Erin McGrady, Maggie, and Caroline Whatley

Authentic Asheville is a blog created by Caroline Whatley (she/her) and Erin McGrady (she/her) that reflects our passions. We are filmmakers, photographers, writers, and content creators who share stories about camper van travel, the outdoors, and what it means to take up space as members of the LGBTQ+ community. We are committed to making the outdoors a safer and more inclusive place for everyone.

Our blog started out in 2016 as a way to share about our Ram Promaster City van with a Wayfarer Conversion Kit. But over the years, as we’ve grown, we’ve expanded to include more articles such as gear reviews, the best places to eat and drink, and LGBTQ+ safe spaces.

We recognize that the land we live and play on, in what is commonly referred to as Asheville, North Carolina, is the ancestral land of the Anikituwagi, more commonly known as the Cherokee.

We’re happy you’re here. Welcome to our community!

Asheville Adventures

The best things to see and do in Asheville, North Carolina.

Best Places to Hammock in Asheville, North Carolina

There are so many fun things to do in and around western North Carolina. The region has miles of scenic trails, more…

Best Instagram Spots in Asheville

One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to find murals. It’s fun to walk around and discover them…

Best Outdoor Breweries and Bars in Asheville

There are a ton of great places to grab a beer in Asheville but if you’re looking to take advantage of some…

Camper Van Life Adventures

Stories and ideas from the road!

How to Choose a Van for Van Life

Ready for a new adventure? One that involves travel? And possibility living out of your van? We’ve spent many, many hours discussing,…

The Best Camper Van Bed is a DIY Bed

On our most recent van life adventure through Canada in our Ram Promaster City Camper we left our Exped Sim Comfort Duo…

DIY Van Window Screens

They say necessity is the mother of invention, right? Such was the case for our DIY Van Window Screens. We spent about…

Recent Adventures

Come explore with us!

7 Queer Owned Businesses in Asheville 

We know Asheville is pretty fruity (and we love it!). That’s why we are highlighting a few fruity businesses and co-ops ripe for your picking! Keep reading to see our guest contributor, Camille Nevarez-Hernandez’s top picks for queer-owned businesses in Asheville. Palm and Pine | 178-B Westwood Place (West Asheville) Looking for plants, lemonade, cute…

Van Life with a Dog

I’ll never forget the day we got Maggie. We’d gone to Blue Ridge Pride Festival on a Saturday and I spotted her from afar. I didn’t want to get attached because I didn’t think, realistically, we’d adopt her. I thought she was really cute and chill in the crowd but it seemed unlikely we’d get…

7 Best Latinx Restaurants in Asheville, NC

Let’s be honest, while Asheville is known as Beer City and we have a ton of great places to eat, it can be a hard place to find good, authentic Latinx food. So I’m making it easier for you. Check out my top picks for the 7 Best Latinx Restaurants in Asheville, NC. Little Chango…

Gear Reviews

Our top picks for camper van travelers and outdoor enthusiasts.

A Gift Guide for the Outdoorsy Person in Your Life

It’s that time of year again when many of us are faced with the daunting task of purchasing gifts for others. We’ll help you take the stress out of things with our curated list. Each of these pieces of gear has been tested by us out in the field for at least 6 months, if…

Solo Stove: Bonfire 2.0 Review

We recently had the opportunity to test out Solo Stove’s new Bonfire 2.0! This is the latest version of the already very popular smokeless fire pit. Keep reading to see our thoughts on this cool piece of outdoor gear in our Solo Stove: Bonfire 2.0 review. What are the Specs of the Solo Stove’s Bonfire…

Review of the Coleman Atlas Series 65-Quart Cooler With Wheels

Hey y’all! We’re back at it again with another gear review. This time the piece of gear we’re taking a look at is the Atlas Series 65-Quart Cooler With Wheels. Keep reading to see why we think this cooler is perfect for your next vacation, tailgate party, or sideline soccer game. Specifications Width: 22 inchesHeight:…

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