The Top Four Routes to Take to Get to Asheville from Charlotte (2024)

Want to maximize your trip by finding the fastest route from Charlotte to Asheville, United States? Due to their proximity and abundance of amenities, these two North Carolina cities are among the most well-liked ones! Caleb and I know how to make your vacation quick and painless because we’ve spent long weekends in Asheville and Charlotte, making a few mistakes along the way!

You’ll need to know the best routes between the thousands of craft breweries in each city if you want to visit the Biltmore Estate and see the numerous waterfalls in Pisgah Forest, indulge in all the delicious food that Asheville has to offer, or just spend time in each city among them! There are four ways to go from Asheville, North Carolina, to Charlotte, North Carolina, and vice versa. You have four options: rent a car, fly, shuttle, or bus.

The purpose of this guide was to illustrate the costs, schedules, and logistics associated with each of these options. By the end, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest and travel stress-free from Charlotte to Asheville!

The Top Four Routes to Take to Get to Asheville from Charlotte (2024)

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There are 04 ways to get from Charlotte to Asheville.

Here is a summary of the four alternatives and a comparative table for each:

  • In terms of actual flight time, flying is the most efficient option, but it is also the most expensive. Still, it’s almost as long as driving when you account for the hour you need to arrive at the airport before your flight. For people who would rather unwind with a movie on an airplane rather than operate a vehicle, this is fantastic.
  • Although a shuttle can be slightly less expensive than flying, the costs can still add up. Because it lasts the same amount of time as driving, it is ideal for those who don’t want to fly but still don’t want to deal with parking and other hassles associated with driving.
  • The most practical method to travel from Charlotte to Asheville is by car. Although it costs more than taking the bus, you get more options and can drive as fast or slowly as you like.

     

  • The longest but least expensive option is taking the bus, which is perfect for visitors to North Carolina who want to cut costs wherever they can.

Distance Between Charlotte and Asheville

Depending on traffic, the 130 miles between Charlotte and Asheville will take you two to three hours to travel. About three to four hours via bus.

Flights from Charlotte to Asheville, Option 1

Although flying is the most convenient option, it does not ultimately save time. There are multiple direct flights from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) to Asheville Regional Airport.

What Is the Cost of a Flight from Charlotte to Asheville?

For a short flight, the cost of the Charlotte to Asheville, North Carolina flight is high. One-way tickets will run you between $150 and $300 per person as of September 2023. The price of a checked bag, which normally varies from $30 to $50, is not included in this.

How Long Does It Take To Fly From Charlotte To Asheville?

Asheville can be reached directly from Charlotte in 45 to 1 hour on a direct flight. Keep in mind that arriving an hour early for domestic flights extends the duration of your journey.

What Airlines Operate Flights From Charlotte To Asheville?

The only airline operating direct flights from Charlotte to Asheville is American Airlines, which is also the largest carrier on this route. There are several daily departures, so you should have no trouble finding a flight that fits into your schedule. There are some flights available with United and Delta, but there will always be layovers.

Option 2: Shuttle from Charlotte to Asheville

There’s no need for a shuttle when going from Raleigh to Asheville; however, when going from Charlotte to Asheville, one is provided!

You have two options if you’d rather not fly or put up with the insane driving laws in North Carolina:

  1. Invest in a private shuttle (costlier).
  2. Use the free shuttle instead; it’s less expensive.

How Long Does A Shuttle From Charlotte To Asheville Take?

Taking a public or private shuttle from Charlotte to Asheville will take around three to four hours, depending on traffic. Because there are frequent lavatory breaks and you have to wait for everyone to enter the vehicle, using a public shuttle normally takes a little longer.

What Is the Price of a Shuttle from Charlotte to Asheville?

Whether you select a private or public shuttle will affect the cost of your ride from Charlotte to Asheville. You should budget about $100 for one trip per person if you use the public shuttle. But the second person usually costs fifty to seventy-five dollars. You should budget between $300 and $500 for a single trip for two people if you use a private shuttle.

Option 3: Drive from Charlotte to Asheville

We advise picking up a car and traveling to Asheville from Charlotte. It lets you travel outside of Asheville or make stops en route without depending on Uber or public transportation.

Additionally, it relieves you of the bother of keeping an eye out for bus schedules, navigating delayed buses, or striking up a conversation with the person sitting next to you on a plane when all you want to do is watch your movie. I’m not talking from firsthand knowledge here.

How long does it take to drive from Charlotte to Asheville?

If you drive straight through, the trip from Charlotte to Asheville takes two to three hours, depending on traffic and whether you stop for gas, lavatory breaks, etc. Charlotte goes through rush hour in the same way as most major US cities. We frequently advise departing Charlotte after 7 p.m. or between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to avoid rush hour traffic.

Is Driving in North Carolina Difficult?

We both believe that driving in North Carolina is the most peculiar of all the places we have traveled to, including nations where driving is done on the left side of the road. Many people are passing “yellow” lights that have been red for a few seconds while driving quickly. Maybe it’s the heat in North Carolina that drives people crazy.

Not to scare you, but make sure you don’t become distracted by wondering what questions to ask while driving and lose focus on the road ahead.

The Most Direct Route Between Charlotte and Asheville

Though opinions among North Carolinians vary, we believe that the most efficient path from CLT to Asheville is via I-85 to US 321 N in Gastonia, and then onto I-40W. Despite being a busy road, this one passes through some sizable mountains and provides views of Mount Mitchell. Even though there are more lanes on this broad highway, traffic should still move quickly.

An alternate route is to go via I-85 South, Highway 74 West, Interstate 26 West, and finally Asheville. Because this route passes through more small towns, has more stoplights, and occasionally experiences more construction, some people prefer it. The two routes take roughly the same amount of time, traffic excluded.

Best Places to Visit Between Charlotte and Asheville

Of course, you could take the direct route to Asheville if you’d like to arrive there as soon as possible. Still, given the short distance, we advise stopping a few more times. The following is a list of our favorite locations along the suggested route from I-85 to US 321 N in Gastonia to I-40W:

Hickory is 60 miles/1 hour from Charlotte, depending on traffic.

Things to do in Hickory include:

  • Discover Union Plaza, the central plaza of the city where all the action takes place. Check out the shops, eateries, and pubs in the area.

     

  • If you want to eat locally while visiting an Airbnb, go to the Downtown Hickory Farmers Market.

     

  • Every two weeks, the downtown event “Under The Sails” features live music and lots of seating. Verify the schedule one more time before leaving!

For a one-night stay, we suggest the Holiday Inn Express Hickory. It’s not as pricey as most of the establishments we suggest, but it’s clean, in a great location, and offers a complimentary breakfast!

Local tip: For sandwiches to eat on the path, stop by Hatch Sandwich Bar if you’re in Hickory and want to walk the route mentioned below! Delicious!

Stop 2: Catawba Falls, which is approximately 56 miles/55 minutes from Hickory and 110 miles/2 hours from Charlotte, depending on traffic.

Take a stroll around Catawba Falls if you need to get some fresh air and burn off some of the mouthwatering North Carolina ribs you’ve been eating.

This easy stroll of three miles round-trip will take you about three hours.

NOTE: Until spring 2024, this path will be closed for maintenance!

Since this isn’t a place to stay, we advise making a stop, hiking, and moving on.

Stop 3: Black Mountain is around 12 miles/20 minutes from Catawba Falls and approximately 114 miles/2 hours from Charlotte, depending on traffic.

Activities at Black Mountain include:

  • Discover the slower-paced Downtown, which has many unique shops and eateries. For leisure, there are also rocking chairs strewn throughout the village.

     

  • Beverages are offered by numerous breweries, cideries, and distilleries, such as Black Mountain Ciderworks + Meadery and Pisgah Brewing.

     

  • Wander around Lake Tomahawk for a more unspoiled experience.

     

     

    We suggest staying at the Hampton Inn Black Mountain if you would want to spend the night. Similar to Hickory, it’s a tidy, mid-range option that’s convenient to everything downtown and has a complimentary breakfast.

From Charlotte to Asheville, there are rest stops.

There are two “official” rest stops on the I-40 Westbound, but gas stations are always accessible. Catawba and McDowell rest stops are the two that exist. The Catawba Rest Area is about an hour’s drive from Charlotte, depending on traffic. The McDowell Rest Area is approximately one hour and forty-five minutes from Charlotte, depending on traffic.

How Much Does a Car Rental From Charlotte To Asheville Cost?

You can rent a car from Charlotte for $40 to $60 per day, depending on the season, to get to Asheville. You can rent the car for a longer period if the price is lower. Making a round-trip reservation instead of picking up in Charlotte and dropping off in Asheville could also result in cost savings. When renting a car, we typically suggest Discover Cars.

Option 4: Bus from Charlotte to Asheville

The shortest and most expensive way to get from Charlotte to Asheville is by Greyhound bus! There is usually only one direct Greyhound bus trip per day, and it leaves from the Charlotte trip Station. It’s important to carefully check the Greyhound website because schedules can change.

How Much Does A Bus Ride From Charlotte To Asheville Cost?

Bus tickets to Asheville from Charlotte range in price from $20 to $25, depending on the time of day and season.

Bus Schedule From Charlotte To Asheville

Daily buses depart from the Charlotte Bus Station at 3:10 p.m. But remember, things can change, so make sure to double-check!

How Long Does the Bus Ride From Charlotte To Asheville Take?

The bus schedule indicates that it will take three hours to get from Charlotte to Asheville. Remember that traffic could add an hour or more, and this is only an estimate.

Asheville vs. Charlotte

Despite being well-known North Carolina cities, Asheville and Charlotte have very different perspectives. Charlotte is a bustling metropolis featuring a variety of facilities, retail stores, dining options, and bars. It feels more metropolitan and cosmopolitan because it is a financial and banking hub. It is ideal for those looking for an urban setting, but it lacks cultural diversity.

Asheville, on the other hand, is a hipster, laid-back mountain town that resembles Portland, Oregon. Despite its small size, it boasts fantastic cuisine options, a vibrant nightlife, and is fairly liberal. It’s one of our favorite spots in North Carolina and has a great old town area that’s easy to walk around!

How Long Do You Need in Charlotte?

Since Charlotte is a big city, there is no shortage of things to do, see, and drink! We advise spending two to three days there to get the most out of your trip. This allows you more time to discover the city and its many neighborhoods, including NoDa, Uptown, and the South End.

How Long Do You Need in Asheville?

Despite being much smaller than Charlotte, Asheville is nevertheless a well-liked city with much to do! This is particularly true if you’re an outdoor person. Also nearby are the well-known Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest. We advise coming for at least two days. After spending two days in the city, spend the next day in the great outdoors or traveling the parkway—especially in October when the leaves are changing to stunning hues!

The Top Four Routes to Take to Get to Asheville from Charlotte (2024)

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Conclusion

With much to do, mouthwatering food, and amazing martini bars, Charlotte and Asheville make excellent vacation spots. It’s also a very short and straightforward drive from there to Asheville, so it is a no-brainer.

To make the most of your visit and to explore the amazing activities that are conveniently located just outside of Asheville and need a car, we highly suggest renting a car. We hope that this clarifies all you wanted to know about your little road journey between these two amazing destinations!

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