Are you a travel nurse who loves mountains and the great outdoors in general? Then Asheville may be the perfect spot for your next travel assignment! Asheville is the largest city in Western North Carolina, but with a population of just under 100,000, it still offers small-town charm with quaint shops and restaurants and friendly locals. Numerous activities in and around Asheville allow you to pursue virtually any passion during your free time, however, which makes it one of our most popular locations for travel nurses. Attend a music festival, climb a mountain and visit an award-winning art gallery -- all in one weekend if you so desire. This is our city guide for nurses wondering what to eat, drink, do and Instagram while on a travel assignment in Asheville, North Carolina.
The world recently became obsessed with a particular chain restaurant's spicy chicken sandwich that has been selling out from coast to coast, often causing near riots. While you are in Asheville, however, you will have the opportunity to experience fried chicken, in sandwich form or otherwise, that Asheville locals have considered riot-worthy for years. Rocky's Hot Chicken Shack is the place to go for Nashville-style hot chicken, as well as a number of Southern soul food favorites. They proudly use naturally raised chicken and source quality local ingredients for all of their menu items. Daily specials offer a new reason to visit every day of the week, including Hand Pie Monday, Wingsday Wednesday, and Saturday's "Yo Mamma's Big Fat Booty Plate.”
Plant-based diets are becoming more and more popular, but even if you’re a die-hard carnivore, you will find something to love at creative vegan hotspot Plant in Asheville. The Zagat-rated restaurant offers a variety of globally inspired plant-based dishes, such as fried plantains, tofu bibimbap and a variety of noodle dishes featuring vegan cheese made from cashews. Plant also presents an impressive vegan dessert menu, with dairy-free versions of crème brulee, chocolate-peanut butter blackout pie, and carrot cake. Their wine and handmade cocktail selection also features a number of wonderful surprises that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Caffeine junkies and coffee aficionados alike will fall in love with Double D’s Coffee and Desserts in Asheville. Despite what the name might lead you to assume, this establishment is actually located within an authentic English double decker bus which must been seen to be believed. It is real and it is spectacular! Featuring all of your favorite concoctions with organic coffee roasted locally by Notorious Coffee Roasting Company, Double D’s provides ample outdoor seating and free Wi-Fi for those who would like to relax and people watch for a time. Natural fruit smoothies, milkshakes, and an assortment of cheesecakes, brownies, muffins, cookies and ice cream sundaes are also available.
Asheville has become a hub for local breweries, and travel nurses on assignment there could visit a new one every weekend during the length of a typical contract. Jack of the Wood, an Irish pub and the original home of Green Man Brewing, specializes in hand crafted English ales and is a downtown Asheville favorite of both locals and tourists alike. Their draft beer selection changes daily, but in addition to their house brewed Green Man selections, they offer a variety of favorites from other local breweries, as well. The bar also features a distinguished selection of single malt scotch, Irish whiskeys and bourbons. Enjoy an eclectic mix of live music daily, including old time, bluegrass, Celtic, roots/Americana, Cajun and more!
Travel nurses on assignment in Asheville will have their pick of nature trails, mountain peaks, lakes, rivers and streams to explore, but you can experience them all in Pisgah National Park. Numerous scenic overlooks, waterfalls, and the pristine national surroundings of lush trees, plants and wildflowers make for the perfect, serene day trip for visitors to the area. Comprised of more than 500,000 acres, Pisgah National Forest offers plenty to do, including biking, camping, climbing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, boating, tubing and swimming. The forest is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is pet friendly and best of all, offers free admission.
When you take a travel assignment in a place like Asheville, you’re bound to spend much of your time outdoors exploring the beautiful scenery. However, sometimes the weather just doesn’t cooperate, and you’ll want to find something to do indoors. If you’re into nostalgia, video games and, of course, pinball machines, you will adore the Asheville Pinball Museum, which features more than 80 pinball machines and classic video games. A flat fee per person gives you unlimited play of Pac Man, Dig Dug, Donkey Kong, Centipede, and numerous pinball machines that will make you feel like a kid again.
When you hear of a place called the “Biltmore Estate,” you probably picture a mansion, possibly old, owned by a super-rich family in generations past. The Biltmore State, however, is all this and more. The luxurious former family home of George and Edith Vanderbilt, the Biltmore is a marvel of elegance and charm built more than a century ago and is currently the largest home in America. Self-guided tours let you explore three stories of vintage architecture, clothing, accessories, priceless art, furniture and more. With numerous extremely photogenic backdrops, you’ll have your pick of super-cool photo opportunities that will enthrall your social media followers.
Craggy Gardens is a popular destination along the Blue Ridge Parkway (known as “America’s Favorite Drive”), famous for its lush, blooming flowers during summer and stunning mountain views year-round. A number of hiking trails let you experience Mother Nature at her purest, and a half-mile hike to the upper overlook (Craggy Pinnacle) will gift you with a spectacular sunset as the great ball of fire descends to the other side of the earth behind miles and miles of mountaintops. Even if you don’t come during sunset, the 360-degree view provides an ideal spot to create some breathtaking photography. Keep in mind that the temperature can be up to 20 degrees cooler than downtown Asheville, so be sure to bring an extra layer, if necessary.
Search current travel nursing jobs in the Asheville, North Carolina area or get inspiration on other exciting locations with our collection of City Guides for Travel Nurses.