Looking for things to do in Hendersonville, NC? Whether you’re a local or just passing through we’ve got loads of great tips and events to help you find your perfect adventure.

Thursday, July 29, 2021
Nantahala River Rafting Fully Guided
Jul 29 all-day
Nantahala Outdoor Center

guests rafting on the Nantahala River Raft & Duck Rentals in North Carolina trip

A guided whitewater rafting trip is one of the best ways to experience the Nantahala Gorge. The crystal-clear Nantahala River is the perfect family-friendly river where experienced river guides will help you navigate through splashy Class II-III rapids and bouncy waves, with occasional calmer waters where you can enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery. The fully guided rafting trip the most popular adventure at NOC, with thousands of families returning year after year.

Summer Photo Contest – “The Many Faces of Chimney Rock”
Jul 29 – Jul 31 all-day
Chimney Rock State Park

Summer is all about outdoor fun, spending quality time together as a family and taking in the wonderful sights of nature. During this time of year, it’s easy to find many human faces in the Park, but you can also see other faces as well. Whether it’s faces of animals, faces in the rock formations, or even outlines of faces in the ground. Be sure to submit your best photo interpretation into our summer-themed “The Many Faces of Chimney Rock” Photo Contest. We’ll use the winning entries on our website and Facebook album, and you can win some fun prizes. Photos must be taken within the Chimney Rock section of the Park.



  1. There is no fee to enter the contest. All photographs must be taken inside Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park only in areas accessible to guests between July 1, 2021 – July 31, 2021.
    The contest is open to amateur and professional photographers.
  2. Up to three photos per person can be submitted via any of the following ways to be eligible to win:
    1. Facebook: First, like the Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park page and share our photo contest post on your wall. Then post your photo to our wall with the photographer’s name and a brief caption (25-75 words) through your personal Facebook account. Next, send us a private message including your contact information specified in rule #3.
    2. Pinterest: First, re-pin our photo contest pin to one of your boards and follow our 2017 The Different Seasons of Chimney Rock Spring Photo Contest Board so we can easily contact you. Then pin your photo with the hashtags #chimneyrock AND #photocontest with your personal account, and include the photographer’s name and a brief caption (25-75 words).
    3. Twitter: First, follow Chimney Rock Park and retweet our tweet about the photo contest. Then tweet your photo to @ChimneyRockPark with the photographer’s name and the hashtag #photocontest. Next, send us private messages with your brief photo caption.
    4. E-mail: If you don’t have access to any social media sites listed above, you may email your digital photo with your contact information specified in rule #3 to [email protected].
    5. Snail Mail: Send your print photo with the clearly marked photographer’s name, city & state, a brief typed photo caption and a phone number to: Photo Contest, Chimney Rock Management LLC, PO Box 39, Chimney Rock, NC 28720.
  3. Every entry should be clearly labeled with the photographer’s name, city & state, a brief photo caption your photo of the Seasons of Chimney Rock, an email address and the best phone number to reach you.
  4. Photos should be available at a minimum resolution of 1200 x 1600 pixels (1 MB minimum) to be eligible to win. Photos taken via smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are welcome if they meet minimum requirements.
  5. For entries showing human faces, you must list their name(s) and have written permission from any photographed person(s) to use their image.
  6. Entries should reflect the photographer’s interpretation of love at Chimney Rock. Emphasis will be placed on quality, composition and creativity. All entries may be used in promotions of Chimney Rock and park-related activities.
  7. Digital images can be optimized but not dramatically altered with photo editing software. Black and white photographs are welcome.
  8. Decisions of the judges are final.

Winners will be notified and announced on Chimney Rock’s social media channels. For more 

ACA Summer Adventure Camp Ages 8-15
Jul 29 @ 8:30 am – Aug 9 @ 4:00 pm
The Adventure Center of Asheville

Each day, campers will get to experience a different adventure at the Adventure Center of Asheville and Wildwater, Ltd. including:

In addition, campers enjoy a daily swim at Asheville Racquet Club Pool in the afternoons.

Then the rest of their day is filled with facilitated activities like team building and field games, outdoor education such as forest walks and shelter building, and creative learning led by our talented and trained staff.  And of course, lots of fun!!!!

At the Adventure Center of Asheville our team of professional outdoor leaders take pride and care in providing our Guests with an excellent experience.

2021 Summer Adventure Camp will be under the leadership of our new Camp Director, Lauren Brown, who joined us last year as the co-director of our Adventure Afterschool program.  With a B.S. degree in Environmental Science and 12 years experience working at summer camps, we are excited to share Lauren’s passion for the environment, science and the fun of camp!

Our camp counselor team is made up of certified teachers and young adults whose passion is working with youth and sharing their love for life and adventure. Our Asheville Summer Adventure Camp is staffed by 4 to 5 full-time day camp team members. Campers are regularly divided into smaller, age appropriate groups to manage group size and allow campers to excel in each activity at their personal skill level and comfort zone. Great care is taken to assure campers are comfortable with each activity while encouraging them to stretch their comfort zone further. Counselors provide individual attention and unique experiences that campers will remember for the rest of their lives!


  • 8:30 – 4:00 daily, with optional late pick up until 5:00 for $10/day/person
  • Multiple Week Discount ($20 off/additional week)
Kolo Bike Park Summer Bike Camp
Jul 29 @ 8:30 am – Aug 9 @ 4:00 pm
The Adventure Center of Asheville

At the Kolo Bike Summer Camp, campers will ride daily on purpose-built mountain bike trails and skill elements designed for all levels of rider to experience flow on a bicycle. Kolo Bike Park is a great way for young riders to build confidence and skill in a controlled environment.

Experienced mountain bike counselors will accompany and coach riders through the week on our:

  • Pump tracks
  • Jumps
  • XC Trails
  • Skills Area

Other activities include a warm-up each day and climbing the Treetops Adventure Park and games throughout the week.

The camp is for kids age 8-15 years who can comfortably ride a two-wheel bicycle. Some off-road experience is recommended but not required.

  • Multiple Week Discount ($20 off/additional week)
Kolo Bike Park Summer Kiddie Camp Ages 5-7
Jul 29 @ 8:30 am – Aug 9 @ 3:00 pm
The Adventure Center of Asheville


Kolo Kiddie Camp is all the fun of our kolo flow summer camp, but for the littlest shredder.  Experience a week-long day camp focused on easing campers into all the park has to offer and preparing them to attend our Kolo Flow Camp. The day will focus predominantly on bikes and bike skills but with plenty of time off the bike to keep the littles engaged. Riders will be chaperoned around the park by our experienced camp counselors and participate in a wide range of activities that help build confidence on and off the bike.

Campers MUST be comfortable riding a two-wheeled pedal bike off-road. This camp is not for stryder balance bikes or to teach your child to ride 2 wheels.

There will be no swim time for this camp.


  • Multiple Week Discount is $20 off per additional week.
Twilight in the Treetops Every Saturday Night
Jul 29 @ 7:30 pm – Sep 4 @ 9:00 pm
The Adventure Center of Asheville

During the special evening Treetops Adventure Park climbs, watch the world transform from dusk to night while climbing in the trees. Trails will be illuminated to give climbing the obstacles a new perspective. Over 15,000 colored lights, plus colorful lasers sparkling on thousands of leaves, cables, rope, and platforms throughout the park will create a mystical tree climbing experience like you can’t imagine.


  • Every Saturday Night from June 5 – September 4, 7:30 pm
  • November 27, 4:30
  • December 27, 4:30
Friday, July 30, 2021
Driving Tour with Smith-McDowell House
Jul 30 all-day
Online w/ Western North Carolina Historical Association
The residents of the Smith-McDowell House and grounds were woven in to the fabric of Asheville.

This driving tour begins at the Smith-McDowell House Museum on the campus of A-B Tech and continues through historic sites related to early occupants of the house.

Nantahala River Rafting Fully Guided
Jul 30 all-day
Nantahala Outdoor Center

guests rafting on the Nantahala River Raft & Duck Rentals in North Carolina trip

A guided whitewater rafting trip is one of the best ways to experience the Nantahala Gorge. The crystal-clear Nantahala River is the perfect family-friendly river where experienced river guides will help you navigate through splashy Class II-III rapids and bouncy waves, with occasional calmer waters where you can enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery. The fully guided rafting trip the most popular adventure at NOC, with thousands of families returning year after year.

Jul 30 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad


Available April – October with the morning departure of the Nantahala Gorge Excursion departing Bryson City, NC. Train seating in Open Air Gondola. Booking available by phone only: 1-800-872-4681.

Convenient, Inclusive, and Simple!

  • Adult (13 years and older) $109
    Child (Minimum of 7 years old or 60 pounds) $92

A Fully-Guided Experience

The original Raft & Rail© since 1988: enjoy the two best adventures in the region in one day, great for families. Southern Living Magazine calls this “an ideal adventure for families, first-timers, young or old.” This full-day guided adventure starts with a Wildwater staff member greeting you at the train depot, followed by a scenic train trip, deli lunch with all the fixings, and a Nantahala River whitewater trip with a guide in every boat. Hot showers and a photo show follow immediately after your 8 mile Nantahala River trip. All transportation is included to and from the Bryson City Train Depot.

Available by phone only. Book now by calling 800-872-4681.

Rail + Trail
Jul 30 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Enjoy this trip combining the Great Smoky Mountains Railroads trip with the Waterfall Jeep® tour. You’ll begin your trip in Bryson City, NC, with a 2 hour (approximate) railroad excursion over Fontana Lake and into the Nantahala Gorge. As you travel on the train, watch paddlers challenge the rapids. At the top of the line, disembark from the train and climb aboard Wildwater’s customized Jeep® for a 2-hour (approximate) personal exploration up the mountain, past waterfalls and lakes, up to the Appalachian Trail and back. A delicious deli lunch is included.

Available by phone only. Book now by calling 800-872-4681.

* Children 40 – 80 lbs. are required to sit in the front passenger seat with the airbag disengaged using a child booster seat. Children 80 lbs. or greater will sit in the back using a lap seat belt. If there is more than one child in the 40 – 80 lb. range, the second child will sit in the back using a lap belt.

Tarzan Train
Jul 30 all-day
Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Tarzan Train


Our train and canopy combo trip will start in Bryson City at the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad train depot. You will ride through the Smoky Mountains, along Fontana Lake and up into the Nantahala Gorge. On your 2 hour train ride, watch paddlers challenge the rapids on the Nantahala River. A delicious Deli Sandwich lunch is included. At the top-of-the-line, you will disembark the train and travel a short distance to Wildwater’s Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours.

The original zipline canopy tour in Western North Carolina, Wildwater’s Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours offers 13 different zip lines and 8 sky bridges. Our two highest platforms have unbelievable views of Clingman’s Dome, Fontana Lake and waterfalls. This gliding experience, naturally fueled by a gradual elevation change, takes you through multiple ecosystems, past hemlocks, into hardwoods and through a deciduous forest packed with native flowering plants. All Canopy Tour Rangers are trained to – and all courses are built and inspected to – ACCT Standards to provide for your well-being and fun. This is a great experience for families.

After enjoying the fully guided zip line tour, check out your photos and buy a t-shirt in Wildwater’s store. Your adventure will end later in the afternoon back at your car in Bryson City, NC. All transportation is included.

Members of your party who can’t – or don’t want to – go on the canopy tour can ride the train round trip. You’ll all meet up shortly after the train’s return in Bryson City, NC.

Victoria: The Forgotten Town Walking Tour
Jul 30 all-day
Online w/ Western North Carolina Historical Association
Contained by its larger growing neighbor (Asheville), the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers, and the Southern Railway line, the Town of Victoria existed from 1887 until 1905, when it was absorbed into Asheville. The community—which included the Smith-McDowell House and Fernihurst mansion—originally incorporated into a town to prevent unwanted development (particularly from the Vanderbilts).
Wild Art Sculpture Showcase
Jul 30 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
NC Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum is going wild for art and nature in 2021 with Wild Art! On view April 1 through September 26, this outdoor sculpture exhibition features works by 17 local and national artists drawing inspiration from the natural environment. Situated throughout the Arboretum’s spacious, open-air gardens, the show offers guests a doorway into the wild world from the comfort and safety of cultivated landscapes transformed by art.

The 18 sculptures on display represent a variety of approaches to the theme of “wild art,” from the literal to the abstract, and are crafted from a diverse array of materials that will delight and inspire. Let your imagination take you on a wild journey into the world of plants and animals near and far with Wild Art at The North Carolina Arboretum.

The exhibit is available to all guests during normal Arboretum hours, and there is no admission cost to view the sculptures beyond our usual parking fee of $16 per personal vehicle.

Fairy Trail 2021
Jul 30 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Bullington Gardens

Fairy Trail 2021

Join us on the magical Fairy Trail where your imagination is the only limit.

Developed by Fairies and dedicated volunteers, Bullington Gardens’ Fairy Trail is a whimsical treat for the young and the young at heart. Featuring playful vignettes and villages, the fairy trail will charm you with its thoughtful design, eye catching displays and secret woodland trail.

Rules of the trail:

Do not move or rearrange fairy displays. The fairies are very fond of their own decorating.

Do not leave trash on the trail. Fairies do not like litter in their town.

Please ensure children and pets are supervised at all times. Dogs and loud noises can scare the fairies into hiding.

Do not disturb wildlife or vegetation. The fairies depend on the vegetation to build their homes.

The trail is one way only. Please stay on the trail at all times.

P.S. the Fairies would like us to remind you that we are a non-profit and donations are greatly appreciated. Help us keep the fairies living in the style with which they’ve become accustomed.

Bullington Gardens and the Fairy Trail are closed on Sundays.

Biltmore Gardens Railway
Jul 30 @ 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

Included with admission

Our fun-for-all-ages botanical model train displays invite you to experience our grounds in an engaging new way. Located in the Conservatory in the Walled Garden, the displays feature replicas of structures connected with Biltmore and its founder George Vanderbilt. Each beautifully executed piece was handcrafted from such natural elements as leaves, bark, and twigs.

In compliance with state and local mandates related to COVID-19, all guests must enter the Conservatory via the ADA entrance in the back and follow a one-way route.

Summer at Biltmore
Jul 30 @ 9:30 am – 6:00 pm

See the source image

Summer at Biltmore offers an abundance of opportunities to explore our 8,000-acre Blue Ridge Mountain backyard and create the kind of memories that last a lifetime. Wander through historic gardens, along winding trails, and within the spacious halls of America’s Largest Home®. Enjoy extraordinary experiences and peace of mind in one spectacular setting: only at Biltmore.

Aston Park Tennis Center
Jul 30 @ 10:00 am – 7:30 pm
Aston Park Tennis Center
people playing on the courts at aston park tennis center


Asheville Parks & Recreation is pleased to announce the opening of Aston Park Tennis Center on April 1 for the 2021 season.  The tennis facility will be open seven days a week with two sessions of court availability — a morning session from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and an afternoon session from 3 to 7:30 p.m. with a one-hour break for midday cleaning.

Visitors can expect some changes to typical operations to meet current state and local health guidelines including enhanced cleaning, social distancing and mandatory mask wearing except while actively engaged in tennis activity on the court.  The Pro Shop will remain closed to foot traffic, however basic tennis supplies, drinks, and racquet drop-off for restringing will be available at the window.  Court fees will also be accepted at the window by credit card only and water fountains and showers will not be available.


Tennis Center prices are the same as they were in 2019, with hourly rates beginning at $6 and $7 and season passes starting at $299 and $399 for City of Asheville residents.  For more information and to purchase a season pass, visit the City’s Parks & Recreation website at www.ashevillenc.gov/parks.


The Aston Park Tennis Center, 336 Hilliard Ave.,  is one of the finest public clay tennis court facilities in the US.  The complex is open from April through November and offers 12 lighted courts for play.


The City of Asheville Parks & Recreation Department is committed to providing quality facilities and programs in a safe environment for everyone in our community.  For more information about everything Asheville Parks & Recreation offers, visit the website at www.ashevillenc.gov/parks,  Facebook page at www.facebook.com/APRCA or call 828-259-5800.

Jul 30 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Jeter Mountain Farm

Jeter Mountain Farm is excited to invite the community to their opening weekend July
23 & 24. Marking the official start to their U-pick season, guests can enjoy u-pick
peaches, u-pick blueberries and their brand new u-pick sunflower experience.
Breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains are the backdrop to a variety of
activities that every age can enjoy. In addition to u-pick fruits, a visit to Jeter Mountain
Farm offers fresh apple cider donuts, fresh slushees and apple cider pressed on-site, a
farm market, wagon rides, a hard cider taproom and a brand new indoor children’s play
Children will be able to play rain or shine in the new 6,000 square foot indoor play area,
featuring a tractor jungle gym, a blacklight “chalk house,” “apple basket”-ball hoops, a
corn box and much more!
The Cider Barn taproom is excited to feature a new Pink Lady Jeter Mountain Hard Cider
to enjoy alongside “The Original” which was released last year. Both will be served
alongside four Flat Rock Ciders and served on tap by the pint, as a full tasting or in a 4-
pack to be enjoyed at home.
Jeter Mountain Farm is open to guests Fridays from 10-5 and Saturdays from 9-3
starting July 23, until more open days and hour are added upon the beginning of apple
season August 13. To keep up with special events, be sure to follow them on facebook
or visit their website at JeterMountain.com.

Jul 30 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
The North Carolina Arboretum

Sip and stroll through the Arboretum’s gardens and experience our Wild Art outdoor sculpture showcase in the glow of the golden hour, all while listening to live music from a variety of local and regional artists! ArborEvenings runs Thursdays and most Fridays through October 1, 2021, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. ArborEvenings are not scheduled on the following Fridays: July 9, August 6, September 3 and 10.

There is no additional cost to attend ArborEvenings beyond our standard parking fee. As always, Arboretum Society members and their accompanying guests can enter for FREE (guests must be in member vehicles to receive free entry). Proceeds from ArborEvenings help support the The North Carolina Arboretum Society and further advance the Arboretum’s mission.

Please note: ArborEvenings will not be held in the event of rain. Please check the website or Facebook page by 3 p.m. for any cancellation announcements prior to attending. 

Beverage Service

Beer, Wine, and soft drinks will be for sale onsite at the Green Gardener’s Shed from 5:30 to 8:15 p.m. each night of the event. Outside alcohol is strictly prohibited, but guests are welcome to bring in water or a favorite non-alcoholic beverage.

Food Available for Pre-Order, Picnics Welcome

Although the Bent Creek Bistro will not be open during the event, we are pleased to share that they will be offering their delicious dining options at ArborEvenings via pre-order this year! Simply place your online order — including alcoholic beverages — up until 11 a.m. on the date you plan to attend, then pick up your order at the Baker Information Desk between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. (In the event of rain cancellation, pre-orders will be fully refunded.)

Guests are welcome to bring in outside food and non-alcoholic beverages. However, outside alcohol is strictly prohibited.


Musician Schedule

Please note, scheduled performances are subject to change.

Know Before You Go

  • Parking fees will be collected at the gate upon arrival, and members must present valid card for free entry. Pre-registration is not required.
  • Restroom access will be available during ArborEvenings inside the Baker Visitor Center.
  • Guests are invited to explore A Life in the Wild, a breathtaking exhibition of photographs from Thomas D. Mangelsen; however, food and drink are not permitted inside the Exhibit Hall.
  • Leashed dogs are welcome at ArborEvenings, but are not permitted inside of  buildings.
  • To protect our lawn, blankets are not permitted at the event; however, guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs to set up in front of the musicians.
  • Due to existing event bookings, ArborEvenings will not take place on the following Fridays: July 9, August 6 and September 3 and 10.
Jul 30 @ 6:00 pm
Salvage Station-Outdoor Stage

Empire Strikes Brass

Empire Strikes Brass (ESB) is a high energy Brass-Funk-Rock band hailing from the city of Asheville, North Carolina. Formed on the streets of their hometown, ESB is rooted in the New Orleans Brass Band tradition of second-line parades and deep moving grooves reminiscent of old school funk. Combining complex musical arrangements with thoughtful lyrical song structure, ESB can stretch out and dig deep when they are feeling it or keep things tight and concise. The fat sound of the horns paired with one dirty rhythm section makes the music downright psychedelically nasty! Founded in 2012, ESB intentionally stretches the boundaries of the stereotypical brass band paradigm, fusing sounds from various genres and weaving them together with the common thread of brass. The diversity of the music within their sets keep audiences guessing what is next to come.



Featuring rich group and strong lead vocals including Grammy Award winner Debrissa McKinney (Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), ESB not only takes its audiences on a ride to the dark side and back instrumentally, they also use the force of soaring melody and lush harmony to transport the listeners to another dimension. The band released its debut album, “Theme For A Celebration” in 2017 and it was tapped as one of the top 100 album releases in 2017 by WNCW 88.7 radio. Since their conception, ESB has been a consistent fixture at various festivals throughout the east coast. They’ve had the pleasure of having Warren Haynes (Allman Bros. Band and Gov’t Mule) sit in with them at New Mountain Amphitheater in Asheville, NC and the honor of headlining four years in a row celebrating the life of Dizzy Gillespie in his hometown of Cheraw, SC, for the South Carolina Jazz and Heritage Festival. ESB has co-billed with such artists as Dr. John & Lettuce. In 2019 the ESB horns were featured with Shpongle Live Band and Papadosio at Red Rocks Amphitheater. The horns have also sat in on performances with Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic, Rubblebucket, The Big Something, and many others. ESB horn players JP Furnas, Paul Juhl and Alex Bradley are also featured on the live album compilation from world-renowned artists Beats Antique entitled “Creature Carnival” released in 2015.  In 2019, ESB flexed their musical muscle with the release of their 2nd studio album, “Brassterpiece Theatre”.  This sophomore album is a testament to the band’s creativity in composition, arrangement and production.  Another highlight in the band’s career was a 2-night run at Harrah’s Cherokee Center (Asheville Civic Center) in support of Billy Strings and Umphrey’s McGee in Feb 2020.  ESB horns sat in with UM for several songs in one of their signature mashups and then ESB welcomed UM keyboardist Joel Cummings and UM bassist Ryan Stasik to an afterparty on night 1 for a very special “Umphrey’s Strikes Brass” performance.



Members of the band have also been expanding their musical resumes and repertoire. Notable side projects and performances include keyboardist Lenny Pettinelli’s recording and performing with Jazz is Phsh featuring such artists as Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck, Dave Matthews Band), Chris Bullock (Snarky Puppy), Michael Ray (Sun Ra, Kool and the Gang), the Chase Brothers and many more. The band’s founder, saxophonist Paul Juhl, performed with John Oates (Hall and Oates) at MerleFest. In addition to her work with Skidoo, Debrissa McKinney has performed with artists such as Karl Denson and George Clinton.



ESB is currently booking, touring and in pre-production of a 3rd studio album.