Winter has arrived in western North Carolina. We’re fortunate to experience three seasons of amazing weather, perfect for outdoor activities. Millions of people come to our area every year to experience the beauty of the mountains. Typically, for nine months of the year, you can expect the temperatures and weather to cooperate. But winter may not be so cooperative.
Does that mean there’s nothing to do during the cold months? Absolutely not! Whether you just moved to the area, you’re visiting, or you’ve been here for years, you may not realize how many family-friendly activities are still available during the winter months. We’re here to help. Here are some of the best activities for your family, even when the weather outside is frightful.
What Activities are Available in Asheville and Black Mountain During Winter?
Ten Winter Activities in and Around Asheville and Black Mountain
“From November to January, America’s largest home is decked out with ribbons, Christmas trees, greenery, ornaments, and lights. When the lights come on in the evenings, Biltmore House and Antler Hill Village are a sight to behold.”
Christmas at Biltmore is a truly magical experience for all ages. There is something for everyone at the estate itself and throughout the property. Furthermore, the magic does not stop on Christmas. You can enjoy the experience through January 8th!
Is hiking a winter activity? It absolutely can be! While you may not think of traipsing through the woods as something to do when the weather gets cold, there are a number of reasons winter hiking can be a memorable experience for all:
- You can bundle up and stay a lot warmer than you might think
- Even on the trails that are typically the most crowded, you may find you have the woods to yourself
- With the leaves having fallen from the trees, you can often see long-range views that are otherwise concealed most of the year
- If you can time your hike with snow, it can be magical
Some winter hikes near Asheville and Black Mountain include:
- Mount Mitchell
As the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, Mount Mitchell’s observation deck provides visitors with breathtaking views for those who are willing to brave the cold. Park rangers work hard to keep the trails and roads clear, even during the blustery winter months.
- Crabtree Falls
Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Marion, NC, this sixty-foot waterfall can be accessed by two different routes.
- DuPont State Forest
The 10,400-acre DuPont State Recreational Forest is located in Henderson and Transylvania Counties between the towns of Hendersonville and Brevard. Because of heavy crowds in the summer months, the best time to visit is between November and April.
- Mount Pisgah
Although the Pisgah Inn and Restaurant are closed during the winter, a number of Pisgah’s trails remain open as trail conditions allow.
- Rainbow and Turtleback Falls
A waterfall hike through the forest of Gorges State Park leads to Rainbow Falls, named for the rainbows that result from the sunlight reflecting off the mist from the waterfall. Turtleback Falls, a low waterfall over a curved rock resembling a turtle shell, is just half a mile past Rainbow Falls.
- Craggy Mountain and Gardens
Rhododendrons and 360-degree mountain views attract visitors to Craggy Gardens. While there are a number of trails to explore, the trail to Craggy Pinnacle takes just twenty minutes, and hikers are rewarded with a spectacular view.
- Linville Falls
Perhaps the most famous waterfall in the Blue Ridge, Linville Falls trails include four waterfall overlooks.
- Chimney Rock
In the summer months, Chimney Rock State Park is overflowing with people, making the winter months a surprisingly ideal time for a visit. Winter visitors can also enjoy special events like Santa on the Chimney and Winter Break Animal Encounters, and they can explore the quaint Chimney Rock Village.
3) Adventure Center of Asheville
While you’re not letting winter keep you from getting outdoors, make sure you take a trip to the Adventure Center of Asheville and Kolo Bike Park:
“Enjoy expansive views of the Asheville skyline from Asheville Zipline Canopy Adventures or hop on one of our top-end mountain bikes and learn the meaning of “flow” on our on-site trail system created and groomed for the KOLO Bike Park.”
In December, the Adventure Center of Asheville also hosts the Winter Wonder Walk. This immersive story walk takes place on an outdoor trail and features lights and live characters like the Sugar Plum Fairy and Jack Frost.
Of course, the colder weather is welcome for those who enjoy winter sports. The Asheville area has a handful of places to go skiing, snowboarding, and tubing, including:
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Tubing
- Wolf Ridge Ski Resort (the closest option)
- Cataloochee Ski Area
- Beech Mountain Resort
- Sugar Mountain Resort
- Sapphire Valley Ski Area
- Moonshine Mountain Snow Tubing Park
- Highlands Outpost
- Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park
- Hawksnest Snow Tubing
Sometimes, when the weather does not cooperate with outdoor fun, and your Christmas money is burning a hole in your pocket, you just have to go shopping. Fortunately, Asheville, Black Mountain, Swannanoa, Weaverville, Mars Hill, Hendersonville, and all the towns around the area have excellent shopping options.
Outdoor shopping centers include the Asheville Outlets, Biltmore Park, and Biltmore Village. The idyllic downtown areas boast a number of local businesses and boutiques with clothes, furniture, art, books, gifts, and more. Located in the center of downtown Asheville is the Grove Arcade, featuring ornate 19020s architecture and rich history and filled with unique shops and dining options.
6) Pinball Museum
The Asheville Pinball Museum is open 6 days a week (Sunday-Monday and Wednesday-Saturday), and it contains thirty-five classic video games and thirty-five pinball machines. Pinball museum visitors can stay and play for as long as they’d like, but the space is fairly small, and admission is on a first-come, first-serve basis.
7) Restaurants and Breweries
Asheville is known for its many breweries and delicious restaurants. Some restaurants to try include the following:
- Tupelo Honey
- Posana Restaurant
- Nine Mile
For more casual dining, check out Pack’s Tavern, Farm Burger, White Duck Taco, and Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack. Downtown breweries include One World Brewing, Asheville Brewing Company, the Thirsty Monk, Green Man Brewery, Wicked Weed, and Burial Beer Co.
8) Coffee Shops/Bakeries
For those with a sweet tooth and coffee lovers, there are a number of popular dessert spots and local coffee shops. The Hop Ice Cream Cafe has several locations throughout Asheville and Black Mountain and serves handcrafted dairy and vegan ice cream and sorbet. French Broad Chocolate Lounge, in its signature blue building, can be found in Pack Square, and the nearby chocolate factory is open for tours.
Perhaps the most famous coffee shop in Asheville, Double D’s, is located in the iconic double-decker red bus. With specialized coffee and craft beer, Trade & Lore is a great date night stop, with its whimsical decor and location on a cobblestone street. Not only does Vortex donuts feature handmade donuts, but they also have a full coffee menu, with drip coffee and specialty espresso drinks.
9) Escape Rooms
There are several escape rooms in the Asheville area for an immersive and thrilling entertainment option. At Breakout Games, located downtown, guests can choose from nine different rooms, including Wild West, Runaway Train, and Operation: Casino. Other escape rooms are A-Escape Asheville and Fox-N-Otter Adventure Escapes.
Black Mountain Escape has two rooms, USS McKoy and Out of Time. Out of Time is perfect for history lovers and Black Mountain natives because it gives players a glimpse into the early days of the town. For a different kind of experience, Black Mountain Adventure Zone has virtual reality escape rooms and virtual reality games for up to five players.
10) Book a Party at Black Mountain Adventure Zone!
In addition to its virtual reality games, Black Mountain Adventure Zone offers the following activities for groups of all ages:
- Gellyball: A new and exciting shooting experience for players as young as five years old, featuring battery-powered, automatic blasters with hydrated gel orb ammunition. Gellyball is lower impact and mess-free and played in an indoor arena, making it ideal for winter fun.
- Laser Tag: Like GellyBall, laser tag at BMAZ is played in our 1200-square-foot indoor arena with barricades scattered throughout. Mounted black lights, UV reactive paint, and fog machines create the ambiance we call “Glow Mode.”
- Battle Cage: “The Battle Cage is an exciting sword fighting game that is fun for players of all ages. Players strap on a belt, grab a sword and step into the cage to face off in this exciting attraction that is not only fun to play but fun to watch.” – Battle Cage Website.
Make a reservation for your group now to enjoy all that Black Mountain Adventure Zone has to offer, or book your next party with us!