What to Do This Weekend? 40 Ideas

Looking for ideas for what to do on a weekend escape, family vacation or girl's weekend in Asheville and the mountains? Since there are so many things to do and everyone has a different vision of the "perfect" getaway, here are 40 ideas to help you plan your trip:

Hiking & Outdoor Adventures

  • Take a hike to fully appreciate the outdoor splendor of the North Carolina mountains. There are trails for all fitness levels, ranging from multi-day treks on the Appalachian Trail to short strolls in Nantahala National Forest. See our Top Hikes for plenty of choices, including Kid-Friendly Hikes.
  • Take a zip line canopy tour and soar like an eagle through and above the trees
  • Go whitewater rafting down one of our many rivers.
  • Bring your mountain bike (or rent one) to explore a huge network of trails.
  • Go fishing with a guide in a mountain river or a beautiful lake.
  • See waterfalls below!

Waterfalls & Swimming Holes

  • Hunt for waterfalls in the North Carolina mountains. With our Top 60 Waterfalls list, you'll stay busy for many weekends. For families, see our Waterfalls for Kids.
  • Take a waterfall drive to see several in one day.
  • Glide down Sliding Rock, a natural waterslide in Pisgah National Forest has been the favorite summer pastime for generations.
  • Cool off on hot summer days in a mountain swimming hole.
  • Hike, bike or ride a horse to beautiful waterfalls in DuPont State Forest.
  • Explore one of our 6 Great Lakes near Asheville.

Mountain Scenery Windshield Tour

  • Take a leisurely journey on one of our Sweet 16 Scenic Drives.
  • Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive." Since there are 170 miles in the Asheville area, this could fill up a weekend quickly. Slow down to enjoy a leisurely drive with many scenic overlooks and attractions along the way.
  • Drive to the top of Mt. Mitchell the highest mountain in the eastern United States. See the views from the observation deck and walk through Alpine forests.
  • Enjoy waterfalls from the roadside, including Looking Glass Falls near Brevard and Dry Falls near Highlands (and drive behind Bridal Veil Falls).
  • All aboard for a scenic train excursion in the Smokies and along mountain rivers on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad.


  • Exploring all of Biltmore could take days. Allow a half-day to tour the house (along with the shops and lunch at Stable Cafe).
  • Stroll through the gardens and Conservatory with blooms during every season.
  • Tour and taste at the Winery, then see the exhibits and shops at Antler Hill Village.
  • Book a second day to explore the outdoors via bikes, hiking, Segways or on the river in a raft or board.
  • Tour other House Museums in the area.
  • Stay in a hotel or resort that offers special Biltmore ticket offers or packages.
  • For families, see tips and things to do on our Biltmore for Kids guide.


  • For more beautiful, historic architecture and plenty of amazing art, head to downtown Asheville to explore the galleries.
  • To visit artists at work, go to the nearby River Arts District. Dozens of studios and galleries are open every day, with many more open on weekends and Studio Stroll weekends.
  • Take an art class and return home with a new hobby.
  • Go to one of our Top 80 Art Festivals and Tours throughout the year.
  • See the many murals in Asheville.

Food & Drink

  • Tasting your way through our diverse culinary scene will definitely keep you busy with many farm-to-table restaurants with local food and world-class chefs. See our Foodie Favorites guide to get you started. Also, see our Kid-Friendly Restaurant guide.
  • Sample the local brews at dozens of craft breweries in Asheville and western North Carolina. See our Top 50 Beer Guide to get started.
  • Enjoy a wine tasting at some of our favorite mountain wineries.
  • For the ultimate way to start the day, stay in a Bed & Breakfast inn and awake to a gourmet breakfast just a few steps from your room.
  • Tour the big Western North Carolina Farmers' Market or stop by a weekend tailgate market.
  • Pack a picnic and head out to one of our Favorite Picnic Spots.
  • In the fall, visit the apple orchards.

Small Town Ramble

  • See our Top Mountain Small Towns near Asheville to explore with many things to do and friendly locals to meet.
  • During the holiday season, go to our Top Christmas Towns in western North Carolina.
  • Find the grand historic courthouses in our towns.
  • Like to learn about local heritage and history, check out our Top 35 Museums and landmarks.

Pamper & Relaxation

  • Get a massage in a tranquil setting. See our top picks for spas.
  • Stay in a cozy cabin nestled in the mountains with books, games, and views.
  • Soak in the mineral waters in Hot Springs or the Japanese style hot tubs at Shoji Retreats.
  • Relax with an hour of tranquility in a Salt Cave.
  • Find one of our Top 15 Mountain Views and soak in the scenery.


  • Find our complete Family Guide for planning your vacation in Asheville and Western North Carolina.
  • See our list of family-friendly places to stay with extra perks and amenities for kids.
  • Get tips and things to do at Biltmore with kids.
  • Find indoor activities for kids on rainy or snowy days, along with hands-on learning centers and children's museums to visit.
  • Get outdoors and discover many kid-friendly hikes or waterfalls for kids, including Sliding Rock.

For many more ideas, see our 300 Things to Do in Asheville and the mountains of North Carolina.


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