My wife and I are going to Asheville, NC this weekend. We plan to spend most of our time relaxing, shopping, eating out, and chilling at the spa (we're staying at the Grove Park Inn - best spa ever). We would like to plan one or two outdoorsy activities for one day - maybe 5 hours maximum. We need some advice on what to do and where to do it.
We are not particularly outdoorsy - I enjoy hiking, whitewater rafting, picnicking, etc, although I don't think I could handle anything too strenuous. I don't think I've gone on a hike in a decade. My wife doesn't typically enjoy outdoor activities, but hasn't done any in years and is open to giving something a try since this region seems to be known for outdoorsy things (as long as it doesn't take too much time away from the spa!).
So - what should we do? Some options I've considered so far:
Chimney Rock Park
Gorges State Park
South Toe River
Sliding Rock (looks touristy)
How is the rafting in this area? Is it known for rafting?
Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC)
French Broad Rafting
I think we would enjoy either whitewater rafting or a hike, especially if the hike requires a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to get there. We'd plan a picnic for after either one of these activities and hope to find a pretty spot to eat.
If there's another activity that you'd recommend, please tell me.
There are just too many choices and I'm confusing myself looking at all the options - distance, cost, photos, how popular, how strenuous, etc. Thanks for any advice!
Map with all locations mentioned.