Year-round, the mountains of Western North Carolina and Asheville are a beautiful place to visit and live. Fall brings changing leaves, winter finds snow on the mountain tops and spring provides crisp, cool air for a morning hike amongst blooming trees and flowers. However, the warm summer months can be full of fun and adventure for residents and travelers alike, especially around the Fourth of July holiday. From ball games to hikes to fireworks, there are a plenty of family-friendly activities in Asheville and across WNC during the Fourth of July weekend.

To help you plan your Independence Day adventures, we have put together a quick guide of some of the can’t miss things to do for the July 4th holiday.

Celebrate the USA with Mother Nature

Are you a nature-enthusiast or garden-lover? The North Carolina Arboretum’s beautiful gardens and sprawling forests will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the July 4th holiday weekend. On Saturday, July 1 and Tuesday, July 4, visitors can enjoy the Arboretum’s Guided Trail Walk, led by one of the Arboretum’s expert volunteer naturalists. Starting in the Baker Exhibit Center at 1 p.m., this two-hour walk provides guests with an entertaining yet educational opportunity to learn about the Arboretum’s trees, plants and flowers. The walks are free, however, donations to The North Carolina Arboretum Society are greatly appreciated.

After your hike, head indoors to enjoy one of the Arboretum’s many exhibits. Families can see the miracle of metamorphosis before their very own eyes at Winged Wonders, an indoor walk-through butterfly house located in the Baker Exhibit Center Greenhouse that features several types of butterflies in all stages of their life cycles. Across the hall, Bryson City-based artist Elizabeth Ellison shows off her work as part of her summer exhibit Spirit of Place, which depicts the varied wildflowers, animals, human inhabitants and landscapes of the Smokies region and beyond. In the Education Center’s second floor gallery, Asheville photographer Camilla Calnan showcases WNC’s beauty in her exhibit #themountainsarecalling. All exhibits will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Looking for an all-American bite to eat? The Arboretum’s Savory Thyme Café will host a special Fourth of July picnic on July 4, from noon to 3 p.m. in the Education Center Courtyard. To view the full menu, please click here.

America’s National Past Time

Play ball! Enjoy America’s national past time on July 4 by attending the Asheville Tourists’ baseball game at 7:05 p.m. After the game, ticket holders can enjoy a special fireworks show from McCormick Field. Guests can bring a blanket or watch from their seats. Tickets will sell out fast, so be sure to purchase them in advance here.

Fireworks, Fireworks, Fireworks!

Beyond the Tourists’ game fireworks, WNC offers more than a dozen fireworks shows across the region. In south Asheville near the Arboretum, Lake Julian will be hosting their own fireworks show. Get there early and snag a spot near the lake or set up in the picnic area and grill out. There is plenty of parking nearby, as well as excellent vantage points along the Blue Ridge Parkway (try the overlooks between the Arboretum and mile marker 397). For the full list of fireworks displays, check out our Community Partner’s comprehensive guide here.

A Street Festival

Every year, the Asheville Downtown Association hosts the Independence Day Celebration, a street festival, starting at 2:00 p.m. The event is family-friendly and features a dog show, arts and crafts, live music and vendors. At 9:30 p.m., Pack Square Park becomes the ideal spot to view downtown Asheville’s fireworks show. Information on parking, food, live music and more can be found here.

Run for Red, White and Blue

Looking for an active way to celebrate the Fourth? The Rotary Club of Brevard is hosting their annual Firecracker 5 and 10K run, which starts at 8 a.m. The run kicks off a day of activities throughout Brevard, from live music and street festivals in downtown, to the Brevard Music Center’s concert at 2 p.m. Find out more about the run and register here. If a competitive run does not interest you, try one of the Arboretum’s 10+ hiking and biking trails.

Whatever you do, best wishes for a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Pack Square Park photo credit: