Visiting Asheville with a Baby or Toddler

Author: Megan Zehnder and Celine Brewer

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Asheville’s mountain charm and laid-back vibe make it a great place to travel with a baby or toddler. My husband and I have lived here for a little over 8 years. Since that time, I’ve been refining a list of my favorite parks, breweries, restaurants, and museums.

I got more particular about this list once I had kids. My 10-month-old and 3-year-old are active and curious, so we like places that are spacious, safe to explore, and fun for all of us.

We also love places that pay a living wage and give back to communities in various ways. We try to support those places as much as possible — and we encourage visitors to do the same when they come!

If you plan to visit Asheville with a baby or toddler, this guide covers everything from where to stay to the best toddler activities in Asheville.

Asheville with a Baby - Visiting Breweries
Hi-Wire Big Top, one of the many great breweries in town.

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Getting from the Airport to your Accommodation

The Asheville airport (AVL) is small, and there aren’t many direct flights into it. You could consider flying into Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT), which is a 2-hour drive from Asheville, or Greenville-Spartanburg in South Carolina (GSP), which is a 1-hour drive from Asheville. Unfortunately, there are very few public transit options to get between these cities and Asheville as of writing, so renting a car is likely your best bet.  

We generally prefer flying into AVL, since it’s only a 15-minute drive to the downtown area. For families visiting Asheville with a toddler or baby, I recommend renting a car when visiting Asheville, since it offers the most flexibility. If you prefer public transit, there’s a bus that goes straight from the airport to downtown (bus number S3), but be sure to check the schedule, since it runs only once an hour, or less.

I almost always bring my own travel car seat. However, if you’re flying with a baby, and need to cut down on luggage, you can rent car seats and other baby equipment via babyquip.

Don’t miss these 5 Things to Consider when Flying with Car Seats.

Asheville’s a small airport, and none of the airport rental car companies that I talked to offered car seats in the Asheville location. Alamo’s website mentions that they have toddler seats, but they are subject to availability.

Where to Stay in Asheville with a Baby or Toddler

Best Playgrounds - Asheville with a Toddler
Tempie Avery Montford Center – a delightful playground on top of a soft and squishy floor. There are several nearby rental homes on AirBnB and VRBO, as well as Bed and Breakfast locations.

For those without a car, downtown’s a great place to stay for walkability (and it’s the easiest to get to via bus from the airport) and to find baby friendly hotels in Asheville.

Renaissance Asheville Downtown Hotel has an indoor saltwater pool. They offer cribs and highchairs according to their site.

Renting a place through AirBnB or VRBO is also a great option. If you want more of a laid-back local feel, West Asheville or Montford are great neighborhoods to stay in, and they contain many of the best restaurants and bars in town.

There are dozens of listings on AirBnB in locations that are great for families, including the following which have kid-friendly features:

West Asheville 1-bedroom: Small place, but only a 5-10 minute walk to a huge park along the river with walking paths and a playground. This house is about a mile from the main strip of bars, shops, and restaurants:

West Asheville studio: Place with a private deck (with a gate!) that’s only minutes from Carrier park and its playground. This spot is also close to many West Asheville bars, shops, and restaurants.

Montford 1-bedroom with a yoga studio: 7-minute walk to one of the best playgrounds in town (Tempie Avery). Also close to great restaurants and bars. Historic neighborhood. No stairs to get into the place. 

Montford 2-bedroom house: Walking distance to several great playgrounds, as well as downtown. 102-year-old house in a historic neighborhood.

Montford 2.5-bedroom house: Walking distance to Montford park and playground and a very reasonable cost.  

If you have a car and don’t mind driving, there are more options farther outside of Asheville, like Mills River, Weaverville, and Black Mountain. While a bit more remote, these areas are lovely places with their own special restaurants and charm.

Asheville with a Baby
Rooftop bar on top of the AC Hotel by Marriott downtown. We did not stay here, but we enjoyed their bar, Capella on 9

Asheville Travel Tip: Many hotels downtown have rooftop bars that make an excellent setting for feeding a baby, including AC Hotel by Marriott. Note that parking can be expensive when offered by the hotels, so travelers who have a car may want to consider staying in a nearby neighborhood instead.

Getting Around

A rental car is best if traveling outside of downtown. However, most neighborhoods in Asheville (especially Montford and West Asheville) are very walkable. Bring a sturdy travel stroller and a baby carrier!

Toddler in Harris Teeter Shopping Cart - Asheville
If you need baby and toddler supplies, the Harris Teeter on Merrimon Ave is a good stop, mostly for their grocery carts with steering wheels. 

What to Bring for Asheville with a Baby or Toddler

When visiting Asheville, you’ll likely want to bring a car seat, carrier, travel stroller, hiking shoes, and any normal travel gear.

If you’re staying in a hotel, there’s a good chance they’ll have a crib, but definitely confirm just to be safe. If you’re staying in a rental unit, you may want to bring your own travel crib for your baby and a toddler travel bed. I use a PeaPod travel bed from KidCo and love it.

We found this review of the PeaPod helpful for getting our toddler used to it.

When traveling with little babies, I prefer to use a baby carrier for travel, but downtown Asheville and most neighborhoods are stroller-friendly. My go-to travel stroller when baby gets too heavy is the Besrey Baby Stroller — it’s a lightweight travel stroller and super easy to open.

Nearly all restaurants I’ve visited have high chairs, but if you prefer to bring your own — or if you need one while staying in your rental unit — there are great portable high chair options that weigh less than a pound.

Some restaurants and breweries have changing tables, but it’s probably best to bring a portable changing pad, as you’ll likely run into places without one.

Asheville with a Toddler and Baby
Outside of High Five coffee on Riverside. A fun and spacious hangout space in Woodfin. A 4-minute drive from Roy Pope park — a top-tier playground in Woodfin.

Asheville has many grocery stores for baby supplies. If you need baby formula or a specific brand of baby supplies, your best bet is one of the larger grocery stores like Harris Teeter, Ingles, or Publix, which are sprinkled throughout town.

If you just need diapers or wipes, you can find them — along with a great selection of bulk foods and local produce — at the amazing French Broad Co-op downtown.  

If you plan to do some hiking around Asheville with a baby or toddler, a good baby hiking carrier will let you explore all the trails. You’ll also want to take a look through our tips on hiking with a baby or our tips on hiking with toddlers.

We have a complete packing list for travel with a baby, but if you are looking to pack light, renting baby equipment while traveling is an excellent way to do that.

Look into renting baby gear in Asheville.

Best Parks for Visiting Asheville with a Toddler

Roy Pope Park - Asheville with a Toddler
Roy Pope park is a big hit for both parents and kids. It’s spacious and fenced in, so kids can roam.

If you are traveling to Asheville with a toddler, add playgrounds to your list of things to do with toddlers in Asheville. Playgrounds are a crucial place to expend energy. Here are my top Asheville playgrounds:

Tempie Avery Montford Center

This playground is most exciting for older toddlers — I’d say 3 and up — but there’s a section for younger kids as well (34 Pearson Dr, Montford).

Roy Pope Memorial Park

This playground ticks all of the boxes. It’s nearly fully enclosed, so you can let your toddler roam while you relax on one of the many picnic benches. There are also several playground structures, a giant sand pit, and a covered pagoda if it happens to rain.

While the playground itself isn’t in a scenic location, if you drive about 4 minutes east, you’ll find a wonderful coffee shop (High Five Coffee on Riverside) right on the river with plenty of space for kids to play. And if you drive 5 minutes west, you’ll find the Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, which is a wonderful place to go for a short walk (45 Jonestown Rd, Woodfin).

Carrier Park

This is an old-school wooden playground that is hidden within the giant Carrier Park. If you’re looking to kill some time, go here and enjoy a nice stroll near the French Broad river. Note that you have to walk up and down a bridgeway to get to the playground itself, which sits in the middle of a large oval bike track (220 Amboy Rd, West Asheville).

Kenilworth Park, Malvern Hills Park, and Herb Watts Park also have great playgrounds!

Beaver Dam Lake - Asheville toddler activities
Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary. This is a lovely place to skip rocks and walk around the lake. Note that the paths are flat, but they are NOT paved. Our double stroller manages fine, but a lightweight travel stroller might cause frustration.

Things to do in Asheville with a Baby or Toddler

Visiting breweries and art museums are some of our favorite things to do here with our kids. Those might not sound like typically kid-friendly activities, but Asheville’s great in the way that they cater to families, and that’s why it’s so fun to visit! Dogs are also very welcome here.  

Below is a list of things to do with toddlers and babies while visiting Asheville:

Toddler-friendly Breweries in Asheville

If it’s nice weather outside and you’re looking to relax, it’s hard to beat hanging outside at one of the dozens of breweries. Several of our favorite kid-friendly breweries include Hi-Wire (Big Top location and RAD Beer Garden locations), Wedge Brewing Company (all locations), Sweeten Creek Brewing, Asheville Brewing Company (both locations), and Highland Brewing (the oldest brewery in town!).

New Belgium is one of our favorites, as it sits on a spacious field that is mostly fenced in, so kids can roam around freely. New Belgium is also a certified B Corp, and all of their tips go to a charity.

 If you’re willing to go outside of city limits, there are more fantastic family-friendly breweries between 20 – 60 minutes away that are even more spacious and often less crowded: Fonta Flora Wippoorwill Farm, Bold Rock, and Sierra Nevada

If you have a baby who is crawling or a toddler, I would opt for breweries on grassy fields like New Belgium, Sweeten Creek, and Fonta Flora (they will get very dirty if they crawl around the Hi-Wire floor or Asheville Brewing Company floor).

Toddler-friendly Museums in Asheville

The museums make excellent Asheville toddler activities and are places we frequent often!

What to do in Asheville with a Toddler
At the Asheville Art Museum in the kids’ room (2nd floor), toddlers can play with colored blocks and create art with various supplies they have in the room.  

 Asheville Art Museum

If it’s cold or rainy out, one of my favorite things to do is take my 3-year-old to the Asheville Art Museum. If your kid likes to draw or build with blocks, they will love the kids’ room there. Or if your kid is like mine, they’ll love to press all the buttons in the art-filled elevators and spend the rest of the time eating cookies in the café.

Asheville Art Museum - toddler activities
The kids’ room (2nd floor) at the Asheville Art Museum.

 Asheville Museum of Science

Another great museum for kids is the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS), which is right downtown. It’s small, but my toddler has entertained himself at the water station for a lovely stretch of time.

Best Hikes around Asheville with a Baby or Toddler

I’ll be honest. I don’t get very far on my hikes with my 3-year-old. But when we need a break from being inside, one of our favorite places to go is Bent Creek.

Bent Creek - Asheville with a toddler
At Bent Creek near the Hard Times trailhead. We don’t get far, but we enjoy playing in the creek.

Bent Creek is close to downtown and free to enter. My kid loves to throw rocks in the creek, and I love to sit and enjoy the peacefulness.

If your baby or toddler stays in a hiking carrier, you might have success with longer hikes outside of the city. One of my favorites is the Craggy Pinnacle Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

father carry baby in carrier on back - Hikes Near Asheville with a Baby
Craggy Pinnacle Trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway

For even more hikes see this post on 7 kid-friendly Asheville hikes and these 6 kid-friendly Blue Ridge Parkway hikes

The WNC Nature Center is another great place to visit, especially if your kid loves animals! There’s a nearby playground as well.

wnc nature center Asheville
The WNC Nature Center is a great place (mostly outdoors) for kids to learn about and see reptiles, otters, bears, hawks, and more.

Asheville Tourists Minor League baseball team

One of our favorite things to do in the spring and summer is watch our local minor league baseball team, the Asheville Tourists.

While it’s nearly impossible that we get through all 9 innings with the kids (we’re lucky if we get through 3) it’s fun to spend any amount of time there. You can walk up to the stadium on the day of the game and get tickets for less than $8. Many of the games offer promotions or a special theme — like Family Fun Day or Doggies at the Diamond — so check the schedule ahead of time.  

These baby noise canceling headphones are a great choice if you are worried about the noise level at a sporting event or concert!

Asheville Family Vacation - Things to Do
Asheville Tourist game

Best Family Restaurants in Asheville

Asheville is known for its delicious food. Now that we have a not-so-quiet toddler, we tend to eat at the breweries, since they’re spacious and kids can run around and be loud. All the breweries mentioned above (New Belgium, Hi-Wire, Wedge Brewing Company, Sweeten Creek Brewing, Highland Brewing and Asheville Brewing Company) either have food trucks or in-house menus.

pizza white labs - Best places to eat Asheville with a baby
White Labs Brewing Company has some of our favorite pizza in town. Another favorite is 828 Family Pizzeria.

If you’re traveling to Asheville with a baby, or someone who can sit through a meal, these are our top picks of kid-friendly restaurants in Asheville with delicious food.  

Best pizza: 828 Family Pizzeria or White Labs Brewing Co

Best pub food with TVs: Bold Rock (downtown) or WALK (West Asheville Lounge & Kitchen)

Best tacos: Taco Billy, Zia’s food truck (240 Depot Street), or Zia’s

Best breakfast food: Liberty House Café or Zia’s food truck (240 Depot Street)

Best curry: Blue Dream Curry House – an amazing place that pledges to always pay employees a living wage

Best covered & outdoor restaurants: Zia’s for New Mexican food or Tupelo Honey (south location on Hendersonville Rd) for traditional Southern food. Asheville Brewing Company downtown also has a great covered outdoor section.

Asheville Travel Tip: The northern location of Asheville Brewing Company on Merrimon Ave. has dozens of arcades and even a movie theater, so if you’re OK with indoors, that’s also a great place for kids — even if they’re loud.)

Visit Asheville with a Toddler
The Hi-Wire Big Top brewery has a giant indoor “pool table.” Kids can kick soccer balls that look like pool balls into the pockets and set them up with a giant triangle. 

Final Travel Tips: The Biltmore with Babies

father with baby in carrier - Best things to do in Asheville with a Baby
 Biltmore gardens

The Biltmore house is one of the more well-known tourist attractions in Asheville and always popular on the Asheville family activities lists. While we love occasionally visiting the surrounding estate area, I have to admit I’ve never actually been inside the house itself.

If you plan to visit the 250-room mansion with a toddler or baby, know that it can get crowded, and other travelers have noted that it isn’t very stroller-friendly. However, the Biltmore gardens and the surrounding landscape are absolutely beautiful, and possibly worth the expensive entrance fee if you have time.

I would recommend devoting most of the day to exploring the gardens and the green house. You can easily use an infant travel stroller around the walking paths. We also found the winery to be baby-friendly — although I don’t plan to take my toddler there anytime soon.

baby on counter at Biltmore Winery - Asheville with a baby
Biltmore winery

And finally, before leaving town, I recommend picking up some treats from French Broad Chocolates. Their truffles and chocolate bars are absolutely delicious and responsibly sourced!

More Baby and Toddler Travel Resources

Asheville with a baby or toddler

This post was written & edited by:

Megan Zehnder
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Megan Zehnder is a content strategist based out of Asheville, North Carolina. She spends most of her days making content more accessible and clear for readers. Outside of work, she likes to discover new areas with her family, rate playgrounds, and hide vegetables in cookies. | Website | + posts

Celine Brewer is the owner of Baby Can Travel. Not only does she have years of experience traveling with babies & toddlers, but she's helped millions of new parents travel with their babies and toddlers for over a decade. In addition to writing on her baby travel blog, she has shared her expertise on traveling with a baby or toddler by contributing to articles about traveling with a baby with the Washington Post, USA Today, the Lonely Planet magazine and Pregnancy & Newborn magazine.

Celine also writes about family travel on the site, which she co-owns with her husband. Being from the Canadian Rockies, she shares her passion about her home and travel to Banff National Park and area on their site

Read more about Celine Brewer.