The Best Picnic Spots in Asheville, NC
Family Friendly,  Attractions

The 9 Best Picnic Spots in Asheville

Having a picnic is one of the easiest, most fun things to do with your friends, family, date, or even your dogs. And lucky for us, there are so many excellent picnic spots in Asheville!

Whether you’re looking for a park by the river, a super fun playground, spring blooms, a perfect sunset spot, or a huge mansion surrounded by 8,000 acres of gardens with impressive fall foliage, Asheville has it all!

You can get snacks at the grocery store, make your own, or stop by City Bakery or OWL Bakery for sandwiches and pastries. Grab a picnic basket from The Rhu or a charcuterie box from South Slope Cheese Co. if you feel fancy. Another great idea is to buy picnic supplies at one of Asheville’s many farmers’ markets

Now that you’ve got your goodies, you might be wondering where exactly to have the perfect picnic in Asheville. To help you out, I’ve put together a list of the best Asheville picnic spots for you. Choose one of these lovely spots, and you’re bound to have a memorable picnic in Asheville! 

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The 9 Best Picnic Spots in Asheville

1. Eat and Play in Carrier Park 

Best Picnic Spots in Asheville: Carrier Park

Carrier Park is by the French Broad River in West Asheville and has been voted “Asheville’s Best Playground” many times by Mountain Xpress readers. With its 50 acres of land, this place has so many cool features and some prime picnic spots.

Carrier is one of the oldest parks in the city, and its story is fascinating. In the 1930s, it was used as a landing strip for air shows. There was also a horse track that became Asheville Motor Speedway in the ‘60s until the awesome local nonprofit River Link transformed it into Carrier Park in the late-‘80s. The coolest part? The track is now a velodrome!

The park has restrooms, water fountains, picnic tables, and plenty of places to lay down a blanket and eat. If you plan to picnic with a big group, consider reserving the pavilion for private use.

Before and after your meal, there is plenty to keep you entertained, including a sand volleyball court, a basketball court, grassy areas, and many trails, including the French Broad River Greenway, a 2.8-mile trail connecting the park with a dog park, among other green spaces.

2. Find a Blue Ridge Parkway Picnic Spot

Favorite Picnic Spots in Asheville: Blue Ridge Parkway

The easiest plan for an Asheville family outing or romantic date is to grab your favorite local food and drinks and drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the country’s most scenic roads and a must-do activity while traveling here.

There are designated picnic areas and hundreds of picnic tables distributed alongside the road. Or you can stop at an overlook, open your portable picnic table, display your goodies, and dine with a sunset view! I personally love the Rough Ridge views of Grandfather Mountain and Linn Cove Viaduct.

When having a picnic along the Blue Ridge Parkway, always bring a jacket, even in the summer – the weather can change quickly at higher elevations. Please remember to take your trash and do not approach bears or let them approach you! 

While picnic areas are open year-round, there are no restrooms from November to March.

3. Hike to Craggy Gardens’ Many Picnic Spots 

Where to have the Perfect Picnic in Asheville: Craggy Gardens

Craggy Gardens off of the Blue Ridge Parkway is a staple in all “Best of Asheville” lists. It offers one of the best (or simply the best) family-friendly hikes in town, offering breathtaking 360-degree views. It’s also a great place to see wildflowers, wild berries, and fall foliage, depending on the season. Plus, there are many idyllic picnic spots.

While winding and steep, the road to Craggy Gardens Picnic Area offers a spectacular display of blooms and beautiful fall foliage. This picnic spot near Asheville is open mid-spring to late fall, with over 100 stone tables and several grills. You can walk the 0.8-mile (one-way) Craggy Gardens Trail to the Visitors Center from here. 

The Craggy Gardens Pinnacle Trail is a popular family-friendly hike. The trail is short (1.2 miles) and easy, and it features unique rock formations and rich vegetation, including blooming pink and purple Catawba rhododendrons in June and gnarled sweet birch trees. Even Craggy Dome, where the trail’s parking lot is located, offers incredible spots for a sunset picnic.

4. Picnic at the Botanical Gardens

Best Picnic Spots in Asheville: Asheville Botanical Gardens
 Image courtesy of Asheville Botanical Gardens

Asheville Botanical Gardens is close to downtown, free, and within walking distance of some areas of North Asheville, Montford, or even downtown for those who love walking. You can grab a to-go dinner at a nearby restaurant, like Luella’s Bar-B-Que or 828 Family Pizzeria (or have your dinner brought by a delivery app), and have a laid-back picnic.

There are countless picnic spots near the small creek and a lovely birdfeeder by a deck with benches. The visitor center has a well-stocked gift shop featuring local goodies, books, gardening accessories, and restrooms.

This is also an excellent place for people-watching. There are weddings almost every weekend, artists painting, and since the gardens are connected to the UNCA campus, there are many students doing yoga, journaling, and playing music.

5. Have a Fancy Picnic at the Biltmore Estate

Best Picnic Spots in Asheville: Biltmore Estate

Visiting Biltmore Estate is among the top 10 must-do things in Asheville. Although some folks visit the magnificent mansion once and never come back, the 8,000 acres of gardens and grounds are worth returning every season. 

The outdoor spaces are stunning year-round, with blooms from spring to fall in the Frederick Law Olmsted-designed gardens and the surrounding areas and some of the best foliage views in Asheville. I’ve loved picnicking by the Lagoon with the Biltmore House in the background.

The designated picnic areas are the lawn in front of the Diana statue (when there are no scheduled events), the Bass Pond and the surrounding trails, and the Lagoon area (ducks!). You’ll find plenty of secluded corners that will be the perfect setting for a memorable Asheville picnic.

A luxurious ready-to-go basket from Asheville Picnic Company will make a flawless outdoor Biltmore Estate meal. You can’t bring alcohol to the property but can get a bottle from the on-site winery. 

6. Enjoy a Summer Evening at Pack Square

Favorite Picnic Spots in Asheville: Pack Square

Pack Square is one of the best picnic spots in Asheville. It’s in the middle of it all and has plenty of shade and a small but cool grassy area perfect for throwing the frisbee, playing with the dog, kicking a ball, blowing bubbles, or taking the sunshine in.

Every Saturday in July and August from 7 pm to 10 pm, Pack Square hosts Shindig on the Green, a 57-year-old free festival featuring Southern Appalachian music. Participating in these fun events is one of the best things to do in Asheville in the summer.

There are bands, solo performers, and dancers. Folks are encouraged to bring their instruments to jam on the grass between on-stage performances. This event is a terrific opportunity to listen to the best local and regional musicians and to mingle with locals.

If you have kids, arrive before Shindig on the Green starts and take advantage of Splashville, a splash pad with cool lighting features that’s open till 10 pm (it closes during most festivals). 

There are food trucks and many restaurants and stores nearby where you can get food. I love Dilbar for its excellent Indian street that’s food ready to go. The French Broad Food Co-op is a few blocks away and has great snacks and sandwiches, too.

7. Discover Linville Falls

Where to have the Perfect Picnic in Asheville: Linville Falls

The Linville Falls area in the Pisgah National Forest is known for its beautiful waterfalls and hiking trails, making it one of the best Blue Ridge Parkway picnic spots. There is a picnic area with 100 tables along the river and a covered pavilion. Or you can savor your meal on the rocks at the base of the spectacular three-tiered falls while listening to the cascades. 

Waterfall hikes are a fun year-round activity in Asheville. You’ll love the increased water flow and the birds chirping in the spring, the wildflowers in the summer, the frame of astonishing fall colors, and the frozen landscapes in the winter. Please remember that playing in the water or stepping on rocks is prohibited in some waterfalls, including Linville Falls.

8. Picnic While Playing by the Water 

Best Picnic Spots in Asheville: Graveyard Fields Loop Trail

Don’t let the name Graveyard Fields Loop Trail misguide you: this great family-friendly area is full of treats for kids and adults. It’s also one of the best picnic spots near Asheville all year round, offering grassy meadows to lay down a picnic blanket and opportunities to have a waterfall-side meal.

Located in the Pisgah National Forest and on Blue Ridge Parkway, the trail is about 3.5 miles long. It takes you to two beautiful waterfalls, amazing views, rhododendrons and mountain laurel tunnels, and a beautiful valley where you can pick berries in late summer. 

Second Falls or Lower Falls (only a 0.2-mile hike) is one of the most popular family-friendly hikes and a beloved swimming hole, perfect for a summer picnic in Asheville. 

9. Picnic with Cows on Bearwallow Mountain

Favorite Picnic Spots in Asheville: Bearwallow Mountain Trail
Image courtesy of Conserving Carolina

Bearwallow Mountain Trail is another short and easy 1.7-mile loop hike offering rewarding 360-degree views of Mt. Mitchell, Mt. Pisgah, Hickory Nut Gorge, downtown Hendersonville, and the high country of South Carolina. 

You’ll love getting to the bald summit, which is ideal for throwing a frisbee, flying kites, and picnicking. The best part? Cows love to graze around here, and you might get to watch them. 

This trail was created and maintained by Conserving Carolina, a nonprofit that protects, restores, and inspires appreciation of the natural world. So, if you enjoyed your hike, consider making a donation.

There you have it! The 9 best picnic spots in Asheville. What are your favorite Asheville picnic spots?

Born in Argentina, Laura is a journalist who's lived in Asheville for 10 years. She loves all things Asheville, from the vast business scene to the beautiful nonprofits, magical people, and marvelous nature. She loves being involved in projects that are the change she wants to see in the world.

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