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

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Are you looking to explore 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 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

This article includes:
Cities to Explore in WNC
Seasonal Things to do in WNC
Educational Adventures in WNC

Cities to Explore in WNC

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!

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 spend a beautiful Day in Brevard, NC, with recommendations for dining, shopping, and more!

Clyde, NC

Head to Buffalo Creek to stay in a decommissioned caboose on a buffalo ranch! They also have an amazing model train buseum, 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 rich history to explore while dining, shopping, or hanging out in a yurt! This small town even has one of the most memorable winter events a child could ask for, the Polar Express!

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.

Visit Cherokee, NC

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. Our Ultimate Guide to Things to do in Asheville has everything from holiday festivities to day trip 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 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 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

Snow Tubing at Wolf Ridge


Take a ride down the French Broad River with Zen Tubing
Get lost in the botanical gardens at Biltmore Estates Gardens

Walking to the water with tubes
Zen Tubing in Asheville


Be amazed by the colors of fall foliage throughout WNC
Get lost in the Elida Corn Maze
Pick pumpkins right off the vine at Nix’s Pumpkin Patch in Hendersonville
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
Fall tubing at Black Bear tubing

Pumpkins at Nix
Nix Pumpkin Patch in Hendersonville

Educational Adventures in WNC

Learn and visit with 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

Western North Carolina Nature Center in Asheville

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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