park Inn’s most recognized events is the National Gingerbread House Competition.
Website: Grove Park Inn

Visiting during the holiday season? Learn why visiting the Grove Park Inn during the Christmas season will become your new family tradition!

North Carolina Arboretum

Beautiful gardens, with many water features and paths to roam. Kids will love the working model train outdoor display (April – October only). The garden is found close to the entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hours: 8 am – 9 pm | Building and special exhibit hours vary
Admission: Free (parking costs $16 per personal vehicle)
Website: North Carolina Arboretum

Splasheville in Pack Square Park

Pack Square Park is a 6.5-acre public park in downtown Asheville. It houses Splasheville, a play place of water fountains that is exciting for kids of all ages.
Hours: Fountain: 9 am – 8:30 pm during warm weather.
Admission: Free
Facebook: Asheville Parks & Recreation

Cougar at the Western North Carolina Nature Center
Western North Carolina Nature Center

Western North Carolina Nature Center

Hours: 10 am – 3:30 pm daily | Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day
Admission: Adults: $13.95 // Youth (13-15): $13.95 // Children (3-12): $9.95 // 2 and Under are free
50% off admission with Greenville Zoo membership (subject to reciprocal membership agreements which can change at any time).
Website: KA Family Guide to the WNC Nature Center
Western North Carolina Nature Center

French Broad Chocolate Factory Tour

Hours: Wednesday – Saturday @ 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm
Monday – Tuesday @ 11 am & 1 pm
Tours: $12/adult; $8/child ages 7 – 12; Free for ages 6 and under
Website: KA review of French Broad Chocolate Factory

Zen Tubing

Hours: Check the Zen Tubing website for specific hours and days open. Subject to change frequently
$30 per person with tube. Bring your own tube for $25 per person
Website: KA review of Zen Tubing

Day Trips in WNC: Brevard, NC

Sign in downtown Brevard, North Carolina

Spend a day in Brevard, North Carolina. You may even catch of glimpse of a white squirrel!

Downtown Brevard

Visit downtown Brevard for a pleasurable scene of art, dining, and shopping. Both Main Street and Broad Street house historic buildings and shops.

Cradle of Forestry

Hours: April – November; Wednesday – Monday from 10 am to 5 pm
$3-$6 per person
KA review of the Cradle of Forestry

Tubing near Greenville, SC
Tubing on the Davidson River

Davidson River Tubing

Hours: Open daily, Memorial Day weekend – September; 10 am – 7 pm
$8 per tube, cash only
KA review of Davidson River Tubing in Brevard, NC

Looking Glass Falls

Hours: Daylight hours, daily
Admission: Free
Website: Looking Glass Falls

Sliding Rock

Hours: Memorial Day – Labor Day: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Open 365 days a year for viewing and sliding at your own risk
Admission: $5 per person
Website: Sliding Rock

Day Trips in WNC: Hendersonville, NC

Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC.

Learn why Hendersonville is known for its historic streets, unique shopping, and fantastic dining options in this handy guide.

Visit Our Apple Picking Guide for our report about apple picking in the Hendersonville area, including popular destinations such as Sky Top Orchard.

Carl Sandburg Home
Carl Sandburg Home

Carl Sandburg Home and Goat Farm

Hours: See alerts for the latest hours. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day
Admission: Free to visit grounds, trails, and barns
Guided house tours: Thursday to Sunday at 11 am, 12 pm, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm
Website: KA review of the Carl Sandburg home
Carl Sandburg Home and Goat Farm

The Park at Flat Rock

Hours: Open dusk to dawn, daily
Free park for the public
KA review of The Park at Flat Rock

Jump Off Rock

This scenic overlook is easy to access and has an interesting legend that has been passed down for around 300 years. Hiking and picnic spots are also nearby.
Note: Some of the hiking is a little steep for young children but the overlook itself is easily accessible.
Admission: free
Website: Jump Off Rock

Hands On! Children’s Museum

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9 am – 5 pm
Admission: Adults & Children $10 + tax
Website: KA review of Hands On! Children’s Museum
Hands On! Children’s Museum

Jackson Park in Hendersonville, NC

Hours: 7:30 am to 11 pm every day
Free inclusive park
KA review of Jackson Park

Hugging a llama at Ellaberry Llama Farm in Hendersonville, North Carolina
Ellaberry Llama Farm

Ellaberry Llama Farm

Hours: Open year-round, Contact the farm directly for hours and reservations
$20 per person; Llama hikes are between $50 – $75
Contact or 828.606.3577 to make reservations
Website: KA review of Ellaberry Llama Farm

Holmes Educational State Forest

Hours: March through October 31
Tuesday-Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday 11 am – 6 pm

November through February
Tuesday-Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday & Sunday Closed

Admission: Free admission
Website: Holmes Educational State Forest KA Review

Kidsenses Museum

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 9 am – 5 pm
Admission: Adults/Children: $8
Website: Kidsenses Museum

Jeter Mountain Farms

Hours: Mid July – August; Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
September – October, Thursday and Friday from 10 am to 3 pm
September – October, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm
Free to visit the farm, but prices for activities and u pick vary.
KA review of Jeter Mountain Farm

Bullington Gardens

Hours: June – August for the annual fairy garden through the gardens
The fairy market is mid June – August
Open year-round
Monday – Saturday; 9 am to 4 pm
Admission: Free, donations accepted
KA Review of Bullington Gardens

The fairy market at Bullington Garden
Bullington Garden Fairy Market

Day Trips in NC Mountains: National and State Parks

Chimney Rock

Hours: Vary by season (see website)
Admission: Adults (over 15): $17 | Children (5-15): $8 | Under 5: Free
Website: KA review of Chimney Rock

DuPont State Forest

DuPont State Forest includes Triple Falls, High Falls, Hooker Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wintergreen Falls, and Grassy Creek Falls. You can mountain bike, hit the hiking trails, and play in the river here.
Website: KA review of DuPont State Forest
DuPont State Forest

Lake Lure Beach and Water Works

Check the website for updates on 2023 hours of admission

Hours: 10 am– 6 pm in the summer (weather permitting)
Admission: Adults (over 12): $10 | Children (4-12): $8 | Under 4: Free
Website: KA review of Lake Lure Beach; KA review of Lake Lure flowering bridge

Nantahala National Forest

Enjoy camping, hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, and more in the 531,000-acre Nantahala National Forest.

Learn more about Bryson City, North Carolina near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will find lots of awesome things to do there in our handy guide!

Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest is over 500,000 acres, which includes trails, waterfalls, picnic areas, camping, scenic drives, and the Davidson River (an excellent place for tubing).

Cradle of Forestry: Historic Site and Discovery Center

Hours: Wednesday through Monday, 10 am to 5 pm
Website: KA review of the Cradle of Forestry

Whitewater Falls

Highest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains
Hours: Dawn until dusk, daily
Admission: $3 per vehicle with less than seven passengers or $1 per person for more than seven passengers
Website: Whitewater Falls

What day trip destinations in Western North Carolina would you add to our list?

About the Author
Katherine is a mom of two, local music teacher, and fresh bread enthusiast. You can usually find her reading with her kids, cooking, or playing games with her husband. She also strives after the elusive Clean House, but is frequently thwarted by small minions.

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[…] you can just take that membership or your Zoo membership and also plan a visit to the Western NC Nature Center in November too. It always seems like this is the time of year that my family ends up there and […]

[…] Chimney Rock State Park […]