Hendersonville NC Travel Guide

Hendersonville NC is a wonderful and historic town, full of history and plenty of things to do and see, all on its own. Hendersonville is a popular place for people to visit, full of activities to keep everyone busy, whether you’re more of an outdoor person or you prefer to stay indoors or in the city. 

Hendersonville NC offers apple picking, museums, historical structures, many dining options, hiking trails, scenic views, shopping, and much more!

Grab your bags and let us help you make the most out of your trip to the wonderful mountain town of Hendersonville NC.

Cover Photo by: Tracy Miller

Where is Hendersonville NC?

Hendersonville NC is close to the the Blue Ridge Parkway and right off I-26 about 20 miles south of Asheville NC.  

Hendersonville is known as “The City of Four Seasons” and is at an elevation of 2200 feet. The border between North Carolina and South Carolina is 15 miles south of Hendersonville, and the city itself is the a county seat for Henderson County.

History of Hendersonville NC

Hendersonville once belonged to the Cherokee and used as hunting grounds before William Mills discovered the area.

William was a Revolutionary War soldier and in the late 1870’s, the Cherokee were driven out so the land could be taken. Mills claimed the land with a grant, and with his guidance, he led the community to become what it is today.

The community was given a charter from the General Assembly, becoming the city of Hendersonville. It was recognized as the county seat on January 7, 1847.  Both the city and the council’s namesake belongs to Leanord Henderson, once the Chief Justice of North Carolina Supreme Court.

Hendersonville NC has always been a favorite place for tourists, and it’s been known for its apples since the 18th century.

Things to do in Hendersonville NC

Hendersonville has a multitude of activities that you and your family can enjoy together, making your visit a memorable one for everyone!  

Here are just a few of our top picks for best things to do in Hendersonville NC:

1 - Explore Downtown Hendersonville

Hendersonville NC Travel Guide

Strolling through Downtown Hendersonville is a sight many would enjoy. The buildings date all the way back to the 1800’s, and its vivid colors as well as its historic vibe is enough to draw anyone in.

Hendersonville is the second largest downtown in WNC, with plenty of parking for you to pick from. So go ahead and grab a map at the visitor center and check out the galleries, shopping, antique store, and more.

Most importantly, don’t forget to say hello to the painted bears and get a photo!

2 - Go Apple Picking

Grandad's Apples

If there’s one thing that’s a "must do" in Hendersonville NC, it’s apple-picking. There are a variety of orchards for you to visit, such as Justus Orchard, Grandad's Apples, and Creasman Farms.

Whether you like red delicious or granny smith, every orchard has plenty of choices to choose from. Apple Orchards, during peak season provide far more than just Apples and Apple products.   You'll find hayrides, games, live music, food, mazes and more.  

Visiting an Apple Orchard in Hendersonsville NC is a super fun activity for families, and sure to make a lasting impression.

3 - Western North Carolina Air Museum

Hendersonville is home to the first air museum in North Carolina, the “First in Flight” state. The Western North Carolina Air Museum was founded in 1989 in order to protect NC’s aviation heritage. 

A few displays at the Hendersonville airport were all it used to be before they moved the “museum” to a hangar in 1992, and the construction for a permanent home started in 1993. The museum maintains the aircrafts in good flying condition, and the models are within easy view for all.

Sometimes, the pilots will even put on a show, choosing one of the aircrafts to fly. There is no admission charge, so why not take a trip down here?

4 - Adventure at DuPont State Recreational Forest

Fall at Triple Falls, Dupont State Park

If you’re looking for more of an outdoors activity, Dupont State Forest is you.

If you’re a Hunger Games fan, a particular Dupont State Forest Waterfall that might catch your attention.  Triple Falls is one of the many waterfalls in Dupont State Forest, and was featured in the Hunger Games movie.  Some of the forest scenes were filmed here as well.

High Falls, Hooker Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls are others that you can hike to on the Dupont State Forest Waterfall Trail.

The Recreational Forest also offers biking and horseback riding as well. You'll even find a covered bridge.

5 - Wine Tasting

Saint Paul Mountain Farms

Saint Paul Mountain Farms, Burntshirt Vineyards, Wine Sage and Gourmet, and more are all local Hendersonville locations that offer wine tasting.

Hendersonville NC’s wineries offer not only tastings but food, beautiful views of the mountains, music, great service, and tours for the vineyards. No matter what your taste in wine is, any of the vineyards in Hendersonville NC are sure to provide you with the perfect fit.

So whenever you do visit Hendersonville, take a peak down at the wineries. You never know when you might find a new favorite.

6 - Elijah Mountain Gem Mine

Gem mining is one of the top things to do in many different places; panning for gems, viewing the stores, and seeing all the polished stones is definitely a favorite.

Elijah Mountain Gem Mine is a huge hit for families during their visit, being one of North Carolina's top rated gem mines. They provide both outdoor and indoor year round, presenting over 30 different gemstones.

A gift shop is available as well, and maybe it might give you a gift idea for any upcoming parties. And if it gets too crowded inside, there's a creek down by the building that visitors can hang out by.

Last but not least, there may even be a few goats nearby to feed.

7 - Appalachian Pinball Museum

With a collection of different pinball machines from the 50's all the way to the 90's, you're sure to be fascinated with the different designs. Every machine has a history of its own, with little bits of trivia at each pinball.

One set fee of 12 dollars gives you access not only to over 80 pinball machines, but video game arcades as well for however long you wish! Admission itself is free, and the staff is friendly and willing to help.

It's not too badly crowded and the place is kept clean. The museum is perfect for families and even if you don't want to play, it's still fun to look around.

8 - Enjoy the Views at Jump Off Rock

Photo by: Sherry Maddock

Jump Off Rock is a popular site for visitors. It's open all year at a 3100 foot elevation, and it's an easy hike to the rock. The view is beautiful, with panoramic views of the Blue Ridge and Pisgah mountain ranges for miles, and the site is absolutely breathtaking at a good sunset. 

The namesake of Jump Off Rock belongs to the story of a Cherokee native girl. Upon being given the news that her Indian Chief had been killed in battle, her grief drove her to the edge of the rock where she jumped to her death.

Legend has it that whenever the moon is out, you can see the girl still standing on that very rock. 

9 - Aquarium & Shark Lab Team ECCO

Acknowledged as North Carolina's first inland aquarium and the only public aquarium in Western North Carolina, the Aquarium & Shark Lab Team ECCO houses over 275 different species, including tropical fish, shark pups, sting rays, and turtles.

A touch tank is available during the tour, and you're able to visit the shark tank and watch the workers feed them. The workers are helpful and they do well with the kids, eager to give any answers about the animals. Several different species of reptiles also have their own spot: frogs, lizards, tortoises, and geckoes are on display.

This aquarium is open to hosting parties and events, or simply a visit with your family.

10 - Visit Mineral and Lapidary Museum of Henderson County


The Mineral and Lapidary Museum is filled with years of history. With fossils from dinosaurs, mastodons, and mammoths, it also has a wide display of gemstones not only from the United States, but from all around the world.

The Henderson County meteorite is also there to view. It was found by William Corn and is currently on loan from the Smithsonian. Replicas of Cullinan Diamonds, petrified wood, and other minerals have their own display. Not only is it a museum, geode cracking is a great activity for your kids.

A gift shop is available in the museum, and admission is free. It's well-worth the visit and a great way to spend time with your family.

11 - Visit the Carl Sandburg House

Carl Sandburg was well known for his free verse poetry, prose, folksongs, and more. He and his wife lived in this house for 22 years, continuing to follow their dreams—his of lecturing and writing, and hers of caring for her champion goats. 

Ten years after Carl Sandburg died, his wife passed away as well. Their ashes were buried at his hometown, Gale, Illinois, at a boulder whose name was Sandburg's very first novel: Remembrance Rock.

This home now belongs to the National Parks Service as a National Historic Site, and an extremely popular place to visit. With endless pastures, hiking trails, an apple orchard, lakes, and more.  The Carl Sandburg House is definitely a historical place you should visit.

Hendersonville Guided Tours - A Great Way to Explore

When you're visiting Hendersonville, it can be hard to know where to start and what to see. There are so many things to see and do, and it can be tough to decide which ones are really worth your time. That's where local guided tours come in.

Local Hendersonville tours are a great way to see a new places and also a great way to meet other travelers and make new friends.  When visiting Hendersonville NC, we highly recommend taking one or more of these highlighted tours. 

Where to stay in Hendersonville NC

Hendersonville NC has options of all kinds for you to stay overnight. You can go camping, rent a cabin, or go to a hotel. Whichever one you prefer, the wide range of options ensure that something out there will fit your needs.


Cabins in Hendersonville NC

Cabin rentals have always been a popular option in choosing where to stay; it’s alway nice to be able to get away and relax for a bit. There are several different options, enough for you and your family to decide which one is best for you.

Hotels in Hendersonville NC

There are a number of hotels in Hendersonville NC at reasonable prices and many amenities.   Below are some of the top picks for Hendersonville NC Hotels - All offer great prices, with roomy and clean accommodations.

Camping in Hendersonville NC

Even if you’re looking for remote campground, away from everyone else, or a comfortable RV park in the center of everything, Hendersonville NC has great options for you. 

Regardless of your needs, you’ll be plenty satisfied with your visit and you’ll be able to sleep well through the night.

Where to eat in Hendersonville NC

Hendersonville has a variety of restaurants to choose from: Sushi, steakhouses, American cuisine, and more are waiting for you after a long day, so come along and check out a few of the favorites!


Mountain Deli

McFarlan Bakery


Brook's Tavern

West First

Flat Rock Wood Room

Mona Lisa

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.

Want to learn more?

Check out these articles below