10 Quintessential Summer Activities in Asheville
Beer City USA, the happiest place in the US, the coziest town in America—Asheville, North Carolina continues to top the lists, gaining a variety of eclectic titles from national publications, for good reason.
Our little southern town has great things to do year round, but summer is kind of special, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the warmer weather and an abundance of activities. During this season you will find a mix of festivals, outdoor activities, and music each and every day—if you know where to look. Luckily we do! Here’s our list of the top summer activities in Asheville.
Take in the great outdoors
Nestled in a valley surrounded by the oldest mountains and rivers in the world, our area is known for spectacular outdoor adventures
1. Hooker Falls/Triple Falls
Less than an hour outside the city is Dupont State Park. The area is packed with natural beauty and stunning waterfalls. Hooker Falls is easily accessible by a short hike, and its large swimming hole is perfect for the family. Gorgeous spots don’t stay secret for long, so the area does tend to get crowded on weekends and holidays. Luckily, the swimming area is big enough to accommodate a large crowd!
For the more adventurous hikers, veer off the Hooker Falls trail toward Triple Falls. The hike is a tad steeper and longer, but it will be worth it when you step out and are greeted by three majestic cascades.
2. Skinny Dip Falls
This popular hike is right off the Blue Ridge Parkway around mile marker 417. It’s a relatively easy ½ mile hike from the parking area and offers one of the best swimming holes in the Asheville area. It tends to get crowded during the early afternoon, so if you want some privacy you might want to head there fairly early, or later in the evening.
3. Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Asheville is about an hour and half away from the most visited national park in the country. Known for its ancient mountains, incredible biodiversity, and the highest concentration of black bears in the nation, it should absolutely top your Asheville to-do list!
4. The Blue Ridge Parkway
This strip of road is known for its scenic beauty. It twists and turns throughout the Appalachian and Smoky Mountains, traversing 29 Virginia and North Carolina counties. A huge section runs through Asheville and it can be accessed in various parts of town. If you’re looking to while away an afternoon, forego the highway and enjoy the beautiful vistas of the Parkway instead.
Hit the Downtown Asheville scene
Asheville’s downtown is quirky, beautiful, and has something to offer virtually everyone. You can find exceptional food, fun shops, and plenty of people watching daily, but if you time it right, you can also experience a one-of-a-kind (and free) Asheville event.
5. Downtown After 5
The third Friday of every summer month brings local bands to one of the most iconic streets of downtown Asheville: Lexington Avenue. During these monthly summer events, festival goers can listen to live music by well-known bands while eating and drinking some of Asheville’s finest foods and brews.
6. Shindig on the Green
On Saturdays in July and August, you can head to the the Roger McGuire Green to hear live Appalachian tunes whilst enjoying the summer weather. Located in the heart of downtown Asheville at the newly renovated Pack Square Park, concert goers enjoy free bluegrass music and dancing with locals of all ages from sundown to 10 pm each Saturday. Check out the full schedule here.
Looking for a place to cool off from the summer heat? Head to Splashville, right in the heart of downtown, also in Pack Square Park. Your kids will love splashing through water rushing up from below their feet—a great way to let them burn off some of that extra energy. Tidy up after in the nearby Pack Square Pavilion building on College Street, which has public restrooms and visitor information.
8. Friday night drum circle
Every Friday during the summer months you can find a diverse crowd enjoying the rhythm of drumming in cozy Pritchard Park. Bring your drum, your dancing shoes, or just sit back and enjoy. This free-for-all starts around 6PM and typically ends by 10PM.
When it comes to fermented yeast, Asheville has it all—and plenty of it! Anywhere you go, delicious craft beer is a stone’s throw away. But if you’re wanting to dedicate some time to a destination brewery, here are some suggestions.
9. New Belgium
The newly opened facility is located right off the French Broad River, and the scenery is spectacular from their Liquid Center. Plus, it’s in the River Arts District, making it easy to plan a day of exploring local studios and beer tasting.
10. Highland Brewing
Highland Brewing, Asheville’s first and oldest oldest brewery, is always an excellent choice for grabbing a beer. They recently received a large grant and created a gorgeous outdoor seating area to boast and toast about. Located on the outskirts of Asheville, this brewery is known for good music and family friendly fun!
Have any Asheville favorites of your own? Share your top summer activities below!