Apple Quest is a permanent scavenger hunt created by Henderson County Girl Scout Troop 1886. Apple Quest is a fun free activity for families to explore downtown year-round. Stop by the Visitor Center, 201 S. Main St, to pick-up a brochure.
The first steam engine puffed up the Saluda Grade to the Hendersonville Depot in 1879. The steam engine needed a “help engine” attached to the rear of the train at Melrose for additional power to push the train up the Saluda Mountain Grade, the steepest main-line standard gauge railroad in the United States. The Carolina Special ran between Charleston, South Carolina and Cincinnati, Ohio from 1911 until 1968. The restored Depot houses a HO scale railroad layout that is highly detailed and is prototypical of Hendersonville, Saluda, Asheville, and Western North Carolina. The Deport features historical artifacts, a Southern Railway cabooser and a special children’s exhibit where they can operate a Thomas the Tank train in a scenic layout. See the 10ft x 80 ft Garden “G” scale layout.
Admission is free. Open Wednesdays & Saturdays, see their website for more info!
The Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO offers a public aquarium with 20+ displays showcasing eels, sting rays, sea horses, turtles and fish, a touch tank, a 2,000-gallon shark study tank with bamboo sharks, and much more!
The Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO offers many internship opportunities, educational opportunities for schools, and hosts a summer day camp called REEF Camp.
REEF Camp Info:
The ArtScape Banners are works of art decorating the light posts of the Downtown area. The artwork is selected annually through a jury process and then reproduced on banners. Artscape maybe found on Hendersonville’s Main Street, Seventh Avenue, and side streets. The public art display offers a creative and unique twist on an outdoor gallery experience. Stop by the Visitor Center at 201 South Main Street to pick up an Artscape brochure.
Offers great indoor and outdoor activities for kids of all ages, including a state-of-the-art arcade gallery, indoor mini-golf, indoor and outdoor go-karts, multi-level laser tag, aero-ball, bumper cars, mini-bowling, anti-gravity ropes course, soft play area, climbing wall, batting cages and more!
Bearfootin’ Public Art Walk is a whimsical, playful, and much loved Bears of Historic Downtown Hendersonville. Experience a ‘Bear Hunt’; follow the Bear Map to located the highly decorated Bears on the sidewalks of Main Street from May – October. The Bearfootin’ program is supported by area businesses and individuals with part of the proceeds of each bear sold going to a non-profit organization which is highlighted on the bear and the remainder going back to the Bearfootin’ Program. A public auction of the Bears takes place in October. Bearfootin brochures are available at the Visitor Center, located at 201 South Main Street. Click to download a brochure.
Biltmore is the largest privately owned home in America situated on 8,000 acres. It was built by George Vanderbilt and was completed in 1895. Vanderbilt’s 250-room mansion is modeled after a French château. TheEstate encompasses the house, landscaped gardens, walking trails, woodlands, restaurants, shops, inn, and an award-winning winery. Located 15 miles north of miles north of Hendersonville.
Open weekends from mid-December to early March (weather permitting). Call for conditions and updates
Blue Ridge Parkway follows the mountain ridges from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. The Parkway’s 469 toll-free miles combines natural beauty, mountain forests, wildlife, wildflowers and magnificent views. Located 15 miles north of Hendersonville.
Open Weather Permitting
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is where Carl Sandburg, American poet, historian, author, and lecturer spent the final 22 years of his long and productive life at his estate, Connemara. The home, originally built in 1838, displays the Sandburg’s furnishing as they lived at Connemara from 1945-1968, including Carl Sandburg’s collection of 12,000 books. Tour the home for a small fee, and learn about Sandburg’s life as a writer, journalist, folk singer, social activist and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer. Visit the barn and descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s champion dairy goat herd and hike over five miles of trails. Access to trails, grounds, barns and public areas is free. Open year-round.
Cherokee Indian Reservation in Cherokee, North Carolina, where Cherokee Indians have lived for centuries, is located on the border of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 56,000 acre Reservation is still linked to ancient customs, culture, history, and traditions. Witnessthe history of the Cherokee at the outdoor drama, “Unto These Hills,” the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and the Oconaluftee Indian Village.
Flume Mining on the banks of the Rocky Broad River. Open 7 days per week!
Open through October
The Cradle of Forestry in America is a 6,500-acre Historic Site within the Pisgah National Forest, set aside by Congress to commemorate the beginning of forestry conservation in the United States. Outdoor activities include two guided trails, which lead back in time to seven historical buildings, including a 1915 Climax locomotive and an old sawmill.
You can call the Cradle of Forestry during their normal business hours at 828-877-3130, or when they are closed, please call the Pisgah Ranger Station at 828-877-3265.
DuPont State Recreational Forest encompasses 10,268 acres in Henderson and Transylvania counties that include waterfalls and 80 miles of roads and trails wandering through mountainous terrain. Open to the public for hiking, mountain biking, swimming, and horseback riding. Fishing is allowed with a valid NC fishing license. Hunting is by special permit only. Many scenes from the 2012 hit movie, The Hunger Games and the 1992 film, The Last of the Mohicans were shot in DuPont State Recreational Forest. The Hunger Games were filmed entirely in North Carolina. Download the Hunger Games film locations. dupont-hunger-games-shots.pdf
Open Year Round
Indoor and outdoor covered flumes for rain or shine mining, open all year. Plus, you can visit and feed goats and chickens!
Stadium seating with 12 Screens
Live bluegrass & country music on Friday & Saturday nights. No cover charge. Donations appreciated.
Bistro style cinema, featuring food, cocktails & local brews
The Flat Rock Playhouse has presented hundreds of productions for over sixty years. The Playhouse offers quality entertainment rarely found so far from Broadway. The Vagabond Players perform a variety of hits each year, featuring comedy, American classics, musicals, farces and whodunits. The Playhouse is open mid-April through mid-October, plus holiday productions, presenting matinees and evening performances Wednesday through Sunday.
Hands On! Children’s Museum is a children’s museum located on Main Street in Hendersonville – it’s the place where LEARNING comes into PLAY. Hands On! provides educational exhibits that stimulate the imagination and motivate learning. It is an affordable, educational and fun way to spend the day with your children, grandchildren, and students ages 1 – 10. Hands On! is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10:00am – 5:00pm. Admission charged.
Open Year Round
Henderson County Heritage Museum is housed in the Historic Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street. It offers public displays, artifacts, lectures, collections, archives, libraries, demonstrations, a replica of a turn of the century county store and other similar exhibitions relating to the history, culture, heritage of Henderson County. The museum celebrates veterans of all wars, and has an Civil War Display.
Offers great classes and programs through the 6 branches for people of all ages 6 days per week!
Historic Downtown Hendersonville was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in March of 1988. The serpentine street features planter boxes brimming with, benches, seasonal flowers and trees. Downtown boasts a wide array of shopping, antique stores, galleries, museums, an aquarium and a variety of restaurants. Downtown offers free Wi-Fi for everyone to enjoy. Downtown hosts many activities including the NC Apple Festival held during Labor Day weekend, as well as, art shows, an antique show, car shows, and parades throughout the year. For additional information call the Main Street Program.
Historic Johnson Farm is a fine example of a late 19th and early 20th century farm & tourist retreat. The entire structure was handmade from bricks that were fired on site from French Broad River mud. Over the years many outbuildings were constructed, including a tool shed/blacksmith shop, barn, boarding house, and a cottage. The property offers historic home tours, nature trails, picnic tables, animals and 10 historic structures on 15 acres filled with trees in a natural setting.
The Heritage Weavers and Fiber Artists have transformed the boarding house into a fiber arts center, which includes weaving, rug hooking, bobbin lace, spinning or knitting.
Holmes Educational State Forest offers a series of well-marked trails, accented by exhibits and displays depicting ecology of a managed forest. Picnic sites with tables and a spacious picnic shelter (with grills) are also available. Located about 8 1/2 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
Open March – November
Jump Off Rock is a scenic overlook, which provides a panoramic view of rolling pastures, the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges. Jump Off Rock also holds an Indian legend that has been passed down for many, many years. Over 300 years ago a young Cherokee Indian maiden received word that her young Indian Chief had been killed in battle, so she climbed to the edge of the rock and jumped off. Indian legend has it that on moonlit nights you can see the ghost of the maiden on Jump Off Rock. Jump Off is located about 5 miles from downtown at the end of Laurel Park Hwy. The park is open daily, sunrise to sunset. No admission charge.
There are three hiking trials at Jump Off Rock, varying in length and difficulty. Blue Trail – easy trail, takes about 8 minutes, Yellow Trail – moderate trail, takes around 15 minutes & Red Trail – is the most difficult and the longest. See the sign at the entrance to the walkway leading to Jump Off Rock.
Lake Julian Park is a family recreational facility located on the banks of 300-acre Lake Julian in Arden, off of Long Shoals Road. The park offers picnicking, boating, fishing, a playground, outdoor games and special events.
The Lake Lure 27 miles of shoreline was selected by National Geographic as one of the Ten Most Spectacular man-made lakes in the World. The lake offers a marina, boat tours and a sandy beach. Located 14 miles east of Hendersonville
Lake Powhatan offers a sandy beach, swimming, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, picnic area, campground, trails, and educational programs. Lake Powhatan is located just minutes from Asheville.
A 25,000 sq. ft. indoor sports and family entertainment facility that has, trampoline courts, dodge ball, basketball, an arcade, a climbing wall, foam pits, a ninja course, toddler time and much more!
Open Tuesday – Sunday.
Mineral & Lapidary Museum of Henderson County houses exhibits from North Carolina, Indian artifacts, a specialty of a single mineral, fossils, fluorescent minerals, gems and a Henderson County Meteorite. A 260-lb. amethyst geode from Uruguay and replicas of World Famous Diamonds are featured displays.
Open weekends from mid-December to early March (weather permitting). Call for conditions and updates
An indoor play, jungle gym and party center
North Carolina Arboretum is a member of the University of North Carolina System and spans 434 acres. The Arboretum offers curated gardens, horticultural exhibits, education center, hiking, biking, indoor exhibits, educational events and nature trails are a few of the attractions available to the public. Located 15 miles north of Hendersonville.
North Mills River Recreational Area is located in Henderson County, just 13 miles from Downtown Hendersonville.
Open Year Round
Guided tours of a real working farm, activities include a picnic by the river, fishing, you pick produce, guided tube floats, tent caming, corn maze and guided horseback rides. Tours offered May – October by appointment.
The Oklawaha Greenway Trail stretches 3.25 miles, connecting Jackson Park, Patton Park, Berkley Park, Sullivan Park & William H. King Memorial Park. It is a relatively flat paved trail and is handicap accessible. The Greenway is a 10-foot-wide asphalt path for cyclists and pedestrians. Mileage signs have been installed every quarter of a mile along the trail to help trail users know how far they have traveled and how much farther it is to their destination. Benches, water fountains, and three bicycle FixIt Stations are available along the trail. Blue light phones have been installed along the greenway using grant money from the state Department of Transportation.
The Pisgah National Forest 501,691 acres stretches across the eastern edge of Western North Carolina’s mountains. The Forest offers hiking trails, fishing, camping, picnic sites, and spectacular waterfalls. The attractions include Looking Glass Falls, Sliding Rock, Pisgah Forest State Fish Hatchery, Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education, The Cradle of Forestry and the North Mills River Recreational Area.
Serpentarium Magic offers educational tours with over 200 snakes, a two-headed Corn Snake as well as an albino collection of snakes, turtles, toads and frogs. Plus, lots of other unique interactive exhibits. Contact business for their hours as they change by season.
Sky Zone is fun for the whole family, with open trampolines, foam pits, climbing walls, jousting, dodgeball, a ninja warrior course, pace for birthday parties, trampoline workout classes, special family and glow in the dark nights, and a toddler zone for the littles.
See website for rules and regulations!
Two slopes are within an hour’s drive of Hendersonville. Check availability and snow conditions in advance st skicentral.com, onthesnow.com or goskinc.com
St. John in the Wilderness Episcopal Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. St. John in the Wilderness was built as a private chapel in 1833, on the grounds of Charles and Susan Barings’ home, Mountain Lodge. The church was deeded to the Episcopal Diocese of Western North Carolina in 1936. Many well-known members of southern aristocracy have family plots in the churchyard; those names include: Christopher Memminger, first secretary of the Confederate treasury; Rev. John Drayton, developer of the world-famous Magnolia Gardens of Charleston; members of the families of three signers of the Declaration of Independence; Major General Edward P. King, Jr., of the United States Army who led the defense of the Bataan Peninsula in the Battle of Bataan against the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II.
Escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains this summer and enjoy live music in the cool evening air. Every year, starting in May and running through September, Hendersonville is home to five different concert series offering a variety of music for most every taste.
Rock and roll and beach music are the focus of the Friday evening Music on Main series, which takes place from 7-9 p.m. at the Hendersonville Visitors Center on South Main Street. Bring a lawn chair and listen to the best dance bands in Western North Carolina. Bring a chair, admission if free. For more info, click for a Music On Main schedule.
Weekends start early in Hendersonville with the Thursday night Rhythm & Brews series, held the third Thursday of each month from May through September. Enjoy opening acts, great headliner bands and plenty of local craft beer, wine and cider during this popular Main Street festival from 5-9 p.m. Click for additional Rhythm & Brews information.
Mondays are fun days in Hendersonville all summer long. Each Monday evening in June from 7-9pm, the Monday Night Live! series features acts ranging from Americana to swing to classic country and rock & soul. Bring a chair, admission if free. Click for a schedule: Monday Night Live!
After a break for the Fourth of July, Monday fun continues with the return of one the longest-running street dance series in the country The Hendersonville Street Dances have been a tradition for over 100 years in downtown Hendersonville. Enjoy the sounds of fiddles and banjos as people of all ages journey to downtown Hendersonville to enjoy mountain heritage music and dancing on Monday evening from July – August from 7-9pm. Bring a chair, admission if free. Click for Street Dance schedule.
And if all that isn’t enough, the Music by the Lake series is held on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College one Sunday evening a month from May through August.
The Gorge is perched on the rim of the Green River Gorge, the steepest & fastest canopy tour in the USA, 11 ziplines and a sky bridge with breathtaking 90-mile panoramic view, 166 Honey Bee Dr., Saluda, NC
The Old Home Place features a large dance floor, live entertainment in a family atmosphere with no alcohol or smoking. The bands play country or bluegrass music for a toe tapping evening. Fridays & Saturdays 7:00pm – 10:30pm
Check out the Village of Flat Rock’s website here (for info on volunteering or reserving the park) or the Flat Rock Park Foundation’s website here (for info on what’s going on in the park or for the history of the park).
The Western North Carolina Air Museum is the first air museum in the state of North Carolina known as the “first in flight” state. The museum features award winning restored and replica antique and vintage airplanes. No admission charge. The museum is located adjacent to the Hendersonville Airport. Advance reservations for groups requested.
The Tryon International Equestrian Center is a 1,400-acre destination equestrian lifestyle destination, hosting international-level equestrian competitions across numerous classes. The venue provides outstanding facilities for hunter/jumper, dressage, and eventing competitions. Located 30 miles from Hendersonville. The 2018 edition of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ will be held in Mill Spring, NC, over thirteen days from September 11-23rd, 2018 at Tryon International Equestrian Center.
A wild west theme park featuring a 3 mile ride on a historic steam railroad, live entertainment, rides and a petting zoo. Open Spring thru late Fall.
Western North Carolina Agricultural Center offers several exhibit halls featuring equestrian shows, dog shows, rodeos, car shows, just to name a few. The Ag Center is home to the Mountain State Fair, a ten day celebration of mountain living featuring exhibits, animals, a midway and food. Located 11 miles from downtown Hendersonville.
The Western North Carolina Nature Center connects people with the animals and plants of the Southern Appalachian Mountain region by inspiring appreciation, nurturing understanding, and advancing conservation of the region’s rich biodiversity. The property is comprised of 42 acres of plants and animals native to the region. Open 7 days per week, year-round with indoor and outdoor exhibits, and many educational and events throughout the year. Located 21 miles from Hendersonville.
Organized activities, day camp, indoor pool, tennis, basketball, gym, fitness studio, weight room, youth center
Zebulon Baird Vance Birthplace is a State Historic Site. It preserves the pioneer farmstead where Vance, a Civil War officer, North Carolina Governor (1862-1865 and again 1877-1879), and United States Senator was born and raised. The Vance Birthplace is open for self-guided tours and is furnished with items from the period from 1790 to 1840. The farmstead is located approximately 35-miles north of Hendersonville in Weaverville, NC. Reservations are requested for group tours.
Open Tuesday – Saturday, closed most major holidays. Admission is free.