A Travel Price Comparison for United States of America Asheville vs. Shenandoah National Park for Hiking, Backpackers, Nightlife, and Families

Should you visit Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Asheville and Shenandoah National Park. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Asheville

Asheville is a open-minded, eclectic, and outdoorsy mountain town. It offers plenty of beauty for visitors. As this is a very quaint destination, you'll find it has a special atmosphere. It's also popular because of the nightlife, live music, and food.

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a beautiful, scenic, and breathtaking national park. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. And you can't forget about the food, hiking, and skiing.

Asheville and Shenandoah National Park: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Nice resorts
  • Scenic old town
  • Good for hiking
  • Fun shopping
  • Popular at Christmas
  • Known for Christmas markets
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Very walkable
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less popular for shopping
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Asheville. Although Asheville and Shenandoah National Park are both popular with visitors, Asheville has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Asheville is more popular for its nightlife, music, resorts, historical sights, shopping, christmas markets, and quaint atmosphere, while Shenandoah National Park is known for its skiing, museums, hiking, and impressive beauty. Shenandoah National Park is more touristy than Asheville and is popular for its local wildlife, dramatic viewpoints, and world class hiking trails. Asheville is popular for its fall foliage, artsy downtown, local North Carolina barbecue, and being home to the Biltmore Estate. It is also home to The Biltmore Estate.

How is Asheville different from Shenandoah National Park?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Shenandoah National Park and Asheville. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Skiing?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a good destination for winter skiing. However, Asheville is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Shenandoah National Park is a great destination to visit. You'll find skiing and snowboarding at nearby Massanutten Resort, which is near Harrisonburg, Virginia. It's a family-friendly setting with slopes that are classified as "easiest", "more difficult", and "most difficult".

Asheville is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is a national park with a few options for its museums and landmarks. However, Asheville does not have museums and landmarks.

Shenandoah National Park offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. While most people spend their time outdoors enjoying the setting, there are museums in the area, as well as visitor centers that have exhibits and informative displays.

Asheville does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Dining out at restaurants in both Asheville and Shenandoah National Park can be an enjoyable experience.

Visitors will find a budding food and restaurant scene in Asheville. Downtown Asheville is filled with local restaurants that serve everything from brunch to late night snacks. There are many vegan and vegetarian options as well as a number of international restaurants. Popular local dishes include North Carolina barbeque and country ham biscuits.

Shenandoah National Park is becoming an appealing option for foodies. There are several restaurants along skyline drive where you can pick up a casual meal like fried chicken, burgers, or pasta.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Nightlife?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is great for its evening party scene. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for nightlife.

Many people head to Asheville for the nightlife scene. The city has a fun and eclectic nightlife scene that centers around the city's breweries and live music venues.

Most people don't head to Shenandoah National Park specifically for the nightlife scene, but you can find a few options. There are a number of breweries in the area, but most people enjoy stargazing and sitting by the campfire at night.


Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Music?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is great for its music scene. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a live music destination.

The music scene in Asheville draws a good crowd. The city has grown into a world famous music destination that holds true to its mountain roots and independent artists.

Shenandoah National Park is not a live music destination.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Resorts?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is a mountain town with good options for its luxury resorts. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a resort destination.

Asheville has a few great resort options. The most famous resorts in the area are the Biltmore Estate and the Grove Park Inn. Both offer luxury restaurants and beautiful grounds that are particularly nice during the holidays.

Shenandoah National Park is not a resort destination.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for its Old Town?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is adequate for its historic old town charm. However, Shenandoah National Park does not have a historic old town.

The old town area in Asheville is worth visiting. Downtown Asheville maintains much of its historic vibe, but it's smaller than some of the more notable old cities around the country.

Shenandoah National Park does not have a historic old town.


Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Hiking?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is an unbeatable place for its hiking experiences. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for hiking.

Shenandoah National Park is well-known for its hiking and trekking. There are more than 500 miles of trails in the park that pass through varied landscapes and take you to beautiful viewpoints. Visitors range from weekend visitors to long term hikers who come to experience the breathtaking beauty and serene setting.

Many visitors go to Asheville for the hiking trails. Just outside of town are many great hikes to waterfalls or through the mountains. The hikes range in skill level and length but many pass through local forests or along the beautiful skyline.

Is the Shopping Better in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is great for its shopping areas. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for shopping.

Many visitors explore the shopping areas in Asheville. The city has many local shops that sell local crafts and independent art. The downtown area is filled with art vendors and you'll find the greatest concentration of shopping along the pedestrian-friendly Lexington Avenue.

Shenandoah National Park is a good destination for shopping. There are a handful of gift shops along Skyline Drive were you can pick up souvenirs or t-shirts.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Christmas?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is great for its Christmas holiday experiences. However, Shenandoah National Park does not offer Christmas activities.

Asheville is a very popular destination during Christmas. Head to the Biltmore Estate to see it fully decorated for the Christmas season. It's also worth going to see the winning Gingerbread Houses on display at the Grove Park Inn.

Shenandoah National Park does not offer Christmas activities.


Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Christmas Markets?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is adequate for visiting Christmas markets. However, Shenandoah National Park does not offer Christmas markets.

During the holidays, visitors often browse through the Christmas markets in Asheville. There are a handful of local Christmas shops around town where you can buy personalized gifts.

Shenandoah National Park does not offer Christmas markets.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Families?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Both Asheville and Shenandoah National Park are very good family-friendly destinations.

Asheville is a very kid-friendly mountain town. With its beautiful hiking, interesting nature centers, and outdoor adventure activities, this mountain town makes a great kid-friendly destination. There are outdoor adventure parks where kids can zipline or climb. There are also hands on farms and orchards for fruit-picking.

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Shenandoah National Park. There are tons of kid-friendly hikes to overlooks or waterfalls. Kids will love scrambling over the rocks or running through the forest. There are also plenty of campgrounds where families can hang out, toast marshmallows and enjoy some quality time together.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Couples?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville and Shenandoah National Park both very good destinations for a couple.

Couples visit Asheville frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples enjoy exploring the beautiful Biltmore Estates or visiting the spa at the Grove Park Inn. The quaint town makes a great honeymoon destination or a nice romantic getaway. There are luxury hotels or intimate bed and breakfasts that offer different options for couples on a romantic trip.

Shenandoah National Park is a great mountain town if you're traveling as a couple. Couples who enjoy nature will love a visit to the park. There are beautiful views and scenic spots that will make for a wonderful and romantic trip. Hiking, biking, and exploring will fill your time with adventure and fun.


Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park is an unbeatable place for backpackers. Also, Asheville is still popular, but not quite as popular for backpackers and budget travelers.

Backpackers and budget travelers come from all over the world to visit Shenandoah National Park. Backpackers love the hiking trails and backcountry camping. Many people head to the park to escape into nature and enjoy some low key time in a serene setting.

Plenty of budget travelers and backpackers visit Asheville. The town has an eclectic vibe that backpackers appreciate. There are a few good hostels around town as well as nearby campgrounds that are perfect for budget travelers or hikers.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Students?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is great for its student-friendly activities. However, Shenandoah National Park is not popular with students.

Students come from all over to stay in Asheville. With its progressive personality and charming downtown, students enjoy spending time in this great town.

Shenandoah National Park is not popular with students.

Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is adequate for times when you don't have a car. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Asheville. There are buses around town, but almost everyone gets around town with their own vehicle.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Shenandoah National Park. There's no real public transit in the park.


Is Asheville or Shenandoah National Park a more walkable city?

Asheville
Shenandoah National Park

Asheville is a mountain town with good options for its ease of walking around. However, Shenandoah National Park is not a good destination for its walkability.

Asheville is a somewhat walkable mountain town. If you stay downtown and don't plan to explore the outlying areas, then it's possible to walk around town. Otherwise, you'll need a car.

Shenandoah National Park is not a walkable mountain town. While there are plenty of hiking trails, a car is a must to reach most trailheads.

For even more information, also check out Is Asheville Worth Visiting? and Is Shenandoah National Park Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Shenandoah National Park or Asheville?

How long in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

In either Asheville or Shenandoah National Park, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Shenandoah National Park than Asheville because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-3 days is a good amount of time for Asheville, and 3-5 days is enough time in Shenandoah National Park.

Families should spend more time in Asheville than Shenandoah National Park. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Asheville, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Asheville than Shenandoah National Park. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Asheville that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.


  • How many days in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park? Ideal Length of Stay
    Asheville 2-3 
    Shenandoah National Park 3-5

One day in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

With live music and food around the eclectic mountain town of Asheville, there's plenty to do. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

You'll find skiing and food around the national park of Shenandoah National Park. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A weekend in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

With food and shopping around the eclectic destination of Asheville, there's plenty to do. Hikers are also drawn to this area. If you have a weekend, this mountain town makes for a great vacation.A weekend is usually enough time to experience most activities. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

You'll find food and skiing around the scenic destination of Shenandoah National Park. Hikers are also drawn to this area. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. This national park offers a variety of activities to choose from.


Five days in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

You'll find shopping and nightlife around the outdoorsy mountain town of Asheville. This mountain town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Five days is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

You'll find skiing and food around the serene national park of Shenandoah National Park. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. If you have five days, this national park makes for a great vacation. Many visitors also spend a good bit of time hiking. Most people head to the area for the hiking. Five days should give you a good understanding of everything this national park has to offer.

A week in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Asheville is a great place to explore. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

Shenandoah National Park is a popular choice for travelers. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. One week is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.


Which place is cheaper, Shenandoah National Park or Asheville?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Asheville is $133, while the average daily cost in Shenandoah National Park is $125. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Asheville and Shenandoah National Park in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Asheville $89
    Shenandoah National Park $53
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Asheville $178
    Shenandoah National Park $106
Compare Hotels in Asheville and Shenandoah National Park

Looking for a hotel in Asheville or Shenandoah National Park? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Asheville


Hotels in Shenandoah National Park


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Asheville Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Asheville $14
    Shenandoah National Park $70

Is it cheaper to fly into Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Prices for flights to both Shenandoah National Park and Asheville change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Asheville $33
    Shenandoah National Park $28
Typical Food Prices in Asheville

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for food and meal costs in Asheville:


  • Biltmore Estate Entrance Fee
    $60

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Asheville

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Asheville.

  • Electric Bike Tour of Asheville's Best Pizza: $98
  • Best Pizza E-bike Tour: $111
  • 3-Hour Hands on Cooking Class: $120

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Asheville $16
    Shenandoah National Park $34
Typical Entertainment Prices in Asheville

Here are a few typical costs in Asheville for activities, ticket prices, and tours that come from previous visitors:


  • Massage
    $40

Tours and Activities in Asheville

Here are a few actual costs in Asheville for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • 2.5-Hour Blue Ridge Parkway Guided Jeep Tour: $99
  • 3 HR SAFARI JEEP ECO, ELK Wilderness Adventure : $149
  • 4 Hr. Guided ECO, ELK Off-Road UTV/SxS Wilderness Adventure : $250
  • A Taste of West Asheville Tip-Based Guided Walking Tour: $5.00
  • Amazing Asheville Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $44
  • An afternoon with the artist, private art gallery tour: $60
  • Asheville Coffee Tours: $65
  • Asheville Ghost Tour: A Walk Through Riverside Cemetery & Montford Neighborhood: $27
  • Asheville Historic Downtown Guided Electric Bike Tour with Scenic Views: $75
  • Asheville Historic Highlights: Self-Guided Walking Tour: $9.99
  • Asheville Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Trolley Tour (2-Day Pass): $37
  • Asheville Insider Guided Walking Tour: $30

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Asheville $16
    Shenandoah National Park $7.14

Sample the Local Flavors in Asheville

Also in Asheville, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Skip the Line: Copper Barrel's Premium Distillery Tour & Tasting: $10
  • Terrors, Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Ultimate Late Night Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Asheville Terrors Boos and Brews Haunted Pub Crawl: $39
  • Expert-Led Brewery Walking Tour with Beer Samples: $65
  • 3-Hour Guided Walking Brewery Tour Through Downtown Asheville: $69
  • Downtown Asheville Guided Brewery Walking Tour: $69
  • "Beer Flight" Drag Queen Bar Crawl Tour + VIP After Party Seating: $77
  • Guided Craft Brewery Tour with a Snack: $99
  • Asheville Signature Guided Brewery Tour: $105


When comparing the travel costs between Asheville and Shenandoah National Park, we can see that Asheville is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in North America, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Asheville Expensive? and Is Shenandoah National Park Expensive?.



When is the best time to visit Asheville or Shenandoah National Park?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Asheville or Shenandoah National Park in the Summer?

Both Shenandoah National Park and Asheville during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Asheville for the hiking, the music scene, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Shenandoah National Park because of the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Asheville is a little warmer than Shenandoah National Park. Typically, the summer temperatures in Asheville in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Shenandoah National Park averages at about 77°F (25°C).

It rains a lot this time of the year in Asheville. Asheville usually gets more rain in July than Shenandoah National Park. Asheville gets 5.4 inches (137 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 3.4 inches (87 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Asheville 82°F (28°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 77°F (25°C)

Should I visit Asheville or Shenandoah National Park in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Asheville and Shenandoah National Park. The autumn months attract visitors to Asheville because of the hiking trails, the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Shenandoah National Park this time of year.

In October, Asheville is generally a little warmer than Shenandoah National Park. Daily temperatures in Asheville average around 64°F (18°C), and Shenandoah National Park fluctuates around 56°F (13°C).

In October, Asheville usually receives around the same amount of rain as Shenandoah National Park. Asheville gets 3.4 inches (86 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 3.3 inches (84 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Asheville 64°F (18°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 56°F (13°C)

Should I visit Asheville or Shenandoah National Park in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Asheville as well as Shenandoah National Park. The Christmas ambience, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Asheville this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Shenandoah National Park for the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Be prepared for some very cold days in Shenandoah National Park. Asheville is much warmer than Shenandoah National Park in the winter. The daily temperature in Asheville averages around 44°F (7°C) in January, and Shenandoah National Park fluctuates around 32°F (-0°C).

Asheville receives a lot of rain in the winter. Asheville usually gets more rain in January than Shenandoah National Park. Asheville gets 3.9 inches (100 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 2.8 inches (70 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Asheville 44°F (7°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 32°F (-0°C)

Should I visit Asheville or Shenandoah National Park in the Spring?

Both Shenandoah National Park and Asheville are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Asheville for the natural beauty. Also, many visitors come to Shenandoah National Park in the spring for the natural beauty.

In the spring, Asheville is a little warmer than Shenandoah National Park. Typically, the spring temperatures in Asheville in April average around 64°F (18°C), and Shenandoah National Park averages at about 54°F (12°C).

It's quite rainy in Asheville. In April, Asheville usually receives more rain than Shenandoah National Park. Asheville gets 4.4 inches (112 mm) of rain, while Shenandoah National Park receives 3.1 inches (78 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Asheville 64°F (18°C) 
    Shenandoah National Park 54°F (12°C)

Typical Weather for Shenandoah National Park and Asheville

Asheville Shenandoah National Park
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm) 32°F (-0°C) 2.8 inches (70 mm)
Feb 47°F (8°C) 4.3 inches (109 mm) 35°F (1°C) 2.8 inches (71 mm)
Mar 55°F (13°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm)
Apr 64°F (18°C) 4.4 inches (112 mm) 54°F (12°C) 3.1 inches (78 mm)
May 71°F (22°C) 3.1 inches (79 mm) 63°F (17°C) 4 inches (102 mm)
Jun 79°F (26°C) 3.8 inches (96 mm) 72°F (22°C) 3.9 inches (100 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 5.4 inches (137 mm) 77°F (25°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Aug 81°F (27°C) 4.6 inches (118 mm) 75°F (24°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Sep 75°F (24°C) 4 inches (101 mm) 68°F (20°C) 3.4 inches (87 mm)
Oct 64°F (18°C) 3.4 inches (86 mm) 56°F (13°C) 3.3 inches (84 mm)
Nov 55°F (13°C) 3.2 inches (81 mm) 47°F (8°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)
Dec 47°F (8°C) 4.1 inches (103 mm) 36°F (2°C) 3.2 inches (82 mm)