Asheville may be home to some of North Carolina’s best restaurants and breweries, but sometimes, nothing beats a relaxed meal in the great outdoors. Thankfully, the Asheville area also boasts some truly impressive picnic spots. When you prefer a blanket and a basket to a dining table, you’ll have no trouble finding a beautiful backdrop for your meal. Feel free to give these top locations a try:
French Broad River Park
If you’d like to enjoy your picnic with your dog by your side, look no further than French Broad River Park. There, you’ll find plenty of picnic tables, as well as a covered area to protect you from the elements. This pet-friendly spot has a dog park, as well as several trails that encourage you and your four-legged pal to hang out after your meal. Stop by if you like the idea of an outdoor meal but aren’t willing to hike several miles to find the perfect picnic area.
The Biltmore Estate’s restaurants are worth visiting, as they serve some of the Asheville area’s most enticing dishes. If, however, you like the idea of picnicking at this gorgeous destination, you’ll find multiple spots for enjoying your own meal.
The estate limits outside food to a few specific locations, including Bass Pond, the Lagoon, and surrounding trails. Depending on when you visit, you may also be able to dine at the sloped lawn near the statue of Diana and the similarly named restaurant.
One of the best aspects of picnicking at Biltmore? The ability to enjoy food prepared onsite. Skip the picnic basket and order takeout from one of the estate’s top establishments. The Creamery, The Kitchen Cafe, and Biltmore Dairy Bar offer excellent takeout options that you can enjoy in your picnic location of choice.
If you’re feeling ambitious and would like to pair your picnic with a hike, plan a fun day at Linville Falls. While this destination requires a bit of a drive from Asheville, it’s well worth the journey.
A variety of views of Linville Falls can be reached by foot. Many of these idyllic spots offer accessible spaces in which you and your loved ones can easily picnic. If you choose this option, be sure to hit up the Linville Falls Visitor Center before you set out on your hiking expedition.
Not quite ready for a strenuous hike? You’re more than welcome to hang out at the Linville Falls Picnic Area, which is easily accessible from the Blue Ridge Parkway. This lovely picnic spot has several tables, plus charcoal grills and restrooms. Wonderfully maintained, this scenic location beckons you to stick around for a full afternoon as you enjoy a leisurely meal by the river.
Gorges State Park Visitor Center
As with Linville Falls, the visitor center at Gorges State Park requires an hour of driving from the heart of Asheville. However, this scenic spot also makes the drive worthwhile.
Once you arrive at the visitor center, you’ll be impressed by the museum-quality exhibits and the environmentally-friendly nature of the LEED-certified building. Outside, you’ll find several picnic tables and shelters where you can enjoy your meal before taking advantage of the visitor center’s accessible restrooms.
The visitor center represents just one of several excellent picnicking opportunities at Gorges State Park. A variety of other picnic tables can be found throughout the park. Several of these are wheelchair accessible. For the best possible picnic view, however, you’ll want to head for Rainbow Falls. Along the way, you’ll find multiple spots that beckon you to relax with a picnic as you observe the cascading water. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone, as you’ll feel compelled to take dozens of photos.
Mount Pisgah Summit
Challenge yourself to an exhilarating hike to the summit of Mount Pisgah, where you’ll encounter stunning views. This hike is not for the faint of heart; it’s rocky throughout and steep in several sections. If you’re up to the task, however, you’ll be rewarded with some of the region’s most awe-inspiring scenery. Once you complete the climb, you’ll reach the transmission tower for WLOS-TV, as well as an observation deck.
You can reward yourself with a picnic at the summit, or, if you prefer, enjoy your meal elsewhere on the trail near the beautiful wildflowers. A great alternative to picnicking? The Pisgah Inn, which offers fine dining with a panoramic view. The Grazing Deer Cafe sells a variety of grab-and-go items that you can enjoy at your leisure if you want to eat outside.
Whether your dream picnic experience involves a strenuous hike or a relaxed outing complete with tables and restroom access, you’ll be impressed by the vast range of options available in and around Asheville. Pack your basket and your blanket — and get ready for a meal to remember.