How to Get the Best Cabin Rentals in Asheville for Your Family
Imagine: a clear sky, and a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Your kids/dogs frolic in a flower pasture, enjoying some of the fairest weather in the entire Southeast. You’ve got a bottle of local-brewed beer in one hand, and in the other, a raw rainbow trout, freshly picked from a sparkling highland stream.
It’s an idyllic vision, and with a visit to Asheville—the Paris of the South—it could be an idyllic reality. So, it’s no wonder that my hometown is one of the top tourist destinations of WNC, which in turn contributes to a plethora of dazzling restaurants, bohemian boutiques, and of course, every manner of hotel, campground, and cabin needed to host all those travelers.
This is where things get tricky. With so many options, finding the best cabin rentals in Asheville NC can prove a time-consuming task. In order to expedite this process, here I’ve laid out the top concerns you ought to have for picking out your cabin rental and making the best of your trip to the mountains.
1: Getting Around Town
Road-trippers have an advantage over fly-ins when it comes to getting around Asheville, in that in the year of my writing, 2023, we’re still a long way away from being a pedestrian town. Perhaps in the distant future, you’ll be able to zoom straight from the South Slope bars to the otter exhibit at WNC Nature Center via a high-speed travelator, like the ones they have in airports, but with a top speed of one hundred miles per hour. Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times, or risk utter devastation.
Such dreams are still the stuff of science-fiction, which is a long way of saying that if you want to make the most of your trip to Asheville, you’re going to need to drive. And drive where? North Asheville for the best local ice cream, and my own favorite brewery-theater. East Asheville for the aforementioned Nature Center, South Asheville for the Biltmore Estate, and West Asheville for some authentic Ashevillean restaurants and cafes.
But what I think will be of most interest to the adventuresome traveler is Asheville’s downtown. Full of buskers, international cuisine, art galleries, and rooftop bars, there’s far more to do here than you can cover in a single day. Yet, in terms of Asheville NC cabin rentals, I wouldn’t necessarily advise picking a place smack-dab in the middle of downtown.
For one thing, you can hardly call it a “cabin” if it lacks that rural charm. For another, just like any city, the closer you are to downtown, the more you can expect high prices, traffic congestion, and frustrations in the world of parking.
So, ultimately, you’re going to want a cabin close enough to downtown for regular visits, but far enough away that you don’t have to deal with the aforementioned problems. A distance of about fifteen minutes is a good compromise.
2: Outdoor Access
Still on the subject of location—which, as they say, is triply important when it comes to choosing a vacation rental—don't let your appetite for Asheville’s urban amusements override the considerations of strolls, hikes, river-floats, and all the other means of recreational transpiration that put you in touch with some of the country's most stunning wilderness.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge, visitors to Asheville have the advantage of being able to set out in near any direction, and sooner or later come upon a hiking trail to write home about. Some of my favorites are Black Balsam, reachable via a drive up the Parkway, and Dupont State Recreational Forest, a little less than an hour to the south. On top of that, you’ve got wild blueberry picking at Graveyard Fields come August, zip-lining, bike rentals at the Biltmore Estate, river-tubing on the French Broad, and of course, the fall leaves, which put Asheville on the map.
If that all seems a little overwhelming, my go-to suggestion for an introduction to Asheville’s outdoors is a visit to the NC Arboretum, offering a mix of manicured gardens, alongside more vigorous trails.
Taking all this into account, you’ll see that choosing an Asheville NC cabin rental with a little distance from the city’s center proves to be doubly effective. Not only will you be getting a better deal, but you’ll be closer to some of the best outdoor destinations, which of course, lie far away from downtown. Specifically, you’re going to want a place close to an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, which forms the main artery through the majority of Blue Ridge hikes.
As it happens, the NC Arboretum lies right next to one such entrance, so looking around there isn’t a bad start.
3: Eating Like a Local
Asheville has no shortage of excellent restaurants, and familiarizing yourself with them is one of the prime pleasures of a visit to the Paris of the South, but the fact is most locals don’t eat out twenty-one times a week. Although it would be nice.
What I’m talking about here is bringing some home-cooking into your mountain vacation. That may seem like a hard sell; who wants that added responsibility? But I believe I can make a case for it, especially since those interested in an Asheville NC cabin rentals must already half-know that one of the distinct advantages of a cabin over a hotel room is access to a kitchen.
To start with, an experienced traveler knows that incorporating some self-made meals into your gustatory schedule can significantly cut down on costs, even accounting for a little indulgence in local honey, butchery-visits, and the like. On top of that, if your cabin rental is sufficiently furnished for it, a dinner in can prove to be one of the most memorable parts of your family trip. Grilled corn and chicken-breast at the lake house. Spaghetti-sauce made with the old-country recipe. If you have similar recollections, you’ll know what I’m getting at here.
My final point is the sheer excellence and abundance of Asheville’s farmer’s markets. Personally, I frequent the ASAP market on Saturday mornings, starting in April, on downtown’s North Market Street. Live music, handmade soap, goat cheese, local greens, fermented teas, fresh baked goods, and the flow of fellow shoppers makes for a delightful experience unto itself, not to mention that you actually get to eat some of the things they’re selling.
Make it to the farmer’s market in the morning, and you’ll have just about everything you need to prepare a local dinner that will astound and delight. That is, if you have the proper utensils. Not all cabins are made equal in this regard. So, when you’re picking out your rental cabin in Asheville NC, be sure to choose one with a well-appointed kitchen. It pays dividends.
You know, I never understood those people who harp on the advantages of hostels and the like. I’m really going to drive or fly hours out to visit some place, spend all day walking around, drag myself back to home base, and what--receive the pleasure of a bunk bed and a broken fan? A hostel might be cheap, but it isn’t free.
And once you add the term “cabin” to the mix, now you’re really broadening the possibilities. A “cabin” could mean anything from luxury accommodations with a rustic flair, to four timber walls, an outhouse, and a pack of coyotes who like to gnaw at the door.
I for one know which side of the spectrum I’d prefer for my visit to Asheville. So, if you’re like me, and especially if you’re traveling with the family—the last people you’d want to subject to coyote packs and outhouses—I think we’re on the same page when it comes to the subject of amenities.
Incidentally, I know of some particular cabin rentals in Asheville NC that not only fulfill the parameters of my previous musings (good location, good kitchen), but in terms of its other amenities, absolutely excels. A stay with Asheville Cottages nets you a flat screen TV, a Bluetooth speaker, a gas fireplace (perfect for a cozy Asheville winter), a patio, a grille, and a private hot tub, and last but not least, heated bathroom floors.
I don’t know where else I’ve even seen heated bathroom floors. And a hot tub? Say no more. You tell me a hot tub is involved, and I’ve got my swim trunks on faster than you can say “Stay hydrated, you fool!”
It’s the lap of luxury; a rental cabin in Asheville primed and prepared to provide you with the best experience imaginable. When you come back from your day of hiking, brewery-hopping, escape-rooming, or simply enjoying a tour of the city with your family, be sure that Asheville Cottages has the amenities on lock.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your cabin rental today!
WNC Nature Center
75 Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC 28805
Dupont State Recreational Forest
Staton Rd, Cedar Mountain, NC 28718
North Carolina Arboretum
100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC 28806