This has always been one of our favorite spots in North Carolina, and it still is. Here is a quick rundown of our trip and the things we love to do in Asheville for the entire family:
First off, I used to enjoy road trips, but with kids, it is definitely something that requires as much planning as flying, except I don't have to limit the stuff I carry.
Also, before you head out, check the websites of the places you plan to visit to make sure all waivers are complete (for kids) and tickets purchased. This will save you tons of time for fun instead of waiting in lines. Make sure to pack a cooler full of snacks and fruits (make it fun: add things out of the norm), download movies to watch offline, bring toys and mark rest stops and parks for the entire family to stretch and get the wiggles out. We also found that being closer to downtown or the Biltmore to be helpful to maximize fun, and minimize the time in the car/looking for parking.
Our first stop in Asheville was the Mountain Play Lodge. After a long drive, this is the perfect stop for the entire family to unwind before checking into your hotel.
A parents dream: you can actually sit and enjoy a beer or coffee, bring your laptop to finish your office work, or play with the kids. They also have a separate area for babies to play. It’s an immaculately well-maintained facility. My little one enjoyed it so much during our visit we went twice. Bring your socks (needed only inside the kid’s area), and if you’ve forgotten them because you are wearing those cute sandals, they have plenty of cute socks to purchase.
Then it was time to check into the hotel. The entire family was exhausted from the drive, so we headed for the easiest thing we could agree on ...PIZZA. So our favorite pizza place is Barley's Taproom, but we decided to break out of the box and try Standard Pizza Co. Standard Pizza Co. is family friendly, and while you wait for your pizza, you can enjoy shuffleboard, foosball, ping pong tables or corn hole. It was very loud like being in a high school gym, so if you are looking for a quiet place, this is not it. Also has high chairs for the babies and beer on tap for adults. If they don't have what you desire to quench your thirst.... walk right next door to Hi-Wire Brewery and grab a six-pack for the room.
The next day we are up early to explore more of Asheville. Our first stop was to explore Biltmore Village. Biltmore Village is a cute area, that resembles a small village with lots of cute shops (National retailers and independent shops) and restaurants.Our favorite restaurant was Corner Kitchen, but check ahead of time for hours and expect a wait. Also, if you are in search of a unique pair of glasses or sunglasses, don't forget to pop into L'Optique. Cute shop with a fantastic selection of exclusive eyewear. They also have a second location downtown.
Our favorite stops in Biltmore Village
- Corner Kitchen
- The Biltmore (we did this in the past, but great if this is your first time visiting Asheville)
After breakfast and exploring the Biltmore Village, we hopped on the Grayline Trolley. The trolley was totally worth the money, and tickets were good for 2 days. My little one was all smiles, I think he thought he was on the trolley like in Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. There are 10 stops, so grab a map for all stops, and you can hop on and off at each, explore the area and hop back on at the same stop or another stops on your map. This was definitely a fun way to explore downtown and learn the history of Asheville.
One of our stops was Pack Square, where we enjoyed a craft show, local ice cream, and a cool down at Splashville, a splash play fountain downtown in Pack Square Park. So make sure to pack extra clothes for your little one. Park has restrooms. Perfect for getting dried off and dressed to hop back on the trolley. Forgot to pack the clothes take a walk on the Urban Trail. A story told, thru art. Another fun way to explore Asheville, the first stop on the Urban Trail is Pack Square.
We hopped on and off at various stops, but if you plan on checking out the River Arts District specifically, I would suggest driving there, as there was lots of construction, and few sidewalks in this area, so the walk from the Trolley stop is not ideal.
Our favorite stops downtown
- Well Played Board Game Cafe
- Asheville Pinball Museum (closed on Tuesdays)
- Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe
- Splasheville (splashpark, pack extra clothes for the little one)
- Dobra Tea
A day in the car, up early our first stop breakfast... at Abeja's. What a great find, just a little ways from downtown and the food was excellent.I had the shrimp and grits, different from any I have ever had, not southern style but with a latin flavor.
After we filled our bellies, we headed for the Skyzone. Toddler time was perfect 9-10:30. Parents can jump too, and you could stay later; it is just open to all ages, which can get wild. We jumped for about 2 hours, then made a stop at Earthfare for water/drinks for our room.
After that, we grabbed lunch at Farmburger. This place has delicious grass-fed burgers, pasture raised pork burgers, veggie, and vegan burgers, loaded fries, and milkshakes. There was something for everyone. After that tasty lunch, we headed back to the hotel, we all had a much-needed nap.
Once refreshed, we were back out the door for more fun. This time it was more fun for the adults and a little fun for the kid. We drove to Sierra Nevada Brewery!
There we enjoyed walking the beautiful grounds, garden, tasty beer, yummy small bites and they even had a small area for the children to play. While we were there, there was live music and umbrellas throughout if you need some shade. I also love that they are very in touch with the environment and using compostable utensils, recycle and compost bins throughout the grounds. They also have a sustainability tour (best for the adults, kids get bored).
Now that was fun, but the children's area was not enough to keep my little one interested. So, back in the car, we headed to the Fun Depot! This place is an arcade for the entire family, with indoor/outdoor GoCarts, Indoor Mini Golf, Mini Bowling, Bumper Cars, Arcade, and upstairs space for little kids 3 to 7 years old. Definitely worth a visit, if you end up with a rainy day or in need of a place with air conditioning. This place really made my little one work on those obstacle course skills. He was exhausted after a visit here.
Great way to end the day!
Time to check out of the hotel! No need to stop exploring. So, the first thing we did was head out for breakfast at Biscuithead. Anyone who knows me knows that I HATE Biscuits, but I put that to the side and placed an order. Oh Me Oh My, delicious! Not what I expected. We shared an entree of the Fried Green Tomato Biscuit and my little one had the Blueberry French Toast Biscuit. I had a bit of both, and I could not decide which was my favorite. Also, you have to try the Looking Glass Creamery Carmoolita Latte. Yummy. My little one was so happy with his meal that he didn't speak the entire time.
On our way out of town, we made sure to make a stop in Black Mountain. A cute little town with lots of shops, and restaurants. There, you can check out Tomahawk Lake Park, take a nice walk around the lake or take a dip in the pool or let the little ones exert energy on the playground before you hit the road.
That wraps up the fun we had! A real vacation that seemed filled with non-stop fun and food, but believe me we found ways to fit in relaxation.
There is so much to do in Asheville, and we will be visiting more as our little one grows to experience more. Like tubing down the third oldest river in the world (French Broad River), sliding down a 60ft natural rock slide, hiking, biking, and a scenic drives down the Blue Ridge Parkway, without the "are we there yet?"!!
Here are our favorite restaurants in Asheville
Favorite short drive from Asheville we enjoyed
Start planning your trip based on your interest, by visiting Explore Asheville
This site does not use affiliate links, which means no commission is earned if you make a purchase via the link go directly to the vendor’s website. All the items on this blog post were purchased with my own money and are not sponsored. Just sharing our family vacation experience and hope you will be inspired to start planning your family vacation.