These Are the Best Riverfront Cabins in North Carolina
The Wrong Way River Lodge and Cabins, with 16 sweet A-frames, is an ideal base camp for exploring greater Asheville
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Ever come across an incredible hotel that stops you mid-scroll and makes you think, Wow, wouldn’t it be something to stay there? We do, too—all the time. Welcome to Friday Fantasy, where we highlight amazinghotels, lodges, cabins, tents, campsites, and other places perched in perfect outdoor settings. Read on for the intel you need to book an upcoming adventure here. Or at least dream about it.
Why We Love the Wrong Way River Lodge and Cabins
The three keys to real estate are location, location, location. And in that regard, Wrong Way River Lodge and Cabins, celebrating its one-year anniversary in September, has things covered. Wrong Way sits just three miles from downtown Asheville, with literally front-door access to this North Carolina mountain town’s growing portfolio of outdoor adventure. Hop on a bike, or lace up your shoes or inline skates, and hit the greenway across the street from the 1.8-acre property; heading southwest will take you to Carrier Park, home to a velodrome, while heading northeast will lead you into the River Arts District’s breweries and galleries. Pisgah National Forest, with its hundreds of miles of singletrack, not to mention kayaking and rock climbing, lies with 25 miles of downtown.
Wrong Way’s 16 A-frames are pretty to look at—their clean lines and modern construction reflecting the influence of both Scandinavian design and an Appalachian log cabin—and the views even prettier, most of them overlooking the mellow French Broad River.
The only difficult aspect of a stay at Wrong Way is deciding how to spend your time. It was prime mountain-bike season when I visited over the spring, but a heat wave made paddling the French Broad sound super enticing. I was torn: Dirt or water? And then: Should I keep my adventure urban or venture to the national forest? Decisions were made, and I did my best to dabble in a bit of everything.
Wrong Way puts you in the heart of Asheville’s burgeoning urban outdoor scene. Cultivate Climbing, with indoor and outdoor rock-climbing walls, is next door. A three-mile section of the French Broad, popular with canoeists and rafters, drifts by the property, and the growing greenway system connects a series of parks, restaurants, and other popular gathering spots. You can rent paddleboards ($15 an hour) as well as a portable grill ($39 a day) from the lodge. Consider Wrong Way’s SUP/Run Challenge, a great way to get in some daily exercise: jog the greenway upstream for two miles before hopping on a stand-up paddleboard provided by the lodge and gliding back downstream.
Want to get off-site? Youngblood Bicycles, about five miles away, rents commuter, gravel, and mountain bikes (from $50 a day). Pedal a recently completed three-mile loop of greenway that cruises through the River Arts District, passing graffiti murals and two breweries. For bigger adventure, head into Pisgah National Forest and its bucket-list singletrack; the revamped Black Mountain Trail weaves through a hardwood forest for 8.4 miles of berms, drops, and kickers. The best whitewater close to town is just a 30-minute drive north of Asheville: eight miles of Class III–IV rapids on the French Broad. The Asheville Adventure Company runs guided trips from town from April into September ($69 per person).
Although Wrong Way calls itself a campground, you’ll be staying in 354-square-foot cabins, all of which can accommodate up to four people (you choose who gets the queen bed and who the queen sofa sleeper). Each of the A-frames has heating and cooling, a private bathroom, a small living room with a desk, closet, and coffee maker, and a fridge. All but three cabins have small porches overlooking the river, and if you’re looking for more privacy, book cabins 14, 15, and 16, which have back porches surrounded by woods. Five cabins welcome pets.
These are thoughtful digs: They’re zero-waste, which means they’re stocked with disposable items that are compostable. Fun details, including a record player and an assortment of vintage vinyl (Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson), enhance the experience. You’re encouraged to take the hammock, camp chairs, and table found in your lodging out for use elsewhere in the area.
Eat and Drink
The only thing better than the adventure in Asheville is the food. And the beer. The cofounders of Wrong Way understand this and stock their lodge commons, dubbed the Canteen, with suds from the area’s best breweries and snacks from local meal-prep company New Stock Pantry. Grab a Fonta Flora Lake James Lime Lager and a couple of chocolate-chip cookies and park yourself at Wrong Way’s meadow at the back of the property, filled with hammocks, a fire pit, and lawn games. Or head downstairs to the Ping-Pong table.
Alternatively, pedal to the River Arts District and go for a pitcher of Iron Rail IPA from the Wedge Brewery and a double cheeseburger from the Chop Shop Food Truck, which uses ground beef that’s been aged for 21 days. Looking for something fancier? Curate, downtown, is run by James Beard–nominated chef Katie Button and offers classic Spanish tapas like almejas, a brothy dish of clams and pork belly steamed in white wine. If you can’t score a reservation, walk around the corner to La Bodega, a more casual Spanish market and bar owned by the same chef.
When to Go
Wrong Way is open year-round. Winter is Asheville’s quietest season (February and March are the slowest months), while summer is the best time for exploring Pisgah National Forest’s waterfalls and swimming holes. Show up in October and November and the temperature is perfect for mountain biking and trail running and the hardwood forests are popping with fall color.
How to Get There
Asheville has a small but active airport, with direct flights from a growing number of cities, including Denver, Las Vegas, and Boston. Charlotte Douglas International, 120 miles east, is the closest large option.
About 25 miles east of Asheville via Interstate 40 is Old Fort, a textile town with a brand-new system of flowy mountain-bike trails and a killer brewery. And bring your rod: there’s world-class fly-fishing on Curtis Creek, a tight mountain stream just two miles east.
To Book: WrongWayCampground.com
Price: From $139 per night
Address: 9 Midnight Drive
Asheville, NC 28806