When we decided to invest in our first travel trailer, one of the things Gib and I challenged ourselves to do was to use it at least once a month – even if it was just a quick weekend getaway somewhere close to home.
As June rolled into July, we decided to hitch up and head an hour northwest from Greenville, SC to Asheville, NC to take a tour of the legendary Biltmore Estates. (I’d toured America’s largest privately owned home before, but Gib and the boys had never been).
*As a tip, kids’ admission into Biltmore Estates is FREE this summer, so if you were considering a visit there with the family, there’s still time to take advantage of this deal!
We have two boys – ages 10 (now 11) and 8 – and they LOVED touring the Biltmore House. I wasn’t sure if they would like it, because it’s more historical in nature, but they actually got a kick of seeing how things looked in the early 1900’s, and how the house was set up. So if you were wondering if your kids would like it, mine really enjoyed it.
After the house tour – we ate lunch on the premises and then took a tour of the many gardens on the Estate. We then moved our car over to the Biltmore Village area (also within the Biltmore Estates property) and took a quick tour of the winery. As a cute touch, when you’re taking part in the complimentary wine tasting, they offer the kids grape juice.
We camped for the weekend at Lake Powhatan Recreation Area, part of the Pisgah National Forest. We reserved a site ahead of time, which is highly recommended as this is a popular campground.
While it’s not a huge campground, it’s got everything you need when you want to experience camping in the heart of Asheville – tons of trailheads for hiking and mountain biking, a swimming recreation area on Lake Powhatan and sites that aren’t too close together.
The bathrooms were not the best in the world – more of what I would call “navy showers,” in the sense that you have to keep pushing a button on the wall to keep the water coming out – but the water was warm and at least when we were there, we didn’t have any issues waiting in line for a shower (there were only two showers per bathhouse facility in each loop).
There is also NO WiFi or strong cellular service in the campground – you are in the heart of Pisgah Forest, after all. But sometimes when you’re camping, that’s A-OK to be slightly off the grid for a bit.
The park rangers were super helpful and knowledgeable about the area. They also supplied us with hiking trails maps and other information about the area.
Unfortunately, one of our kids was under the weather the weekend we went, so while we were able to tackle Biltmore Estates, we really couldn’t take advantage of the many hiking trails connected to the campground. We’ll have to try to go back when we can try some of them out.
Lake Powhatan is centrally located in Asheville, making it pretty easy to get to just about all of the attractions around there. It’s close to the French Broad River, where tubing is popular in the summer. It’s also close to the Farmer’s Market, and downtown Asheville is just about 15 minutes away.
While our site was slightly difficult for us to back in, because it was up a steep hill, the parking pad itself was level and paved. It was also a full hook-up site, meaning it had a 20/30/50 amp electrical connection, water and sewer line access. There is also a dump station within the park.
Each site came with a large concrete picnic table, a fire ring and a post to hang a lantern.
If you’re thinking of planning a camping trip to Asheville, try out Lake Powhatan Recreation Area! For our weekend getaway, it was perfect for us.
Good for camping with kids: YES
Good for getting off the grid: YES
Easy to access: Mostly – it’s a few minutes off of I-26 in Asheville
Good amenities and outdoor activities: YES
Bathroom Conditions (scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being I would rather go in the woods and 10 being sparkling clean): 3
WiFi access: Non existent