20 Best Day Trips From Asheville, NC (Within 3 Hours!)

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One of the best vacation towns in the southern United States is the gorgeous city of Ashville. And these are the best day trips from Asheville NC!

Are you planning your trip to Asheville last minute?

If you’re traveling to Asheville last minute, you want to ensure you have lodging/tours booked ahead of time! Below are some of our top picks to help you plan!

Where to Stay in Asheville:

Best Tours in Asheville (+ Experiences):

Asheville is particularly known for its immaculate views of the Blue Ridge Mountain Range, as well as the many historical sites throughout the city.

However, Asheville is also conveniently located close to tons of other sites that you should be sure to add to your NC travel itinerary.

Best day trips from Asheville NC
Best day trips from Asheville NC

If you plan on staying in Asheville for a couple of days, why not make a few road trips out of it to see more of what the region has to offer?

If you’re looking into some day trips that you can take from Asheville, read on to see some of our top picks. All of these Asheville day trips are less than 3 hours away and can easily be reached by car.

Best Day Trips From Asheville, NC

1. Linville Caverns

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 52.4 miles (1 hour, 2 minutes)

Being North Carolina’s only show cavern, Linville Caverns are definitely worth visiting if you want to visit a one-of-a-kind gift from nature in the area!

They are open on Saturdays and Sundays and closed every day on weekdays.

They have guided tours that leave every fifteen minutes, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to see the Linville Caverns as they don’t require reservations there!

Linville Caverns
Linville Caverns

This is definitely one of the best day trips from Asheville… especially for children and families!

Every tour has a limit of fourteen people, including children who are underage. Admissions are $12 for adults, $11 for senior citizens, $10 for children ages (5-12), and free for children 4 years and younger. 

Address: 19929 US-221, Marion, NC 28752

2. Johnson City

Location: Tennessee
Distance from Asheville: 61.2 miles (1 hour, 2 minutes)

With the combination of southern small-town charm and big-city lifestyle and amenities, Johnson City is perfect for those who would like to experience the best of both worlds!

The South is well-known for its country music, and when in Johnson City, you can learn all about the evolution of the genre and its growth in the United States at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum! They are open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 am-6:00 pm and Sundays from 1:00 pm-5:00 pm.

Johnson City - Nolichuckyjake - shutterstock
Johnson City – Nolichuckyjake – shutterstock

If you want to spend more time in the outdoors, you can head on over to Buffalo Mountain Park where you can enjoy the panoramic views! Also, take a short trip to Bristol, a city that is located in both Virginia and Tennessee!

3. Nantahala National Forest

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 108.2 miles (1 hour, 59 minutes)

When in Asheville and wanting to take a trip to reconnect with nature, Nantahala National Forest is the ideal spot!

There, you can engage in various activities such as biking, hiking, fishing, camping (if you’re planning on staying for more than a day), or simply just enjoying the views the park has to offer.

Nantahala National Forest
Nantahala National Forest

Also, if you are visiting the National Forest and would like to be more well-informed about it, you can stop by the interpretive areas (the Nantahala Ranger District and the Wayah Bald Tower).

Other popular activities include picnicking and horseback riding.

Address: Bryson City, NC 28713

4. Brevard

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 35.1 miles (49 minutes)

Brevard is a unique and underrated town not too far from Asheville.

When visiting Brevard, make sure to check out their craft beer, as it is something they definitely pride themselves in – and for good reason!

The two most popular and highly rated places are the Brevard Brewing Co. and Ecusta Craft Beer which is located in the Pisgah Forest (also another great spot to visit if you’re in the area).

Brevard
Brevard is known for its waterfalls!

Another great spot in Brevard would definitely have to be the infamous Allison-Deaver House. It is the oldest standing frame house that has remained unaltered for about two centuries!

The house now serves as a House Restoration Museum and is open for visitors to come to see and become acquainted with its full history. 

5. Ocoee Whitewater Center

Location: Tennessee
Distance from Asheville: 140.8 miles (2 hours, 37 minutes)

The Ocoee Whitewater Center is of real value to its locals and adventurers from all over!

They truly pride themselves on it making a name for themselves in history! In 1996, the first Olympic whitewater event that took place on a natural river was at the OWC.

Today, you can visit the OWC and enjoy yourself, especially knowing about its history.

Ocoee Whitewater Center
Ocoee Whitewater Center

You can either swim, picnic along the river and enjoy the hush sounds of nature, or take strolls in the native walkways and gardens! If you are planning on doing an activity such as snorkeling, give the center a call at (423)338-3331 to schedule.

The cost is $25 per snorkeler and groups are from 12-24 snorkelers. 

Address: 4400 US-64, Copperhill, TN 37317

6. Greenville

Location: South Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 63.3 miles (1 hour, 15 minutes)

Greenville is a cute little town with a cute name and awesome attractions waiting for you to visit!

One of the places you could visit (which is more for the adventurous) would definitely have to be Paris Mountain State Park. The breathtaking colors during the fall and spring seasons are especially worth it.

Greenville
Greenville

The park is only a fifteen-minute drive from Greenville and is the place to escape and immerse in nature.

Another interesting place at Greenville, one that it’s especially known for, is Liberty Bridge. Due to its interesting and innovative design, it is a popular spot for visitors to enjoy. 

7. Mount Mitchell State Park

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 28.8 miles (55 minutes)

Mount Mitchell State Park is one that stands out from the rest not only in North Carolina but east of the Mississippi altogether!

The summit of Mount Mitchell is the tallest point east of the Mississippi and with that, it became an inspiration for one of the nation’s first state parks.

Mount Mitchell State Park
Mount Mitchell State Park

You can walk through the park and enjoy the scenic views up until you reach a museum that will explain the mountain’s cultural, historical, and natural history.

If you want to stop by, make sure to make reservations by calling (877)722-6762.

Address: 2388 NC-128, Burnsville, NC 28714

8. Tallulah Gorge State Park

Location: Georgia
Distance from Asheville: 102.7 miles (1 hour, 55 minutes)

As you may have noticed, state parks are definitely one of the major spots people choose to visit – and for good reason! Thankfully, Georgia has no shortage!

These places are epic getaways if you’re looking to disconnect from society and enter a world of your own in nature or if you simply want to immerse yourself in the great outdoors.

Tallulah Gorge State Park
Tallulah Gorge State Park

Whatever the reason may be, Tallulah Gorge State Park is there to suit your needs! The part offers 15 miles of hiking trails to its visitors.

Remember though, the trails may be strenuous, so drink plenty of water before visiting. Also, for animal safety, pets are not allowed, so please keep the furry friends at home.

Permits are required to access the gorge floor but are completely free, so make sure to pick one up at the Interpretive Center. 

Address: 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Rd, Tallulah Falls, GA 30573

9. Chimney Rock State Park

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 24.6 miles (42 minutes)

When visiting Chimney Rock State Park, make sure to come prepared and wear proper apparel as you may hurt yourself and/or feel discomfort if you do not.

The park has 10 trails in total and 6 of them are located within the fee area.

Admissions to enter the park are $17 for adults and $8 for children (ages 5-15). Children under the age of five can get in for free!

Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park

The park is truly incredible and stands out from the rest as its “chimney” has stood for over 500 million years and can be reached by simply climbing a mere 500 steps!

It is definitely worth the climb, however, if you’d rather not engage in as much physical activity, you are welcome to use the elevator to reach the top.  

Address: Chimney Rock, NC 28720

10. Black Mountain

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 16 miles (21 minutes)

Black Mountain is an absolutely gorgeous little small town where the locals are friendly and the vibes are artsy and creative!

This small town, shortly after it was formed, became a haven for pioneers in the world of art, poetry, design, and architecture.

Black Mountain
Black Mountain

Today, the arts aren’t the only thing that gravitates people into visiting. For example, one of the spots you could visit like Lake Tomahawk. There, you can either go swimming or simply enjoy the view.

Black Mountain is also a great place to go as their restaurants serve absolutely delicious foods. Some of their best restaurants are Louise’s Kitchen, Black Mountain Ale House, and My Father’s Pizza. 

11. Helen

Location: Georgia
Distance from Asheville: 127 miles (2 hours, 27 minutes)

Helen is one of the coolest small towns in Georgia. For all those who are adrenaline junkies or just like to simply hang out and relax, Helen is for them as it has just the right mix of both!

One of the most popular activities for both locals and visitors happens to be ziplining, so if you’re one to try new things that challenge your comfort zone, or you just want an adrenaline rush, then make sure to try ziplining in Helen! You can do so at the Unicoi State Park.

Helen, Georgia - Sean Pavone - shutterstock
Helen, Georgia – Sean Pavone – shutterstock

If you want to visit a more low-key place that really portrays the town for what it is and shows off its uniqueness, then visit the Nora Mill Granary Grist Mill & Country Store where you can learn all about the agriculture of Helen. 

12. Lake Lure

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 27.9 miles (48 minutes)

When visiting Lake Lure NC, make sure to engage in as many activities as you possibly can, as, although you may think that activities available at lakes are limited, there is much to see and do near Lake Lure!

Lake Lure
Lake Lure

For example, if you like horseback riding, you stop by the Cedar Creek Riding Stables where you can choose from different tours and pick the one that suits your needs the most.

You can also take advantage of the golf areas there and go golfing. Near the lake, there’s a golf course called the Apple Valley Golf Course and is open to all who want to play! 

13. Knoxville

Location: Tennessee
Distance from Asheville: 116.2 miles (1 hour, 54 minutes)

If you’re looking for a fun day for either family time or to be with your friends, Knoxville is the place for you!

One thing you can do in Knoxville is to visit the World’s Fair Park. There, you can enjoy the gorgeous lawns, the awesome water features, and walkways ready for you to explore!

Knoxville
Knoxville

There are many performances and events held there as well, so if you’re lucky, you might catch something while you’re there!

You can also visit the Tennessee Movie Theater. First opened in 1928, the movie theater has only grown over time, creating an atmosphere truly worth visiting!

The place is seen as a historic place in Tennessee and still has the historic architecture and feel to it as well! 

14. Blowing Rock

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 90.6 miles (1 hour, 44 minutes)

Down in Blowing Rock, experience the extraordinary remnants of American history as well as a touch of European influence. There, you can explore the cute churches that add to the picturesque scenery of the mountains.

The oldest church there is on Main Street, which first opened in 1900. The churches are still open for service and prayer today, so feel free to join.

Blowing Rock
Blowing Rock

Another great spot in Blowing Rock that’s worth visiting is the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum. 

The art mainly portrays nature, and Blowing Rock is a place where nature and appreciating nature is a big part of society, it only makes sense that the material at their museum would be no different. 

15. Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 31.7 miles (42 minutes)

Carl Sandburg was one of the most influential authors of the 20th century, winning three Pulitzer Prizes. According to President Lyndon B. Johnson, “he was America.” 

If you enjoy the works of this popular American author or you simply want to learn more about him, you can visit his home, which is now a National Historic Site.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

If you would like to visit, hours are from 10 am-3 pm, seven days a week. As far as admissions go, you don’t have to pay a fee for grounds, entrance, and the trails and barn.

Address: 1800 Little River Rd, Flat Rock, NC 28731

16. Boone

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 84.6 miles (1 hour, 52 minutes)

For a day filled with new revelations along with feeling the comfort that is the coziness of small towns, visit Boone!

Located not too far from Asheville, it has a world of its own, filled with history, art, and much more!

One place you can visit is the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine. Gem mining has played a huge role in the area because of the jewels found in places like Boone. This is when the era of the Gold Rush started.

Boone
Boone

What’s fun is that when visiting the Foggy Mountain Gem Mine, you not only get to learn about the history of it all and get to see it for yourself, but you can actually buy buckets of gems and rocks mixed together with soil.

So, you can be a “miner” yourself and try to find the gems!  

17. Toccoa

Location: Georgia
Distance from Asheville: 120.3 miles (2 hours, 14 minutes)

One of the major tourist attractions as well as creative wonders of Toccoa is the Broken Bridges!

Although not actually broken, the bridges, which are actually two and don’t really “bridge” anything together, were made to create an illusion that looked like there was one big bridge with a gap in the middle.

Apart from its interesting appearance, it is also surrounded by beautiful nature which is absolutely amazing if you’re planning on taking loads of pictures on your trip.

Toccoa
Toccoa

Because of its obvious rich soil and awesome natural benefits, Toccoa is also ideal for making wine!

When in Toccoa, make sure to stop by the Currahee Vineyard and Winery where you can enjoy the scenic views of the vineyard while enjoying some tasty local wine. 

18. Pisgah National Forest

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 46.6 miles (56 minutes)

Filled with waterfalls and breathtaking views, Pisgah National Forest is definitely for those who love and appreciate being in the great outdoors. It also has some of the best waterfalls near Asheville!

Hikers can enjoy hiking up to reach either the heights to enjoy the amazing views, or they could hike up to reach the many beautiful North Carolina waterfalls in the forest.

Pisgah National Forest
Pisgah National Forest

The Pisgah National Forest does not have an admissions fee, but if you are new to hiking or just being in an environment such as this one in general, you should probably think about booking a tour as the duration may be long and it could become dangerous for newbies.  

Address: 160 Zillicoa Street, Asheville, NC 28801

19. Bryson City

Location: North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 65.3 miles (1 hour, 8 minutes)

Having a big vacation in a small town may not sound practical, but Bryson City never settles for practicality!

Ever want to have an adventurous trip with your friends? Then Bryson City is for you! One place you can visit when in Bryson City is the Tunnel to Nowhere.

Bryson City
Bryson City

Despite its creative and unusual name, the Tunnel does in fact lead to somewhere: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is on the way to the park and part of an absolutely beautiful landscape.

Another great place you can go to is the Deep Creek Trail, where you can enjoy the fairytale-like scenery you’re surrounded by while enjoying a nice, long hike! 

20. Great Smoky Mountains National Park + Pigeon Forge

Location: Tennessee and North Carolina
Distance from Asheville: 37.1 miles (49 minutes)

Visiting Deep Creek at Smoky Mountains National Park is a must where you could either chill with your floaties near the waterfalls or go fishing, swimming, horseback riding, or camping! It is even a great place to visit in winter!

The hike to the park is very easy and a mere 2.5-mile round trip hike. However easy, make sure to take a map of the trail with you! When in Pigeon Forge, you will definitely have a blast with your family!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

From playing mini-golf to g-carting to whitewater rafting, Pigeon Forge has it all! If you’re planning on visiting, make sure to buy your tickets on their website beforehand!

Did we miss any amazing places to visit near Asheville? Let us know your favorite day trips from Asheville NC in the comments. Thanks!

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Are you looking for the best day trips from Asheville NC? This Asheville day trips guide includes waterfalls, small towns, forests, and beyond! Click to learn more! | Things to do in Asheville | Places to visit near Asheville | Asheville itinerary | Asheville to Pisgah | Asheville to Knoxville | Asheville to Greenville | What to do in Asheville | Itinerary for Asheville | North Carolina small towns | Waterfalls near Asheville | Small towns near Asheville

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