Are you looking for some great day trips from Asheville? We love visiting Asheville and the surrounding areas. So we know some of the best day trips near Asheville that are definitely worth your time. It’s one of our favorite places to explore in the Blue Ridge Mountains and we’re confident you’ll love it just as much.
We’ve categorized these day trips from Asheville based on how far away they are from the city. When traveling to all these destinations, you’ll be able to easily use Asheville as your home base. Of course, you can do all of these trips in a day. But, several of them are easily worth spending a few days exploring if you have the time. No matter how much time you have to explore, these are some awesome Asheville day trips.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, scenic views, or charming towns, there’s a day trip from Asheville on this list that is perfect for you. So pack your snacks, fill up your gas tank, and head out on the road to one of these beautiful places near Asheville!
Best Day Trips From Asheville Within 0-1 hours
One of our favorite day trips near Asheville is Lake Lure. Lake Lure is a picturesque town surrounding one of the biggest man-made lakes in the country, which is also named Lake Lure. Surrounding the beautiful lake are the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lake Lure is a short Asheville day trip as it’s only about 27 miles away. So if you’re wondering where to go near Asheville without driving too far, Lake Lure is a great option.
In the town, you’ll find plenty of things to do. It is actually a popular filming location and has been featured in several major films. They include Dirty Dancing, The Last of the Mohicans, and Thunder Road. The town even hosts a yearly Dirty Dancing Festival! It’s also conveniently located near Chimney Rock, which is a cool tourist attraction in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
DuPont State Recreational Forest
In Cedar Mountain North Carolina you’ll find the DuPont State Recreational Forest. The DuPont State Recreational Forest is about 45 minutes away from Asheville. It’s one of the best mountain trips from Asheville if you want to see some beautiful views. The state forest is 12,500 acres of beautiful untouched woods. In fact, it’s so big, it’s actually in two different counties.
DuPont Forest, as it is commonly called, is a great place to find outdoor adventure. There are hiking trails you can explore. A few of them even take you to views of waterfalls. They also allow horseback riding and camping. Within the forest, there is also a large lake where you can go boating. Even if you just pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the view, it’s still one of the most beautiful places near Asheville.
Black Mountain is another charming town within the Blue Ridge Mountains. This small town is just 20 minutes away from Asheville. It’s one of our favorite day trips near Asheville if we aren’t in the mood to spend a lot of time driving. Black Mountain is probably best known for its art scene. The small town is home to over 200 local businesses.
They range from restaurants, specialty shops and boutiques, bed and breakfasts, and breweries. You can easily walk around the town and reach all of these amazing places. In front of the visitor’s center, there is even a large ‘Big Red Rocking Chair’ that you can climb into for a photo op. The small but vibrant town of Black Mountain is easily one of the best places to visit near Asheville.
If you’re looking for Blue Ridge Parkway day trips from Asheville, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Craggy Gardens. You can find the Craggy Gardens Visitor Center about 40 minutes away from Asheville, at milepost 364.4. The spur to get to the Craggy Gardens trail and picnic area is a little down the road at milepost 367.6.
Craggy Gardens is an extremely popular area on the Blue Ridge Parkway during the summer months. That is when the bright Rhododendron flowers bloom. But no matter what time of year you visit, it’s still one of the most beautiful places near Asheville. There are hiking trails that are fairly easy to moderate, picnic areas, and a visitor’s center where you can learn more about the area.
Best Day Trips From Asheville Between 1-2 Hours
While you’re on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can make a few stops. There are plenty of places to stop for Blue Ridge Parkway day trips from Asheville. At milepost 418.8 is the trail for Graveyard Fields. Graveyard Fields is about an hour and 15 minutes outside of Asheville. It’s actually south of Asheville, so it’s in the opposite direction of Craggy Gardens, on the way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Graveyard Fields Loop Trail has two options. You can take a shorter hike to see the waterfall, which is the most popular option. But if you choose to do the full loop, you’ll be hiking for about 3.5 miles. You’ll be rewarded for your perseverance by scenic views of beautiful fields and a second waterfall. Sections of the hike are actually a boardwalk through the fields. The trail varies from easy to moderate, but it’s fairly easy to see that first waterfall.
One of our absolute favorite Asheville day trips is Rough Ridge. Rough Ridge is about an hour and a half north of Asheville. It’s another great Blue Ridge Parkway day trip from Asheville as the trailhead is just off the parkway at milepost 302.8. The trail to get to the sweeping views from Rough Ridge is fairly easy and just as picturesque as the endpoint.
You’ll walk through lush forest, over a wooden bridge, and through moss-covered trees to get to the Rough Ridge overlook. You’ll climb in elevation and go down a set of wooden stairs to get to the main sweeping view. Once you get to the peak of Rough Ridge, you’ll have stunning views of Grandfather Mountain and the Linn Cove Viaduct. It’s easily one of the best mountain trips from Asheville.
If you’ve got time, from Rough Ridge, we suggest heading into Boone. Boone is one of our favorite mountain towns and is an excellent day trip near Asheville. The town of Boone is just under two hours north of Asheville. It is the home of Appalachian State University and it’s a cute college town full of fun things to do.
There are unique shops, delicious restaurants, and art galleries just waiting for you to explore them. The town also has one of the two Mast General Stores in the area. There you’ll be able to find hiking and camping equipment, souvenirs, and a huge candy shop. Boone is also very close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, making it an easy place to stop while you’re driving the parkway.
Another cute town near Boone is Blowing Rock. Boone and Blowing Rock have some similarities. They both have unique boutiques, delicious restaurants, and plenty of things to do. What is different about the two towns is their history. If college towns aren’t your thing, then we suggest exploring Blowing Rock. If you have time though, you might enjoy exploring both towns during your Asheville day trip.
The town of Blowing Rock is named after the Blowing Rock. The Blowing Rock is a rock formation that has gorgeous sweeping views of the Johns River Gorge. There is also a local legend around the Blowing Rock that involves true love and a tragic death. It’s also North Carolina’s oldest travel attraction. There is a park where you can walk out onto the Blowing Rock, learn about the legend, and enjoy the views.
Little Switzerland is a charming village just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s another one of our favorite mountain trips from Asheville. The village is just a little over an hour away from Asheville, making it a quick option if you’re wondering where to go near Asheville without a long drive. There are also quite a few things to do in this small village.
One of the most popular things to do in Little Switzerland is a trip to the Emerald Village. Emerald Village is a group of 12 real historic gem mines. It’s actually been featured on National Geographic and the Travel Channel. There is a museum you can visit, you can tour one of the mines, or you can mine for your own gemstones. If you are looking for something a little more daring, take your motorcycle on the infamous Diamondback Trail, which has over 200 curves.
Linville Falls is a little over an hour north of Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 316. It’s a great Blue Ridge Parkway day trip from Asheville. The falls are actually the most visited and most popular waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. During the peak fall season, the parking area is often packed to the point where people are parking on the Parkway itself. If you visit during the rest of the year, it can still be busy, but not that extreme.
However, there’s a reason it is so busy. The views and the hikes at Linville Falls are some of our favorite. There are actually three waterfalls at Linville Falls. The hike to the lower falls is fairly easy and from there you can hike the more strenuous trail to the upper falls. There is also a trail that leads you to a different view of the lower falls and the water rushing into the gorge. It’s one of the best places to visit near Asheville.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Traveling a little under two hours west of Asheville leads you to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is easily one of the most beautiful places near Asheville. If you’re wondering where to go near Asheville for beautiful views, head to the Smoky Mountains. You can choose to take the Blue Ridge Parkway into the National Park or take the slightly shorter route which spends more time on the highway.
While you’re at the park there are tons of things to do. You can go hiking, check out the visitor’s centers, search for Elk, or simply admire the views. There are several parts of the park that are closed seasonally. So depending on what time of year you plan on visiting, make sure the places you want to visit are actually open. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best mountain trips from Asheville.
Asheville is actually really close to Tennessee. So we suggest one of the best places to visit when you’re wondering where to go near Asheville is Gatlinburg Tennessee. Gatlinburg is a charming mountain town near the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s northwest of Asheville and you can reach it in about an hour and 45 minutes. It’s a bit longer of a drive, but we think it’s totally worth it.
In Gatlinburg, there are tons of things to do. It’s a popular tourist destination in the Smoky Mountains and has been for decades. The town is actually known as the ‘Gateway to the Smokies’. Some of the most popular attractions in the town feature sweeping views of the mountains. If you’re not scared of heights, we highly suggest taking the Sky Lift. The Sky Lift is a cable car that takes you 2 miles from downtown to the Ober amusement park and ski resort.
Best Day Trips From Asheville Over 2 Hours
Charlotte is a North Carolina city that is just over 2 hours southeast of Asheville. The vibrant city is one of the best places to visit near Asheville if you’re looking for a city adventure. It’s nicknamed the ‘Queen City’ and it’s a very fitting moniker. You’ll find art, culture, and more for you to explore in the city.
Within Charlotte, there are several museums, including the Nascar Hall of Fame, the Bechtler Museum of Art, and the Levine Museum. The city also has upscale restaurants, breweries, pubs, and cafes that tourists and locals all love to enjoy. Charlotte is also home to some beautiful city parks. Many of them meander through the city, but a few of them are on the outskirts of Charlotte. No matter what you’re interested in, Charlotte is a great
Two hours and 20 minutes away from Asheville is the charming city of Helen Georgia. Helen Georgia is southwest of Asheville and absolutley worth the just over two hours worth of driving time. It is a Bavarian-style town that is bursting with charm. Once you get to Helen, you’ll quickly understand why it’s one of the best mountain trips from Asheville.
The town itself is full of fun things to do and see. From May to September, you can go tubing through the town on the river. If you’re in the mood for a hike, take a trip out to Anna Ruby Falls. Or you can go zip-lining, gem mining, or visit the Cabbage Patch Kids hospital. Helen also has some unique boutiques and delicious restaurants for you to try!
Knoxville is a city in Tennessee that is northwest of Asheville. It typically takes about two hours to get there. But depending on the travel and traffic conditions, it can take a little longer or even a little shorter to arrive. The city is located on the Tennessee River and has a lot to offer visitors. There is something for everyone, no matter what type of attractions interest you.
Of course you’ll be able to find some amazing restaurants and shops. But Knoxville also has some cool historical sites. There is the Market Square District which features 19th century buildings and James White’s Fort, just to name a few. The city was also the site of the 1982 World’s Fair. A few of the structures built for the fair are still in use today and are a cool and unique thing to do in the city.
We hope you enjoyed these fun day trips from Asheville. The mountains, towns, and cities surrounding Asheville are some of our favorite places to explore. Whether you want outdoor adventure, a city escape, or a mixture of both, we guarantee there’s an Asheville day trip on this list that is perfect for you!