12 Top-Rated Things to Do in Hendersonville, NC


Small enough to make sightseeing easy but dynamic enough to offer a long list of things to do, Hendersonville makes you want to linger. Wander through the eclectic mix of shops in the pedestrian-friendly downtown or enjoy a leisurely lunch on a sunny patio, and you’ll know why this mountain town has become such a popular destination.


Many of the attractions focus on the area’s mining roots, fruit growing, and beautiful natural areas. In summer, head outdoors to paddle or tube down a river, stop by u-pick apple orchards to enjoy some fun on the farm, or head to DuPont State Forest for some hiking. Other year-round activities include panning for gems; watching a play; or visiting the local museums, historic sites, and aquarium, many of which can be found on Main Street in downtown.


If you’re looking for a romantic weekend escape, a family getaway, or a place to relax, Hendersonville makes a perfect destination. For more ideas on how to spend your time here, see our list of the top things to do in Hendersonville.


1. Stroll through Historic Downtown Hendersonville



Dining in Downtown Hendersonville | Photo Source: Courtesy of Hendersonville County Tourism



If you have time for only one stop in Hendersonville, head to the historic downtown, where interesting shops, restaurants, museums, and galleries line the sidewalks of Main Street. Many of these are housed in lovely old restored buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In summer, this area comes to life, and diners can enjoy a selection of restaurants offering outdoor seating.


Several of Hendersonville’s best attractions are within easy walking distance of each other along Main Street, including the Appalachian Pinball Museum, the Mineral and Lapidary Museum, the Hands On! Museum, the Team Ecco Aquarium & Shark Lab, and the Pisgah Forest Gem Mine. You can find a full day of things to do right here on Main Street.


2. Visit a Gem Store & Pan for Gems


Elijah Mountain Gem Mine



To experience firsthand some of the area’s mining operations, stop by one of the area’s gem mines to try your hand at panning for gem stones. The Elijah Mountain Gem Mine, about five minutes from Hendersonville, is one of the most popular gem mine stores in the area, and families looking for fun things to do in Hendersonville will find this place is a hit. This roadside stop offers indoor and outdoor panning areas, depending on the season, along with a petting zoo and a large shop selling gems and jewelry.


If you don’t want to make the trek out here, the Pisgah Forest Gem Mine is located right on Main Street in Hendersonville. This is more of a retail destination, but it does allow visitors an opportunity to purchase a bucket and pan for minerals in the store. It’s an interesting stop if you are strolling the downtown area.

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