The Best Long Weekend in Asheville Itinerary

Asheville is one of my favorite weekend trips for so many reasons. First, it’s an eclectic town nestled into the mountains of North Carolina with plenty to explore. Another reason it’s so appealing is that it has something for everyone. You can go hiking and see incredible views one day, and brewery hop the next. There’s no way to go wrong on your weekend in Asheville!

This weekend in Asheville itinerary will give you all the details you need to have a great weekend trip. The perfect spot for hiking and nature, whether on a girl’s trip to Asheville or a romantic getaway… That also means there’s a ton of fun and cheap things to do in Asheville; you’ll love everything it has to offer.

Photo by Clark Wilson on Unsplash

Tips for a Weekend in Asheville

    1. It rains here in the summer almost daily. It’s classified as a rainforest and that’s part of why it’s so smoky. Be prepared with rain gear.
    2. The weather is also fairly cold at times, even in the summer. The water is extremely cold because you’re in the mountains, so be ready on hikes and swims to be a bit cold.
    3. Many hikes are wet or damp and include close encounters with waterfalls. I suggest wearing shoes you don’t mind getting wet like Chacos or Tevas while hiking.
    4. Everything is really spread out. All within a few hours, but you’re driving windy roads the entire time. Be prepared to spend time in the car and for fairly narrow roadways.
    5. I recommend renting a car to truly enjoy Asheville. You can get one directly at the airport before beginning to explore!
    6. There are tons of unique places to stay around Asheville. I’d recommend choosing somewhere special to stay while here.

Where to Stay in Asheville

Downtown: Hotel Indigo Asheville Downtown

Located in the heart of downtown Asheville, Hotel Indigo offers a blend of modern amenities and vibrant local artwork. Each floor is themed to represent different aspects of Asheville’s history and culture.

In the Mountains: Glamping Collective

Glamping Collective offers accommodations with panoramic views from their geodesic domes and window wall cabins. You can camp in style with heating and air conditioning, a luxury bathroom, and breathtaking mountain views. The best of both worlds!

Historic Luxury: The Inn on Biltmore Estate

These luxurious suites are a great place to stay on your visit to Biltmore, and they even reference Biltmore’s grand history. Each suite is named for a friend or relative of George Vanderbilt. Accommodations on Biltmore Estate offer room-only rates that do not include admission tickets or breakfast and a variety of packages that include breakfast, admission tickets, and other package-specific amenities.

Day 1 Spend the Day in Asheville

Walk the Streets of Asheville and eat a biscuit at Early Girl Eatery

$12 a meal

Start your first morning in Asheville, walking around and seeing the city. Our first stop was at this fantastic place, Early Girl Eatery, known for its biscuits. It has got to be one of the best I’ve ever had! Asheville is known for its barbecue and biscuits, so this is a great first stop. Downtown Asheville is extremely walkable and full of historic buildings. Take some time to walk the streets and stop in cute shops.

Spots to Check Out in Downtown Asheville:

    1. Basilica of Saint Lawrence – This basilica in downtown Asheville really stands out because of its unique architecture! It’s a Spanish style basilica and beautiful inside. It’s free to visit, but a donation is encouraged when you walk in.
    2. Grove Arcade – a really cool historic building located close to the basilica and Early Girl Eatery. It’s unique architecture makes it a beautiful stop on your trip. While we were there over the weekend, local merchants were set up outside selling all types of unique things from art to jewelry to candles. There’s also lots of local spots to eat and drink with awesome outdoor spaces. Definitely worth a stop on your visit!
    3. Omni Grove Park Inn – The Biltmore Hotel is the big famous hotel/estate in Asheville, but if you’ve done any research, you know it’s $70 to visit for the day. That’s not budget friendly by any means! Instead, try visiting the historic Omni Grove Park Inn. It’s got great views of Asheville, is free to visit, and has some pretty interesting architecture. It’s a great spot to grab dinner or a drink too if you want to dress up and do something a little more fancy without breaking the bank. Staying at this spot is about $400 a night though and it’s a beautiful building.

White Duck Taco and River Arts District

Asheville has some fantastic murals throughout the city. Check out the River Arts District for some of the coolest ones, as well as incredible food, local art, beer, and artist studios! There’s also an excellent taco shop (White Duck Tacos) right along the river, which is the perfect stop for some fabulous food. There are also tons of breweries right here too!

Brewery Hop

We chose to take a brewery tour in the afternoon; it’s a great way to learn about the booming brewery scene in Asheville and stay safe while doing so. But, of course, you can also do this on your own. Below are some breweries in River Arts District worth checking out!

The Wedge Brewing Company, a local’s favorite hangout, has two locations in the River Arts District, 37 Paynes Way and 5 Foundy Street. New Belgium Brewery is just across the river. Daidala Ciders (122 Riverside Drive) is a nomadic cider company focusing on small-batch creations, located in The Historic Cotton Mill Studios.

Day 2 Get Outside

It’s time to walk off some of the beer and fantastic food you had yesterday with some hiking and sightseeing in the mountains! So rent a car, and head toward Great Smoky Mountain National Park for the day.

There are many unique and cool places in Great Smoky Mountain National Park or nearby Pisgah Forest. Of course, this also depends on the season you decide to visit! Below are some recommendations based on the season.

Sliding Rock slide down rock like a slide into the water in pisgah national forest smoky mountains north carolina

1. Sliding Rock, Pisgah Forest $4, best in summer

Sliding Rock is a nature area with a giant natural rock slide. That’s right – a rockslide! It’s a very popular spot and you must pay a small fee to get in. It’s completely worth it! The slide is huge and the water is freezing. There’s no real swimming area here so you slide, get out, and go right back down after your climb. Be sure to hold onto your belongings or leave them behind! It’s really easy to lose things as you go under at the bottom of the rock slide. Life jackets are available to rent (in cash) here as well.

Deep Creek Loop Trail waterfall smoky mountain national park

2. Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, best in summer

Deep Creek was one of my favorite spots we went on the trip! There’s a medium difficulty hike that leads you to three different waterfalls. The first half is very uphill while the second part is straight on the way back along the river. The trail is clearly marked and although it’s technically part of the national park, you don’t pay to get in.

There’s also tubing, fishing, and camping in this area. The parking here does fill up early though so come in the morning to get a good spot! Tubing is just $5 a tube and you can start/stop anywhere you want along the river. A warning about this though. There is an area for white water tubing. It was the most dangerous tubing I’ve ever done (I’ve gone quite a lot in different places). There were spots where 70% of people were falling out of their tube because it was dangerous. A woman actually made her children get out and walk after the first few minutes being so dangerous. Be careful if you decide to do the rapids portion. n

3. Moore Cove Falls, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, great in fall or winter

This one is a true (short) hike. The entire trail takes about 45 minutes and I was really impressed with this waterfall. While we were there, almost no one else  This waterfall is unique because there is a large area behind the waterfall where you can stand the 50 foot waterfall and take it in. Be careful because the mud is super slippery. I fell while behind the waterfall in the mud!

Skinny Dip Falls great smoky mountains national park

4. Skinny Dip Falls, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, great in spring, fall, or winter

Skinny Dip Falls is an easy hiking trail right on Blue Ridge Parkway. The entrance isn’t easy to see, but you’ve just got to get to the Looking Glass Rock Overlook and the trail head is right across the road. This waterfall was beautiful to see, even in winter everything was lush green and we felt like we were in the jungle. It was shocking because the rest of the trails we went on in winter were more bare. I would love to see this spot in summer!

5. Graveyard Fields Trail Loop, Great Smoky Mountain National Park, best in fall

This trail was the longest one on this list. The waterfalls are beautiful and it is completely different from other trails because you are along a river bed through half the trail. Carefully check maps at the top before beginning this trail. It is easily washed out because of rain and we met several people along the way who got lost. The waterfalls are beautiful and the hike is a lot of fun.

At the end of the day, you’ll be tired but happy that you got to explore such beautiful mountains for the day!

Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash

Day 3 the Biltmore Estate

On your final day in Asheville, it’s time to visit the iconic Biltmore Estate. Feel like royalty for a day at this 1895 French Renaissance castle built by George W. Vanderbilt. Explore the 8,000-acre estate, including the 250-room Biltmore House, 75 acres of beautiful gardens, winery, shops, dining, hiking trails, and more. It’s got a pretty high fee to enter at $66 a person, so you’ll want to make a whole day out of this!

1. Biltmore House: Experience the wonder of Biltmore House, the largest privately owned mansion in America, with a priceless collection of art and antiques original to the Vanderbilt home. I would recommend getting the audio companion tour as soon as you enter the house because all tours are self-guided. Allow at least two hours for the self-guided house tour.

2. Grounds, gardens, and conservatory: Walk the gardens and 8000 acre estate. From the house, walk-through gardens designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted from the house.

3. Antler Hill Village: Dining, shopping, and learning more about Biltmore history – a great stop after your house tour. It’s home to the Winery and Farm. There are also live music events here, so make sure you check the Biltmore website for details.

4. Winery: Enjoy a self-guided Winery tour and sample Estate wines in the Tasting Room (both included with your ticket). The Bistro is also located here and can be an excellent spot for dinner since the winery itself is open until 8 PM daily. Check out cooking demonstrations and memorable wine tours and classes too!

5. The Farm: Learn about Biltmore’s agricultural heritage at Antler Hill Farm, adjacent to the Village. In addition to displays of historic farm equipment in the impressive 1902 barn, meet draft horses, calves, lambs, and chickens at the Farmyard. Watch the blacksmith or woodworkers.

6. Outdoor Activities: There is much to explore outdoors, including several great hiking trails and greenways. At the Outdoor Adventure Center, you can sign up for an array of outdoor fun, including biking, carriages rides, horseback riding, falconry, sporting clays, river trips, and more.

Getting a Ticket

    1. Buy tickets on Biltmore’s website at least 7 days in advance and save $8. No promo code needed.
    2. Seniors age 65+ save $10 on regular adult daytime admission Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
    3. U.S. military saves $10 on regular adult daytime admission with Military ID.
    4. Hours vary daily, always check their website before visiting.
Plan the perfect long weekend in Asheville! Explore the mountains, visit breweries, and enjoy the eclectic charm of this North Carolina town.
Plan the perfect long weekend in Asheville! Explore the mountains, visit breweries, and enjoy the eclectic charm of this North Carolina town.
There you have a full and fun long weekend in Asheville! I’ve loved my different trips to Asheville and I know you will too.
Meghan

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