Today's the summer solstice. The sun’s shining, the wind’s blowing, and it’s as good a time as ever to visit Asheville, the Paris of the South, so called for its bustling cafes, industrious artists, and the French Broad River.
June in Asheville means barbecues, site-seeing, nature-loving, and dining al fresca. The early summer sun promises to warm you (instead of bake you) and up in the mountains, the flowers bloom. So that you can best enjoy all these delights and more, here I’ve gathered crucial information on some of the very best things to do in June in Asheville.
There’s nothing better than some fresh mountain air for what ails you. That’s something I personally live by. I’ve covered some of the best summer hiking destinations in Asheville before, so if you’re really intent on a mountaineer’s vacation, I promise there’s no shortage of opportunities.
In particular, I’d like to call out Craggy Gardens and Pink Beds, both of which I’ve recently had the pleasure of visiting. Craggy Garden’s elevation balances out the season’s natural heat, making for a cool hike with wide-ranging views of the mountains. Its famous rhododendron blooms were best seen in the middle of this month, but you may catch these magnificent flowers elsewhere up through the middle of July.
Meanwhile, Pink Beds lands you in the thick of the forest. Its five-mile loop winds over sparkling streams and connects back at a sizable picnic area, complete with tables and grills. Its a perfect spot for a little open-air dining to go with your hike.
Fun in the Sun: Visit one of Asheville’s numerous farmers’ markets to acquire picnic-vittles.
June is a hot time on the French Broad River, inviting tubers and kayakers alike to float its placid waters. The river passes by some of Asheville’s most iconic landmarks—from the Biltmore Estate to the River Arts District—making it an excellent way to see the city from a different perspective.
If it’s not river-going that you’re after, but waterfall-ing, then you’re in luck. Practically every other nature-area in the region boasts a waterfall or two. Some of my favorites are Dupont National Forest, Graveyard Fields, and Skinnydip Falls. The latter is a true local watering-hole, offering a refreshing splash in the heart of the mountains.
Fun in the Sun: Bring fresh water. Dehydration is the enemy of fun.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate—be that too much rain or too much shine—you can always find shelter in one of Asheville’s many art galleries. Frankly, this particular activity should be on your schedule anyways, be it June, July, or August. Or any other month.
Downtown Asheville boasts the highest concentration of fine-arts exhibits, culminating in the Museum of Art, known for its eclectic collections and rooftop café. Once you’ve seen your fill downtown, head on over to the River Arts District (RAD) for open workshops, spanning murals, and an ever-growing assortment of cafes and restaurants to rival downtown itself.
Fun in the Sun: Buy a big floppy hat. They just scream “culture!”
As I think I’ve said, hydration is essential to June-time fun in Asheville. My hometown has every beverage-base covered. Tea? Look no further than Dobra, with locations in downtown and West Asheville. Their “staroborshov” is especially refreshing; a chilled tea with a foamy, fruity head. Coffee? Asheville’s bursting with cafes.
For proper libations, visit the South Slope—Asheville's famous brewing district—or head just a little further north into downtown to try the local cocktails, wine-havens, and rooftop bars. After a long day of hiking or gallery-hopping, such refreshments truly seal the deal.
Fun in the Sun: Visit a cocktail bar, a wine bar, and a rooftop bar in a single night, in what the locals call a “triple canniple.”
Even now, I don’t think our society has fully come to appreciate the combined madness-genius that has given birth to sweet frozen milk. Truly, where would we be without icecream? In the stone age. Perhaps even the wood age (before the discovery of stone).
If you too are a cream-fiend, I highly suggest a visit to the Hop, with a new location in downtown’s S&W foodhall. Their north Asheville location has recently teamed up with Pop Bubble Tea to serve some delectable boba, fruit slushes, and matcha lattes, Thursday through Monday, noon to 8pm.
Ultimate Icecream Compnay didn’t quite make it into my previous ruminations on this subject. I will attempt to remedy that here. They offer a selection of seasonal flavors that showcase some delectable creativity. This June you can also enjoy their “Manna banana” flavor, benefiting Manna Foodbank, which serves the local community.
Fun in the Sun: Milkshakes. That is all.
Craggy Pinnacle Hike
3641 Blue Ridge Pkwy, Barnardsville, NC 28709
Dobra Tea (Downtown)
78 N Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Dobra Tea (West)
707 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Ultimate Icecream Company (North)
195 Charlotte St, Asheville, NC 28801
Ultimate Icecream Company (East)
1070 Tunnel Rd, Asheville, NC 28805