Overlooking view from the Blue Ridge Parkway during autumn season in Ashville

Best Time to Visit Asheville, NC (in 2022)

Spring and fall are the best times to visit Asheville because the weather is mild but enjoyable. However, summer and fall are the most popular times to visit, since Asheville’s elevation makes it cooler than the surrounding areas.

Because I grew up in Asheville, I’m super familiar with the ebb and flow of Asheville’s climate, plus all the top things to do.

In this guide, I’ll help you decide the best time to visit Asheville depending on what you want to experience. For each season, I overview popular attractions and events, plus a few local favorites. 

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When is the Best Time to Visit Asheville, NC?

All four seasons have their advantages when it comes to visiting Asheville, but spring and fall are the best if you’re looking for mild weather. If you want to make the most out of different outdoor adventures, summer and fall may be your ideal time.

Part of what makes Asheville different from other regional cities is its climate and surrounding scenery. It sits in the French Broad River Valley at an elevation of 2,134 feet above sea level. This gives the city less extremes when it comes to weather, temperature, and climate. 

The ideal time to visit will depend on your interests. If you’re looking for nonstop outdoor recreation, summer is fantastic. Spring and fall are good for cooler hiking temperatures. Although, fall is also the most crowded season due to the changing colors on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Winter is less popular, but the city offers fun holiday celebrations, and ski resorts make for some of the best Asheville day trips.

There are so many factors to consider when deciding when to visit, so let’s break it down:

When to Visit Asheville for Good Weather 

Clear blue sky over the mountain in Asheville, North Carolina

The months of September and October offer some of the best weather in Asheville. This time of year is cooler and temperate, which makes for ideal hiking weather. Spring also brings similar temperatures, but pollen can be an issue for those with spring allergies. 

Summer is another popular time of year for good weather. Days are warm without being overly hot, and there are more outdoor activities to choose from like recreation on rivers and lakes. Just know that summers here are notorious for having afternoon rainstorms.

When to Visit Asheville for Cheap Prices 

A road closed signage on a road in Asheville during winter

The months of January to March offer the cheapest prices for visiting Asheville. The holiday rush wanes, and so the crowds lessen, and the best places to stay in Asheville are available at more affordable nightly rates.

This time of year can make for an ideal getaway because although it can get cold, temperatures rarely reach the extremes. As long as you have the proper winter gear, you can still enjoy the downtown Asheville scene, as well as hiking trails. 

The only caveat is that during the winter, many sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway close. However, if parts of the parkway are closed, you can walk the closed roads instead!

When to Visit Asheville to Avoid Crowds

People crossing the street on a street corner in Asheville, North Carolina
A street corner in downtown Asheville (photo: Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock)

Different times of the year are good for avoiding crowds in Asheville. November is a good time because the leaf peeping has died down, and it’s right before the holiday rush. 

January through spring is generally a quieter time of year for avoiding crowds as well. The spring in particular offers nice, cool temperatures for outdoor recreation. It is, however, a bit rainy. If you want to avoid crowds at the Biltmore Estate, January through March is typically the best time. 

The Best Time to Visit Asheville for Families and Kids 

A family going on a hike in Asheville during summer

Summer and fall are the best times to visit as a family. Summer is an extremely popular time since many summer camps are located in the region. There are also several family-friendly activities like whitewater rafting, tubing, swimming, and hiking. 

The fall is also ideal for families because of the scenery and seasonal activities. This time of year is great for renting a cabin, leaf peeping, and apple picking. 

When to Visit Asheville for Good Hiking

The author sitting on top of a mountain during one of her hike in Asheville

Whether on a guided hiking tour or trekking around solo, anytime of year is good for hitting the trails around Asheville. It just depends on what kind of hiking you’re interested in. April through June is a great time if you want to see wildflowers and rushing waterfalls on your hikes. Conversely, the summer is great for hiking to places with rivers and natural pools for swimming. 

The fall obviously brings scenic foliage and ideal hiking temperatures, but trails tend to be busier. The winter is underrated, but unless there’s a freak snowstorm happening, hiking is still good. Hiking in winter may even provide some frozen waterfalls to see. 

When to Visit Asheville for Fall Foliage 

Scenic view from a mountain in Asheville during fall season

October through early November is the best time to witness the area’s spectacular fall foliage. The leaves’ peak season changes from year to year because of environmental factors, but these months are your best bet. Just know that this is also the busiest tourist season in Asheville, so be prepared. The Blue Ridge Parkway gets especially backed up because of this. 

Asheville Travel Seasons

Spring

View of a mansion from the outside in Asheville during spring

Spring brings more rain, but also the blossoming of dogwood trees, wildflowers, and other native flora. The mountains are lush and the waterfalls really flow this time of year. You can expect an occasional frost, but the weather starts to warm up, which is great for being outdoors. 

Early spring in particular tends to be a less crowded time of year to visit. 

Here are some things to look out for in the spring:

🌷 Biltmore Blooms – Spring is an incredible time to tour The Biltmore Estate. The gardens and grounds really come to life and burst with color from thousands of flowers and plants. 

💃 Cultural festivals – Between May and June, three cultural festivals take place in Asheville. This includes the HardLox Jewish Festival, GRINDFest, and Hola Asheville Festival. These lively events bring music, dance, food, and celebration to downtown Asheville. It’s fun for the whole family!

🍺 Asheville Beer Week – During late spring and early summer, Asheville hosts a beer week! It’s an ode to the city’s thriving beer scene and includes tastings, dinners, and experiences geared for beer aficionados. Make sure to take a brewery tour when you visit, too. Cheers!

Summer

Overlooking mountain view in Asheville during summer

Summer is one of the most fun times to visit Asheville because the warm weather makes it easy to get outside. Asheville is pretty busy during this season and it’s a popular time for festivals and events. Weather is good overall, but daily rain storms are something to keep in mind. 

Here are some events, festivals, and things to know for the summer months:

🪕 Music and dance – There are rich music and dance traditions in the Appalachian Mountains. This is why you’ll find events and festivals for this all summer long in Asheville and nearby areas. Some big ones include Downtown After 5, Biltmore Concert Series, Shindig on the Green, and Mountain Dance & Folk Festival.

🌧️ Summer rain storms – Almost everyday between about 2 pm and 4 pm, it rains. These summer thunderstorms can cause inconveniences for any planned outdoor activities. So, be extra mindful if you’re going somewhere that could leave you stranded or vulnerable to lightning and storm activity.  

🏕️ Summer camps – Summer camps are abundant in this part of Western North Carolina. This makes the summer months especially busy for families and students. The nearby town of Brevard is also home to numerous camps.

🌼 Summer flowers – Late May through June is the best time of year for seeing wild rhododendrons and mountain laurel flowers. Craggy Gardens off the Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains National Park are perfect places to witness this!

Fall

A forest road covered with leaves during fall season

Fall is one of the most magical seasons in Asheville. It’s also the busiest time of year for tourism because of the mountains’ vibrant foliage. Weather is phenomenal, especially in early fall (September through October). There are also tons of fun events and festivals to take part in. 

Here are some fun fall experiences: 

🎡 Mountain State Fair – Each September, the Mountain State Fair takes place just outside of Asheville in Mills River. This event usually lasts a little over a week and has rides, games, food, and fun for the whole family. 

🍁 Leaf peeping – Fall leaf peeping is one of Asheville’s biggest attractions. The region’s climate and surrounding mountain scenery make this one of the best, most beautiful places to see and experience fall. The month of October is typically the best time for witnessing peak colors

🍎 Apple picking – Only 30 minutes outside of Asheville is Hendersonville, located in Henderson County. This county is North Carolina’s highest producing apple region, and is home to countless apple orchards. At places like Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard, Grandad’s Apples, and Sky Top Orchard, your family can pick apples and enjoy other autumn activities.

🍂 Appalachian culture & festivals – Fall is a fantastic time of year for experiencing the best of Western North Carolina. This includes Southern Appalachian culture and tradition! Luckily, there are tons of festivals aimed at celebrating music, arts, and crafts tradition. 

These include Asheville Art in the Park, Brewgrass Festival, and Heritage Day. If eating and drinking is more your style, check out Clawtoberfest and Chow Chow Culinary Festival. These celebrate the city’s Southern Appalachian food and drink traditions.

🎶 Cultural festivals – Each fall, a couple cultural festivals take place in Asheville. Goombay Festival features African-Caribbean music like gospel, funk and soul, and reggae, as well as food, dancing, and more. Asheville Greek Festival is another local favorite, offering a variety of tasty Greek dishes!

Winter

Clear blue sky over the mountain view in Asheville

Winter isn’t the most popular time to visit Asheville, but the mild weather and holiday celebrations still make it an ideal travel destination. If you visit outside of the holiday season, you can expect cheaper rates and less crowds. Snowfall is occasional, but is most likely to happen in January, which is the coldest month. 

Here are some fun things to look for if you do visit in winter:

🎁 Christmas at Biltmore – Christmas at Biltmore is an annual tradition that begins in early November and goes through New Year’s. The inside of the mansion, Antler Hill Village, and the entire Biltmore Estate are decorated for the holidays. It’s arguably the most beautiful and magical time of year to visit.

🎄 Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum – Winter Lights at the North Carolina Arboretum is a local and visitor favorite during the holidays. Thousands of festive light displays decorate the Arboretum which visitors can walk through and wander. This takes place each year from mid-November until the end of December.

✨ Lake Julian Festival of Lights – Located in South Asheville in Lake Julian Park is the annual Festival of Lights tradition. This takes place each year from early December until a few days before Christmas. It’s a drive-through festival light show with tons of light features and animated displays for the family to enjoy. 

🍭 National Gingerbread House Competition at The Omni Grove Park Inn The Grove Park Inn’s iconic Gingerbread House Competition draws in visitors and competitors from around the country. People create one-of-a-kind gingerbread house structures and compete in different categories. 

Some truly amazing creations have been made for this competition, and it’s available for hotel and non-hotel guests to see. It takes place each year right after Thanksgiving and up until New Year’s. It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions in Asheville!

⛰️ Parkway closures – During the winter months, ice and snow at higher elevations can cause road closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Though inconvenient for driving, these closures mean you can walk the closed off sections. This typically means less crowds and seeing cool things like frozen waterfalls near Asheville. Be sure to wear hiking boots or shoes with good grip, so you don’t slip if it’s icy. 

Asheville Weather & Climate

A trail path on a forest in Asheville

Set in the Western North Carolina mountains, Asheville’s elevation allows for a temperate climate. Temperatures rarely reach extremes, and it’s cooler than other places in the region.

In spring and fall, temperatures hover in the 50’s and 60’s with cool mornings and evenings, and warmer afternoons. In summer, average temperatures usually hang in the mid-80’s, with a fair share of humidity. Rain showers can be expected almost every afternoon. 

In winter, you can expect frost and occasional snowy days, but temperatures typically stay above freezing. Lastly, Asheville doesn’t experience any crazy wind, but you can expect some wind at high elevation.

Tips for Visiting Asheville, North Carolina

Raindrops on a window car in Asheville

Be prepared for summer rain

The afternoon rain showers this time of year are no joke, and they happen like clock work. Pack a rain jacket and umbrella. If you plan any outdoor activities for the afternoon, check the weather ahead of time, plan accordingly, and be safe. 

Pack in layers

North Carolina weather is known for flip flopping. One day could be hot and the next could be cold. On your North Carolina packing list, I recommend having a typical wardrobe for whatever season you visit. But bring some additional layers to have variety—just in case.

Spring allergies are real in Asheville

I won’t sugar coat it—spring pollen in North Carolina can be killer. The greenery and flowers bring beautiful blooms to the area, but if you have allergies, you won’t be able to enjoy it very much. If you do visit in spring, don’t let the pollen put a total damper on your trip. Pack some allergy medication. You’ll thank me later.

FAQs About Traveling to Asheville, NC

What is tourist season in Asheville, NC?

Peak tourist season in Asheville, NC is fall. October tends to be the most popular month because of fall foliage.

How many days do you need in Asheville, NC?

You need 2-3 days in Asheville, NC. If you plan on doing day trips, take 5-7 days. 

What is the best time of year to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains?

Spring through fall is the best time of year to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, summer and fall are the most popular.

What is the rainiest month in Asheville, NC?

The rainiest month in Asheville, NC is May, with 17 days of rain on average. 

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I hope you enjoyed this guide on the best time to visit Asheville! Looking for more articles on the Tar Heel State? Check out our list of the 29 best places to visit in North Carolina!

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