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Charlotte to Asheville NC | 29+ Best Stops Along The Way

Looking to travel from Charlotte to Asheville NC?

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Distance: 124 miles – 128 miles

Ways to travel between Charlotte to Asheville NC

Travel by Car
2 hr 10 mins without stops/traffic

Flights from CLT to AVL
Flight Time 55 min

Greyhound Bus
Travel Time 3 hr 25 min to 6 hr (varies)

The closest station to Asheville is Greenville, SC, or Spartanburg, SC. Asheville is just over an hour’s drive from both of these stations.

Best Stops between Charlotte to Asheville NC

For your drive from Charlotte to Asheville, you might be looking for stops along the way or things you can add to your travel list. This scenic route offers a delightful adventure through the heart of North Carolina, showcasing the state’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage. 

Whether you’re a local seeking a weekend getaway or a visitor looking to explore the best of the Tar Heel State, this journey promises a memorable experience. Join us as we embark on a road trip filled with stunning vistas, charming towns, and a tapestry of attractions that will leave you enchanted.

Starting Point: Charlotte NC

Before you embark on your journey to Asheville, take some time to discover Charlotte‘s vibrant attractions and cultural treasures. Here are some things you can do in the city:

✅ Explore Uptown Charlotte: Begin your adventure in the heart of the city, Uptown Charlotte. Wander along Tryon Street, marvel at the towering skyscrapers, and immerse yourself in the lively ambiance of this urban center.

✅ Discovery Place Science: Dive into the world of science and technology at Discovery Place. This interactive museum offers engaging exhibits, hands-on activities, and captivating demonstrations that will fascinate visitors of all ages.

Discovery Place Science

✅ NASCAR Hall of Fame: Racing enthusiasts won’t want to miss the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Delve into the rich history of this beloved sport through immersive exhibits, iconic artifacts, and dynamic multimedia presentations that celebrate the legends of NASCAR.

NASCAR Hall of Fame

✅ Mint Museum: Immerse yourself in the art world at the Mint Museum, home to a remarkable collection of American, European, and contemporary artworks. Admire captivating paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and decorative arts as you explore the museum’s diverse exhibits. This indoor activity in Charlotte is fantastic if the weather is not cooperating!

MINT Museum

✅ Romare Bearden Park: Find tranquility in this picturesque park, a serene urban oasis boasting stunning fountains, scenic walking paths, and inviting open-air seating areas. Take in the panoramic views of the city skyline and savor a peaceful moment surrounded by nature.

Romare Bearden Park

Places to stop off of I-85

Gastonia NC

Your journey from Charlotte to Asheville begins with a stop in Gastonia, a city located off I-85 that serves as one of the last stops you’ll have in the Piedmont region of NC, before entering the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Gastonia:

✅ Crowders Mountain State Park: Visiting Crowders Mountain State Park is a must for outdoor enthusiasts. Hike the scenic trails, witness breathtaking views from the mountain summit, and embrace the tranquility of nature in this picturesque park.

View from Crowders Mountain

✅ Gaston County Museum: Step back in time at the Gaston County Museum and learn about the region’s rich heritage. Explore exhibits that delve into the area’s history, including displays on textiles, agriculture, and the impact of the Catawba River.

Gaston County Museum

✅ Rankin Lake Park: Enjoy relaxation by the water at Rankin Lake Park. This beautiful park offers a serene lake, walking trails, picnic areas, and recreational facilities, providing the perfect setting to unwind and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Things to do in Gastonia NC include Rankin Lake

✅ Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens: Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens. Wander through meticulously landscaped gardens, discover stunning floral displays, and unwind in the peaceful ambiance. With its diverse collection of plants, water features, and themed gardens, this botanical oasis is a must-visit stop in Gastonia.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

✅ Schiele Museum of Natural History: Immerse yourself in the wonders of natural history at the Schiele Museum. Discover fascinating exhibits ranging from dinosaurs and North American wildlife to Native American culture and regional history.

Gastonia Schiele Museum

Places to stop off of I-40


​​As your journey continues from Gastonia to Asheville, stop in Hickory, a charming city off I-40. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Hickory:

✅ Catawba Science Center: Feed your curiosity at the Catawba Science Center. Engage in hands-on exhibits, explore the universe’s wonders at the planetarium, and discover the fascinating world of science through interactive displays and educational programs.

Hickory Museum of Arts

✅ Hickory Crawdads Baseball: If you’re a sports fan, catch a baseball game at the L.P. Frans Stadium and cheer on the Hickory Crawdads. Experience the excitement of America’s favorite pastime as you enjoy the thrill of a live game in a family-friendly atmosphere.

Outside the L.P. Frans Stadium

✅ Hickory Museum of Art: Immerse yourself in the world of art at the Hickory Museum of Art. Explore the diverse visual arts collection, including paintings, sculptures, and photography, while gaining insights into the region’s cultural heritage.

Hickory Museum of Science

✅ Downtown Hickory: Stroll through downtown Hickory and experience its vibrant atmosphere. Discover local boutiques, antique shops, and galleries, and treat yourself to delicious cuisine at one of the many charming restaurants and cafes.

Downtown Hickory

✅ Hickory Furniture Mart: Indulge your love for interior design and furniture at the Hickory Furniture Mart. This massive complex showcases a wide selection of furniture styles and home decor, making it a haven for design enthusiasts and shoppers alike.


As you venture closer to Asheville, stop in Morganton, a hidden gem nestled off I-40. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Morganton:

✅ Historic Downtown Morganton: Step back in time as you wander through the historic streets of downtown Morganton. Admire the beautifully preserved architecture, visit charming shops, dine at local restaurants, and discover the town’s rich history and heritage.

Downtown Morganton

✅ Catawba Meadows Park: Embrace the outdoors at Catawba Meadows Park, a scenic recreational area in Morganton. Take a leisurely walk along the nature trails, enjoy a picnic in the park, or engage in outdoor activities such as disc golf or volleyball.

Catawba Meadows Park Playground

✅ Lake James State Park: Nature lovers will be captivated by the beauty of Lake James State Park. Embark on scenic hikes, enjoy picnicking by the lake, go fishing or boating, and immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of this picturesque natural haven.

✅ South Mountain State Park: Just a short drive from Morganton, South Mountain State Park beckons with its stunning natural beauty. Embark on hiking adventures to witness breathtaking views, spot wildlife, and revel in the tranquility of this expansive wilderness.

✅ Fonta Flora Brewery: Indulge in craft beer delights at Fonta Flora Brewery. This local brewery is known for its innovative and eclectic brews, often incorporating locally sourced ingredients to create unique flavors. Enjoy a tasting flight or settle in for a pint in their welcoming taproom.

Fonta Flora Beer Flight


As you venture further on your journey towards Asheville, stop in Marion, a quaint town located off I-40. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Marion:

✅ Historic Downtown Marion: Stroll through the charming streets of historic downtown Marion. Admire the well-preserved architecture, browse through unique shops and boutiques, and soak in the small-town ambiance that Marion exudes.

✅ McDowell County Heritage Museum: Immerse yourself in the region’s rich history at the McDowell County Heritage Museum. Discover exhibits that showcase the area’s heritage, from its Native American roots to its industrial past, and gain insights into the stories that shaped Marion and its surrounding communities.

✅ Linville Caverns: Embark on an underground adventure at Linville Caverns, just a short drive from Marion. Explore the fascinating limestone caverns adorned with stalactites, stalagmites, and other unique rock formations. Guided tours provide educational insights into the geology and history of the caves.

Photo from above I-40

Old Fort

As you approach Asheville on your route, stop in Old Fort, a peaceful town located off I-40. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Old Fort:

✅ Point Lookout Trail: Lace up your hiking boots and embark on the Point Lookout Trail, a picturesque hiking trail that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Immerse yourself in the area’s natural beauty as you traverse through lush forests and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

✅ Mountain Gateway Museum: Step back in time at the Mountain Gateway Museum, dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of western North Carolina. Explore exhibits highlighting the region’s cultural heritage, from early Native American settlements to the development of industries in the area.

Mountain Gateway Museum

✅ Catawba Falls: Discover the beauty of Catawba Falls, a cascading waterfall just a short drive from Old Fort. Take a hike along the trail that leads to the falls, surrounded by a peaceful forest setting. Capture memorable photos and enjoy the soothing sounds of rushing water. (Currently closed for repairs and updates, scheduled to reopen in Spring 2024)

Catawba Falls

✅ Andrews Geyser: Witness the spectacular Andrews Geyser, a man-made geyser that shoots water high into the air. This unique attraction is a sight to behold and offers a memorable experience for visitors. Marvel at the power of water and enjoy the scenic surroundings of the geyser. At the time of our visit, the geyser was not operational.

Old Fort Geyser

✅ Old Fort Picnic Area: Take a break and enjoy a leisurely picnic at the Old Fort Picnic Area. Located near the banks of the beautiful Mill Creek, this serene spot provides the perfect setting to relax, dine al fresco, and appreciate the tranquility of nature.

Old Fort Picnic Area

Black Mountain

Just before you reach Asheville, you’ll find the picturesque town of Black Mountain, nestled in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Black Mountain:

✅ Downtown Black Mountain: Experience the small-town charm of Downtown Black Mountain. Stroll along the charming streets with local shops, galleries, and eateries. Discover unique treasures, browse art exhibits, and indulge in delicious treats from the local bakeries and cafes.

Foothills Grange from street

✅ Black Mountain Arts and Crafts Loop: Embark on the Black Mountain Arts and Crafts Loop, a scenic drive that takes you through the beautiful countryside surrounding the town. Along the way, you’ll find a collection of galleries, studios, and craft shops featuring the work of talented local artists.

✅ Lake Tomahawk Park: Enjoy the natural beauty of Lake Tomahawk Park, a serene oasis in the heart of Black Mountain. Take a leisurely walk around the lake, enjoy a picnic by the water, or relax and soak in the peaceful ambiance. The park also offers a playground, tennis courts, and beautiful mountain views.

✅ Swannanoa Valley Museum: Delve into the rich history of the Swannanoa Valley at the Swannanoa Valley Museum. Learn about the region’s cultural heritage through engaging exhibits that explore topics such as Native American history, early settlers, and the development of the area’s industries.

Arts Mural Black Mountain NC

✅ Black Mountain Brewing: Quench your thirst with locally crafted beers at Black Mountain Brewing. This popular brewery offers a variety of handcrafted brews, ranging from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts. Sip on a pint or sample a flight of their flavorful creations while enjoying the cozy and welcoming atmosphere.

Black Mountain Brewing Roberta Flack Mural

✅ Hiking Trails: Lace up your hiking boots and explore the scenic trails surrounding Black Mountain. There are options for all skill levels, from the challenging summit trails of nearby Mount Mitchell to the leisurely walks along the Montreat Trails. Breathe in the fresh mountain air and admire the stunning vistas along the way.


You’ve arrived in Asheville’s vibrant and eclectic city, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Get ready to immerse yourself in this beloved destination’s unique charm and diverse offerings. Here are some highlights of what you can explore in Asheville:

✅ Downtown Asheville: Begin your Asheville adventure in the lively downtown area. Discover an array of independent boutiques, art galleries, and craft breweries. Wander through the vibrant streets, where live music spills onto the sidewalks, and experience the energy that permeates the city.

✅ Biltmore Estate: Embark on a grand adventure at the magnificent Biltmore Estate. Explore the opulent mansion, stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, and immerse yourself in the fascinating history of this iconic landmark. The Biltmore Estate offers many enriching experiences, from art exhibits to wine tastings.

Biltmore Estate is a must stop from Charlotte to Asheville NC

✅ River Arts District: Dive into Asheville’s thriving arts scene in the River Arts District. Meander through the converted industrial buildings and witness the creativity of local artists. Browse through galleries, witness live demonstrations, and perhaps even find the perfect piece of art to take home as a memento of your visit.

RAD Mural

✅ Blue Ridge Parkway: Take a scenic drive along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway. Marvel at the breathtaking vistas, enjoy leisurely hikes and soak in the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains. With numerous overlooks and hiking trails, the Blue Ridge Parkway offers endless opportunities for outdoor exploration.

Blue Ridge Parkway Visitors Center Sign

✅ Asheville Food Scene: Indulge in Asheville’s renowned food scene, where farm-to-table restaurants, eclectic eateries, and gourmet food trucks await. Sample local delicacies, savor craft brews, and treat your taste buds to a culinary adventure. Asheville is a haven for food enthusiasts, offering diverse flavors to satisfy every palate.

BBQ Poutine

✅ Outdoor Adventures: Immerse yourself in the outdoor playground surrounding Asheville. From hiking and mountain biking in the Pisgah National Forest to rafting down the French Broad River, outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of thrilling activities to enjoy amidst the breathtaking landscapes.

Whitewater Rafting

Charlotte to Asheville NC: FAQs

📌 How to get from Charlotte to Asheville NC, without a car?

Traveling from Charlotte to Asheville NC, without a car is possible. Options include taking a Greyhound bus or booking a flight from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL).

📌 Is it worth going to Asheville NC?

Absolutely! Asheville, NC, is worth visiting. Known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and thriving food and craft beer culture, Asheville offers something for everyone. Explore the Blue Ridge Mountains, visit the Biltmore Estate, indulge in local cuisine and craft breweries, and immerse yourself in the city’s unique charm.

📌 How far apart are Charlotte and Asheville?

Charlotte and Asheville are approximately 126 miles (203 kilometers) apart. The driving distance between the two cities is typically around 2 hours and 10 minutes, depending on traffic and the specific route.

📌 Is Asheville bigger than Charlotte?

No, Charlotte is larger than Asheville in terms of population and area. Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina and ranks as the 15th largest city in the United States. 

Final Thoughts

From Charlotte’s vibrant cityscape to Asheville’s breathtaking beauty, this journey offers a delightful mix of urban exploration and natural wonders. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or a foodie seeking culinary delights, this road trip has something for everyone. 

As you traverse the picturesque landscapes of North Carolina, you’ll discover the unique charms and hidden gems of each stop along the way. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure from Charlotte to Asheville NC.

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