If you’re looking for the best things to do in Hendersonville North Carolina, you are in the right place! We have got you covered for all the best activities, from parks and trails to bars and restaurants and everything in between (like, museums!).
Hendersonville NC has wonderfully wide streets and is extremely pedestrian friendly, which will make you feel at ease in no time, irrespective of whether you’re coming from nearby or far away.
With stunning scenery everywhere you look, Hendersonville NC is a romantic destination that has something to offer every taste, and budget. It’s also home to some of the best restaurants in the region. There’s also great activities for families with many free options that will keep the kids entertained for hours (while also being educational!).
Read on to find out more about the very best that Hendersonville NC has to offer. We love it there and we know you will too!
Make sure to check out our list of the Best North Carolina Mountain Towns you must visit!
14 Best Things To Do In Hendersonville NC You Shouldn’t Miss
Elijah Mountain Gem Mine
It’s hard to top the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine for attractions in Hendersonville North Carolina. To be fair, given how consistently it ranks in lists of not only the best things to do in the whole country, but also lists of the best family-friendly activities in the world, nobody could dispute that it’s a must-visit place for any visitors to Hendersonville NC!
At the Elijah Mountain Gem Mine you can become a prospector for the day, and pan for all kinds of gems and gold. In addition, they have a goat farm, a peacock sanctuary, a delightful creek (that you can play in!), a family obstacle course and a wonderfully shaded picnic area.
They’re also home to a jaw-dropping crystal, gemstone and fossil shop, and prices from $1 all the way to museum quality specimens, there’s something for every taste and budget.
Elijah Mountain Gem Mine is truly one of the best activities in Hendersonville NC, and beyond that, the world! Get around it!
Underground Baking Co
The Underground Baking Co is one of our favourite places to eat in Hendersonville North Carolina. It’s so good that they supply many of the top bars and restaurants in Hendersonville, including the Brandy Bar, which is also in this list!
They have a delightful bread schedule – on weekdays they bake French style sourdough, organic seven grain, sesame semolina, baguette, and bialys. Then, on Saturdays, they bake sourdough rye, fruit bread, brioche, babka, pecan sticky buns, and a rotating bread of the day. Incredible. That’s as well as amazing focaccia, Bavarian style brezels and other bakery delights.
All the bread is made with locally milled flour. They also have great coffee. The bakery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 9am to 2pm, but we recommend checking local guides in case of any changes.
Underground Baking Co is one of the best places to visit in Hendersonville NC. We know you’ll love it!
Hooker Falls Trail
Nature lovers rejoice, with the stunning, family-friendly Hooker Falls Trail within the DuPont State Recreational Forest, just a short drive from Hendersonville North Carolina.
Open year-round, this is out and back loop is just short of one mile and is considered an easy route that takes just over 20 minutes to complete. It’s a popular spot for hiking, as well as birding and trail running. And did we mention there’s a waterfall?
This place ticks so many boxes, being a short trail, it’s suitable for families and people with limited fitness. It’s wheelchair accessible – which is so great. It’s also free, so friendly for budget-conscious travelers.
So what are you waiting for? Pack a picnic (why not pick up some treats from the Underground Baking Co?), grab a rug and spend a wonderful afternoon exploring and picnicking by the very best nature has to offer, and certainly the very best of free things to do near Hendersonville NC.
Hands On! Children’s Museum
Don’t let the regrettable name deter you, the Hands On! Children’s Museum is definitely one of the best things to do in Hendersonville North Carolina with kids.
Across 13,000 square feet, the Hands On! Children’s Museum offers a range of educational, interesting exhibits that are designed to foster enthusiasm for learning while focusing on social and emotional development, cognitive skills, and fine and gross motor skills.
We love the Farms to Market Apple Orchard exhibit, where kids can grab a basket and pick apples, before loading them onto a conveyor belt to watch them travel into the back of a truck. What a great way for young kids to understand more about the rich agricultural history of Henderson County.
Did we mention there’s also a Lego Raceway!? Definitely one of the best activities in Hendersonville NC, we know you’ll love spending a day at the delightfully Hands On! Children’s Museum. They’re open Monday to Saturday and we recommend checking local guides to see what the feature exhibits are when you visit so you can plan your day in advance!
Aquarium and Shark Lab
The incredible Aquarium and Shark Lab is seriously one of the most fun things to do in Hendersonville North Carolina (with or without kids!). Since opening over a decade ago, the Aquarium and Shark Lab is the home to over 275 marine fish and invertebrates, as well as over 20 reptiles.
Watch as divers enter the 2,000 gallon aquarium tank to feed the sharks – this on every afternoon from Thursday to Saturday – check local guides to confirm opening times and feeding time.
It’s great to note that the Aquarium and Shark Lab is wheelchair accessible and are happy to make any adaptations needed to welcome visitors with other disabilities or special needs. It is one of the best Hendersonville NC activities for disabled people.
The Aquarium and Shark Lab relies on donations to operate, so if you love your time there please consider (if you can!) making a donation to this excellent place.
For the best places to visit in Hendersonville NC, you’ll definitely want to add the Aquarium and Shark Lab to your list!
The Brandy Bar
Oh boy, the Brandy Bar is definitely one of the top MUST DO things to do in Hendersonville at night. Adored by locals and visitors alike, the Brandy Bar is actually a private social club, but don’t be fooled, membership costs $1, you can join on the spot, and it lasts for five years. Amazing!
The Brandy Bar offers a great bar snack menu, with locally sourced seasonal treats including an incredible range of cheeses, flavoured olive oils and charcuterie. We also love their smoked trout dip and French baguette, fresh from the local Underground Bakery.
For drinks, we can’t go past their special Bermuda Triangle flight – Jack Rose (applejack, grenadine, lemon), Jill Rose (applejack, gin, grenadine, lemon), and Bermuda Rose (gin, apricot brandy, lime). Yum! But with a drinks list that’s 22 pages long, there’s truly something here for everyone.
They also offer great cocktail specials on different weekdays and host cool events like hosting guest poets.
For the best of things to do in Hendersonville NC for adults, you can’t beat a night kicking back at the iconic Brandy Bar. Let them know we sent you!
Mineral and Lapidary Museum
One of our favourite attractions in Hendersonville North Carolina is the Mineral and Lapidary Museum.
This outstanding museum was, in their words, established to provide somewhere people could ‘discover and learn about the beauty and diversity of the world beneath our feet’. What an amazing, almost poetic vision – and it’s one they certainly deliver on, with specimens and some of the most spectacular geodes you’ll ever see. Their collection also boasts some super cool fossils, plus a casting of a tyrannosaurus rex skull – did we mention it’s one of the most fun (and educational) things to do in Hendersonville NC with kids!?
While it’s free to enter, the museum relies on donations and gift shop support to exist, so what better reason to treat yourself to a keepsake to remember your trip, while supporting a super-worthy cause.
You’ll definitely want to add the Mineral and Lapidary Museum to your itinerary, it is hands down one of the best things to do in Hendersonville NC! Don’t miss it!
There are so many great activities in Hendersonville North Carolina for families, and Grandad’s Apples is just one of them. A working farm spanning 100 acres and growing apples, peaches, pumpkins and cabbage, Grandad’s Apples is family owned and operated for nearly 30 years.
With great activities such as a corn maze, cow train, and apple cannon, the kids will be entertained for hours! There’s also a market and bakery, so there’s something for the grown ups too. In fact, despite being aimed at families, we would rank Grandad’s Apples is one of the best things to do in Hendersonville NC for couples as well.
Stock up on local honey, condiments such as apple butter, jams and jellies, and chow-chow, and local handmade crafts. There’s also a bakery offering some tremendous apple treats, such as apple cider doughnuts and apple pies. Did we mention they also make cider each week that you can take home? Yes they do!
For the best of things to do in Hendersonville NC, get along to Grandad’s Apples and enjoy a wonderful day out in the sunshine. For more about the best orchards for apple picking in North Carolina, check out our guide!
There are so many great restaurants in Hendersonville North Carolina and Shine is one of our favourites. Located in a refurbished historic building on Main Street, Shine prides itself on offering creative, fresh and innovative food, and they certainly deliver.
This place has an epic four page menu covering brunch, intermission and dinner. We love the blackened chicken sandwich served with mushrooms, Swiss cheese and mayo. Or the hot wings – Frenched wings in your choice of Tabasco with blue cheese, Cajun dry rub with ranch, or fermented bean gochugaru paste and tamarind glaze. SO good!
In good weather you can also enjoy their rooftop bar with your mates! Shine is truly a high energy place that will leave you feeling buzzing.
Shine is a top Hendersonville NC destination, we love it there and we know you will too. Definitely among the best of things to do in Hendersonville!
Apple Valley Model Railway Club
The Apple Valley Model Railroad Club is one of the best free things to do in Hendersonville North Carolina! This historic depot (it’s over 120 years old) is brimming with displays bound to bring a smile to even the sternest of faces.
They also have a 1920s telegraph key and sounder so you can have a go at Morse code! There’s also a genuinely old South caboose on display that you can check out, and best of all, an outdoor, large scale garden railroad! It is delightful.
We definitely recommend checking ahead for opening days and times. The Apple Valley Model Railroad Club is run by the most amazingly friendly volunteers so we’ve no doubt you’ll leave with a couple of great anecdotes and having learnt more about the joys of railroads.
With free admission and loads of free parking, if you’re looking for what to do in Hendersonville NC – look no further!
Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards
Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards is one of the best things to do near Hendersonville North Carolina for adults! We visit every time we’re in the area, and we know you’ll want to as well!
Saint Paul Mountain Farms is a vineyard and tasting room that was established over a decade ago on land that’s been in the same family for generations. Saint Paul’s was actually the first winery in Henderson County!
Come for the wine tasting and stay for the live music, events, classes, and even pairing dinners. They have a delightful patio for the warmer months, and a stone fireplace to cozy up to in the cooler months. It’s really a year-round winner. For more about the best places for fall in North Carolina check out our comprehensive guide!
With stunning views, delicious wines, and a packed events calendar, this is the perfect destination for a getaway with your partner or friends. For the best of things to do near Hendersonville NC, you’ll definitely want to add Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards to your list! Visit our list to find out more about other great wineries in this region!
Appalachian Pinball Museum
There’s something at the Appalachian Pinball Museum for everyone! Whether you’re travelling solo, with a partner, friends, or kids, it is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Hendersonville North Carolina!
This old school pinball and video arcade and museum in downtown Hendersonville NC offers around 80 different playable games to entice you and your posse to while away an afternoon conquering the best that video games of the past have to offer. From Haunted House to Twilight Zone, gather around and compete for the glory of being the best!
The Appalachian Pinball Museum is open every day except Wednesday, but do check ahead to confirm opening hours so you’re not disappointed! The museum itself is free, with a small fee if you want to play the games, and why wouldn’t you! Add it to your bucket list of things to do in Hendersonville NC – for everyone!
The Park at Flat Rock
Open from dawn to dusk, seven days per week, the Park at Flat Rock is one of the best free things to do in Hendersonville North Carolina.
This 66 acre park has a delightful flat green open space. There’s also a 1.3 mile main trail that you can walk or run, with 1.5 additional miles of surrounding trails. There’s something to suit everyone.
It’s great for families, with some terrific playgrounds aimed at different age groups. But don’t rule it out for a romantic picnic spot either! It’s got great pavilions, quiet spots for reflection, ponds with lookout decking, and an abundance of beautiful wildlife and scenery that’ll make you want to stay just a little bit longer! By the way, for ideas for fabulous weekend getaways in North Carolina, check out our great list!
Check local guides as there’s often free events like yoga in the park, nature walks and talks, and forest bathing. A must see place to visit in Hendersonville NC!
Postero is one of the best restaurants in Hendersonville North Carolina and the surrounding region. It’s a must visit destination for us, every time we’re in the neighbourhood!
What to order? So glad you asked. We love the short rib cavatelli – red wine braised boneless beef short rib with hand rolled ricotta cavatelli and peas, or pan seared trout – crispy seared trout served with roasted cauliflower and carrot ginger puree. But truly, you can’t pick badly here. Duck liver mousse? Yes. Goat cheese and strawberry tartine? Absolutely!
They also have an outstanding wine list from all the best wine growing regions in the world. Travel the world without leaving your seat! But if you prefer to stay local, you can do your own research ahead of time on the best local wines using out great guide to the most beautiful vineyards and wineries in North Carolina!
Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, we recommend booking ahead to avoid being disappointed! Treat yourself to a great night out at this wonderful Hendersonville NC establishment. You’ll roll out full of delicious food and happy memories. Definitely one of the best things to do in Hendersonville NC!