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For a family that appreciates the natural world, the possibilities in Asheville are endless. Exploring the mountains surrounding Asheville North Carolina is an immersion in millions of years of natural history. Nowhere in North America is the biodiversity matched. Nowhere east of the Rockies are the summits higher and the gorges deeper. And nowhere on the continent are the mountains and streams more ancient. Formed three hundred million years ago, these timeworn mountains provide countless adventures and exploration, making this mountain paradise the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable family vacation.
Plan out your family vacation with these top adventures in Asheville, by age range.
Take in the mountain views from the top of the forest canopy. Asheville offers multiple zipline courses that will have you soaring through the sky. Or, try kayaking in mid-air, harnessed to a cable three-stories high, then climb a rock wall suspended in a mammoth oak tree at North Carolina's first full scale aerial adventure course, Asheville Treetops Adventure Park, just minutes from downtown.
Asheville is home to some of the best whitewater adventures in the southeast. Cruise the multiple rivers surrounding Asheville by raft, tube, canoe, kayak and more. Want to try something different? Asheville offers a ton of adventures you're not likely to find anywhere else. Perform yoga on a stand-up paddle board as you float down the French Broad River, or paddle whitewater on a Bellyak, a locally designed watercraft that makes getting on the river quick and easy.
Explore the great outdoors on foot with one of the hundreds of hiking trails that dot the mountain landscape. Pack a picnic, and your kite and take the family to some of the most scenic and beautiful places around Asheville. Among the loveliest places in the southern mountains are dozens of grassy balds that adorn the region's high ridges. Local favorites are within striking distance in every direction, from the blueberry patches of Graveyard Fields; to the pink, lavender and purple blooms of Carolina Rhododendrons on Craggy Mountain; or the 360 degree views from the grassy summit of Max Patch.
Could you survive in the wild? Become a hunter-gatherer for the day and find out! On this edible treasure hunt, you'll learn how to tell the vicious from the delicious as an expert guide takes you off the eaten path. Then it's finders, eaters as you enjoy “find dining” with your very own catch of the day. Forage ahead!Other Outdoor Adventures
Asheville's rich biodiversity provides a number of opportunities for families to interact with wildlife. Watch playful otters at the WNC Nature Center, see majestic Elk graze on the open fields of Cataloochee Valley, or learn about the annual monarch migration at Hop'n Blueberry Farm. A journey along the Blue Ridge Parkway is your gateway to the outdoors and provides multiple opportunities to observe wildlife.
It's not uncommon to come across black bears in the wild, but if you would rather see these adorable 800 pound behemoths from a safe distance, consider taking a trip to Grandfather Mountain. Here you can see these animals in their natural habitat plus a host of other wildlife including cougars and white-tailed deer.
If your family loves to go birding, then be sure to visit Chimney Rock State Park. This area is home to dozens of species of warblers, beautiful owls and the rare Peregrine falcon. Be sure to bring your binoculars!
Many times llamas are given a bad rap for being temperamental, but the fact is they are very friendly and approachable. Let a llama carry your gear as your family takes a trek through the Great Smoky Mountains.
Many area attractions are perfect for the entire family. From outdoor adventures at Grandfather Mountain and Chimney Rock Park to indoor play palaces like Fun Depot, there's something to do in Asheville no matter the weather, or age of your children.
Biltmore offers a number of kid-friendly activities on the estate. Let the kids visit the estate's farmyard to pet baby animals, or have them drive across obstacles on the Kid's Land Rover Experience. There's also a maze, the Pisgah Playground, Segway tours and a variety of learning opportunities all throughout Antler Hill Village.
It's a bird, it's a plane—no it's your mom! The Asheville Treetops Adventure Park will get the whole family active in a unique obstacle course high above the ground. With three levels of difficulty you can self-guide your way across this challenge that will have you kayaking through trees, snowboarding through open air and navigating around cheese boards. You have to see it to believe it.
Before making your family travel plans, be sure to check out our complete list of family deals and packages for lodging and attractions in Asheville. There are also plenty of low cost (or free) options to make your vacation dollars stretch.
A family vacation to Asheville wouldn't be complete without a water adventure. Hike to a waterfall, paddle a river, fish a remote stream, or just watch and listen. Refreshing and clear, you will see why the scenic waterways of Western North Carolina are, as many locals believe, sacred and purifying. Oh, and fun! Visit the prized waterfalls of film at DuPont State Forest or wade over age-old wedges of polished rock on the crooked waterways in Panthertown Valley.
From urban to wild Asheville has multiple ways for the family to cool off. Take a ride down Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterslide or splash around Pack Square Park in Splasheville, an interactive water feature in downtown Asheville.
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