Asheville is surrounded by small-town America! After you have explored and eaten your way through downtown Asheville, don’t miss exploring the charming small towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Here you will find picturesque, old fashion and historic downtowns, friendly shops owners, old fashion general stores, farm-to-table restaurants, breweries, art galleries, and artisan shops. Each town has its own vibe and many unique outdoorsy things to do. Live like a local and experience a leisurely day of exploration. Each of our 12 Best Small Mountain Towns around Asheville has its own great Visitor’s Center where you can plan your day. Shown below in no particular order are 12 of our favorites.
12 of the Best Small Mountain towns around Asheville (in our opinion)
- Brevard (42 miles, 1 hour) – We love Brevard which is home to the acclaimed Pisgah Forest and Land of the Waterfalls. Picturesque Main Street has many local shops, restaurants, galleries, breweries, and museums. Not to be missed is O.P. Taylor Toy Store and Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop where you can enjoy an old fashion ice cream soda. Local events include the White Squirrel Festival, the 4th of July celebration, the Brevard Music Festival, and the Halloweenfest.
- Hendersonville (33 miles, 50 minutes from the inn)-The largest downtown in western North Carolina outside of Asheville is filled with historic buildings and outdoor eateries. Here you’ll find many spots to settle in for “people watching” with a variety of snack and dining options, including an old fashion bakery, coffee houses, and ice cream. You’ll also find our local soap company here- Willow Hill where you can sample their full line. Wonderful shops and galleries line the six-block stretch of Main Street. Don’t miss two street festivals, the Garden Jubilee and the huge North Carolina Apple Festival in September.
- Black Mountain (24 miles, 38 minutes from the inn)- This quaint town is close to the inn, and we especially love the Swannanoa Valley Museum and exploring the shops along Cherry Street. If there is a knitter in your group check out Black Mountain Yarn, and if you are craving a juicy hamburger, stop by Black Mountain Butcher Bar and Kitchen.
- Waynesville (39 miles, 53 minutes from the inn)- Home to our very favorite Bakery- Well-Bred Bakery, the downtown is filled with quaint old buildings, brick sidewalks, galleries, and a general store to take you back to a more leisurely time. If you have a 4 legged pet at home there is a wonderful pet bakery here too. Each summer, Folkmoot U.S.A. attracts entertainers from all over the world. The Museum of NC Handicrafts is housed in the historic Shelton House. Sometimes on Friday nights during the summer you can enjoy seeing the Mountain Street Dancers.
- Flat Rock (39 miles, 54 minutes from the inn) This quaint and very small and historic village is located three miles south of Hendersonville. A longtime summer retreat, it’s home to the Playhouse state theatre, Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Hubba Hubba Smokehouse, Sky Top Orchard, galleries, and shops.
- Cherokee (7 1 miles, 1 hour and 23 minutes from the inn)- Located close to the Tennessee border and Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cherokee is home to incredible nature, rich indigenous history, and friendly people. Popular stops include Santa’s Land for a taste of Christmas all year round, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and the Oconaluftee Indian Village. Shop for local crafts, see their painted bears, attend a pow wow or try your luck at the huge Harrah’s Casino. Cherokee may be in the South, but culturally you’ll be transported to a whole different world.
- Franklin (76 miles, 1 hour and 31 minutes from the inn)- This town is known as the “Gem Capital of the World.” Downtown is home to the Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum in a 19th Century jailhouse. Attend one of the country’s best-known gem shows, the Macon County Gemboree. Tour the Macon County Historical Museum and the Scottish Tartans Museum.
- Weaverville (8 miles, 22 minutes from the inn)- Their small downtown area is filled with restaurants, galleries, and interesting local shops. Twice a year, they host the big Weaverville Art Safari with dozens of artists opening their studios to visitors. Nearby is Vance Birthplace State Historic Site.
- Maggie Valley (43 miles, 58 minutes from the inn)- This longtime mountain resort town has kept much of its local charm with vintage motels, gift shops, and local arts and crafts. Known for its old-fashioned vibe, motorcycle rallies, bluegrass and clogging, and plenty of mountains to hike. Tour Wheels Through Time collection of classic cars and motorcycles and enjoy old fashion festivals including Hillbilly Jam and Elk Fest.
- Lake Lure (36 miles, 1 hour and 6 minutes from the inn)- Well known for its role in the hit movie Dirty Dancing, Lake Lure is a sanctuary for serenity and relaxation and beautiful lake views. Take a covered boat tour of the Lake, play on the beach, and relax in the sunshine. There’s a wonderful Town Center Walkway that connects the beach to the beautiful Flowering Bridge.
- Little Switzerland (58 miles, 1-hour and 19 minutes from the inn) Founded by State Supreme Court Justice Heriot Clarkson after his Switzerland Inn was built, the resort town is the only commercial access point you’ll find along the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This tiny summer retreat is known for its charming architecture, historic inns, gem mining, winding motorcycle drives, and amazing book store. Little Switzerland is very tiny, only open 6 months of the year (mid-April to mid-November), but with its charming Alpine influences and breathtaking views, it’s a fun town to visit.
- Highlands (93 miles, 2-hour drive from the inn)- If upscale shopping is your thing, head to downtown Highlands. It’s a popular area for affluent travelers, many with a summer home in the area. This is one of the highest towns east of the Mississippi River, with an elevation of 4,118 feet. Nearby are many beautiful waterfalls, including Dry Falls which can be seen from the roadside.
Come Stay with us
We are a year-round property and closed only in January for our yearly maintenance. All four seasons are beautiful on Elk Mountain with fall being the most popular time to visit. Our inn is centrally located and just a short drive to Asheville and 1/2 mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our luxurious room includes wood-burning fireplaces, private balconies, and spa-like baths with mountain views. Check out our room choices here and our brreakfast and dining menus here. Our innkeepers are always available to be your conceirge and help plan your daily adventures around the Blue Ridge Mountains and visiting some of our favorite 12 Best Small Mountain Towns around Asheville.