Agents Answer: Where are the Best Picnic Spots in WNC?

Where are the best picnic spots in Western North Carolina?
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Western North Carolina is full of mouth-watering and award-winning restaurants. But sometimes, all you need is a paper sack filled with PB&J sandwiches and trusty GORP—good ol’ raisins and peanuts. This is especially true after a few hours on one of the region’s many scenic mountain trails.

If you’re new to the area—or just looking for something new to you—there is no shortage of great nooks and crannies to kick back and enjoy a tasty snack and an awe-inspiring view. And as experts in the region, our Allen Tate/Beverly-Hanks agents are quick to share their favorite fall hikes

But not every trail leads to a great spot to picnic. This month, we asked our agents: Where are the best picnic spots in Western North Carolina?

My family and I love to picnic at Max Patch mountain. Max Patch has a huge grassy summit with amazing 360-degree views. There is no better place to take in the splendor of WNC!

Jared Prast

A magical place for a picnic is the Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Enjoy the wildlife and many historic buildings on your visit. There are also plenty of places to hike and play in the creeks while you’re there.

Billie Green

If you haven’t been there already, you should check out North Mills River Recreation Area, located only 30 minutes from downtown Asheville. It’s a fantastic little spot to do it all—picnic, swim, tube, hike, or bike. It is a great day trip for all ages!

Julie Smith & Todd Kaderabek

Head down Hemphill Road in Jonathan Creek, up past The Swag, and the science center at Purchase Knob makes a great hiker and picnic spot just minutes from Waynesville. My family loves to head that way on a Sunday afternoon with a picnic. We grab a blanket for a relaxing nap after an invigorating hike with 180-degree views. Captivating.

Amanda Hill

I love Lake Louise in Weaverville. It is a picturesque place that is always bristling with folks enjoying this small-town lake. With a walking trail, picnic tables, a playground, picnic shelter, brand new workout equipment, and lots of ducks and geese, it is perfect for all ages. On any given day, you will see people fishing for small fish, people walking and running the trail, and kids having fun on the swings and jungle gyms. The Town of Weaverville puts a lot of money and manpower into keeping this lake pretty, safe, and clean for all. I love walking it in late afternoon and catching glimpses of turtles and the occasional blue heron. For certain patriotic holidays, there is usually something going on, from music to bagpipes to fireworks. Everyone is friendly—-it is truly a joy to visit and “break bread” with nature! Best place to picnic!

Jan Rector

While there are numerous spots to picnic in Western North Carolina, two of my favorites are located in Haywood County. Picnic areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway range from full-fledged parks with tables, grills, and restroom facilities to scenic pullouts where you can grab a bite to eat in your car, on the curb, or a blanket on the ground. Tailgate and watch elk graze nearby in the meadows just after sunrise or just before sunset in beautiful Cataloochee Valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our favorite picnic spot is the front porch of the Hiram Caldwell House, built in 1909, located near the end of the road past Palmer Chapel.

Michelle McElroy

Our family loves the Montreat Memorial Garden. It is full of beautiful paths, inspirational quotes, and is right on the beautiful babbling creek!

Theresa Turchin

Bearwallow Mountain is a short hike for an outstanding view! It’s perfect for a picnic lunch, late afternoon charcuterie, or even a spot to roll out your yoga mat. If you are lucky, you will get to share the views with the cows that roam amidst the beautiful rock outcroppings.

Sarah Smith

Jump Off Rock in Laurel Park is just minutes from downtown Hendersonville at the top of Echo Mountain and has awesome views and short walking trails in addition to being a great picnic area. During the summer, there are concerts held there too! Local legend has it that more than 300 years ago, a young Cherokee maiden received word that her beloved young chief had been killed in battle, so she climbed to the edge of the rock and jumped off. According to the legend, on moonlit nights you can see the ghost of the maiden on Jump Off Rock. 

Karen Bosse

I just recently started walking at Rhododendron Lake Nature Park in Laurel Park. It has beautiful nature trails, ponds, cascading streams, flowers, and picnic tables. There is an exercise area and plenty of parking. Lots of friendly local people walk there, as well. Nearby Jump Off Rock has probably the best long-range mountain views in the area. It is also a beautiful place to picnic, relax, or take a hike.

Nola Goodchild

The Junaluska Dam Park is one of our family favorite spots. It’s a great location for a last-minute picnic. With its clean picnic tables, open fields, shallow water for the kids to splash around in, and fishing (if you bring the proper gear), you can’t go wrong.

Mary Z Irvin

Black Balsam Knob is an easy 1.5-mile in-and-out hike through varied terrain off the Blue Ridge Parkway, so the drive there is stunning, especially in the fall. A bottle of wine, some cheese and crackers, and a few French Broad Chocolates go well with the gorgeous sunset views!

Kelly Hetherington

Max Patch is my favorite spot for a picnic, photo shoots, and star gazing! I took my parents in their 80s, a couple of years ago, as the trail is less than a mile each way. It’s part of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail and close to Hot Springs, NC. Max Patch is a 350-acre tract of open land on a high knob with a 360-degree view. It’s one of the most spectacular views with easy access. Definitely worth a visit if you’ve never experienced it before. 

Maria Rangel

If you are looking for a picnic area that is not too far from Asheville and has a great view, Craggy Gardens just off the Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful spot. Not only are there picnic tables with incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but you are close to a great hike to help you work off all those picnic goodies!

David Ide

I love Craggy Gardens! It feels like you are on top of the world, and it is always 6–8 degrees cooler up there. You can work in a hike before your picnic, too.

Marie Morris

I’m so excited to talk about favorite picnic spots! With Southcliff located only three miles from the Fairview entrance, my answer is: ‘Oh, the Blue Ridge Parkway!’ A scenic ride northward out of Asheville brings you to the Craggy Gardens visitor center at milepost 365 and the Craggy Gardens overlook. You’ll find a well-worn path through ancient rhododendron thickets leading ever upward to the pinnacle overlook. Here, a picnic will be highlighted by dancing clouds,  majestic mountain ranges, and a beckoning ribbon of the landmark parkway. Come, enjoy!

Rebecca Dougherty

Bearwallow Mountain | Photo by Sarah Smith

Make Every Day a Retreat! Live Near the Best Picnic Spots in WNC!

Among the many ways we Live Abundantly in WNC is through our proximity to cozy picnic spots with amazing views that ignite with color in the fall. Find a home near one of the locations mentioned in this post!

Where is your favorite picnic spot in WNC? Share it with us in the comments!

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