If you come to the Asheville Cabins of Willow Winds with your family, you won’t run out of things to do. Onsite, we have the game porch, the water balloon station, bocce ball, fishing in our trout pond, horseshoes, an outdoor, out-sized chess board and of course, hiking the beautiful trails off the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. But Asheville offers many family-friendly activities as well
Kid-Friendly Indoor Activities in Asheville
If it’s raining or too hot, you can still find lots to do with your family in and around Asheville. For example, the Colburn Earth Science Museum is a lot more fun than its name implies. Fun for kids and educational for nature enthusiasts, it features the Hall of Minerals and an extensive gemstone collection.
If crafts interest you, go to Fired Up!, where you can try your hand at pottery, mosaics and glass fusing. If you want to see masters’ works, drive up the Parkway to the Folk Art Center at milepost 382. You might even catch one of their many classes or special exhibits.
Learn how to climb and repel safely, in an indoor environment at ClimbMax. Repelling and rock climbing are popular sports in the Western North Carolina area. The Climbmax Climbing center is a favorite stop for families looking for exercise, challenge, and thrills. Climbmax is right in the heart of Downtown Asheville, on Wall Street. Beginners can learn how to climb in a safe environment. After some practice, some may even want to schedule a trip out to climb rock faces in a wilderness area near Asheville. Indoor climbing and instruction are offered to beginners and advanced climbers by a trained staff that closely supervises activities.
At the Mountain Play Lodge they desire to provide a playground that is both kid-friendly and adult-friendly. For the kids, they have designed a play area that is attractive, stimulates the imagination and provides obstacles to challenge those young muscles. For the parents, they have comfortable seating that is centralized to help you maintain a watchful eye on your children. There play area includes inflatables, a large jungle gym, huge soft foam sculptures and realistic play houses.
The Asheville Fun Depot is another great spot to bring the kids. They have 66,500 sqft of indoor fun and an outdoor, multi-level go-kart track. Inside, they have a restaurant, laser tag, indoor go-karts, 18 holes of mini-golf (including some black light holes), bumper carsm 8 mini-bowling lanes, 130 arcade games, simulators, climbing wall, atomic rush, lazer frenzy, and much more. They even have completely redone the upstairs and it now includes a totally enclosed kid’s paradise and parent’s dream come true.
Asheville Kid-Friendly Outdoor Activities
A favorite way to inspire and delight the whole family is to arrange a farm tour. ASAP, the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, offers farm tours. You can always find many receptive farms within an easy drive, including the Hickory Nut Gap Farm and the Imladris Farm.
For young children on a hot day, we recommend Splashville in the center of the city. If have just an hour or two, there’s nothing better on a hot day than to take a tubing run down the French Broad River.
If your children favor skateboarding, head over to the Food Lion Skatepark, which is run by the city. It’s at 50 Cherry Street North and open until dark on most days. In September, the Eliada Annual Corn Maze comes highly recommended. There’s also the Asheville Arboretum, the Cradle of Forestry, Grandfather Mountain, Lake Lure and Chimney Rock Park, all of which are within an hour of Asheville.
The WNC Nature Center is a great place to learn about the wildlife and habitat of this region.Children and adults can learn about native wildlife and habitats at the Nature Center. The City of Asheville operates the Nature Center, which houses over a hundred species of wild and domestic animals and hundreds of species of plants, found in the Southern Appalachians. The Nature Center is well-known for its educational programs: Wolf Howl, the NC Elk Program and the preservation and breeding of Red Wolves, an endangered species. Families can tour the Nature Center and see black bears, mountain lions and other species of wildlife common to this region.
Visit Lake Julian Park and spend the day outdoors with your family.For families visiting the Asheville area, Lake Julian is a great way to immerse everyone in outdoor fun. Lake Julian is conveniently located in South Asheville, and is operated by the Buncombe County Parks and Programming Division. It is open for family fun everyday, year round except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Start with a picnic near the parking area. Then, explore the 300-acre lake in a paddleboat or canoe. There is excellent fishing in Lake Julian. People catch: bass, catfish, brim, crapple and tilapia. If you do take your family fishing, make sure that everyone has a North Carolina Fishing License. There is also a horseshoe pit and sand volleyball, as well as a playground at Lake Julian Park. This is a great place for families to spend the day.
Family-Friendly Asheville Restaurants
Asheville is known as a family-friendly destination, and its restaurants don’t disappoint. Try Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. on Merrimon Avenue, which has a game room. Early Girl Eatery on Wall Street offers toy buckets with your meal.
Avoid the chains and visit some of Asheville’s homegrown fare. Farm Burger, Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack and Papas & Beer all welcome kids of all ages. In fact, Chai Pani, Mamacitas, Mela Indian Restaurant, Urban Burrito, Blue Sky Café, Vinnie’s, Mojo Kitchen & Lounge and EarthFare (both locations) all offer free or low-cost dining options for children.
It is obvious that Asheville is a kid friendly town. During all seasons, there’s plenty for families to do together. Some may want to explore the outdoors with a hike and a dip in a swimming hole, or take a bike ride or kayak the French Broad River. Whatever your choice for family activities in Asheville, you and your loved ones will have fun.