Are you interested in the best places to live in Western North Carolina? We don’t blame you! Since moving here in 2020, we have fallen in love with all of it’s beauty!

Western NC offers some of the most beautiful scenery and charming small towns in the United States. From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the foothills, there are plenty of amazing places to choose from.

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In this blog post, we will explore the top best places to live in Western North Carolina. So, if you’re looking for your dream town, look no further. Discover your ideal home in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina!

Why Choose Western North Carolina as Your Home?

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Western North Carolina is a hidden gem that offers a unique lifestyle and countless reasons to make it your home.

Whether you’re drawn to the breathtaking mountain views, the friendly and welcoming communities, or the abundance of outdoor activities, Western North Carolina has something for everyone.

It truly is a great place to call home!


One of the main reasons to choose Western North Carolina as your home is the stunning natural beauty that surrounds you. The region is known for its majestic mountains, including the famous Blue Ridge Mountains.

Imagine waking up each morning to the sight of rolling hills and green spaces, lush forests, and crystal-clear rivers. The picturesque landscapes provide a peaceful and serene environment that is hard to find anywhere else.


On top of all that natural beauty, Western North Carolina is also home to charming small towns that are full of character and rich history. Each town has its own unique personality. From the vibrant arts scene in Asheville to the quaint and friendly atmosphere of Black Mountain.

These towns offer a sense of community and a slower pace of life. Thus, we believe they are the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of city living.

Outdoor Activities

Another reason to choose Western North Carolina as your home is the abundance of outdoor activities available.

Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, or just taking in the beauty of nature, you’ll never be bored in this region. With hundreds of miles of hiking trails, rivers, and lakes for fishing and kayaking, and an abundance of wildlife, there is always something new to explore.

Quality of Life

Western North Carolina also offers a high quality of life. The cost of living seems high, but remains generally lower than in many other parts of the country. There are also plenty of amenities and services available.

Some claim there are top-notch healthcare facilities and excellent schools. Coming from up north, this may be a little hard for us to compare the healthcare and schools. Overall, here, you can find everything you need to live a comfortable and fulfilling life.

Best Places to Live in Western North Carolina

Here, you will find some of the best places to live in Western North Carolina. They are numbered for the ease of reading – not in any particular ranking order.

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1. Asheville – The Cultural Hub

When it comes to vibrant arts and culture, Asheville takes center stage as the cultural hub of Western North Carolina.

It’s comparable to small cities, but it’s the largest city in Western NC with a small-town feel. It’s known for its eclectic and bohemian atmosphere.

This city has gained a well-known reputation in recent years as a haven for artists, musicians, and free spirits. You may also know Asheville for the famous Biltmore Estate.

Full transparency – since living here, we have seen a growing concern with homelessness in Asheville. Aside from that, there are many reasons people are choosing to live in Asheville, NC.

Arts Scene

One of the main attractions of Asheville is the vibrant arts scene. The city is home to plenty of art galleries, theaters, and music venues, showcasing a wide range of artistic styles and performances.

From contemporary art exhibits to live music performances, there is always something happening in Asheville to satisfy your artistic cravings.

The River Arts District, located along the French Broad River, is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, with its numerous working studios and galleries.

Food & Drinks

In addition to the arts, Asheville is also a food lover’s paradise. The city is known for its diverse culinary scene, offering a wide range of restaurants, cafes, and breweries. From farm-to-table dining experiences to international cuisine, you can find it all in Asheville.

The city is also famous for its craft beer scene. With numerous breweries and beer and music festivals that attract beer enthusiasts from near and far – it’s a fun place!


Nature lovers will also find plenty to explore in and around Asheville. The city is surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, offering endless opportunities for hiking, mountain and road biking, and outdoor adventures.

The nearby Pisgah National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park provide stunning natural landscapes and a chance to disconnect from busy life.

When people ask where are the best places to live in Western North Carolina, Asheville is often spoken of.


Another highlight of Asheville is its sense of community and inclusivity. The city is known for its welcoming and accepting atmosphere, making it a popular destination for individuals from all walks of life.

The diverse community contributes to the rich cultural fabric of the city, creating a unique and inclusive environment that sets Asheville apart from other small towns. This is also a great city for young professionals with plenty of opportunities! 

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2. Boone – The Student-Friendly Haven

If you’re a student looking for a vibrant and welcoming community, Boone is the perfect place for you. Located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this charming town is home to Appalachian State University, which adds youthful energy and a vibrant arts scene to the area.


One of the main reasons why Boone is a student-friendly haven is the presence of Appalachian State University. The university offers a wide range of academic programs and has a strong reputation for its education and business programs.

Students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and a supportive community that is focused on their success.

With a diverse and inclusive student body, Appalachian State University provides a welcoming and supportive environment for students from all backgrounds.


In addition to the university, Boone offers a wealth of opportunities for students to explore and enjoy. The town has a vibrant downtown area, filled with unique specialty shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Students can find everything they need within walking distance, from bookstores and art supply shops to cozy coffee shops and trendy boutiques.

The downtown area also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year. It provides students with opportunities to connect with the local community and experience the rich cultural fabric of the town, all in close proximity.


For outdoor enthusiasts, Boone is a dream come true. The town is surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, offering countless opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor adventures. The nearby Blue Ridge Parkway provides stunning scenic drives, with breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys. Students can also explore the nearby Pisgah National Forest, which offers miles of hiking trails and scenic waterfalls.

Arts Scene

Boone also offers a thriving arts scene, with numerous art galleries, theaters, and music venues. Students can immerse themselves in the local arts community, attend live performances, and showcase their own talents. The town is known for its strong support of local artists and musicians, providing a platform for creativity and self-expression.


In terms of affordability, Boone offers a relatively low cost of living compared to other college towns. It’s a good place for students to find affordable housing options both on and off-campus. And, there are plenty of part-time job opportunities available to help cover expenses.

The town offers a range of student discounts and special deals, making it easier for students to stretch their budgets.

3. Brevard – The Outdoor Enthusiast’s Paradise

Brevard is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Western North Carolina, offering outdoor enthusiasts a paradise to explore.

Surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Pisgah National Forest and the Blue Ridge Mountains, Brevard provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. Overall, this town is a haven for nature lovers.

Perhaps we are bias, but we feel this is one of the best places to live in Western North Carolina.

Natural Beauty

One of the main attractions of Brevard is its proximity to some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the region. With over 250 waterfalls in Transylvania County alone, Brevard is known as the “Land of Waterfalls.”

From the iconic Looking Glass Falls to the nearby majestic Rainbow Falls, there is no shortage of cascading waterfalls to discover. Hiking to these hidden gems provides a sense of tranquility and a chance to connect with nature in its purest form.

Outdoor Activities

For those seeking even more adventure, Brevard offers an extensive network of hiking and biking trails. The renowned Pisgah National Forest boasts over 400 miles of trails, ranging from leisurely strolls to challenging climbs.

With scenic vistas, ancient forests, and meandering rivers, these trails showcase the incredible biodiversity of the area. In other words, this entire town is an immersive outdoor experience.

In addition to hiking and biking, Brevard is also a premier destination for fly fishing. The region is home to some of the best trout streams in the Southeast, attracting anglers from near and far.

Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner looking to try your hand at fly fishing, Brevard offers plenty of opportunities to cast your line and reel in the catch of a lifetime.

For adrenaline junkies, Brevard is a playground for thrill-seekers.

The area is renowned for its world-class mountain biking trails, including the legendary Pisgah National Forest. With challenging terrain and exhilarating descents, these trails attract mountain bikers of all skill levels.

Whether you’re an experienced rider looking for an adrenaline rush or a beginner looking to improve your skills, Brevard has the perfect trail for you.

If you’re into road cycling or mountain biking, visit our friends at the Earth Mountain Bike Shop!

Arts Scene

Beyond its outdoor offerings, Brevard is also a charming small town with a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The downtown area is filled with art galleries, boutiques, and great restaurants, offering a delightful blend of local craftsmanship and culinary delights.

The town is also home to the Brevard Music Center, a world-renowned music institute that hosts an annual summer festival featuring top-tier performers from around the world.


In terms of quality of life, Brevard offers a close-knit community and a laid-back atmosphere.

4. Waynesville – The Charming Small Town

If you’re looking for a charming small town with a close-knit community and a welcoming atmosphere, Waynesville is the perfect place for you. Nestled in the heart of Western North Carolina, this picturesque town offers a mix of natural beauty, historic charm, and modern amenities.

Shopping and Dining

One of the main attractions of Waynesville is its quaint downtown area. Lined with unique shops, boutiques, and local eateries, Main Street invites residents and visitors alike to stroll its sidewalks and explore its offerings. From antique stores to art galleries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The town also hosts a weekly farmers market, where you can find fresh produce, handmade crafts, and local goods.


Waynesville is also home to several historic sites, adding to its charm and character. The iconic Haywood County Courthouse, with its stunning architecture, stands as a reminder of the town’s rich history. The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts showcases the traditional crafts and skills of the region, providing a glimpse into the area’s cultural heritage.

Outdoor Activities

For nature lovers, Waynesville offers easy access to the great outdoors. The nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Pisgah National Forest provide endless opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting. From scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway to waterfalls and hiking trails, the natural beauty of Waynesville’s surroundings is truly breathtaking.


In terms of community, Waynesville prides itself on its welcoming and friendly residents. The town hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, including the popular Folkmoot International Festival, which celebrates cultural diversity through music and dance.

Whether it’s attending a local concert, joining a community organization, or simply striking up a conversation with a neighbor, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with others and feel a sense of belonging.

5. Hendersonville – The Retirement Haven

Hendersonville, North Carolina, is a charming and idyllic town that offers the perfect retirement haven. Located in the heart of Western North Carolina, Hendersonville boasts a mild climate, a friendly community, and a wide range of amenities that make it an ideal place to retire and enjoy your golden years.


One of the main reasons why Hendersonville is a popular retirement destination is its pleasant climate. The town enjoys mild temperatures throughout the year, with warm summers and cool winters. This allows retirees to enjoy a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking, gardening, and heading out to the golf course all year round. The moderate climate also means that residents can experience the changing seasons without the extremes of hot summers or harsh winters.

Retirement Community

In addition to the climate, Hendersonville offers a high quality of life for retirees. The town has a welcoming and friendly community that embraces retirees and provides a strong support system. There are plenty of opportunities for socializing, with numerous community organizations, clubs, and events catering specifically to retirees. From book clubs to golf leagues to volunteer groups, there is always something happening in Hendersonville to keep retirees engaged and connected.

Outdoor Activities 

For nature lovers, Hendersonville is surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes. The nearby Blue Ridge Mountains offer breathtaking views and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. Retirees can explore the numerous hiking trails, take scenic drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

6. Black Mountain – The Quaint Mountain Village

Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Black Mountain is a quaint mountain village that captures the essence of small-town charm. Known as the “Front Porch of Western North Carolina,” this picturesque town offers a welcoming and friendly atmosphere that makes it the perfect place to call home.

Natural Beauty

One of the main attractions of Black Mountain is its stunning natural beauty. Surrounded by majestic mountains, the town provides a breathtaking backdrop for outdoor enthusiasts.

With numerous hiking and biking trails, scenic waterfalls, and serene lakes, Black Mountain offers endless opportunities to explore and reconnect with nature.

Check out the Best of Black Mountain NC Camping.

Arts Scene

In addition to its natural beauty, Black Mountain also boasts a vibrant arts scene. The town is home to numerous art galleries and studios, showcasing the work of local artisans and craftsmen. From pottery and painting to photography and sculpture, the artistic talent in Black Mountain is truly inspiring.

The town also hosts various art festivals and events throughout the year, allowing residents and visitors to immerse themselves in the local arts community.


Black Mountain is also a food lover’s paradise. The town offers a diverse culinary scene, with a range of restaurants, cafes, and bakeries that cater to every palate. From farm-to-table dining experiences to cozy coffee shops, you can find a wide variety of culinary delights in Black Mountain. The town is also known for its thriving farmers market, where you can find fresh produce, local meats, and handmade goods.


Beyond its natural beauty and vibrant arts scene, Black Mountain is known for its sense of community. The town hosts numerous events and festivals that bring residents together, creating a strong bond among its residents. From the lively Fourth of July parade to the annual Sourwood Festival, there is always something happening in Black Mountain to celebrate and connect with others.

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7. Franklin – The Gem Capital of the World

Franklin, North Carolina, is a hidden gem in Western North Carolina.

It’s often overlooked but offers a unique charm and a thriving gemstone industry. This sets it apart from other towns in the region.

Known as the “Gem Capital of the World,” Franklin is a paradise for gem enthusiasts and offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of gem mining and jewelry-making.


One of the main attractions of Franklin is its rich gemstone deposits. The area is home to numerous mines and gemstone shops. Here, visitors can experience the thrill of searching for their very own gemstones.

Whether you’re a seasoned gem collector or simply curious about the world of gemstones, Franklin has something to offer.

Visitors can try their hand at gem mining. It’s fun learning about the different types of gemstones found in the area and the techniques used to extract them. You can sift through buckets of dirt in search of hidden treasures.

Expect to find gems such as rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and even the elusive and rare gemstone, the star ruby.


Beyond its gemstone industry, Franklin offers a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. The town is surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Nantahala National Forest.

The forest is a serene backdrop for outdoor activities such as taking a scenic hike, fishing, and camping. Franklin is also home to the stunning Cullasaja Falls, a majestic waterfall that is a must-visit for nature lovers.


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In conclusion, Western North Carolina is truly a great place to call home. There is a perfect town for everyone’s preferences and needs.

The natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the abundance of outdoor activities make Western North Carolina a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts.

The sense of community and the welcoming atmosphere in each town creates a warm and inviting environment. It truly fosters a high quality of life.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retirement haven, a quaint mountain village, or a town that celebrates the world of gemstones, Western North Carolina has it all. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about the best places to live in western North Carolina.

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