A river in North Carolina: North Carolina's fall colors: things to do in nearby cities during your stay at The Esmeralda Inn & Restuarant.

Things to Do in Western North Carolina

From downtown Asheville to Brevard, there are so many cities with things to do in Western, North Carolina! A new adventure awaits you in every city and town! Each place has its own personality and charm, and our favorite places to visit are only a short trip away from The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant. Below, you will find a comprehensive list of the best things to do in Western North Carolina. While you’re planning your trip, also remember to explore our free Chimney Rock/Lake Lure Vacation Guide! It is full of over 100 recommendations on restaurants, breweries, outdoor activities, and more, so you can spend less time planning and more time having fun.

Things to Do in Western North Carolina When You Stay at The Esmeralda


There are so many ways to explore Asheville! It is the largest city in Western North Carolina and offers something special for every visitor. From award-winning breweries to the gardens of Biltmore Estate, here are some of our favorite things to do in and around the city.

  • Delve into history and explore the legendary Biltmore Estate and its gardens. If you also love wine, remember that complimentary wine tastings at the estate winery are included with your admission.
  • The Asheville area is home to more breweries per capita than any other city in the Southeast, so get a proper taste! You can even dive into the craft beer-making process with a brewery tour. Check out our blog on Asheville breweries to learn more.
  • Explore the city’s phenomenal arts scene in the River Arts District. Add on a hands-on experience, like glassblowing, to complete your trip.
  • Take a ride down the steepest and fastest canopy tour in America at the Gorge Zipline.

Asheville is approximately 40 minutes from The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant, and the drive into the city is beautiful.

Craft beer at a local Asheville brewery. Read our blog on Asheville breweries for our top recommendations!


Hendersonville is a unique destination in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You’ll pass through this sleepy mountain town as you make your way to Chimney Rock, but we encourage you to visit! With flourishing apple orchards along the roads, we know you’ll want to get out, stretch your legs, and admire the beauty. Some of our favorite Hendersonville activities are:

  • Apple picking during the fall at any of the town’s farms and apple orchards.
  • Gem mining at Elijah Mountain Gem Mine. You can find rubies, emeralds, amethyst, and more. There is even a farm where you can meet an adorable goat family! .
  • Enjoy homemade wine and breathtaking mountain views at Burntshirt Vineyards.
  • Explore over 235-acres of forests and mountain landscapes at Holmes Educational State Forest. Admission is free!
  • Celebrate Western North Carolina’s rich agricultural history at the N.C. Apple Festival! Every Labor Day weekend, you can look forward to live music, entertainment, and a smorgasbord of goodies, like caramel apples.

Hendersonville is approximately 25 minutes from The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant. Remember, you’ll pass through this town on your way to Chimney Rock!

A beautiful apple tree with mountain views in the background at a Hendersonville, NC, apple orchard.


Many people know Brevard as the gateway to Pisgah National Forest. Here, you’ll find so many ways to discover North Carolina’s natural beauty. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline-pumping adventure or a romantic hike, this mountain town has it all. Here are some of our favorite ways to explore Brevard!

  • Embark on the ultimate mountain biking adventure at Pisgah National Forest or DuPont State Forest. You can opt for a self-guided tour or get to know the trails better with a professional guided tour.
  • The Brevard area is known as “The Land of Waterfalls.” There are over 250 cascading falls to explore that are only a few minutes from one another, like Looking Glass FallsTriple Falls, and Sliding Rock.
  • Brevard is famous for its rare population of white squirrels. Take a hike at Pisgah National Forest and see how many you can spot!
  • Get in the Halloween spirit with Halloweenfest in downtown Brevard! You can look forward to a chili cook-off, pumpkin carving contest, costume contests, a haunted house, and a masquerade ball!

Brevard is approximately one hour away from The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant, making it ideal for a day trip!

Looking Glass Falls at Pisgah National Forest in Brevard, NC. Read our blog on Looking Glass Falls to learn more about this special waterfall!


At The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant, you’ll never need to travel far for the best attractions in Western North Carolina. Our intimate bed and breakfast sits gently on a wooded hillside in the mountains, only five minutes away from The Hickory Nut Gorge. When you book any of our cabins, like The Esmeralda Cabin, you can always look forward to the best amenitiesvacation packages, and top-notch service. Complimentary breakfast, dining at our award-winning restaurant, access to our luxurious outdoor spa, and massage services are a few ways to enjoy your stay! If you are ready to plan your Western North Carolina getaway, remember your free Chimney Rock Vacation Guide. We can’t wait to host you at The Esmeralda Inn & Restaurant!

Lobby at The Esmeralda Inn: amenities.