Located in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains just 25 miles south of Asheville, Hendersonville, affectionately known by the locals as “Hendo,” values its commitment to diversity and inclusion by embracing and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. It offers accommodations, dining options, and entertainment venues tailored to meet the needs of its LGBTQ+ visitors and residents, making it an excellent choice for travelers seeking a welcoming environment to relax and enjoy their stay. So, don’t make your travel plans, until you check out our LGBTQ+ Friendly Travel Guide to Hendersonville for our recommendations for everything you need to know before travelling to LGBTQ+ friendly small town.
How to Get There: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Hendersonville has convenient transportation options into and out of town. So, it’s up to you and your preference of how you like to travel.
Planes: Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) is the closest major airport, located about 12 miles from Hendersonville. Visitors can fly into AVL and then rent a car or take a shuttle to Hendersonville.
Trains: While there isn’t a train station in Hendersonville, Amtrak offers train service to nearby cities like Greenville, SC, and Spartanburg, SC, where visitors can arrange further transportation to Hendersonville.
Automobiles and More: If you prefer to set your own pace and schedule, traveling by automobile is the way to go. Located in the western part of the state, Hendersonville is easily accessible from major highways. If you’d rather “leave the driving to us,” several bus companies operate routes to and from Hendersonville.
How LGBTQ+ Welcoming Is Hendersonville
Hendersonville, NC, has emerged as a welcoming and LGBTQ+ friendly community. With a growing number of LGBTQ+ residents, allies, and businesses, the city has actively worked to foster an inclusive atmosphere making it one of the top ten cities in North Carolina for the LGBTQ+ community. Local businesses, restaurants, and shops proudly display LGBTQ+ pride flags, signaling their commitment to diversity and acceptance. Throughout the year, Hendersonville hosts LGBTQ+ events, including Pride celebrations and support groups, that draw both locals and visitors, promoting unity and understanding.
Hendersonville is on the forefront for organizations dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights and advocacy, reinforcing the town’s commitment to equality. The warm reception and open-mindedness of its residents make Hendersonville an increasingly popular destination for LGBTQ+ travelers to visit without fear of discrimination.
Hendersonville Pride focuses on promoting unity, enhancing visibility, and bolstering the self-esteem and positive image of the LGBTQ+ community. Their goals encompass activities aimed at improving mental and physical well-being, providing essential social support, and fostering an understanding of the historical and contemporary contributions of LGBTQ+ individuals.
Pride Events in Hendersonville
Hendersonville celebrates diversity through its PRIDE events, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to commemorate the collective journey of the LGBTQ+ community.
Pride Nights – Organized by Hendersonville Pride, these monthly meet-ups are held at local breweries, restaurants, and other venues, where the LGBTQ+ community and its allies come together to celebrate each other and show support in a non-judgmental, accepting atmosphere.
Pride Picnic for Progress – Attended by more than 500 locals and visitors, the annual Pot-Luck Pride Picnic for Progress, is a family-friendly event, featuring local exhibitors, music, speeches commemorating Pride Day, food trucks, and an assortment of activities such as face painting, yoga, and card readings. An after-party, including games, rock painting, reiki, and massages, wraps up the day’s festivities.
History Of Hendersonville
Hendersonville’s history is rooted in agriculture and trade. Originally inhabited by Cherokee and Catawba tribes, European settlers arrived in the late 18th century, gradually turning the area into farmland. The town officially emerged in 1838 when it was incorporated. It became a center for apple cultivation and, in the late 19th century, was dubbed the “City of Four Seasons” due to its temperate climate. Hendersonville played a role in the Civil War, with Union forces occupying the town for a time. The railroad’s arrival in the late 19th century boosted commerce, connecting Hendersonville to broader markets. Over the years, the town evolved from an agricultural center into a diverse community with a mix of industries, tourism, and a growing population.
Hendersonville’s pedestrian-friendly downtown, scenic hiking trails, outdoor activities, family-friendly attractions, wineries, breweries, and cideries, allows it to retian its historical charm while embracing modern-day innovations. The arts flourish here, with galleries and Broadway-style shows at the local playhouse. It also shines in agritourism, especially from August to October, when apple orchards welcome visitors for picking, cider tasting, and fun activities like wagon rides and corn mazes.
LGBTQ+ Friendly Places To Stay In Hendersonville
In Hendersonville, you’ll find places to stay that embrace LGBTQ+ travelers with open arms and southern hospitality. These establishments prioritize a welcoming and accepting atmosphere, guaranteeing that every guest enjoys their stay. Whether you’re in search of a charming bed and breakfast, a well-known chain hotel, or boutique lodgings designed with the LGBTQ+ community in mind, Hendersonville offers many accommodation options conveniently located within proximity of the town’s attractions, to cater to various tastes and budgets.
The Horse Shoe Farm – Tucked amidst the picturesque Southern Appalachian Mountains, The Horse Shoe Farm has seven distinct rental houses. Whether you’re seeking a cozy cottage for a weekend escape or a spacious farmhouse for a week-long gathering with loved ones, the farm caters to every preference. With an on-property spa offering treatments to pamper and revitalize the mind and body, and a farm-to-table restaurant with locally sourced dishes to please even the most discerning palate, The Horse Shoe Farm has it all.
The Charleston Inn – Gracing Main Street with its presence, The Charleston Inn is a 16-room bed and breakfast with a history of welcoming guests for more than a century. Conveniently located within walking distance of downtown, this 1880 property has been carefully preserved to offer guests a glimpse into the past. The porch, framed by ornate pillars, offers a scenic view of Main Street, creating the perfect spot for relaxation and people-watching.
1898 Waverly Inn – This bed and breakfast provides various amenities, such as two covered porches, a spacious dining room, a library, and multiple sitting areas. Guests can enjoy a complimentary, full, made-to-order southern breakfast and access to free beverages, freshly baked treats, and an evening social hour. The individually decorated rooms feature cable TV and en-suite bathrooms. 1898 Waverly Inn is conveniently located on Main Street, and is just a short walk to all that Hendersonville has to offer downtown.
Hampton Inn Hendersonville – If you prefer a more budget-friendly chain hotel, the four star Hampton Inn Hendersonville, located just a mile from Interstate 26, offers easy access to restaurants and local attractions. Start your day with a complimentary hot breakfast served daily in the Perfect Mix Lobby. Guest rooms feature amenities including flat-screen TVs, a microwave, mini-fridge, and coffee maker. For the eco conscious, the hotel utilizes solar panels on the roof for heated water.
Recommended Restaurants in Hendersonville
From traditional southern comfort food to farm-to-table eateries and international cuisine, Hendersonville offers many dining options. Visitors can savor classic dishes at cozy diners or indulge in gourmet meals at fine dining establishments. The city’s restaurants offer an atmosphere that complements the delicious food, making dining in Hendersonville a memorable experience. Whether you’re in the mood for home-cooked favorites or something more adventurous, Hendersonville has something for every palate.
Indian Aroma Bistro – As you step inside Indian Aroma Bistro you find yourself transported to India, in an atmosphere of tantalizing aromas. Aroma showcases its culinary expertise by combining premium meats, seafood, and produce with the flavors of cherished family recipes, making it a popular dining spot for those seeking an authentic taste of India in Hendersonville.
Champa – If you’re looking for Sushi, Thai, or Hibachi, then look no further than Champa. The dine in or take out menu features house special rolls, freshly prepared sushi, and traditional Japanese dishes. It’s your one-stop-spot for authentic Asian cuisine.
McFarlan Bake Shop – McFarlan Bake Shop, an old-fashioned, bake-from-scratch bakery has been in business since 1930. Open from Tuesday to Saturday, you’ll find an array of sweet treats including cakes, pies, pastries and more. When you’re looking for delicious baked goods or the perfect treat, you can find it here.
Mountain Deli – For over a decade, Mountain Deli has been serving award-winning sandwiches and salads. Here, you can dine in, take out, or enjoy lunch on the patio, ensuring a delicious and satisfying meal.
Best Breweries & Wineries in Hendersonville
Hendersonville is home to some of the best breweries and wineries. Regardless of which you prefer, these are great places to enjoy tastings or relax with friends.
Mills River Brewing Company – Mills River Brewing Company is known for its craft beers. Located in Mills River, it caters to beer enthusiasts seeking a variety of brews. With a laid-back vibe, Mills River Brewing Company is a place where guests can enjoy delicious craft beers and grab a bite to eat while enjoying the comfortable, come-as-you-are atmosphere.
Oklawaha Brewing Company – Oklawaha Brewing Company, located in historic downtown Hendersonville, is a nano brewery and taproom with craft brews and live entertainment. From trivia nights to mountain music jams and live bands on the weekends, there’s always something going on, making it a must-visit spot for those looking to enjoy good beer and great tunes.
Marked Tree Vineyard – Marked Tree Vineyard, with locations in Flat Rock and Asheville, is a winery known for its wine tastings and tapas menu. Choose from a wine list of 10 different selections and small plate options designed to complement those wines. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or just looking to explore new flavors, Marked Tree Vineyards is a popular destination for those seeking wine tastings with a little food on the side.
Things To Do & See In Hendersonville
In Hendersonville, there’s much to see and do. You can explore downtown shops, visit a museum, see a show, or enjoy outdoor activities. You can also discover natural wonders, pick apples, shop at a farmers’ market, take a tour, or taste local wines and brews. Outdoor enthusiasts can bike, fish, or kayak. There’s something for everyone here.
Grandad’s Apples – At Grandad’s Apples, a 100-acre family farm and apple orchard, you can enjoy a day of family fun. Choose from freshly picked apples daily or pick-your-own on select weekends. In late September, wander through the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin. In Grandad’s Barn and Country Store you can find fall harvest decorations, and apple-themed gifts. Don’t forget to visit the bakery for hot cider donuts and other delicious apple treats.
Hendersonville Mineral and Lapidary Museum – The Mineral and Lapidary Museum is a world of natural wonders, showcasing minerals, gems, fossils, and artifacts. Visitors can explore exhibits, including dinosaur egg clusters, gemstones, and much more. Check out the gift shop, where you can find that special gem you’ve always wanted, or crack open a geode. Best of all, admission is free.
Appalachian Pinball Museum – The Appalachian Pinball Museum is a nostalgic journey through the history of pinball machines. It features a collection of vintage and classic pinball games, allowing visitors to enjoy a hands-on experience. Whether you’re a pinball enthusiast or simply curious, a visit to the Appalachian Pinball Museum promises a fun experience.
Pisgah Forest Gem Mine & Gifts – The Pisgah Forest Gem Mine & Gifts has indoor and outdoor gem mining experiences with different sized buckets containing up to 40 different gems, including amethyst, citrine, quartz and more. There is an on-site gift shop with gem-related items and souvenirs for you to purchase. Open rain or shine, the Pisgah Forest Gem Mine is a fun-filled family-friendly day of discovery.
HVL Peddle Pub & Brew – HVL Peddle Pub & Brew is a 14-person pedal-powered (electric motor-assisted) vehicle. With 10 peddlers, 4 non-peddlers, and a conductor who navigates downtown Hendersonville with humor and entertainment, guests provide their own beer, cider, or wine, making it a fun way to explore Hendersonville.
Cheers! Trail – The Cheers! Trail highlights craft beverage producers of beer, wine, hard cider, and mead. Explore 27 tasting experiences on the trail, with each stop sure to be a memorable experience. You can get your Cheers! Trail Passport for $10 at the Welcome Center.
Where To Shop & Stroll In Hendersonville
In Hendersonville, shopping and strolling are more than activities, they’re a way of life. The town’s downtown area serves as a backdrop for retail therapy and leisurely strolls. It’s a place where you can soak in Appalachian culture, discover hidden treasures, and relish the simple pleasure of a walk down tree-lined streets in a small-town-USA setting.
Hendersonville Farmers Market – Operating from May to October at the Historic Train Depot, the Hendersonville Farmers Market features over 30 vendors selling fresh, local produce, meats, eggs, baked goods, dairy, honey, crafts, beverages, and more. There are food trucks on site serving breakfast and lunch as you make your way around the market. Plenty of free parking is available around the market area, and visitors can enjoy live music every Saturday.
Historic Downtown – Hendersonville’s historic downtown district, centered around Main Street, is designed for shopping and leisurely strolls. Sidewalks are well-maintained, and the street is lined with trees and benches inviting you to take your time and appreciate the town’s history. As you walk along Main Street, you’ll find locally owned boutiques, family-run restaurants, and cozy cafes. While in town, visit these shops that go out of their way to welcome LGBTQ+ travelers.
- Mast General Store – What’s a cute, quaint, small town in the U.S. without a General Store? Mast General Store, originally founded in 1883, offers goods from clothing and outdoor gear to unique gifts. The store serves as a window to the past, providing a glimpse into the region’s history while catering to modern shopping needs. Our fun finds – rainbow socks!
- Spice of Life Variety Tea – Operating as Hendersonville’s neighborhood tea and spice shop, Spice of Life Variety Tea stocks a selection of loose teas for hot and iced tea. Visitors can drink a cup of tea while perusing their assortment of teas, spices, oils, balsamics, salts, peppers, and sugars. While there, chat with the owner who has adorned his shop with rainbow flags.
LGBTQ+ Friendly Bars, Clubs and Nightlife In Hendersonville
Hendersonville may not have a dedicated LGBTQ+ nightlife scene similar to larger cities, but most bars and clubs are LGBTQ+ friendly and welcoming. Here are a few we suggest visiting.
The Poe House – Named after author Edgar Allan Poe, The Poe House strikes a balance between an English pub and a modern cocktail bar, where you can enjoy live music, a rotating selection of draft beers and bottles, handcrafted cocktails, and curated wines. Their menu includes small plates, shareable snacks, and pizzas. You can also purchase retail wine and beer to enjoy at home. It’s also a favorite watering hole for LGBTQ+ locals.
Renzo’s Speakeasy – Catering to those who appreciate a more intimate setting, Renzo’s Speakeasy is a discreet spot in Hendersonville. Offering classic and signature cocktails, while creating an inviting atmosphere for patrons to unwind, it’s a great place for those seeking a more quiet evening or simply looking to enjoy a well-crafted drink and conversation with friends.
Shakedown Kava Lounge – Located in the Depot District, Shakedown Kava Lounge is a different kind of social experience. It’s like a bar but with a chill environment where people can relax, enjoy live music, poetry, games, conversation and drink kava, a South Pacific Island beverage known for its relaxing effects. Curious about kava or just looking to try something different? This place is definitely worth the visit.
Annual Events & Festivals in Hendersonville
Hendersonville hosts annual events and festivals for all occasions. From celebrations of local agriculture to music concerts, art showcases, and seasonal festivities, the town’s calendar is filled with festivals, parades, and carnivals. These events bring people together to appreciate local traditions and create lasting memories. If you’re a nature enthusiast, an art enthusiast, or simply seeking family-friendly entertainment, Hendersonville’s annual events are a must experience.
North Carolina Apple Festival: Held over Labor Day weekend and lasting four days, the North Carolina Apple Festival celebrates the apple harvest with arts and crafts, live entertainment, and food vendors.
Garden Jubilee Festival: The Garden Jubilee Festival takes place on Memorial Day weekend, and features plant and garden accessory vendors offering items for gardening enthusiasts.
Cider, Wine, and Dine Weekend: The Cider, Wine, and Dine Weekend is a November event celebrating the local cideries and wineries with tastings, pairings, and special menus at participating restaurants.
Treat Street Carnival: The Treat Street Carnival happens on Halloween night with family-friendly activities, costumes, and treats on Main Street.
Old-Fashioned Christmas: Old Fashioned Christmas is a December event featuring holiday lights, carriage rides, and visits with Santa Claus in downtown Hendersonville.
LGBTQ+ Friendly Hendersonville: A Welcoming Destination
Hendersonville lives up to its southern hospitality reputation by offering a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ traveler. With various LGBTQ+ friendly establishments and events. Hendersonville provides a feeling of inclusivity, inviting visitors to explore its natural beauty, enjoy local cuisine, and engage in cultural activities. From the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains to its downtown area, the town embraces diversity and encourages all travelers to feel at home. Hendersonville is a place where acceptance and respect aren’t just words, they’re a commitment to provide a friendly and safe space for the LGBTQ+ traveler to enjoy their stay in this North Carolina town. Whether for a short visit or an extended stay, Hendersonville rolls out its welcome mat for everyone.
While in the area, make sure to check out the neighboring city, Asheville, NC.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.
Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.