The holiday season is here, schools and colleges are getting ready for their winter breaks, and people are preparing to travel to see family members, friends, and loved ones. If you are preparing to host out-of-town guests for the Christmas season, you may be wondering how you will keep your friends and family entertained during their visit.

Fortunately, western North Carolina is flush with family-friendly activities, and there is plenty to keep your guests occupied for the entirety of their stay. Asheville is also known for its delicious food and many breweries, so if cooking is not your forte, you don’t need to worry about anyone going hungry!

Family Activities for the Holiday Season

Get Outdoors

Since December weather is typically still mild, you can still enjoy the numerous outdoor activities Asheville and the surrounding towns have to offer. There are plenty of amazing hikes around that remain open throughout the year. Some feature frozen waterfalls and rivers, while others offer breathtaking,  panoramic mountain views. The following trails make the venture outside worthwhile:

  • Bearwallow Mountain Trail: There are two options for hikers on this trail- a 0.7-mile gravel access road or a 1-mile switchback trail. The treeless summit provides 360-degree views, which are even better in the winter months.
  • Dupont State Recreational Forest (DSRF): This area contains a network of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Several waterfalls can be found in the DSRF, including Bridal Veil Falls, Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, and Wintergreen Falls.
  • Chimney Rock State Park: The thinner crowds make a winter visit to Chimney Rock particularly appealing. In addition to the view from Chimney Rock, there are a number of trails in the park for hikers of all fitness levels. Once you are done hiking, you can explore the shops and dining options in the Village of Chimney Rock.
  • Mt. Mitchell State Park: Though access to Mt. Mitchell can be limited in the winter months, the park rangers try to keep the trails clear, making the trek to the observation deck a fun one with a phenomenal view. At 6,684 feet, Mt. Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi River.

Winter Adventures

Located within striking distance of Asheville is Wolf Ridge Ski Resort in Mars Hill, NC, and Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, NC. Each of these offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing. 

The Adventure Center of Asheville provides exciting activities year-round, including zipline canopy tours, a treetop obstacle course, and a mountain biking park. In December, the Adventure Center hosts their annual Winter Wonder Walk, which is a live-action immersive story walk.

Christmas Festivities

There are plenty of Christmas light displays in the Asheville region, many of which are free to enjoy! A few of our favorite places to see lights are:

  • The North Carolina Arboretum’s Winter Lights
  • Christmas Wonderland at the Tryon International Equestrian Center campus
  • Smoky Mountain Christmas Light Spectacular in Bryson City, NC
  • Biltmore House and Antler Hill Village
  • Lake Julian Festival of Lights
  • Forest City Christmas

A favorite Christmas tradition of Asheville residents and visitors alike is the display of the National Gingerbread House Competition at the Omni Grove Park Inn. The competition occurs in November each year, and the entrants are displayed from November through January. 


Asheville is known for having amazing food and drink options, and there is nothing quite like a good meal shared with loved ones. Some restaurants you don’t want to miss are Buxton Hall BBQ, Nine Mile, Limones, Tupelo Honey, and Cucina 24. 

Not only do the Asheville breweries serve great beer, but many of them also have great environments. Visit New Belgium for outdoor seating overlooking the French Broad River. Located downtown, Wicked Weed Brewpub has a full restaurant, downstairs tap room, bottle shop, and dog-friendly patio. The Wedge Brewing Company has two locations in the River Arts District and one in the Grove Arcade.

Book a Party at Black Mountain Adventure Zone!

When you are looking for a high-energy activity the whole family will enjoy, Black Mountain Adventure Zone has a number of options, including Gellyball (a lower-impact game that uses battery-powered blasters to launch hydrated gel orbs at targets or other players), laser tag, battle cage (a sword fighting game that is fun to play and watch), and Virtual Reality games and escape rooms.

For more information, if you have questions, or to schedule your group, contact us today! We have a number of packages and party options from which to choose.