Prepare To Be Charmed By Hendersonville, North Carolina

It's a mountain town with lots of charm and plenty to entertain.

Henderson County Courthouse
Photo: RiverNorthPhotography/Getty Images

Hendersonville, North Carolina, is a great mountain town situated south of Asheville and just north of the South Carolina state line. Like so many of our favorite North Carolina towns, it’s surrounded by forests—Dupont State Forest, Pisgah National Forest, Green River Game Lands—and, as you would expect, has all manner of outdoor activities, overlooks, and hiking trails to go along with them. Hendersonville also has a first-rate downtown with museums, shops, and restaurants to enliven a weekend trip. Read on for a few of our favorite things to do in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Learn about the state’s aeronautical history.

The "First in Flight" state celebrates its high-flying history in Hendersonville. The Western North Carolina Air Museum is located in Hendersonville, and its mission is “promoting and preserving our Carolina flying heritage.” It was opened in 1989, and you can still walk through the museum’s collection of planes and learn from the friendly staff.

Dine on Main Street.

Main Street in Hendersonville is filled with charming restaurants. It’s a great place to wander and browse on a pretty day. Check out Black Bear Coffee Co. for a cup of joe, Postero for a memorable meal, Shine for cocktails on a roof terrace, McFarlan’s Bake Shop for pastries, Mezzaluna for the best Italian food in town, Mike’s on Main for a nostalgic snack in soda-shop digs, Dandelion for a casual bite, Wine Sage and Gourmet for excellent wine recommendations, and Arabella for breakfast and brunch. Don't miss Cantina Phoenix, White Duck Taco Shop, and Underground Baking Co., all of which can also be found nearby.

Take in the sights at Jump Off Rock.

Visitors love to stop at this scenic spot at the end of Laurel Park Highway. Jump Off Rock is a stunning overlook where you can take in the vistas of the mountainous and forested landscape for miles. The point has places for photo ops, as well as nearby hiking trails and benches for picnic lunches. It's an ideal spot for a photo opp and a breath of fresh air in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Jump Off Rock in Hendersonville, NC
JillLang/Getty Images

See model trains.

If your interests lean toward railways and miniatures, Hendersonville has the place for you. The Apple Valley Model Railroad Museum has an enormous (22 feet by 100 feet) model railroad built in a picturesque Western North Carolina landscape. The museum invites visitors in to experience the models on Wednesdays and Saturdays, when The Depot is open to the public.

Take a hike.

You can access great hiking trails all over Hendersonville and the surrounding area. After taking in the sights at Jump Off Rock, embark on one of the nearby mapped hiking trails and stretch your legs among some of Western North Carolina's prettiest paths. There's also William H. King Memorial Park, Rhododendron Lake Nature Park, and nearby access to Oklawaha Greenway Trail and Patton Park just a stone's throw from downtown.

Explore local shops and museums.

Visitors will find fun shops throughout Hendersonville. One of the town favorites, Mast General Store, got started in Western North Carolina in the 19th century and is still providing the area with outdoor goods and apparel perfect for adventures in WNC and beyond. As for museums, there's the Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County and the Hands On! Children’s Museum, both of which invite you to explore the natural world through fun programming while taking a closer look at the area's natural wonders.

Peek into 1880s North Carolina.

Hendersonville’s Historic Johnson Farm is a heritage museum where visitors can take self-guided tours, learn about the history of the home and farm, see the animals, picnic on the grounds, and walk the surrounding nature trails. It's a family-friendly attraction that will get the group outside to enjoy the area's picturesque geography.

Experience area agritourism.

If you'd like to see even more of the surrounding landscape, drive out of town along Chimney Rock Road to local agritourism destinations. You'll reach Grandad's Apples, a family-run spot with an apple orchard, pumpkin patch, and corn maze. In fall, you can enjoy the apple harvest along with the on-site market and bakery. Nearby is also Saint Paul Mountain Farms, an orchard and vineyard producing local wines, hard ciders and spirits. Stop by the tasting room for sips of North Carolina vintages.

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