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2 Aug 2023
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Things to Do & Events

In America, Labor Day Weekend is often the symbolic end of summer and gives people the opportunity to award their hard work and take some much-needed time off. This celebration of summer’s wistful end typically includes BBQs, fireworks, festivals, and hours spent dawdling in the sunshine by a cool body of water. 

In Asheville, like many other cities, Labor Day Weekend is usually the last weekend for summer concert series, regional baseball games, and public swimming pools being open, which makes it the perfect time for a vacation. In honor of the worker’s holiday, we've crafted a detailed Labor Day Weekend guide to help you plan a memorable mountain getaway with family or friends to say a proper “so long” to summer!

Take A Dip or Paddle Your Worries Away

In the dog days of summer when the sultry summer heat is at its peak, the Western North Carolina region offers plenty of ways to cool down. Between shopping, dining, and barhopping in downtown Asheville, take a break to enjoy Splasheville in Pack Square Park. While not technically a pool, this interactive splash pad is completely free and is a convenient respite from the heat. 

If you’re longing to be fully submerged in a body of cold water, there are a few public pools in Asheville and the surrounding areas that are open through Labor Day Weekend:

If you prefer to swim in the privacy of your own home, our vacation rental Red Barn Retreat has its own private pool that you and your group can enjoy. 

Another crowd-favorite swimming spot that’s open through Labor Day Weekend is Lake Lure’s Mountain Beach & Water Park. The daily admission fee is $10 and includes access to the beach and water park (with water slide and water wars).  

You can rent a boat, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, hydro bike, and kayak, but there are separate fees for those rentals. After a full day of swimming, boating, and soaking up the sun, check out the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge and browse the nearby Chimney Rock Village which has a state park, novelty shops, and beautiful “Insta-Worthy" spots to check out.

If you’re looking for a luxury lakeside vacation home to enjoy 150+ miles of shoreline and stunning views of the Linville Gorge Wilderness, Lake James is the place for you. Lake James also offers a mountain beach that features a bathhouse with nice changing rooms, concessions, and a protected swim area. There is a $5 entrance fee, and the beach will be open through Labor Day Weekend. While in the area, hit the hiking and biking trails in Lake James State Park or do some fishing  (license required). 

Canoeing on Lake Lure.

If you’d rather cool down in one of nature’s swimming pools, hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and drive 35 miles south of Asheville to reach Hooker Falls, a gorgeous waterfall in Dupont State Forest. 

For those seeking thrills and chills, head 30 miles southwest of Asheville to reach Sliding Rock. This popular 60-ft mountain water slide in Pisgah National Forest has a $5 admission fee and is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. Also in this area is Whaleback Falls, a peaceful swimming hole just 5.5 miles from Sliding Rock that is easily accessible from the road. 

For more recommendations, check out our Lakes, Floats & Falls to Help You Beat the Summer Heat blog. 


Go Out to the Ballgame

Embrace small-town Americana while tourist-ing in Asheville. Labor Day Weekend offers 3 different games and promotions to enjoy: 

Sunset at the Asheville Tourists' Stadium.

  • Friday (9/1)-Dollar Hot Dogs and post-game Fireworks Show

  • Saturday (9/2)-Royal Jersey Giveaway (only available to the first 1,000 fans through the gates). 

  • Sunday (9/3)- Labor Day Fireworks Show

You can purchase your tickets ahead of time and reserve your seat here. This family-friendly activity is sure to be a home run for the entire group! Pro tip: Download the SEATz app ahead of time to order food and drinks from your stadium seat so you won’t miss a thing. 

 Scoop Up Some Happiness

A wildly popular dessert for kids (and kids at heart) of all ages, nothing quite says summer like ice cream. In Asheville, this dessert is just another way to showcase the inclusivity and ingenuity of our city. Embodying words like “local,” “organic,” “fair trade,” “hand-crafted,” and “ethically sourced, " there are a variety of ice cream shops that have these values and offer products for everyone in your group.

The cherry on top is that for those with lactose intolerance or other food-related allergies and sensitivities, many of Asheville’s ice cream suppliers have a line of flavors that are gluten-free, dairy-sourced & non-dairy sourced, as well as vegan ice cream flavors made with coconut, almond, and oat milk that don’t skip out on flavor. For some ice cream inspiration, check out our Best Ice Cream in Asheville blog. 

Dairy King or "Blue Cone" Ice Cream shop in Black Mountain.

Asheville Takes Center Stage

As a city that prizes creativity, Asheville’s music scene is comprised of old-time tradition, new-age rhythm, and modern melodies while the performing arts scene celebrates classic theatre while championing eccentric avant-garde notions that push the envelope and create performances like no other.

Luckily, Labor Day Weekend promises some fantastic opportunities to witness Asheville’s prized performing arts: 

Embrace Small-Town Charm

As a local, I can confidently say that Southern living isn’t just sweet tea and “bless their heart.” There is gracious hospitality and endearing neighborly affection you can only get from small-town living that is delightful, albeit somewhat quirky and surprising to those unfamiliar with it. 

Since many of the tourists that visit Asheville are traveling from even bigger cities, many come here seeking the lovely “slow-living” ways of the South coupled with the eccentric spirit of an artists’ enclave. Since Asheville doesn’t allow short-term rentals under 30 nights, visitors have the pleasure of staying in smaller neighboring towns just a short distance away. 

Black Mountain, Weaverville, Hendersonville, and Burnsville are some outlying towns that are popular vacation spots that offer convenient access to Asheville without the stress of bigger crowds and traffic. During Labor Day Weekend, there are a few local festivals and fairs happening that will give you a taste of small-town culture and allow you to experience that beloved Southern charm at its very best:

Stargaze with S’mores

Some of the best memories are made on those long summer nights sitting around a fire pit. Gathering around to swap stories, strum a guitar, stare up at the stars, or indulge in the simple yet most delicious treat out there (s'mores) is a great way to hit the reset button and stop to appreciate the sweeter things in life. 

Book Your Stay in Asheville, NC

Whether traveling with a large family or a small group of friends, we have Asheville NC cabin rentals & vacation homes tucked away among the pines and atop mountain peaks that offer wood-burning fire pits where you can spend quality time with your people. 

Before the sun sets on summertime, take advantage of the discounts running on 90+ homes! There’s no better time to book your Asheville getaway to the mountains. 


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