Field Trip Ideas: Western North Carolina

Western North Carolina is made up a lot of small historic towns, all surrounding the bigger city of Asheville. The area is full of life, nature and beauty. From popular tourist destinations to little known treasures there's something for every one. Most of the links below will take you to my posts about our trips to these locations, though some will take you to the location's website.

For the Animal Lover:



  • Western North Carolina Nature Center: The nature center is full of animals that are native to the area, from river otters to bears to coyotes. It is a very natural setting, with paved trails and lots of points of interest.
  • Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary: This is a small, lesser known attraction that hosts a large boardwalk through wetlands and around Beaver Lake. With many places to sit and observe nature and life around you. We've seen, not only birds, but muskrat, fish, turtles and interesting caterpillars and wildflowers.
  • Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education: The center is also located in Brevard, NC. It hosts a large fish hatchery, a small indoor exhibit building and numerous trails around the property. One of the best things about the center is their education program. They offer free classes throughout the year for kids on things like fly fishing, outdoor photography, archery and BB gun safety. 

For the Nature Lover:



  •  The Cradle of Forestry: The Cradle of Forestry is the birthplace of Forestry and is located in Brevard. They have a indoor large education center with a scavenger hunt for the kids, information on wildlife and even an simulated helicopter ride. Outdoors there are 2 trails full of history about Forestry. 
  • The NC Arboretum: The North Carolina Arboretum is a 400+ acre garden located in the Bent Creek Experimental Forest just outside of Asheville. They have areas of manicured gardens and natural forest trails. They also have 2 buildings that host special exhibits and educational events and classes. The grounds are beautiful and my botany-loving kids love spending time here.  Note: all 3 of the links go will lead you to 3 different posts about 3 different trips to the arboretum. 
  • Botanical Gardens of Asheville: The botanical gardens are located on the ground of the University of NC, Asheville. It is a naturally set garden with a paths and trails full of native plants in their natural state. A creek runs along side most of the trail, with plenty of areas to play in the water, jump on rocks or look for nature. 
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway: The parkway runs through most of Western North Carolina with amazing overlooks and view, lots of hiking and waterfalls. You will feel like you are on top of the world! The views are amazing all year long, but the fall is one of the most beautiful! 

For the History Lover: 



  •  Small Town, NC: Surrounding Asheville are tons of small towns rich in history. Brevard, Black Mountain, Waynesville, Hendersonville. Each has it's own charm. For example, Hendersonville has tons of small museums, apple orchards and a charming down town. You can see all about out tour of Hendersonville: Part 1 and Part 2.
  •  Biltmore: This is probably the most well known of all attractions in the Asheville area, and no field trip list would be complete without it.  It is America's largest home, with a lot to offer. They also host a homeschool festival each fall, which would be a perfect time to plan a visit. 
  •  Carl Sandburg Home: Carl Sandburg was an author and poet, who lived in the Flat Rock area of NC. His wife raised award winning dairy goats, and their direct descendents still live on the farm to this day. The home is run by the National Park Service, who run tours of the Sandburg Home and raise and breed the dairy goats on site.

Of course these aren't the only attractions the area has to offer. There's also the Museums at Pack Place. Or a tour of the French Broad Chocolate Factory. You can climb Chimney Rock, slide down Sliding Rock, or visit the sites where movies such as The Last of the Mohicans, Dirty Dancing and The Hunger Games were filmed.

*This post is part of the Hip Homeschool Moms' Field Trips Around the World Series. Check out the entire series to find out more about what other cities around the world have to offer!


  1. I have never been to Biltmore but would love to go. There is so much to do up in that area. This makes me want to plan a trip!

  2. Field trips are so fun and educational for kids. Thank you for the sharing your great ideas!

  3. Great list! I didn't know about the chocolate factory! We're going to have to go there! I've wanted to go to Biltmore for some time, but the prices, even when discounted for homeschooers are high. Maybe one day soon!

    1. Honesty, I haven't been to Biltmore since I was in high school! Way too expensive :)

  4. I simply LOVE North Carolina! I've been to the Biltmore in Spring, Summer and Winter...just not Fall. I loved it the best when it was coated in snow - WOW! These are great links for our next vacation, though, thank you!

  5. I love field trips! There is always so much to learn, and you have some really great places to go visit. I bet your kids think it's the best. :)

    Life With Lorelai