This is the first post in a series about Asheville. Honestly, there was just too much info to cover in just one post so I broke it up into three. This first one includes accommodations. Enjoy!
Nestled in the heart of the blue ridge mountains in Western North Carolina, Asheville offers an incredible amount of fun things to do with your family. Whether it’s exploring the Biltmore Estate, to Eating at Tupelo Honey Cafe, to taking a wight water rafting trip down one of the local rivers, to summiting Mt. Mitchell, there really is something for everyone. Come along as I take you all around town.
Getting here by car is probably the fastest and most efficient route. Asheville can be accessed by Interstate 40 from the east or West and I26 from the south. Now, really, all you have to do is pull up google maps and you are there but I feel like I need to mention it to be complete. The Asheville regional airport is serviced by four major airlines with ten destinations. The drive in from the East, via I40, the way that we come in, is really quite pretty, climbing the front range of the blue ridge and coming into Asheville surrounded by mountains. Yes, it really is pretty great. If you fly in, you’ll need to rent a car. The public transportation is OK in the city by way of city bus, but non-existent outside of town. And, really, to truly experience Asheville, you need to GET OUTSIDE. Hiking, Mountain Biking, White Water Rafting, Rockclimbing, and many more activities.
When my wife and I came to Asheville on our honeymoon, we stayed at Willow Winds Cabins. It was incredible. At that time, they had about 20 cabins on their property. All were spaced far enough apart and their were varying sizes, ranging from 1-4 bedrooms. Since it was part of a community, I think there was a gate, but honestly I can’t remember.
The pond at Willow Winds
If you are looking at staying downtown, there are a number of great hotel options. Almost in the center of town you’ll find the AC Marriott. Rooms are typical for a national chain. It is relatively large, spacious, clean, and reasonably priced. Breakfast is not included in your stay but there is a restaurant in the hotel. Honestly, we have never stayed here, bu this looks to cater more to business travelers and couples. The accents are a lot more formal and the rooms are just queen and double beds. So, just be aware.
There is also the aloft hotel, another chain, although this one lends itself as more stylish and modern. In this hotel I believe you can rent cribs and rollaways, which is definitely a plus. This hotel is also pet friendly, in case you are traveling with your furry best friend. Definitely a huge plus to this hotel.
OK, so there is one more hotel that is near Asheville that I need to mention but I can’t really spend time on it. It truly needs a review of its own. It’s the Grove Park Inn, the world famous Omni Hotel outside of Asheville. Truly, a short paragraph here would not do justice to this incredible hotel. That will really be a fun review to write:).
Now, on the north side of Asheville, off of tunnel rd, you’ll find your more standard chain hotels…Hampton Inn, days inn, La Quinta, and about six or seven others. All of these hotels I think are a great option for families. They are a little outside of downtown, but, they are cheaper and just as clean as the ones downtown. I have personally stayed in the Hampton Inn and it’s everything you’d expect for a smaller sized chain, clean and comfy room, good breakfast, super friendly and helpful staff.
Now, again, since this blog is catered to family travel, we have to be honest. We are in a season of life with our family where we MUCH prefer Air BNB/VRBOs over hotels. This is for a number of reasons. First, with a home stay, you have the option, which we have done, to have the entire place to yourself. If you have young kids, old kids, middle kids, whatever, you can be loud and rowdy or awake at 3am with a crying toddler or a nursing baby and not have to worry about sharing a wall. And many are pet friendly. The great thing is that the entire place is yours. In addition, most AirBNBs have the enhanced CLEAN protocol, which lends a lot toward peace of mind in COVID times.
When we say we stayed in Asheville with our clan, we technically did not. We stayed in a cabin in Black Mountain, about a 20 minute drive down the interstate from Asheville, but very convenient. Look for an exclusive review of just Black Mountain coming soon. We loved it, and Montreat is a small town just outside of Black Mountain that has an excellent park, where our kids could take their shoes off and wade in the stream that goes through the middle of the park, and then play on the play structures. Really fantastic. And Montreat College is also a great stop if you have a college minded high school student in your family.
And then, there are the plethora of tent campsites and RV sites around Asheville. Again, I’ll say it at least twenty times on this post, if you want to really experience Asheville, you need to get outside. And what better way than to go camping. To celebrate our first anniversary, we went to a small campground outside of Asheville, Mama Gerties (https://www.mamagerties.com). It was in Swannanoa and had both tent and RV campsites. It was awesome because we had a great site and there was a bathhouse with private bathrooms and showers. There are also tiny cabins on the property as well. The tent site was $30.
Another great campground that offers a range of accommodations from Yurts to tent sites to cabins and RV sites is Camfire Lodgings. Situated on top of a mountain, just north of Asheville, this campground is large and spacious but offers you the opportunity to meet your neighbors. In addition, like Mama Gerties, this campground does have a bathhouse with private bathrooms (sink, shower, commode). Now, while we have never stayed here, I have heard excellent things about it. Check them out at https://camfirelodgings.com.
So, to wrap up the accommodation section, my recommendation is to go for an AirBNB/VRBO type reservation for your family. You have the peace of mind that the space truly is your own nd it is comparable if not cheaper than some hotels. If that is not an appealing option, my second recommendation is a campsite. The Asheville area has tons of great camping sites. Finally, there are the hotels off of tunnel road. Most major chain hotels are represented from La Quinta to Hampton Inn.
And one additional note, concerning housekeeping. You’ll notice this blog is visually about as basic as it can be. And I’m OK with that. Right now, I’m focusing on getting back in the groove of writing, editing, and posting, even if I only get 20-30 views, or zero views. In the future, I’ll switch themes, make it more flashy, and perhaps add an audio or video element. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for joining me on this journey and look for the second in the series about Asheville, coming next week!