In an effort to mark more items off of our Fort Bragg and North Carolina bucket list, we took a weekend trip to Asheville. If you know anything about Asheville, then you know that finding an affordable (& decent) place to stay during the busy fall months is nearly impossible. Unless, you’re sleeping in a tent!
I found THE perfect campground for our trip. Asheville KOA East was affordable, beautiful, and located near all of the attractions we wanted check off of our list. Listed below are all of the reasons I fell in love with Asheville KOA East.
(The beautiful Swannanoa River runs right through the campground.)
Reasons to Stay at Asheville KOA East:
Asheville KOA East is probably the most beautiful campground we have ever stayed at The grounds were not only immaculately kept and maintained, but the landscape and surroundings were absolutely gorgeous.
Surrounded by the southern Appalachian Mountains, Asheville KOA East is full of lush hardwoods and native plants. The Swannanoa River, a clear, rocky bottomed mountain stream, runs right through the campground in addition to two small lakes.
Our campsite was located between the river and one of the lakes. We woke up to beautiful views of the lake and drifted off to sleep to the sounds of the bubbling river behind us.
(The view of the lake from our tent.)
I had an impossibly long list of things to do and see during our stay at Asheville KOA East. I knew that we could never do it all in one weekend, but at the same time, I wanted to make our trip worth the 4-hour drive from Fort Bragg.
There were things we wanted to do in downtown Asheville, which was only 19 minutes away from our camp. We wanted to see some of the waterfalls, less than an hour away, in the Pisgah National Forest. The campground was also near the Blue Ridge Parkway, another one of our bucket list items. And one of the main attractions of our fall visit was getting to pick our own apples. Many of North Carolina’s apple orchards are located in Henderson County which was only 45 minutes away from Asheville KOA East.
I was glad to be close to some of North Carolina’s most beautiful natural wonders, the amazing views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and to Asheville with it’s restaurants, stores, and eclectic vibes. Staying at Asheville KOA East gave us easy access to all of the attractions we were excited about.
(Asheville KOA East is only a 45 minute drive from Looking Glass Falls.)
Unfortunately, we didn’t take the time to fish during our fall visit to Asheville KOA East. However, fishing is allowed in both the river and the lakes right there at the campground. The website states, “Fish in the lakes include bass, brim, bluegill, crappie, and catfish. Catch and release on the bass only.” Just make sure you bring your North Carolina State Fishing License and make sure that it has a trout stamp.
My husband was bummed that we didn’t think to bring our fishing gear. He could have easily cast a line in the lake from his spot by the fire at our campsite. We plan on making a return trip in the summer and you can bet that we won’t forget our fishing poles again!
(Our only regret from this trip was forgetting our fishing poles!)
Bike, Boat, and Golf Cart Rentals
There are bikes available for rent at the campground store. My girls would NOT rest until we rented some and let them ride around. But any plain old bike wouldn’t do, they had to try out the specialty bikes! There was one that could ride up to 4 people at a time and the kids were so excited to try them out. They rode over to the playground and around the big loop of RVs and campers. They loved it! (& I loved that they were getting all of their energy out )
You can also rent paddle boats, Jon boats, and golf carts. We didn’t take advantage of these activities during this stay, but plan to this summer! You can see the rental prices here.
When we checked in, the ladies in the office gave us a list of events that were happening over the weekend. They included a pumpkin carving contest and bingo. We were busy picking apples and chasing waterfalls, but it was nice to know that there was something to entertain us if we had any down time at the campground.
Asheville KOA East offers themed weekend events from May 25th – July 27th, August 31st ,and October 19th & 26th. Make sure you check their event calendar before your stay to see what’s going on during your visit.
(Asheville KOA East is an easy drive away from the apple orchards in Henderson County.)
Campsites & Cabins
Asheville KOA East offers sites for tents, pop-ups, campers, and RVs. They also offer cabins….affordable ones!
We decided to camp in a tent during this trip. However, our campsite was right next to a 2-room camping cabin and we decided that if we ever plan another fall camping trip, we will stay in one of those. They are cheaper than a hotel room, but a definitely upgrade from our cold tent, since they offer heat and air conditioning!
There are 3 different bath houses located throughout the campground. I used 2 of them during our stay and they were both clean and well-kept. I especially liked the bath house that offered separate shower rooms, instead of just the stalls.
Pets are welcome at Asheville KOA East! They even have a Kamp K-9 dog park at the campground where your puppies can play safely, off of their leash.
Water & Electricity at Tent Sites
We enjoy tent camping and we loved that our girls get to experience ‘real camping’. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy some creature comforts, such as a fan in the summer or charging our phones. It has been hard to find campgrounds that offer water and electricity at tent sites, but Asheville KOA East does!
Wi-fi is offered throughout the campground for all of the campers. We were given a wi-fi password at check-in and were able to update our Facebook and Instagram feeds all weekend long.
(The girls loved feeding the ducks that wandered right up to our campsite.)
There is a small game room beside the office at the campground. We gave the girls a couple dollars each to play with and they both came back with a handful of prizes and a smile!
Playgrounds & Gaga Ball Pit
We loved that there were 2 playgrounds on-site at Asheville KOA East. The girls loved playing and making new friends.
In addition to the playground, there was a Gaga Ball Pit for the kids to play at. I had never heard of this game before, but the directions are posted on the side of the pit. We didn’t have a ball to play with, but would love to learn in the future.
There are other games available at the campground for both kids and adults. The website gives this list of available games: ping pong, poly pong, horseshoes, ladder ball, cornhole, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and football.
The pool was closed for the season during our stay in October. But when we return in the summer, we plan to take full advantage of the campground pool.
Store & Snack Bar
We were very thankful for the store at the campground, since we forgot to bring fire wood and lighter fluid with us. Because of the store, we were able to buy some without ever leaving the campground. The store keeps some commonly forgotten items and snacks in stock for situations like this. You can also buy propane there, so you don’t have to lug around your own tank.
There is a seasonal snack bar at Asheville KOA East. It wasn’t open during our October trip, but we can’t wait to try it out when we return in the summer.
(The Blue Ridge Parkway is just a short drive from Asheville KOA East.)
Asheville KOA East was everything we could have asked for and more! We even cancelled our plans for Saturday evening just to stay at the campground and ride the bikes around. I would recommend this campground to anyone. It’s absolutely beautiful, it’s in a great location, and it offers so many amenities and activities! We will definitely be returning to Asheville in the future and KOA East will be our go-to place to stay.