With so many phenomenal natural opportunities surrounding the greater Asheville area, it’s very easy to overlook a town park. If you are visiting for a stretch of time, have limited transportation, or just want to see what everyday local life is like – try one of these town parks:
+The swimming hole:
Almost every afternoon I would cool down at a little beach park on the Swannanoa River. It isn’t signed, but there is a dirt parking lot between the Azalea Road Dog Park and the John B Lewis Soccer Fields on Azalea Road East, Asheville NC which always has cars in it. You can find secluded enclaves along the river and a small sandy beach. The water is a good level for both wading and swimming. There are a series of gentle rapids that are beautiful and I loved how they allowed me to swim in place. This is a true locals park and there are people from all walks of life. Be respectful, carry in and carry out.
+The bird sanctuary:
Perfect for a walk before breakfast or after dinner – when the birds are most active – Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary was such a treasure for a quick escape. There is a short boardwalk that leads around lush woods and overlooks the lake. On any given night you may see great blue herons and hummingbirds,
frogs and bunnies,
or wildflowers and raspberries.
Attached there is a perimeter trail which leads around the lake itself. This is a much longer walk which was very enjoyable. First through the woods, then by some gorgeous homes, you’ll find a free library,
and wonderful views.
The French Broad River Greenway runs 2.8 miles long exposing lovely scenery of the mighty waterway and connects multiple parks throughout the city. As the trail passes through Carrier Park you may spot some wildlife.
There is also a velodrome and bowling court. From there I made it to the French Broad River Park which had grills and picnic tables, a dog park, and playground.
Overall, it’s a diverse stretch of land to bike, jog, or stroll with the locals.