My admiration for Asheville never decreases, but I must admit that fall is, hands down, the most beautiful time of the year to be here. The trees display unreal red, yellow, and bronze colors, the flowers are spectacular, and the average temperature is 68°F/46°F. If that’s not enough, there are many events, and the bountiful harvest makes our food scene even more exciting.
Fall in Asheville is gentle and long (one of the longest seasons in the country), allowing us plenty of time to transition and retreat to the darkness of winter. If you’re looking to see fall foliage, the best month is October, although you can start to see changes during the last week of September in higher elevations. The beginning of November might bring the last fall colors to lower elevations.
Framed by this explosion of colors, many Asheville fall events and festivals are fun for the entire family. Your younger kids will love the excitement of getting lost in a corn maze and touring farms where they’ll pick apples from the trees and pet rescue animals, while teenagers will fall for a Halloween ghost tour and tales of local vampires, witches, and ghouls.
For something truly unique, the entire family can have an unforgettable time foraging wild food (including mushrooms!) and learning how to cook it. Of course, there are plenty of things to do for adults, too, from festivals where you can sample local beers and ciders to a soothing salt cave brimming with wellness experiences.
You’ll find all the info about these and other fall activities in Asheville as you keep reading!
Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 16 Best Things to do in the Fall in Asheville
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
16 Fun Things to do in Asheville in the Fall
1. Explore Breweries at Asheville Oktoberfest
Asheville Oktoberfest is your big chance to taste some of Beer City’s best brews in one place. This Asheville fall event occurs during the first week of October at Pack Square in downtown Asheville. The legend says that Asheville has more breweries per capita than any US city, which could be true, with 60 breweries featuring over 100 local beers!
In addition to beer, Oktoberfest will feature fun festival games hosted by Asheville Sports & Social Club (axe throwing and cornhole, anyone?) and live music by the local “oom-pah” band Lagerhosen.
Some of the participant breweries of Asheville Oktoberfest are 12 Bones, Archetype, Highland, One World Brewing, Pleb Urban Winery, and Sierra Nevada. The confirmed food vendors are Simply Hot Dogs, Dare Vegan Cheese, and Blunt Pretzels, but you can also get food at one of the amazing nearby downtown restaurants.
View the complete list of participants and get your tickets here.
2. Go on ASAP’s Annual Farm Tour
Every visitor to Asheville has heard about our thriving food scene, collaborative culinary culture, and award-winning restaurants. If you want to dive deeper into that farm-to-table culture and see firsthand where everything starts, join the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project Farm Tour, which takes place in September.
ASAP is an Asheville nonprofit serving the Southern Appalachian region. Its mission is to help local farms thrive, link farmers to markets and supporters, and build healthy communities through connections to local food.
The Farm Tour showcases farms within an hour’s drive from the city and is a perfect Asheville fall family-friendly event. The kids will love picking up flowers at Flying Cloud Farm and playing at Hickory Nut Gap’s culvert slides, sound silo, hammock circle, treehouse, and lovely creek. Plus, petting rescue donkeys, pigs, goats, and chickens at Franny’s Farm is always a hit.
Get your pass ASAP!
3. Take a Foraging Tour
Foraging consists of gathering wild food for free, and you’ll be pleased to learn that our area has over 300 wild edibles, from fruits, nuts, and greens to a wide variety of mushrooms. No Taste Like Home has been offering foraging tours since 1995, and it’s been selected as TripAdvisor’s No. 1 Foraging Activity in the US!
Fall is harvest time, and you’ll love, for example, gathering honey mushrooms and autumn olive berries in September, nettle and prickly pear fruits in October, and bricktop mushrooms and Jerusalem artichokes in November, among many other native plants.
In addition to the three-hour guided tour, the experience includes a cooking lesson, food tasting, and the opportunity to have your foraging finds cooked at one of the best local restaurants for dinner! This will be a great first approach to foraging and hopefully will spark your interest in wild food.
4. Walk Around Biltmore’s Grounds
Of course, America’s largest home is worth a visit every time of the year, but it is astonishingly beautiful during the fall. Follow the Biltmore House Fall Color Report here to get an idea of what to expect each month, but you’ll be able to enjoy colorful flowers and fall foliage from mid-September (around the lagoon) to early November.
Your entry to the Biltmore House will include access to the grounds, but you can also get a Biltmore Ground Admission Ticket to explore the 8,000 acres of grounds featuring beautiful gardens designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and 20 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.
You’ll love having lunch al fresco at the Antler Hill Village and enjoying a complimentary glass of wine at The Winery. The kids will love the playground! Plus, dogs are welcome outdoors (in the gardens, grounds, and eating areas) but not in any building.
5. Get Lost in the Corn Maze at Eliada
Going to the Eliada Fall Festival and Corn Maze is one of the staples of Asheville’s fall events. They have fun activities for the little ones, including corn cannons, spider climbers, lawn games, hay rides, pumpkins for sale, and one of the best corn mazes in the area.
You’ll love having so much fun while supporting Eliada’s mission to help children succeed: 100% of the proceeds benefit local children, youth, and families. They host several fundraising events a year, but the Fall Festival is the biggest one. This year they will offer Fall Festival Corporate Nights.
The festival is open from late September through Halloween on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. In addition to the fun activities, there will be local food trucks so you can return home with a full belly after taking in all the fall sunshine and fun.
6. Dance at the Annual LEAF Festival
LEAF is among the most popular of Asheville’s fall events, and tickets sell out fast. It takes place during the third weekend of October at beautiful Lake Eden, and the theme changes yearly. 2023’s will be “Legends of the Americas,” exploring First Nations, Indigenous, and Latino cultures and traditions.
There are performances, activities, local foods, and many opportunities to meet fantastic people and organizations that will confirm that “the closest distance between two people is a story, a song, or a dance.”
LEAF Global Arts’ mission is to connect cultures and create community through world music, arts education, preservation, and experiences. This foundation does fantastic work in our community, including cultural exchanges, residencies, mentoring, school programs, and family-friendly free events.
7. Go Apple Picking
In Asheville, nothing screams fall louder than picking apples and the smell and flavors of the goodies made from them. Picking fruit from a tree is a magical experience for kids and adults, and your family will get to choose between 25 varieties of apples at Jeter Mountain Farm in Hendersonville.
The adults in your family will love the hard cider tap room (order a flight!), and the kids will adore playing at the indoor farm-themed playground. Plus, there is BBQ and live bluegrass on-site.
This farm offers other u-pick experiences, including peaches, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pumpkins, grapes, and flowers. Check their calendar here to see what’s available during your visit.
If you’re really into apples, Hendersonville is also home to many other apple orchards and hosts the annual North Carolina Apple Festival (Labor Day Weekend). You can also check out our guide to the best apple orchards in the Asheville area!
8. Celebrate Fall at Carolina Cider Fest
Carolina Cider Fest takes place in October at McCormick Field, home to Asheville’s Tourists Baseball team, close to downtown. You’ll sample hard cider, mead, apple wine, and seltzers. Of course, top-notch local food and live music are also invited to the party!
Tickets to this tasty Asheville fall event include all the cider you can drink, and VIP tickets will give you a souvenir glass, artisan snacks, and other surprises.
North Carolina has a long tradition of cider production that started with early settlers in the 1600s. Cider became a kitchen staple in the 18th and 19th centuries, but the Prohibition Era took a toll on it. The craft cider movement gained new life recently, highlighting the importance of preserving heirloom apples.
This event happens at the peak of our tourist season, which is the best time of the year to enjoy the Asheville fall colors, so please get your tickets in advance.
And if you’re a cider lover, make sure you check out our list of the best places for cider in Asheville!
9. Take a Guided Paddleboard Tour
Asheville’s warm and sunny days are perfect for playing by the water and even taking a quick dip. Wai Mauna Asheville SUP Tours offers four four-mile French Broad River paddleboard adventures that will take you through the River Arts District. You’ll finish the tour within walking distance of restaurants, breweries, cafés, and 200 art studios and shops.
The October Sunrise Dawn Patrol starts at 7:00 am and finishes at 9:30 am, just in time to get coffee at one of the RAD’s coffee shops. Grind, for example, is Black-owned and ranks No. 3 among the best coffee shops in North Carolina.
The mid-morning tour is perfect for those who like to be active in the morning. Plus, the river will be empty then. The mid-afternoon one will work great for jumping in the river. The late afternoon tour occurs right before sunset and ends at New Belgium or the Wedge Brewing Company.
10. Drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most scenic drives, on a sunny October afternoon is one of the easiest, most popular Asheville fall activities to immerse yourself in the season’s beauty. Stop at some of the lookouts or take a short hike, pair it with a picnic basket, and you’ll have a fantastic time with minimum effort.
You can see early colors (late September) at Rough Ridge Overlook (Milepost 302.8), a one-mile-long trail featuring three viewpoints with incredible vistas. This is the perfect spot to watch the sunset over Linn Cove Viaduct, Grandfather Mountain, and the forests below.
Driving to the summit of Mount Mitchell, the highest point east of the Mississippi River (6,684 feet), is another rewarding experience. The accessible observation deck provides 360-degree mountain views.
Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail will always be among Ashevillians’ favorite family-friendly hikes. The reasons? An easy, fun, 20-minute hike takes you to terrific 360-degree sunset views and plenty of picnic spots. You can even watch the sun go down from the parking lot!
Don’t miss our article on the best spots to see the leaves change around Asheville!
11. Take a Haunted Asheville Ghost Tour
October is the perfect time of the year to take one of the (not so) spooky Haunted Asheville Ghost Tours led by the oldest ghost tour company in town. Asheville has many Halloween events and activities, but taking this tour is among the top 10!
There are three tours. The most popular one is the Classic Walking Tour, a two-hour walking tour in downtown Asheville that is family-friendly and was voted one of the country’s top three tours by readers of USA Today.
The Biltmore Village Mystery Tour explores the supernatural enigmas of the neighborhood surrounding the Biltmore Estate. Ranging from 60-90 minutes, it’s a little shorter than the Classic Walking Tour, and it’s also family-friendly.
The Supernatural Tour is for adults only and takes you to the underworld of Asheville’s vampires, witches, and ghouls. Be aware! It promises to give you “the full scoop on our local vampire scene, rites in Pritchard Park, dark spirits on Church Street, Native American mysticism, and much more.”
For more fun tours, have a look at our article on other fun and unique tours around Asheville.
12. Treat Yourself to a Pumpkin Doughnut
Hole Doughnuts is well known as one of the best donuts shops in Asheville. They’re freshly made right before you in an open kitchen, rolled, and cut by hand. This shop earned second place on Yelp’s “Top 100 Best Doughnut Shops in the US 2023” and was named “Best Dessert 2016” by Bon Appetit magazine.
The doughnuts are fried in non-GMO rice bran oil and made with organic stone ground flour from Lindley Mills, unrefined organic cane sugar, sea salt, cage-free eggs, and whole butter.
The changing hanging menu is based on seasonal ingredients and includes daily varieties. Their flavors are so creative! Think Mezcal, Lime & Basil doughnuts or the Orange Dream doughnut with Grand Marnier, fresh orange juice, coriander, and ginger.
But for the ultimate fall treat, try the Pumpkin Sorghum doughnut, made with pureed pumpkin, sorghum, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg – it’s the perfect dessert to celebrate the season! Pair it with coffee from the local roaster PennyCup Coffee or a farm-to-home glass of milk.
13. Discover Local Artists at Art in the Park
Asheville Art in the Park takes place on three Saturdays in October in the heart of downtown – one of many great markets and events in Pack Square. It’s a great chance to explore the local and regional art scene and buy a unique Asheville piece to take home.
This beloved Asheville fall event showcases professional artists’ work in all mediums. You’ll also have the chance to see artists at work, chat with them, and learn about the rich arts and crafts heritage of Western North Carolina.
You’ll be surrounded by some of the best restaurants and shops in town. If you need a break from the sun or from walking around art displays, go across the street, buy a treat from French Broad Chocolate, a donut from Stay Glazed Donuts, or even get a mini treatment (and a glass of wine!) at Recline & Unwind Social Spa, where being loud is encouraged!
14. Enjoy a Family-Friendly Hike at Graveyard Fields
Despite its creepy name, Graveyard Fields Loop Trail is a fantastic kid-friendly hike with fun features and meadow spots to lay a blanket and have a fall picnic. Located at Milepost 418.8 of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Pisgah National Forest), the trail is 3.2 miles long and, while slippery and steep at times, is easy.
Graveyard Fields is beautiful and popular year-round, with blooming rhododendrons in June, swimming fun in the summer, and blueberry-picking in mid-August. But its beauty is particularly astonishing in the fall due to the diversity of its vegetation.
One of the most attractive features for kids is the many chances to play by the water and the two waterfalls, which are always an incentive for hiking. Second Falls (only 0.2 miles) is one of the local favorite swimming holes in the summer and early fall.
15. Go Ziplining
The Adventure Center of Asheville is a fun place to go all year round, but it’s beautiful in the fall due to the perfect weather and the colors of the changing leaves. It even hosts the most family-friendly Halloween event in Asheville, which is designed to introduce your kids to the holiday “without traumatizing them.”
The offerings include mountain biking and the Asheville Treetops Adventure Park, which features 77 unique rappelling challenges on seven aerial trails anchored to over 30 trees. The Zipline Canopy is set among the oldest white and red oaks and offers views of downtown Asheville. The little ones in your family will love KidZip, America’s first zipline adventure designed for kids 4 to 10 years old!
The Haunted Trail is a super fun Asheville Halloween event designed for 3 to 12-year-old kids where you won’t see blood or gore, and no eerie creatures will chase you or your sweet little ones. The festival features Halloween games, local food and snacks, and an Aerial Glow Trail with thousands of multi-colored twinkle and laser lights.
The best part? Part of the proceeds are donated to the MANNA Food Bank.
16. Relax and Recharge
Fall can sometimes find us with lower energy levels and the need to reset and recharge. Our city offers plenty of spa and wellness experiences, but I love that the Asheville Salt Cave only requires you to sit down and chill in a cave with 30 tons of pure pink salt that recreates the environment of a natural salt mine.
The effects are remarkable! You’ll leave feeling relaxed and centered. Of course, the soothing music and the zero-gravity chairs help. They offer private bookings, yoga classes, sound healing concerts, massage experiences, and a Kids’ Quiet Play Session every Sunday morning.
If you have extra time, book a session at the Hammam, a traditional Turkish bath designed to detoxify and exfoliate the skin and restore the body and the mind. You’ll love their packages, including exfoliating kits and chromotherapy options.
There you have it! The top 16 things to do in Asheville in the fall! Did we miss any essential fall activities, festivals, or events? Let us know so we can add them to the list.
SHARE THIS ON PINTEREST