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Posts Tagged ‘Outdoor things to do’

LushAcres Farm: Historical Farm Offers Playground, Strawberries, and Seasonal Fun

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LushAcres Farm, about an hour from Greenville, SC, is a pretty fascinating place that has animals, a playground, and lots of fun seasonal activities. 

LushAcres Farm is set on more than 300 acres and has been in existence since around 1875. They have a really fascinating history and have combined over a century of farming with agritourism and taking care of children who need it most. 

Jumping pad at LushAcres
Jumping pad at LushAcres

About LushAcres Farm 

LushAcres Farm in Clinton, South Carolina, is an extension of Thornwell, a large non-profit connected to the farm that takes care of foster children, vets and aids foster families, and has two schools on campus. Their mission is to directly prevent child abuse and neglect and make sure every child knows they are loved.

Thornwell began its mission in 1875 when they started housing orphans after the Civil War. During the Great Depression, LushAcres fed its residents and others nearby with the harvests from their crops. And now they support the children in foster care through events at the farm, their farm market, their strawberry patch, and their seasonal activities. 

The Farming Side of LushAcres 

The farm grows many types of vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, corn, strawberries, pumpkins, and peppers. They have u-pick strawberries in the spring, which are deliciously sweet and juicy due to the soil the plants are grown in. 

strawberries at LushAcres
Strawberries at LushAcres

The farm also has a beef share and raises the cattle from start to finish of the entire process. The cattle are all grass-fed and you can contact the farm to arrange to purchase a beef share.

They raise their own chickens and have a host of other barnyard animals for the public to see like adorable, fluffy alpacas, goats, and even Highland cows.

Be sure to stop by the farm market for fresh produce, meat raised on the farm, and goodies from local vendors like soap, candles, honey, and pickled vegetables.

U-Pick Strawberries

The strawberry fields at LushAcres are gorgeous and the berries look oh-so-good and juicy. The soil is exceptionally rich here so the berries turn out to be sweet and juicy.

The farm is currently open (as of April 12, 2024) for u-pick strawberries. They are $18/gallon. Always check their Facebook page or Instagram or call before you go as the weather can affect their u-pick field. 

Also, they do have wheelchair-accessible strawberry picking available. There aren’t many berries yet but the plants are at an accessible height and wheelchairs are able to use the path to get there. 

accessible strawberries at LushAcres
Accessible strawberries at LushAcres

Agritourism at LushAcres

A big part of the LushAcres Farm experience today is their agritourism. The farm hosts a Spring Festival (May 4, 2024 from 10 am – 5 pm), a Fall Festival every Saturday in October, and a Corn Maze After Dark experience near Halloween. They also have u-pick strawberries in the spring and offer field trips for schools. 

The farm has a big playground with the biggest and best corn pit I’ve ever seen, a gaga ball area, a big slide and wall climbing spot, tires to run on, basketball hoops, a jumping pillow, and swings made of tires. There’s also a large picnic area. 

For those who want a little extra fun, gem mining is available as well. My kids and I had a blast on the playground and I made some snow (corn?) angels in the corn pit. The playground is open whenever the farm market is open so this is a great spot to pick up local food and berries while the kids play!

LushAcres Corn Pit
LushAcres Corn Pit

The barnyard is open as well where you can see chickens, cows, goats, and two ginormous pigs. 

Fun fact: they have a therapy cow where foster children who need a little extra confidence when learning to read can go read to. The therapy cow is non-judgemental and loves to hear stories while the kids gain confidence. Win-win. 

Visiting LushAcres Farm 

You can visit LushAcres when the Farm Market is open, which is Tuesday – Friday from 9 am – 5 pm and Saturdays from 9 am – 1 pm. 

LushAcres playground
LushAcres playground

You can also check them out during special events like the Spring Festival on Saturday, May 4, 2024 from 10 am – 5 pm. Admission is $12/person and kids ages 2 and under are free. They will have local vendors, food trucks, and the playground and strawberry patch will be open. 

Proceeds from events and the farm market go right back into supporting the children at Thornwell and their foster care mission. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a foster family, visit Thornwell’s website.

Sunday-Monday Closed
Tuesday-Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Saturday 9 am to 1 pm

LushAcres Farm
1875 W. Maple Street Extension, Clinton, SC 
Lush Acres Farm Website

pick your own strawberries near Greenville, SC

Find more strawberries!

Where to pick strawberries near Greenville

This Mountaintop Chapel is One of Greenville’s Most Beautiful Spots

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Maybe you’ve seen stunning photos of this mountaintop chapel and wondered exactly where it was. Maybe you’ve heard of Pretty Place, South Carolina but have never been. Well, we know exactly where it is and have experienced the utter amazement of this beautiful spot and are here to tell you all about it.

Pretty Place Sunrise
Pretty Place Sunrise

Video: Take a Peek at Pretty Place

Pretty Place

The actual name of this chapel is called the Fred W. Symmes Chapel but it goes by the more common name of Pretty Place, which I think everyone can agree is quite fitting. It is on the private property off Camp Greenville, which is owned and operated by the YMCA of Greenville. If you send your child to their summer camp, they’ll get to go here often.

Pretty Place is an open-air chapel that overlooks the Carolina Piedmont at 3,200 feet. It’s just one of those places that is difficult to put into words because of the incredible beauty that emits from the mountaintop there.

Camp Greenville has existed since 1912 but Pretty Place was built much later, in 1941, thanks to Mr. Fred Symmes. It was renovated in 2012 and 2018.

The inscription on the large beam overlooking the mountains in front of the giant cross is from Psalm 121. This is the full verse with the inscription italicized: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.”

Visiting Pretty Place

Camp Greenville graciously lets the light of Pretty Place shine and is open to the public when not otherwise in use, which is most Saturdays and Sundays, especially during warmer weather when it’s wedding season. Go Google “pretty place” and “wedding” and you’ll want to get married there, or go find someone to marry solely to get married at Pretty Place.

Pretty Place is open daylight to dusk, schedule permitting, and is the perfect place to capture a beautiful sunrise. The roads are typical windy mountain roads to get up there so during the wintertime, it’s important to check the weather before you head out. It’s about an hour from Greenville.

Need to Know Before You Go

It is imperative that you check the public schedule online before you go. Check it the night before. Check it the morning of. You won’t be able to get it if it is closed for a private event. Find the Pretty Place schedule online here.

Bathrooms: There are no restrooms on site between December 1 and March 15 so plan accordingly. There are port-a-potties other times of the year.

Pretty Place is crazy popular for sunrises. I got there on a Good Friday morning about 15 minutes before sunrise and had to park down the street a half mile and walk to the chapel. Normally, there is no hike as there’s a parking lot next to the chapel. There were probably about 500 people there so be sure to allow plenty of time before sunrise if you need to walk a bit.

Visiting Pretty Place is free of charge but of course, they do accept donations.

No alcohol, pets, or smoking are allowed.

Visitors are asked to be respectful. For me, the mountains always bring a sense of peace and solitude. It’s no different at Pretty Place. The vast mountains, the breathtaking scenery, the reminder of the chapel as a place of prayer – it’s all peaceful.

Don’t litter. Pick up after yourself. Be a decent human.

Have you been to Pretty Place?

100 YMCA Camp Road, Cleveland, SC
Pretty Place Website
Pretty Place Facebook

Things to Do Outside Near Greenville, SC

Looking for more outdoor fun? Here’s your ultimate guide to things to do outside near Greenville, SC.

Where to Go Ice Skating Near Greenville, SC

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Searching for ‘where to go ice skating near me’? While I’m far from being the next Olympic ice skater, I like to try my hand at it every year and luckily there are plenty of places to go ice skating near Greenville, SC! So lace up your skates, grab your coat, and have fun sliding around at one of these top ice rinks near the Upstate.

Ice on Main Skating
Winter Guide to Greenville, SC

Looking for more winter fun? Here’s your ultimate guide to experiencing winter in Greenville, SC.

The Pavilion Recreation Ice Skating, Greenville, SC

The Pavilion Recreation Complex’s ice rink is open year-round! You can free skate during public skate times or take lessons.

The Pavilion Recreation Complex Ice Skating Pricing (pricing does not include tax):

  • Kid (12 & under) – $7.50
  • Adults (13+) – $9.50
  • Seniors (55+) – $7.50
  • Skate or Walker Rental – $4.25

Read Kidding Around’s review of the Pavilion Recreation Complex.

Ice Skating at Whitewater Center — Charlotte, NC

Mid-November through mid-February (check website for dates)
The Whitewater Center opens their 24,000+ square foot ice rink every year. There are four distinct skating areas with two ice trails and two free skate zones.

Find out all about Whitewater Center Ice Skating in our Kidding Around Charlotte review!

Whitewater Center Ice Skating Pricing:

  • Included with All-Access Pass
  • $25 Single Activity Day Pass

The Ultimate Guide to Fun with Kids in Charlotte, North Carolina

Want more ice skating options? Plan a day trip! These ice skating rinks near Atlanta are still open for winter 2024!

Ice on Main, Greenville, SC

November 15th, 2023 – January 15th, 2024 (CLOSED 2024)
United Community’s Ice on Main opens every year mid-November and is open 7 days a week through mid-January. Located at Village Green next to the Courtyard Marriott, kids (and grown-ups) of all ages ice skate in the heart of downtown Greenville.

Ice on Main 2023 Pricing:

  • Adults – $10
  • Children – $8
  • Under 2 – Free

Read Kidding Around’s review of Ice on Main to get more information.

Founders Holiday Ice Rink – Rock Hill, SC

November 18th, 2023 – January 15th, 2024 (CLOSED 2024)
Founders Holiday Ice Rink is located in the heart of Old Town across from Fountain Park in Rock Hill, SC. It’s a popular place to lace up your skates this holiday season.

Founders Holiday Ice Rink Pricing:

  • $15 | 90-minute session 

Guide to Visiting York County, South Carolina

Where’s your favorite place to go ice skating near Greenville, SC?

Roller skating rinks near Greenville, South Carolina

Rolling skating more your thing?

Roller skating rinks: Greenville, SC

Places to Enjoy Go-Karts: Greenville, SC

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If you are thinking about spending an afternoon racing go-karts, Greenville, SC has a couple of venues nearby that offer indoor or outdoor karting. So, grab the kids for a bonding session, your significant other for a date, or your arch nemesis for a karting throwdown. Either way, check out this list of places where you can go karting in the Upstate.

Karting venues in Greenville, South Carolina

22+ Fantastically Beautiful Places for Kayaking: Greenville, SC

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If you’re wondering “Where are the best and most beautiful places to kayak near me?”, then we have you covered! Kristina enjoys kayaking with her kids and lists out some great places to get on the water kayaking in Greenville, SC and the Upstate.

Great places to go kayaking near Greenville, South Carolina
Lake Robinson

I can’t remember where my love of kayaking started but it’s been such a fun activity for my family in the Upstate that we go often in the summer.

I’ve been kayaking with my two kids since my youngest was about three years old. Admittedly, I was nervous the first time I took them out but once I got the hang of it, we had a blast.

I rented tandem kayaks (a double kayak with a jump seat, perfect for little kids) the first few times I went out with them but then got my own Perception tandem…and then bought a couple more.

I go every chance I can. So, if you love kayaking, Greenville, SC has plenty to offer!

If you like to SUP (stand-up paddleboarding), this list will be helpful also!

Tips for Kayaking With Kids

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure everyone wears a PFD (personal flotation device). This is for the safety of all. PFDs are a hot topic in the kayaking community but it’s not a chance you want to take when kids are involved. Places that rent kayaks will almost always have them available.
  • Bring enough snacks and water. Smaller kids can’t paddle and you’ll need to occupy them if they get fussy if you can’t find someplace to beach the kayak and let them get out and play around in the water.
  • Bring sunscreen and reapply it often. I’ve gotten sunburned more times than I should have.
  • Have a map of the lake/river, whistle, and first aid kit for safety reasons.
  • Research the area ahead of time to know if you need a permit to kayak and if you can swim in the lake or not. We tell you here what we know about each location.

Lastly, Paddle SC is a great, local resource for paddling in the Upstate.

Places to Kayak Near Me: Upstate, South Carolina

Lake Placid in Paris Mountain State Park

No private boats on Lake Placid but canoe and kayak rentals are available for a small fee. You can also swim there. The lake is really small and good for a beginner kayaker. Experienced kayakers will get bored.

Fees: Yes, you’ll pay a fee to enter the park unless you have a SC State Parks pass. Rentals are a separate fee.
Address: 2401 State Park Road, Greenville
Distance from Greenville: In Greenville

Saluda Lake

Saluda Lake is a 331-acre reservoir where you can stand up paddle board, kayak, and canoe. You can also rent kayaks from various outfitters at the lake. Launch at Buckskin Road in Easley for free access.

Fees: You can pay around $7 to put in at Fins on Saluda
Address: 605 Motor Boat Club Road, Greenville
Distance from Greenville: miles

Pinnacle Lake and Lake Oolenoy in Table Rock State Park

Pinnacle Lake and Lake Oolenoy, a 36-Acre lake and a 67-acre lake (respectively) with a boat ramp on Lake Oolenoy. Canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats are available for rental on Pinnacle Lake for a fee and you can bring your own kayak to Lake Oolenoy.

This lake is a great kayaking spot and is a nice spot for a beginner’s skill level. Canoeing and kayaking with kids on Pinnacle Lake is a great memory maker!

Fees: You’ll pay a fee to enter the park unless you have an SC State Parks pass. Rentals are a separate fee.
Address: 158 Ellison Lane, Pickens
Distance from Greenville: 40 minutes

Lake Cunningham & Lake Robinson

Lake Cunningham and Lake Robinson, 200-acre and 800-acre lakes (respectively) are very calm and great for beginners. There’s a place to rent kayaks near the entrance to Lake Robinson.

Fees: A boating permit is required and costs $5 for residents per outing or $30 per year.
Address: 2544 Mays Bridge Road, Greer (Lake Robinson); 2844 N. McElhaney Road, Greer (Lake Cunningham)
Distance from Greenville: 25 minutes

Upper Saluda River

Paddling SC has several trips you can take on the 70-mile stretch of the Upper Saluda River around Greenville. The access points at Dolly Cooper Park and Timmerman Road are the ones I see most mentioned in local kayaking groups. A local business, the Saluda River Rambler, will shuttle kayakers and their boats along the river, which is a fantastic option. They also rent yaks!

Fees: None; separate fee for the shuttle
Address: See access points for the Upper Saluda River
Distance from Greenville: Dolly Cooper Park is 15 minutes from Greenville

Broadway Lake

A public boat ramp provides access to the 300-acre Broadway Lake in Anderson. Swimming is permitted.

Fees: $2 per boat launch fee
Address: Between US 76 and SC 28, Anderson
Distance from Greenville: 45 minutes

Lake Bowen

Lake Bowen is a sizeable 1,534-acre with two boat ramps and 33 miles of shoreline. This is a huge body of water, so plan accordingly. Read more about Lake Bowen in our KA review.

Fees: Daily boating fees range from $20-$40 depending on if you’re a resident of Spartanburg County.
Address: 8515 Highway 9, Inman
Distance from Greenville: 40 minutes

Boyd’s Millpond

Boyd’s Millpond is a small lake in Laurens County that is perfect for kayaks since boats with motors no larger than 15 horsepower are allowed here. There is one public access boat ramp.

Fees: None
Address: Boat ramp is at Karl H. Dixon Memorial Park. The park is located on Boyd’s Mill Pond Road just off SC Highway 252.
Distance from Greenville: 45 minutes

Green River

The Green River in Saluda, NC is great fun for a kayaking trip. We went tubing there and lots of people were kayaking, enjoying the smaller rapids. You’ll need to figure out how to get you and your kayaks back to your car though if you kayak this river since it’s a one-way, downstream route. Or you can call one of the local outfitters and arrange kayak rentals or transportation.

Fees: None
Address: Put in at Fishtop Access, 2302 Green River Cove Rd, Saluda, NC 
Distance from Greenville: An hour

The Green River in Saluda, North Carolina
Green River

Lyman Lake

Lyman Lake is part of Spartanburg County Parks, kayakers are welcome to explore the water here. Boating is by permit only.

Fees: The fee for the watercraft is $60 a year for Spartanburg County residents, $120 a year for all other in county in-state residents
Address: 200 Lyman Lodge Rd
Distance from Greenville: 35 minutes

Lake Rabon

You can kayak at Lake Rabon but no swimming is allowed.

Fees: Permits are required for boating- $35 for non-county residents
Address: The entrance to Lake Rabon is located on State Highway 252 in western Laurens County, approximately 5 miles from the Laurens District 55 High School, which is on US Highway 76.
Distance from Greenville: 45 minutes

Lake Russell

Access the lake on the South Carolina side through Calhoun Falls State Park, which has a boat ramp. Swimming is permitted.

Fees: You’ll pay a fee to enter the park unless you have a SC State Parks pass and you’ll need your own kayak.
Address: 46 Maintenance Shop Road, Calhoun Falls
Distance from Greenville: An hour and 20 minutes

Lake Craig in Croft State Park

You can use your own kayak or rent one at Lake Tom Craig at Croft State Park. See what Maria thought about Croft State Park. Swimming is not permitted.

Fees: You’ll pay a fee to enter the park unless you have a SC State Parks pass
Address: 450 State Park Cross Road, Spartanburg
Distance from Greenville: One hour

Congaree Canoe Trail

Paddle through the scenic river, water trails, and floodplains at Congaree National Park in Columbia and see all kinds of wildlife like snakes, maybe a wild hog or two, turtles, owls, and even gators. Put in at the Kingsnake Trailhead or take a kayak tour with Carolina Outdoors. Read our review of Kayaking in Congaree National Park.

Fees: None
Address: 100 National Park Road, Hopkins
Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Congaree Canoe
Congaree Canoe Trail

Lake Issaqueena

This lake is part of the Clemson Experimental Forest. Reader Emily alerted us to the location of the boat ramp:

“The boat ramp for Issaqueena Lake is on Issaqueena Lake Road. It’s a dirt road. I would suggest going in on the Six Mile side. It’s not very far from the entrance of the road on that side. There is a creek crossing if you go in from the Central side. My VW Jetta can make it through the whole path so it’s not anything crazy that requires 4wd, although it would make the drive easier.”

Fees: None
Address: Old Six Mile Road, Clemson
Distance from Greenville: An hour

Lake Keowee

This 18,500-acre mountain Lake Keowee offers it all – boating, kayaking, fishing, and swimming. It’s a developed lake, which means there are tons of homes on the lake, which means a lot of boat traffic. Just be aware of this if you’re trying to kayak and don’t like big wake waves.

You can access Lake Keowee at several boat ramps around the lake plus through South Cove County Park, Mile Creek County Park, High Falls County Park, and Keowee-Toxaway State Park. Swimming is permitted.

Fees: There are fees for county park access but nowhere else.
Address: See this link for boat ramps and access points
Distance from Greenville: At least an hour depending upon which boat ramp you use.

Lake Hartwell

Head to Lake Hartwell State Park for kayaking, where you can put in at one of the two boat ramps. Kayak rentals are available from local outfitters at the lake. This is also a really popular lake for larger boats so kayakers just need to be aware of the implications of wakes and other issues that present themselves when lots of boats are around. Swimming is permitted.

Fees: Small fee per person to enter the state park unless you have an SC State Parks pass
Address: 19138-A Hwy 11 S, Fair Play
Distance from Greenville: 45 minutes

Lake Cooley

Lake Cooley is a 330-acre reservoir that has a boat ramp for private kayaks. You can also rent a kayak at the Lake Cooley Outdoor Education Center. Learn more in our KA review of Lake Cooley. Swimming is not permitted.

Fees: The boating permit fee is $40 a year for Spartanburg County Residents, and $80 a year for all other instate county residents.
Address: 100 Cooley Dock Road, Inman
Distance from Greenville: 35 minutes

Kayakes at Lake Cooley in Spartanburg, South Carolina
Lake Cooley

Oconee State Park

Oconee State Park offers a swimming area and a lake to go kayaking. You can also rent kayaks and canoes. Read what a local mom thought of Oconee State Park.

Fees: Small fee per person to enter the state park unless you have an SC State Parks pass. Rentals are a separate fee.
Address: 624 State Park Road, Mountain Rest
Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Lake Murray

There are three public boat ramps to Lake Murray through Dreher Island State Park. This is a busy lake so kayakers need to be careful when it comes to watching out for boats and large wakes.

Fees: Fee per person to enter the state park unless you have a SC State Parks pass
Address: 3677 State Park Road, Prosperity
Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Kids playing on the shores of Dreher Island in South Carolina
Lake Murray

Sesquicentennial State Park

Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia, SC has a small lake that’s perfect for trying out the sport. You can even rent kayaks at the park for just $5.

Fees: Park admission (free for State Park Pass holders, or $6 for adults and $3.75 for kids) plus $5 if renting a kayak.
Address: 9564 Two Notch Rd, Columbia SC 29223

Lake Lure

Where parts of Dirty Dancing were filmed, Lake Lure is just an hour from Greenville but feels a world away with the beauty of the area. There is a small beach there as well as boat ramps. You can also rent kayaks and other boats/paddleboards.

Fees: Non-motorized boat permits are $25/day or $50/week
Address: 2948 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure, NC
Distance from Greenville: An hour

Lake Tugalo

A beautiful lake on the border of South Carolina and Georgia that is calm and serene. You can swim there. The boat ramp is also used by the whitewater companies to pick up the rafters so it’s fun to see all of them there (but it makes for less parking since they use big buses). Also, the road to the ramp is dirt so it’s a little rocky.

Fees: None
Address: Tugalo Boat Ramp, Bull Sluice Rd, Long Creek
Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Lake Jocassee

If you love kayaking, Greenville, SC has one of the best spots to get out on the water within driving distance. If you made it through this list, then congratulations, you get to learn that Lake Jocassee is the best place to kayak in our area (if not the whole state). When I am looking for places to kayak near me, It’s my favorite.

It’s a lake of stunning beauty with a rainforest climate, that can’t be beat! The water is clear as can be and swimming is permitted. There are five boat ramps and public access is through Devils Fork State Park. You also can rent kayaks from local outfitters.

Fees: There is an entry fee per person to enter the state park unless you have an SC State Parks pass. Rentals are a separate fee.
Address: 161 Holcombe Circle, Salem
Distance from Greenville: 90 minutes

Lake Jocassee

Looking for more water fun?

Upstate Lakes for swimming, boating, fishing and more!

Here are Upstate SC lakes if you need some other options for water recreation.

Where is your favorite place to kayak near Greenville, SC?

The Mary Black Rail Trail in Spartanburg, SC

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Are you looking for a new place to stretch your legs out and get some exercise in Spartanburg, SC? The Mary Black Rail Trail offers residents and visitors to downtown Spartanburg more than just an urban hiking trail. It’s a spot that will even appeal to kids of different ages & interests.

The Mary Black Rail Trail in Spartanburg, SC
The Mary Black Rail Trail in Spartanburg, SC

The Mary Black Rail Trail

Just under 4 miles in length, this converted train track trail is a popular spot for locals to run, walk, jog and bike in Spartanburg. Convenient access from several different spots makes hopping onto the trail easy.

  • The North Trailhead – 295 East Henry Street
  • The Rail Yard – 353 Forest Ave
  • The South Trailhead – Country Club Road
Along the Rail Trail in Spartanburg, SC

Float Leisurely Down the French Broad River with Zen Tubing

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Looking for a relaxing day tubing on the French Broad River? You will certainly find it at Zen Tubing just south of Asheville, NC! Load up the kids and cooler for a tubing adventure. With two tubing options, you can choose to cruise the river through the River Arts District, or through a more natural setting. We have all the info you need the make the day tubing the French Broad River perfect!

Interested in other things to do in Asheville during your trip? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Things to do in Asheville to plan a wonderful day in “The Land of the Sky”!