A destination itself that you can spend days exploring, Asheville is also an ideal home base for immersing yourself in the beauty of the surrounding natural environment and picturesque small-town communities of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Part of what draws visitors and residents alike is the seemingly infinite number of places to visit within about an hour’s drive or less.
On this five-day itinerary, you’ll get a taste of Asheville’s downtown before setting sights beyond the city limits. The journey takes you up the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway toward the charming town of Black Mountain. Throughout the trip, you’ll enjoy Asheville’s most fantastic southern hospitality, incredible cuisine, the option to take a tour, and of course, one (or more) of the area’s many local craft brews.
Itinerary / 5 DAYSPLAN YOUR TRIP
DAY 1Hello, Asheville
For a taste of Appalachia (and maybe a little something to bring home), grab a pulled pork and collard greens sandwich or other lunch option at award-winning chef John Fleer’s The Rhu, a café, bakery, and grocery. History buffs can spend the afternoon learning about Asheville through architecture and stories on one of History@Hand’s walking tours. Or for those who love comedy, consider LaZoom Comedy Tours.
You’re eating downtown tonight, at the rooftop restaurant Hemingway’s Cuba. Arrive before sunset to savor the view and one of their famous Cuban daiquiris as you make the most difficult decision of the day—what to eat. In case Hemingway’s gets you in the mood for more alfresco libations, this is just one of many rooftop bars in downtown Asheville such as the especially charming Antidote at Chemist Spirits, which features old-style cocktails. For multiple libations and three different views of the city, book an experience with Asheville Rooftop Bar Tours.
DAY 2Choose your own outdoor adventure
For something a little more easygoing, take the scenic route through Pisgah National Forest toward the famous natural waterslide Sliding Rock with its adjacent Looking Glass Falls. There is no hike required to access the slide or see the falls, and this can be a pretty popular site, especially on weekends so we recommend visiting on a weekday.
After some time outside, you’ll probably want to grab a beer. Head to one of Asheville’s great microbreweries, like Forestry Camp, set in a building that once housed young forestry workers in the New Deal-era Civilian Conservation Corps. Alternatively, visit the Highland Brewing Company, regarded as the founding brewer of the local beer scene.
DAY 3Goodbye, city life
After all that shopping, refresh yourself with a glass of hard cider from Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery. Last but not least, stop in for some southern-style “casual fine dining” at the old Red Rocker Inn with homey dishes like buttermilk fried chicken breast and grilled Carolina mountain trout. The Victorian-style house has been a part of the Black Mountain landscape since 1896.
DAY 4Happy trails, yall
For something more low-key (and delicious), head out on the W.N.C. Cheese Trail. The trail includes a total of 17 Appalachian cheesemakers and farms, and you can visit up to six. Consider starting at Round Mountain Creamery in Black Mountain, and making your way back with stops at Blue Ridge Mountain Creamery, Looking Glass Creamery, and Hickory Nut Gap Farm.
If you prefer a beautiful drive instead, take the Blue Ridge Parkway toward Mount Mitchell the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. Here, you’ll enjoy some of the most stunning views in the Blue Ridge Mountains, making for prime selfie backdrops.
For dinner, savor local seafood and ingredients at Que Sera including dishes like white cornmeal fried oysters and steak frites.