10+ Free Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC

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How does a day full of totally free things to do in Hendersonville, NC sound? It’s a real possibility. There are so many free, as well as a few very inexpensive things to do in Hendersonville that your whole family will enjoy. Really, these are cool and unique free things to do. Make it one awesome day trip, or make it several fun summer days. Either way, enjoy the gorgeous mountain town of Hendersonville, NC for very little money. Memory-making family adventures don’t have to be expensive!

Fun and Free Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC

Totally Free Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC

Bullington Gardens and the Fairy Trail

What’s better than a beautiful free walk through a blooming garden? Fairies. Fairies are better. And you can have both on the Fairy Trail at Bullington Gardens. Admission is totally free! Check out everything you need to know in our review of the Fairy Trail at Bullington Gardens.

95 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville, NC 
The Fairy Trail is open June 1 – August 31, 2022 from 9 am – 4 pm. 

Fairy house on the trail
The Fairy Trail at Bullington Gardens

Apple Valley Model Railroad

On Saturdays and Wednesdays, you can visit the Apple Valley Model Railroad totally free. Inside this old train station, you’ll find several huge indoor model train displays as well as an awesome outdoor display complete with Thomas the Train.

650 Maple Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Saturdays 10 am to 1 pm
Wednesdays 1 pm to 3 pm

Railroad scene at Apple Valley Model Club

Carl Sandburg Home

The Carl Sandburg Home is a national historic site. You can tour the historic house, home of writer Carl Sandburg, and enjoy the grounds which just happen to include a working goat farm. There are also hiking trails on the property and nearby. Admission is free, so pack a picnic and spend the day.

Baby goats at Carl Sandburg House
Baby goats at the Carl Sandburg Home

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC 28731

Holmes Educational State Forest

Looking for some more hiking and learning opportunities? Check out Holmes Educational State Forest in Hendersonville. It’s free and a great place to spend a few hours or a whole day.

1299 Crab Creek Road, Hendersonville, NC

Helicopter on Display at Holmes Educational State Forest
Decommissioned NC Forest Service helicopter on the Crab Creek Trail at Holmes Educational State Forest

The Park at Flat Rock

The Park at Flat Rock has one of the most amazing playgrounds we’ve ever seen. Plus, you’ll find a lot of beautiful outdoor garden space to get lost in nature. It’s a sunny area so don’t forget some hats and sunscreen, as well as some snacks and picnics

55 Highland Golf Drive, Flat Rock, NC
Open dawn to dusk

Playground equipment at the Park at Flat Rock

Justus Orchard

Justus Orchard is opening early for the 2022 season! Weekends all summer long Justus will be open, with extended weekday hours during apple season. There’s no admission to enjoy the orchard or playground!

For a fee: When they are ripe, U-pick blackberries will be available, as well as apples. You can purchase cider slushies and cider donuts all summer long. The jumping pillow will also be open for a fee.

Justus Orchard
187 Garren Road, Hendersonville, NC

Justus Orchard playground
Justus Orchard playground

The Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County

Learn about geology and paleontology for free at the Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County. The museum footprint is small, but the amount of things to see is not! You’ll see and learn about fossils, coral, gems, minerals, rocks, and a lot more. We enjoyed the fossil dinosaur egg nest, the T-Rex head fossil, and the arrowheads particularly. Admission is free, but you can also purchase geodes to be cracked open on-site, which is pretty fun.

Don’t miss the fluorescent rock and mineral display. It is behind the black curtain to the right as soon as you walk into the museum. The button to run the lights and narration is a doorbell-shaped button on the right. You have to press it to see the rocks glow! Do not skip that part. They don’t look at all cool until you press that button!

400 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC 28792
Open Monday through Friday from 1 pm to 5 pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm.

Henderson County Heritage Museum

Learn about the history and heritage that made Hendersonville what it is today inside the Henderson County Historic Courthouse. You can visit the Henderson County Heritage Museum for free.

1 Historic Courthouse Square, Hendersonville, NC
Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm.

Henderson County Heritage Museum

TIEC Saturday Night Lights

The Tryon International Equestrian Center’s Saturday Night Lights is a Kidding Around favorite. So, even though this venue isn’t technically in Hendersonville, it still makes our list. It’s just 35 minutes outside Hendersonville and totally worth it. You won’t believe all the free things they have to do, in addition to watching the horses. Check out our full Kidding Around Review of Saturday Night Lights at the Tryon Equestrian Center.

Window Shop and Stroll on Main Street

Take a walk in Downtown Hendersonville! Do some window shopping and be sure to pop into Kilwin’s for a sample. Also, don’t forget to check out the front windows of Team ECCO Aquarium and spend a few minutes watching the tortoises eat and explore their habitat. If you’re lucky, you may even catch the volunteers bringing the tortoises out for some sun on the sidewalk.

“Bearfootin’ in Hendersonville” Public Art Display

While you’re walking about Main Street, enjoy the “Bearfootin’ in Hendersonville” public art display. These decorated bears all over Hendersonville are super cute and make great photo opportunities. Make sure to snap a selfie with your favorite!

Western North Carolina Air Museum

Check out cool old aircraft at a hanger beside an operating small airport at the Western North Carolina Air Museum. Volunteers are on hand to answer questions and tell you about the planes. You can learn about the planes and watch others take-off and land! Admission is free.

Wednesdays and Saturdays open 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays open 12 pm to 5 pm
1340 Gilbert Street, Hendersonville, NC

Scenic Views and Hiking at Jump Off Rock

Drive to the top of the mountain for scenic views at Jump Off Rock. This is a great spot for picnics and a bit of hiking. There are three short trails available and they vary in difficulty, covering rocky areas, and densely wooded areas. Its very pretty and worth the short drive from downtown Hendersonville.

 4433 Laurel Park Highway, Laurel Park, NC

Cheap and Very Cool Things to Do in Hendersonville

Team Ecco Aquarium

The coolest little aquarium you’ll ever visit, Team ECCO is totally worth a stop in Hendersonville, NC.

Admission is cheap at $6.75 per person ages 5 to 65. Under the age of 5 is $4.75 and over 65 is $5.75. Teachers, EMTs, police, and firefighters get in for $4.75.

511 North Main Street, Hendersonville, NC
Open 1 pm to 4 pm Thursdays through Saturdays

Appalachian Pinball Museum

Admission to Appalachian Pinball Museum is actually totally free, but if you want to play the 80+ games in the museum you’ll need to pay a flat $12 fee. You can stay all day and play pinball and arcade games on historic and modern machines.

538 North Main StreetHendersonville, NC
Hours: Sunday and Monday 1 pm to 6 pm, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 2 pm to 9 pm, and Saturdays 12 pm to 9 pm

Mini-golf at Boyd Park

Play mini-golf at Hendrsonville’s Boyd Park for just a few dollars. This is the last summer for mini-golf at the park, but don’t worry, a new course is planned for a nearby park. Cost: Adults $3 per round, kids (under 18) $2 per round, and kids 2 and under are free.

840 North Church Street, Hendersonville, NC
Hours vary by season. Boyd Park Mini-golf hours

Fireside Golf

Fireside Golf has a driving range, mini golf course, batting cages and more. The driving range is an affordable family outing if you have your own clubs. A bucket of balls costs $10 to $12. A round of mini-golf will cost you a little more here, but folks really like this pretty course. Mini-golf costs $9 for adults, $6 for kids and kids under age 5 are free.

485 Brookside Camp Road, Hendersonville, NC

About the Author
Maria Bassett is a former school orchestra teacher, turned homeschool mom. She and her husband homeschool their 3 sons and 1 daughter, who range from 4th grade through 9th grade. Believing children learn best when they are engaged and having fun, this family loves to take their homeschool on the road, around Greenville and beyond.

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