Kidding Around WNC: A Guide to Things to Do in Western North Carolina

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Are you looking to explore towns in Western North Carolina? From the foothills and the Smoky Mountains to the High Country, WNC is packed with family-friendly things to do. Whether you are looking for hiking recommendations, unique towns in Western North Carolina to spend the day, or waterfalls to awe over, WNC has something for everyone. Our list of places to explore, seasonal happenings, and educational adventures will help your family plan the perfect day trip, or a weekend getaway, to Western North Carolina.

Kidding Around WNC: things to do in Western North Carolina towns

Towns in Western North Carolina To Explore

Hendersonville, NC

Located just north of the SC state line, Hendersonville has an abundance of things to do. Home to dozens of orchards, snow tubing adventures, and even a fairy garden, this WNC town is worth the day trip! Find everything you need to have a wonderful trip in our guide to Things to Do in Hendersonville!

Things to Do in Hendersonville, North Carolina

Brevard, NC

If you’re interested in basking in nature while breaking out the binoculars to search for Blue Ghost fireflies or observe white squirrels, then Brevard North Carolina is the place to go. Check out our handy guide to spending a beautiful Day in Brevard, NC, with recommendations for dining, shopping, and more! There are excellent hiking trails, mountain biking close by, and there are even places to go fly fishing.

Spend the day in Brevard, North Carolina.

Clyde, NC

Head to Buffalo Creek to stay in a decommissioned caboose on a buffalo ranch! They also have an amazing model train museum, playground, luxury cabins, and lots of animals. Definitely an awesome family trip.

Caboose rentals in North Carolina
Caboose rentals

Bryson City, NC

Home to the Smoky Mountain Railroad, this historic town offers train rides and a rich history to explore while dining, shopping, or hanging out in a yurt! Bryson City, NC even has one of the most memorable winter events a child could ask for, the Polar Express! You will find hiking nearby in the Great Smoky Mountain National Forest in addition to several pieces of the Appalachian Trail winding in out and out of the area north of here.

Polar Express Bryson City, NY

Cherokee, NC

In tune with the natural world, Cherokee is rich in Native American history and culture that can be experienced firsthand. Situated just west of Maggie Valley, the natural beauty carved by the Oconaluftee River makes Cherokee a top WNC destination. Plan a Day (or More) in Cherokee with this handy article, including places to eat, stay, and visit as you immerse yourself in the Cherokee and Oconalufee culture.

Cashiers, NC and Sapphire Valley

Full of natural splendor, the Cashiers area of Western North Carolina offers breathtaking views, hiking, swimming, and waterfalls. It is the Land of the Waterfalls for a reason! We have everything you need to know to have an epic adventure in our Ultimate Guide to Sapphire Valley and Cashiers, North Carolina.

Asheville, NC

Asheville is one of the most popular destinations in Western North Carolina, and for good reason! A day trip can instantly turn into a weekend getaway due to the vast amount of fun activities to explore. Asheville is both family-friendly and romantic, just in case you are looking for a weekend away from the kids. Plus, there are stunning mountain views just north of the city at Black Mountain or on the Blue Ridge Parkway nearby. Our Ultimate Guide to Things to Do in Asheville has everything from holiday festivities to day trips and date night ideas!

Front of Biltmore castle

High Country Region

This mountainous region located just north of Asheville is home to Grandfather Mountain and towns such as Boone, Banner Elk, and Blowing Rock. The region offers otherwordly landscapes, mountainous adventures, and more. If you are an adventurous spirit, the High Country is the perfect place for you!

Ladders at Grandfather Mountain

Seasonal Things to Do in Western North Carolina

Winter in WNC

Visit the NC Arboretum Holiday Lights from November through December.
Be amazed by the beauty of Christmas at Biltmore.
Be tempted by prize-worthy Gingerbread Houses at Grove Park Inn at Christmas.
Ride on the Craggy Mountain Jingle Bell Trolley.
Search for the spirit of Christmas on the Polar Express.
Glide down the mountain at Wolf Ridge Snow Tubing.
Go snow sledding at one of these places in WNC.
Linda’s Plants & Shrubs in Hendersonville is the place to go for FREE holiday fun.
Spend the day enjoying the holiday season in Asheville, NC.

Snow Tubing at Wolf Ridge

Summer in WNC

Float down the French Broad River with Zen Tubing.
Get lost in the botanical gardens at Biltmore Estates Gardens.
Zip through the trees at Asheville Adventure Park.
Take a waterfall tour on Lake Glenville in Cashiers, NC.
Enjoy the gorgeous views while swimming at Lake Lure!
Experience the height of summer in bloom at this Flowering Bridge at Lake Lure.
Swim in an emerald lagoon at Midnight Hole near Bryson City.
Search for fairies through Bullington Gardens each summer starting in June.
Kids ride free on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad every summer.
Enjoy Saturday Night Lights at the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Explore the Cradle of Forestry in the Pisgah National Forest.
Try to catch a glimpse of the Blue Ghost Fireflies in Pisgah National Forest.

Walking to the water with tubes
Zen Tubing in Asheville

Fall in WNC

The off-season in WNC is a great budget way to have fun!
Be amazed by the colors of fall foliage throughout WNC.
These fall vacation rentals are excellent for fall leaf peeping.
Get lost in the Elida Corn Maze.
Check out the Shadow of the Bear in mid-October every year.
Grab a bushel of apples and some cider doughnuts at one of these WNC orchards.
You can go tubing without the snow at Black Bear Tubing.
Follow the yellow brick road through the Land of Oz each autumn.
Spend a cool autumn day at Jackson Park in Hendersonville, NC.
Hike to the tippy top of Chimney Rock for the best views ever!
Get your apples, pumpkins, and more at Jeter Mountain Farms.
Pick pumpkins right off the vine at Nix’s Pumpkin Patch in Hendersonville.

Pumpkins at Nix
Nix Pumpkin Patch in Hendersonville

Educational Adventures in WNC

Learn and visit native species at the WNC Nature Center.
Pan for gold at Lucky Strike in Marion.
Enjoy these Home Schooling Ski Deals.
Visit a bonsai garden at the North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville.
Learn about free verse poet Carl Sandburg at his WNC home in Flat Rock.
Be amazed by historic planes at the Western North Carolina Air Museum in Hendersonville.
Explore one of the largest estates in the US at Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
Excite your senses at KidSenses Children’s Interactive Museum in Rutherfordton.
Play while learning at the Hands on! Children’s Museum in Hendersonville.
Learn about chocolate production while tasting at French Broad Chocolate Factory in Asheville.
Play pinball while learning its history at this Vintage Pinball Museum in Hendersonville.
Help keep WNC waterfalls clean while learning about nature with Waterfall Keepers.
Enjoy the outdoors while learning at the Cradle of Forestry.
Learn about farm animals while getting to pet them at Brackett Town Farms in Nebo, NC.
Have an outdoor adventure at Holmes Educational State Forest.

Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville

Events in WNC

april, 2024

What is your favorite place to visit in WNC?

Erin Gorges
About the Author
Erin is a Greenville, South Carolina native who loves taking her two young daughters on adventures around the Upstate. Erin enjoys gardening, hiking, and dabbling in DIY projects. Her favorite things to do with her husband and kids include sensory activities, swimming, playing with their dogs, and exploring the local state and national parks.

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