4 Days in Asheville Itinerary

4 Days Asheville

With some of the best hiking and restaurants in the country, Asheville is the perfect place to escape for an extended weekend getaway.  Four days in Asheville is the ideal amount of time to explore some of the hiking trails and try out some of the amazing restaurants in the area.  To make the most of your 4 day trip to Asheville, we’ve compiled all our favorite Asheville experiences, all recommended to us by locals and other travelers before we tried each for ourselves.  Read on for our full ‘4 Day Asheville Itinerary’.  

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4 Day Asheville Itinerary Overview

  • Day 1: Brunch, Hike Wildcat Rock, Check-In, Grill or South African Food
  • Day 2: Handmade Donuts, Drive Blue Ridge Parkway, Hike to Waterfalls, Tacos
  • Day 3: Coffee/Pastries, DuPont State Park Waterfall Hike, Pizza
  • Day 4: Breakfast, Check-Out, Mountain Hike, Cuban Food, Black Mountain

4 Days Asheville Itinerary: Day 1

We loved Asheville. The laid back vibe, mountains in every direction and delicious food all make Asheville one of our favorite places we’ve ever visited. This 4 day Asheville Itinerary is sure to having you swooning over this area too.

Arrive in Asheville, Get Brunch

On your first day of your 4 day Asheville trip, arrive early either by car or plane.  Your first stop will be to get brunch at the Sunny Point Cafe.  The menu here is filled with super yummy comfort food.  The patio area is really nice to dine on (if the weather is nice), and there is a little garden you can walk around too.  We ate here while it was sprinkling so we ate inside but the indoor/outdoor vibe was on-point.  The large open patio window next to our table made it feel like we were outside.   The staff was super accommodating to our kids as well.  They even gave our toddler some extra fries after her baby brother knocked most of hers on the floor.   Also, they had a ‘spot’ for our toddlers stuffed animals to sit too. 

After your meal, head next door to the Rabbit Hole Bakery to get one of the scrumptious fresh baked goods.  The carrot cake moon pie, using the same batter as the carrot cake pancakes on the menu at the restaurant,  was delicious.  Be sure to bring your receipt from brunch to get a 10% discount.  

Hike Wildcat Rock

Wildcat Rock Asheville Hike

After fueling up with brunch and baked goods, head to the Wildcat Rock trail for an afternoon hike.  Wildcat Rock is an awesome trail to hike as you’ll not only get sweeping mountain views but also pass a unique waterfall.  This hike is 3.5 miles round trip with 1,100 feet of elevation gain.  On this trail, you first hike up on a serene wooded path and about ⅔ of the way up on, you’ll pass Little Bearwallow Falls.  Then, you’ll continue to hike up until you reach the Wildcat Rock summit with sweeping mountain views.  

Scrambling and Difficulty 

Please note, there are some rock scrambles involved in the Wildcat Rock hike, mainly just stepping up rocks until the very end though.  At the very end of the trail to get to the viewpoint, you do have to climb up a large rock and duck under a tree.  However, we found this very manageable even carrying the kids so don’t let that deter you from hiking it.  If you are able to hike to the summit, you’ll be able to climb up this rock.  

Our perception of difficulty may be a bit skewed as we were carrying a toddler and a baby up the trail, but we would rate this hike as moderate to strenuous.  It’s pretty steady incline up most of the trail.  Budget 2-3 hours to complete this hike.  This is also a great trail to see wildflowers in the late spring/early summer.

Parking, Cost & Dogs

There is a small lot to park across the street from the trailhead. This parking area serves several trailheads.  We arrived on a Saturday around 10:30 AM, and there were about 5 spots left at that time.  There is no fee to hike this trail. Leashed dogs are allowed.  

If in the mood for a beer after your hike, head to the nearby Whistle Hop Brewing Company.  This brewery has a nice covered deck and food truck on site as well. 

Check into House Rental

After hiking Wildcat Rock, head to the Dancing Bear Getaway in Black Mountain, 10 minutes outside of Asheville, to check in.  We loved this house rental!  It is tucked away in the woods on a dead end road away from the hustle and bustle of Asheville but only a short 3 minute drive into Black Mountain or a 10 minute drive to Asheville. It has an extremely nice outdoor area too with a fire pit, hot tub and several patios to relax on.   Beyond the location and outdoor space, the family friendly amenities, nearby scenic hikes and helpful hosts also add to it the Dancing Bear Getaway being the best place to stay near Asheville.   See our Where to Stay Near Asheville North Carolina for a full breakdown of why we loved staying at this place. 

Dinner: Grill Out at House Rental or The Bush Farmhouse

After checking into the Dancing Bear Getaway, spend the evening grilling out on the patio, sitting around the bonfire, relaxing in the hot tub or playing some games in the game room.

The Bush Farmhouse

Alternatively, if you want to head out to dinner, go to The Bush Farmhouse in Black Mountain.  This restaurant has yummy upscale South African food yet the atmosphere is casual.   Adjacent to the outdoor dining patio is a huge fire pit in front of a stage with live music for bar/restaurant guests to enjoy.  

The patio area had plenty of kid friendly features too.  There is an enclosure where there are giant pigs, chickens and ducks, which our toddler loved, as well as some old school toys/rides for the kids to play on.  They had a retro airplane ride with music that our toddler wanted to ride on again and again.  The food was delicious here, the outdoor space was super cute and the kid-friendly touches all made this restaurant a real highlight during our visit to the Asheville area. 

4 Day Asheville Itinerary Day 1 Driving

4 Days Asheville Itinerary: Day 2

Breakfast at Vortex Donuts

Vortex Donuts

On the morning of day 2 of your 4 day trip to Asheville, head to Vortex Donuts for breakfast. Vortex Donuts specializes in handmade donuts.  They serve a variety of specialty donuts that are really perfectly crafted and not over the top.  Our favorites were the Vortex Signature Doughnut (Cinnamon Sugar drizzled in Dulche de Leche glaze) and the Espresso Doughnut.  Buy a 6 pack so you can try a bunch of different flavors.  You won’t be mad if you have some leftovers for later! 

Drive Blue Ridge Parkway 

Blue Ridge Parkway

After getting breakfast at Vortex Donuts, drive Southwest from Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The sweeping mountain views are awesome along this drive.  There are so many overlooks on this drive and all have postcard worthy views.  Stop at several along the way to take in the views.  To drive along the correct route, program your drive on your GPS to Graveyard Upper Falls Trail.  

Note: Pack a picnic lunch/snacks today to eat while driving or hiking on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are no dining options on the parkway. 

Hike Trails on Blue Ridge Parkway

After driving along the Blue Ridge parkway, get out to stretch your legs and hike one of the many trails along the parkway.  We recommended hiking to 2 different waterfalls to mix up the views as you’ll get tons of great mountain views on your drive.  

Hike Graveyard Upper Falls

Graveyard Upper Falls

First, hike to Graveyard Upper Falls.  This part loop and part out & back trail is 3 miles round trip with 320 feet of elevation gain.  You hike through the woods over roots and rocks to the pretty Upper Graveyard Waterfall.  This hike did not feel strenuous and only a bit technically challenging near the upper waterfall with slightly rocky and steep terrain.  However, we found it very manageable wearing our two kids.  This trail is rated as one of the most family friendly along the Blue Ridge Parkway as well.  Further, you typically can see some wildflowers here during the late springtime.  This hike tends to be busy on weekends, but we hiked in on an intermittently rainy Sunday and did not see too many other people.  Budget about 2-2.5 hours to hike this trail. 

Parking, Cost & Dogs

Park at the pull-off for the Graveyard Fields.  If you have trouble parking at the trailhead here, give it 10 minutes.  A lot of people only stop here to use the restrooms and/or to look at the Graveyard Fields viewpoint but do not actually hike so they are not here long at all.  There is no cost to hike this trail.  Leashed dogs are allowed. 

See Looking Glass Rock & Hike Skinny Dip Falls

4 days Asheville

Next, start heading back towards Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike Skinny Dip Falls.  The trailhead for this hike is at one of the best pull off spots on the Parkway.  Here, you’ll get sweeping mountain views and be able to see the unique Looking Glass Rock.  Looking Glass Rock is a Pluton or, in other words, a mass of molten rock that hardened under the earth’s surface and was exposed/shaped by centuries of erosion. Looking Glass Rock gets its name from reflecting sunlight when water collects on its granite face, turning into a gigantic mirror-like rock.  This rock is super unique, and we’ve never seen anything like it before. The hike to Skinny Dip Falls starts across the street at the trailhead.  

Skinny Dip FAlls

Skinny Dip Falls is a 0.9 mile round trip hike with 180 feet of elevation gain that is easy to follow and not technically challenging.  It affords you some really nice waterfall views rather quickly.   When you arrive at the falls, you can cross the river to get some close up views of the falls or to go swimming. However, be aware that we saw 2 people slip doing this (it had just rained and was extra slippery) and we opted not to cross the river.  There is no fee to hike this trail.  Dogs are allowed.  Budget 30 minutes to hike this trail. 

Alternative Trail Options

There are several mountain view hikes in the area too if you want to see more sweeping mountain views.  

  • Looking Glass Rock (6.1 miles, out & back, 1682 feet elevation gain)
  • Frying Pan Mountain Lookout Tower (1.5 miles, out & back, 357 feet of elevation gain)

If looking for another waterfall hike, consider checking out these below:

  • Looking Glass Waterfalls (0.3 miles, out & back, 36 feet of elevation gain)
  • Moore Cove Falls (1.2 miles, out & back, 154 feet of elevation gain)
  • Sliding Rock (0.3 miles, out & back, 19 feet of elevation gain)

Dinner at White Duck Taco

After your hike, head to White Duck Taco for dinner. This casual taco joint on the river checks all the boxes. The cute patio area with outdoor seating right along the river as well as the variety and uniqueness of the tacos on the menu are both huge selling points. 

White Duck Taco

There are various ethnic food inspired tacos on the menu and you can get anything from curry to Korean to classic tacos.  We recommend ordering a variety of tacos to try several of the specialty flavors.  Natalie’s favorite taco was the Bangkok shrimp, and Sam’s favorite taco was the crispy pork belly.  They had a chicken and cheese quesadilla on the menu that our kids enjoyed too. Our daughter could not get enough of ‘playing’ the corn hole game they have outside either.  We liked this place so much that we considered coming back another time to try more tacos and enjoy the patio, even on our short trip.  

Note: You may have to wait in line for 15-20 minutes to order during peak time. However, after ordering, the food comes fast. With tacos being pretty quick to eat, there is constant turnover in seating, and we had no issue finding a place on the river to sit and enjoy our tacos even at a peak time. 

Bonfire, Hot Tub or Game Room

Head back to the Dancing Bear Getaway to enjoy the hot tub, fire pit or the game room.  This rental really provides hours of entertainment right at your accommodations. 

4 Day Asheville Itinerary Day 2 Driving

4 Day Asheville Itinerary: Day 3

Coffee and Breakfast at Dripolator 

The next morning, head to Dripolator in Black Mountain to caffeinate and try one of their scrumptious baked goods.  Or enjoy one of their fruit smoothies.  This coffee shop is super cute and cozy.  Sit outside on the small front patio for some distant morning mountain views.  

DuPont State Park Hiking

4 Day Asheville Itinerary

After getting coffee/breakfast at Dripolater, drive about 50 minutes southwest to DuPont State Park.  Here, hike to one or several of the waterfalls located in this state park.  We opted to hike to High Falls, Triple Falls and Hooker Falls. This route is about 4.5 miles round trip with 490 feet of elevation gain and you see 5 waterfalls along the trail.  The path is well groomed and easy to hike. 

5 Different Waterfalls

Each waterfall on this route is unique. High Falls is the most impressive and has several viewing points including the base.  Triple Falls is three waterfalls that run together.  Hooker Falls is the smallest of them all but there is a calm area of water the kids (or adults) can play in at the base.  Natalie’s favorite waterfall was High Falls (because biggest), Sam’s was Triple Falls (because most unique), and the kids favorite was Hooker falls (because they could play in the sand and calm water at the base).  We did not stay at Hooker falls overly long though because the kids started to eat sand like it was going out of style.  Reality! 

Recommended Route & Other Trails

There are several options for how to hike this route. We recommend parking at the main visitor center for DuPont State Park and starting the hike from there. You start by hiking to High Falls, then Triple Falls, and finally Hooker Falls.  We then recommend retracing your steps to return to the visitor center. 

This park is also home to Bridal Falls, which is featured in the first Hunger Games film. You can alternatively do a 7.5 mile round-trip hike to High Falls, Triple Falls, and Bridal Falls. Another alternative is to only hike to Hooker Falls. This hike is 1 mile round-trip with 140 feet of elevation gain. If you plan to spend a lot of time playing in the sand and calm water at Hooker Falls, this may be your best option.  You also could just hike to High Falls and/or Triple Falls as well.   As you can see, there are various options to suite your level of fitness and what your family will enjoy most.

When you arrive at the visitor center, the staff will be able to give you a map and show you a 3-D diagram of the park. We’ve not seen anything like the 3-D diagram here, created by a local model train club.  Heading into the visitor center is worth the time just to see this diagram.

On this day, we would recommend packing a picnic lunch as there is nowhere to eat in the park. 

Pizza and Drinks in Black Mountain

This evening, head to Black Mountain Pizza for some of the best Detroit style pizza in the area.  We ordered the 117 Cherry Street Detroit style pizza.  This pizza has an unusual assortment of toppings including pears, walnuts, mushrooms, cauliflower, cheese, garlic and cherry pesto.  Despite the unlikely pairing of toppings, this pizza is SO delicious.  Natalie was very skeptical but was pleasantly surprised with how good it tasted. 

Next, head over to the Foothills Grange for drinks (16 different drinks on tap).  This casual outdoor bar/eatery has a fun setting with string lights, industrial style porch coverings and a huge outdoor sand pit for the kids to play.  The outdoor sand pit was a huge hit with our toddler.  

Pizza and Drinks in Asheville

Alternatively, head into downtown Asheville for some amazing pizza and brews (15 different beers on tap) at Asheville Brewing.  The covered patio here has all the right vibes and the pizza is on-point too.  The flavor profile of some of their pizzas is also very unique, but they also have classic flavor profiles for the less adventurous eaters. We ordered ½ a Moon Pie and ½  a Magic Dragon.  Check out the website linked above for all the latest brews they have on tap. 

We honestly really liked both pizza places and would recommend trying both at some point during your trip! 

4 Day Asheville Itinerary Day 3 Driving

4 Days in Asheville: Day 4

Hike Lookout Mountain

After making breakfast and checking out of your house rental in Black Mountain, head about 15 minutes north to the small college town of Montreat to hike to Lookout Mountain. This 1.4 mile round trip hike with 600 feet of elevation is steep and a bit rocky at the top but so worth the effort for the views.  This is a great bang-for-your-buck hike. You get some of the best sweeping mountain views relatively quickly.  

Scrambling and Difficulty 

The hike is a steady climb up through the woods consisting of stairs or a dirt/rock path that requires no true scrambling until the very end. For less than 0.1 miles, you will have to scramble up some rocks and use your hands to brace yourself to get to the summit.  However, it is not overly technically challenging as we were able to do this safely while baby wearing our kids.  We rate the hike as moderate.  Other than the rock scramble portion of the trail and summit area, the trail is almost completely shaded (huge bonus in our eyes).  The summit has stunning expansive mountain views and there are several large rocks to sit down on to take it all in.  

Parking, Cost & Dogs

We hiked this trail on a weekday around 10 AM and only saw two other small groups of people.  The hike was so peaceful and really felt like a hidden gem.  There are two small gravel lots to park at the trailhead but there are only about 10 spots available total so you may have trouble parking if it is a weekend so arrive early then.  The hike took us about an hour to complete, including taking a 15 minute break at the top to soak in the views, take some pictures and give the kids some snacks.  There is no cost to hike this trail but at the trailhead there is a QR code you can scan to donate to Montreat for the trail maintenance and we highly encourage you to donate if you hike it as the trail is very well maintained. Dogs are allowed on a leash. 

More Hiking? 

If looking to hike longer or another trail, there are plenty of other hiking trails at Montreat.  See the link here for the map.  We also hiked the Lower Piney Trail and the Big Piney Ridge Trail to the lookout point for a 3.6 mile round trip hike with 1200 feet of elevation gain. We only saw one group of two people on this hike and it was so serene (yet a killer workout).  Download the trail map with the link above or stop in at the Montreat store for a hard copy map.  There are many other trails here too. You could spend a week hiking a different trail here each day.  

Cousin Cuban Cafe

After your short, yet challenging hike, stop at Cousins Cuban Cafe in Black Mountain for lunch.  This casual Cuban restaurant is unassuming on the outside yet so welcoming on the inside with some of the tastiest food in Black Mountain.  We really loved the atmosphere and food here.  It was very reasonably priced too! 

Note: Be sure to check current hours before visiting.  They were only open 9AM-3PM everyday (other than Wednesday when they were closed) during our visit. 

Explore Downtown Black Mountain

Spend the rest of your time in the Asheville area exploring downtown Black Mountain. There are tons of cute shops and restaurants in this charming city just ten minutes east of Asheville. Consider getting ice cream at The Hop. They have super tasty local homemade ice cream here. We tried 3 flavors (Aztec Chocolate, Salted Caramel and Cookie Party) and as our toddler said “all of them” were her favorite.  Be sure to check out some of the hand-painted rocking chairs (adult and child sized) all throughout downtown too.  Our toddler really liked having all of us sit on one of these every time we came upon them.  There are tons of other restaurants and shops to check out as well. Some other places we liked stopping in included Berliner Kindl (German restaurant and bakery) and BLK Mountain Brewing (brewery with nice patio).

See our Weekend in Black Mountain guide for more tips on visiting Black Mountain.

4 Day Asheville Itinerary Day 4 Driving

We hope this guide helps you plan your 4 day trip to Asheville.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment! For more information on visiting the Asheville area, please see our Weekend in Black Mountain, ​​Asheville with a Baby or Toddler and Top 3 Asheville Hikes articles as well.

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